Many years back, I decided to change the way I acquired things in an effort to have less stuff taking up space. After mulling over a variety of ideas I settled on my 30-60-90 plan. Basically it works like this:
- 30 days of buying nothing extra. No eating out, no “retail therapy”, nothing. The only exclusions were things that were not able to be repaired; such as a refrigerator that has gasped its’ last. If I thought I wanted, something I would back burner it for 30 days and then see if I truly had a use for it. Almost always, I never returned for the item and saved myself the money and space.
Following on the 30 days of not buying stuff, I stretched it to an additional 60 days of non accumulation. The same rule applies, replace it only if it can’t be fixed. If the water tank bursts, then it gets replaced. If the pressure gauge goes, it gets repaired. Once 60 additional days have passed, the next 90 days aren’t so tough. Even at holiday time it isn’t hard to do, after all you shouldn’t be whim buying anyhow. Over the years I have not kept track of what I have saved, but the space in my closets, on shelves and in the cellar let me know I have kept in check. When I do buy items I do a “one in two out” equation to make sure I am not eating up space. I tend to let things wear out, especially clothes which can become garden clothes once they are threadbare.
When I first tried the 30 day stretch I lucked out and nothing major broke down, but I have had it happen. A washing machine that gave up after 19 years, a fridge that did the same just a few months prior. Both had been repaired numerous times over the years, but eventually things wear out beyond repairing. It did make me a bit crazy to have to buy new appliances that were mainly plastic and had a short expected lifespan. Mainly I did the 30-60-90 to avoid buying things I truly didn’t need, or want once I had them. Some times it was a bit bumpy and I felt Scrooge-like, but in the end not having spent the money on a generic item was right for me. It also forced me to be more vigilant on the maintenance of the items I have to keep them in good working order. And I learned how to fix things, like a leaking pressure relief valve or mixing valve, saving over $100 that a service call would have been.
All in all this plan has worked for me, lessening my consumption, and saving money for when the unexpected occurs. Which it always does. And when it does, I hate to be in the spot of having a surprise expense come up and know I spent the money for it on “stuff” that I didn’t really need, and having to pay with a credit card. The best parts of this have been the freedom from stuff, plus having to house and dust it. Any money that is saved is always eaten up by a rate increase on something or another out of the blue expense. That is life, money doesn’t just sit around.
At the end of the last stretch of 90 days, actually 180 of non accumulation has occurred. That’s just shy of half a year of getting off the “buy buy buy” highway, and the cost of being on that road is always going up.