Buy Nothing Day

Go 24 hours without spending anything

When was the last time you went 24 hours without going shopping?

And no, we’re not talking about last Sunday, when the only reason you didn’t make it to the supermarket was that you met a mate for a cheeky afternoon pint and ended up staying there for the rest of the day because it was raining and the sofas were so comfy and, well you know…

We mean ‘when was the last time you went a whole day without spending a penny’? Ok, ok. Very funny. We’d probably piss our pants too if we tried that.

Seriously, can you remember a single 24 hour period when you didn’t buy a thing from anywhere? Think about it. No mid-morning coffee. No bus ride. No sandwich at lunch. Not even a newspaper. See 24 hours with nothing digital.

Truth is, we’re always spending money. Our world revolves around cash. We’re non-stop consumers, and we don’t even realise it (well, until we check the bank balance.

It’s only when you consciously think about not digging into your pocket that it becomes clear that we’re all slaves to the plastic in our wallets and purses.

Now we’re not saying that money isn’t useful. There are things we need in life, and we have to pay for them. But at the same time, it’s easy to forget how much we buy that we don’t actually need. No one ever died from a lack of latte.

And yet we’re pummelled with thousands of ads every day, on TV, on bus stops, online and in magazines. And they’re all telling us to spend, spend, spend as if our lives depended on it.

Well, they don’t. November 25th is Buy Nothing Day. It’s an attempt to remind us there’s more to life than shopping, and that the world won’t end if we stop spending for a day. For some people, it’s a protest against the consumerist message we’re constantly blasted with.

For others it’s a way of saying that we’re harming the world by propping up a culture that encourages us to keep buying unnecessary things. Or it can simply be a way of reminding yourself that you don’t need to buy stuff to enjoy yourself. Fun can be free.

The challenge is simple: go for a whole day without spending any money at all. No cash, no cards, nada. And surprisingly, once you set your mind to it, it’s not that hard. Need to get somewhere? Walk. Get a lift with a friend.

Or just don’t go too far from home. Hungry? Have a look what’s in the fridge. Still hungry? Go down the supermarket and ask to taste everything on the deli counter.

Read everything on your bookshelf? Swap with a friend. Want to get pissed? Brew your own hooch and see what happens. Get a few mates round. Get them pissed too. See? Fun can be free. And while you’re at it, send us your ideas. There’s lots of brownie points on offer for imagination…

The point is you’ll find that by using your imagination, you’ll manage to make it through the day without starving to death, and probably have a load of fun at the same time.

And if you find that a cash-free life isn’t for you, you’ll be able to go on a serious spree the next day with all the money you saved.

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