Happy (Nothing) New Year

Towards the end of last year I blogged that I was thinking about making 2017 a ‘buy nothing new’ year for me and the girls. I got masses of enthusiastic support from friends both online and in real life, and so I have decided to go for it. One of the most enthusiastic supporters has been my husband – I think he may be suffering from the delusion that by sticking to vintage and pre-loved I’m going to spend less money. Bless him.

Seriously, though, cutting down on the amount I spend on clothes and shoes and frippery bits we don’t really need is one of my objectives. Another is to reduce my carbon footprint and the amount we are contributing to landfill. Another is to make me appreciate the things I already have rather than constantly seeking something new. Another is to spend the money I do have to spare on experiences rather than things. And the final is to cut down the amount of time I waste in browsing, online and in shops, for things I don’t really want or need. I am hoping to be able to fill that time with more productive or relaxing activities – baking, reading, hot baths, keeping in touch with friends – rather than moaning I have no time and then frittering the brief windows I do have on the Boden website.

So what are the rules? I’m not being super strict, because I don’t think I need to be to achieve those objectives, but I do need a framework to stick to.

  1. I won’t buy any new clothes or for me or the children, with the exception of underwear.
  2. I won’t buy any new shoes, bags or accessories for me, but the children will get properly fitted new shoes as and when they need them.
  3. Food and household products like washing powder etc are not included in the challenge.
  4. Basic toiletries – cleanser, moisturiser, cotton wool, nappies, body lotion, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel – are not included in the challenge. However, I won’t buy any new make-up or nail polish, with the exception of mascara. You’re meant to change your mascara every 3 months to avoid eye infections, and I can’t manage without mascara or with permanent conjunctivitis.
  5. If I run out of my two Clinique must-haves (CC cream and Happy perfume) I will replace, but only if I have managed to save enough money from things which I have sold myself.
  6. I will not buy any new books for me or the children, but e-books are an exception (no waste or carbon footprint!).
  7. I will not buy any new toys for the children, with the exception of specific and reasonable requests for birthday or Christmas presents which I cannot source secondhand. I will replace art/craft items such as paper, card, glue, felt tips and paint as they run out, but I won’t buy new for the sake of it.
  8. Presents for other people are not included in the challenge, because the most important thing to me is that I give gifts my family and friends want to receive. However, I will challenge myself to consider vintage/pre-loved/hand-made/experiential items as a starting point, rather than heading straight to the high street shops.
  9. Presents for us are not included – we will be very happy and grateful to receive anything anyone is kind enough to get us!
  10. I won’t buy anything new for the house, other than like for like replacements of essential equipment (think cooker, kettle etc) if they break.

There might have to be exceptions within the year – for example items required by Anna for a school play costume which I can’t track down second-hand in the time available. Any exceptions like this will be recorded, exactly what I bought and why, so that when I look back at the year I can see how well I managed!

I will be using charity shops, Facebook selling/freegan groups, and Ebay for specific items we need.

Anna has decided that she does not want to join in the challenge with her own pocket money, so she will be free to spend her £1.50 a week on whatever her heart desires.

I’ve got off to a flying start, getting a pile of free tights and some t-shirts for Sophia, and a beautiful, barely worn, pure merino wool Cos sweater for myself for just £15 via the wonderful Walthamstow Sell or Swap.


Really interested to hear your thoughts, and see whether anyone wants to join me. I’ll be blogging regular updates on how I get on and my pre-loved bargains. Oh, and a very Happy New Year!

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