Paola Betancourt was traveling in Spain for a month with just a small bag when she realized she did not need many things to live.
Upon returning home, did he challenge himself to buy nothing for 365 days? Strictly speaking, the objective was not to achieve anything that was not “necessary” at all.
And this is exactly where the question comes in: is that really inevitable for our lives?
Every person who accepts the anti-consumption challenge sets his own rules.
Some, of course, are more radical than others. But, as there is no judge in this dispute, it is a matter of testing the limits you have set yourself.
Betancourt focused on not buying new clothes or unnecessary items. She decided to share her experience on some YouTube videos.
In late 2020, he announced on camera: “I completed the challenge and I am very happy with it. I like going to the shops and don’t feel like buying anything.”
But didn’t she really get into temptation? As a matter of fact, she only had to buy some clothes as she moved to a lower temperature location.
“One pair of pants, three shirts and two T-shirts”, he acknowledges.
“I had to cut it out completely and I didn’t mind, because I was freezing.”
Today, as he told BBC News Mundo, the BBC’s Spanish-speaking service, Betancourt continues to try to consume as little as possible to reduce environmental pollution and practice removing itself from material things. .
It, for example, makes its own coconut oil and its own toothpaste with baking soda. In your home, cleaning products have been replaced by ecological options.
“I learned how strong we can be when we open our eyes and face reality”, he explains, referring to the importance of reducing consumption for the sake of the environment.
The experience of American Hannah Louise Poston was different. His challenge was to end the purchase of beauty products, clothing and equipment, which he had essentially acquired almost a year earlier.
He bought it even when he had no money to pay bills and bills.
As long as she didn’t panic, it was common for her to spend from $ 3,000 to 4,000.
Thus, in 2018, Poston adopted the challenge, which won the English name No purchase year (Or “year without purchase” in a literal translation).
Like Betancourt, she also recorded experience in the video, bringing about 20,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel.
According to Kit Yarrow, an expert on consumption patterns, “For the last 20 years we have been affected by cheap goods.”
For him, the challenge of not buying works as a “antidote against impulse and consumerism”.
Among fans of the challenge, the most common is to go a year without buying clothes.
But there are people who take No purchase year On another level: German Greta Tubert decided to spend a year without buying anything. And she succeeded in meeting the goal.
Let it be clear: Tubert did not achieve anything. No food or drink.
She lived only on what she planted in her garden and also learned to make shampoos. His inspiration was what life would be like if the economic system collapsed.
How to live with less?
Although Tubert’s story draws attention, it is more of an exception than a rule.
Other individuals focused on much less rigorous challenges. The project is a case of 33 followers (wearing only 33 pieces of clothes for three months) who leave their cell phones for 40 days, or who have eliminated television from their lives.
Since the rules are invented by the participants, the variants are endless.
Joshua Baker, founder of the blog Being Minimalist, a website that promotes minimalism, challenged himself not to buy for three months and was successful.
For Baker, exceeding the goal, is it important to maintain a minimalist lifestyle? Which in short, means having and buying less stuff.
“New Zealandism is living with the things I really need,” he told BBC News Mundo.
“The idea is to remove the distraction of having too many items and focus on the things that really matter.”
Author of several books on the subject, Baker is currently devoted to writing and full time giving talks on minimalism.
According to their experience, a year without a spectacular purchase brings many benefits.
The main ones are saving money, reducing the carbon footprint, eliminating compulsive shopping and more time for the things that really matter in life.
The question that many people ask: how can a minimum life be achieved? These are the steps Baker proposed in his own words:
1. Set your goal for the year without purchase
Being less consumed and having fewer things are different for each person.
The first step is to define your goal and ask yourself why you are deciding this. Is it to save, to show that you can meet a goal, to reduce pollution?
No matter what your reason is, the important thing should be clear about it.
2. Define Your Rules
Although the challenge is called No purchase year, This does not mean that you cannot achieve anything.
The recommendation is to determine what exactly you want to stop buying.
To set the rules, a good idea is to write a list of purchases that have been issued and which will have to wait for the challenge to end.
When rules and goals are set, there are some things you can do to prepare for the challenge.
To begin, make a list of your continuing expenses and see if they respect your new boundaries.
Also think about how you are going to use your time, because one year advantage without buying is that you will have more free space in your calendar.
If you don’t have a plan for how to fill that void, it will be easy to fall into temptation and revert to old spending habits.
4. Start slowly. How about a month without shopping?
You do not need to do it 365 days at a time. Like any other new habit, it is better to walk slowly.
For this, the recommendation is to start with a month without buying, and gradually apply a longer period of time when you are already more experienced.
Baker warns that if you fail along the way, don’t give up. You can try again as many times as you want.
The important thing, he says, is to analyze why it happened and prepare better for the next time.
Just as Baker promotes minimalism as a way of life, others use different names to encourage the same concept.
‘Buy Nothing Project’
Is called an international movement Buy nothing project (“Buy nothing” in the literal translation).
It all began in the United States in July 2013, when two friends Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark formed a small online group with residents of Bainbridge Island, Washington.
The idea was that participants would trade goods and services without the arbitration of the currency.
This practice is part of the so-called economy of the present (or “free economy”).
The idea quickly spread throughout the country Facebook And organized groups according to geographical areas started to emerge with the help of volunteers.
According to the founders of the initiative? Who recently published the book Buy nothing get everything plan (Get this nothing in free translation, get all plans?), The movement has 1.5 million participants from 31 countries distributed in 4,650 groups, supported by around 10,000 volunteers.
But how does the project work? People publish in the group the things they want to give or lend to their neighbors and demand what they want to receive. Thus, the useful life of the products is extended, which makes the planet less polluted.
Do plan proponents exchange very different products? From furniture, clothes and appliances to prepared food and rides.
Documentary filmmaker and movement co-founder Clarke tells BBC News Mundo, “They don’t just share things. Neighbors know each other and form trusted relationships.”
Asked what kinds of things she buys regularly, Clarke says she only purchases what is needed, such as food and cleaning supplies.
“But if it weren’t for the epidemic, I’d make my cleaning products myself,” he explains.
Since she does not like shopping, minimalism has naturally become a way of life.
“I don’t have to have new clothes or items for the house, because everything is free for me.”