I'm trying to quit buying crap. Here's how.
A checklist of questions to ask myself
Hello fam! I know I haven’t posted anything in a while, and I don’t care. I’m rejecting the idea that I ought to be regularly taking up space in your inbox regardless of whether I have something to say. I don’t need Engagement or Growth. I appreciate each and every one of my subscribers and everyone who happens upon my words via some web way, and if you want to subscribe or share or forward my words, amazing! If you want to support my words whenever and however often they come, with money, also AMAZING.
But, I just don’t want to spend my time Building My Audience right now. I know my words have impact on the people I send them to (some of the people some of the time, at least), and I’m fine with that for the moment. Anyways I’m gonna stop littering my newsletters with share and subscribe buttons even though I know the second rule of newsletters is to put them in.1 You can find that shit in the footer if you want it.
Also, let’s be real, nobody can actually keep up reading most of the newsletters they subscribe to, so whenever I think “oh man, people are mad I haven’t written anything” I remember that one of the very last things on anyone else’s mind is my to-do list and my guilt over how I haven’t sent a newsletter. You don’t need more words to read unless I’m gonna send you something worthwhile. You almost certainly haven’t once, since I sent my last newsletter, thought “that criminal, Amy, hasn’t sent me a newsletter SINCE JUNE!!!”
Anyways, some personal updates first, before I get to my inadvertently clickbait-sounding list: both my boobs now are identifying as anarchists (the right one was still a socialist in June), so that’s interesting. I’ve been reading a lot of books from AK Press as a cause/ consequence of this. My boobs reserve the right to change their minds, by the way. Their personal and political beliefs are evolving, and that’s okay.
Also, I was up in Vermont on a mountaintop for the first half of July, which I loved, even when it rained 8 inches and the driveway and our road washed out and I had to make friends with a very nice man named Chuck who had a bulldozer so we could leave. While I was in Vermont I decided I might like to do a thru-hike, and Max was like “oh you should do The Long Trail” and that sounded like a great idea, so I’m now reading backpacking guides and starting to get ready for that, with hopes to do it next summer. You’d think getting stuck on a mountain in Vermont would make me not want to spend a lot of time on top of mountains in Vermont, but actually it made me want to spend more.
I have already learned that I’m something called a “slackpacker” which means I will be planning to take approximately 6 weeks to 3 months hiking a trail most people aim to do in 20-30 days, because I’m not interested in going to Accomplish or Crush a Goal, I’m going because I love love love the forest in Vermont and I would like to spend a very long time walking in it and look at every single mushroom I find along the way. I’m hoping I end up with a trail name like Slug Girl or Mushroom Hag or anything with Witch in it, but I know you can’t force these things.
Okay, finally, the reason I decided to write and send something today is because I’m trying to spend less money and buy less shit, and I made myself a checklist to read and consider before I buy things, so that hopefully I can cut down. And I thought, well, other people might also have this goal and want to have a little checklist, so I’m sharing it. If you want a printable copy that fits on just one printed page, here is one, and no you don’t have to sign up for anything in order to get it, it’s just free.2
Should I buy this?
What purpose do I hope it will serve?
Can I repurpose something else? If not, why not? What options have I considered? HAVE I ACTUALLY TRIED????
Do I have something similar already? (BLACK DRESSES! BLACK BOOTS!)
Am I prepared to care for it?
Am I prepared to enjoy it?
How easily can it be repaired? By whom?
Is it a subscription or does it require a subscription, or might it in future require a subscription? (looking at you, Internet of Shit)
Could I borrow it? (From a library? From a friend? From a neighbor?)
Could I rent it?
Could I make this myself?
Is it a gift? If so, how sure I am that the person I’m giving it to will like it, use it, and care for it? What other ways can I show someone I care?
If I decide to buy it, do I want to give this business my money?
If I decide to buy it, can I buy it more directly from a person or smaller business?
Can I buy it or something like it used instead? Or find it for free?
Is it made sustainably, ethically, and to last?
If I just really really want it, why? What do I think I will get/feel when I possess this whatever that I really, really, really want? Or, what feeling am I craving/ avoiding right now???
If I just really want it, what makes me think that once I get it, I’ll be complete, and that I won’t really really want another thing next week? This is a trick question, obviously, since I will definitely not feel complete, because I want things because of something called commodity fetishism, and as long as I’m still absorbing advertising or participating in culture I will keep wanting shit.
My participating in society as a consumer is required. Besides just businesses advertising, the government takes actions to encourage “consumer spending” because it’s a requirement of our economy. Therefore, under capitalism, I will always be bombarded with messages telling me to get and spend, get and spend. This isn’t my fault, and I don’t have especially bad willpower compared to everyone else participating in society. But I can still do my best to resist it by asking myself these questions before I buy something.
Anyways, who knows if this will actually cut down on my purchasing habits, or if it might help you cut down on yours. If you find it useful, lemme know! I love when people reply! Also I still do engineering leadership/career coaching for money, and I still need money, so check it out.
Also if you’re local or in the Boston area visiting, let’s go for a walk or a hike! As long as you’re cool with a pace best described as moseying or perhaps ambling. If you are not, I will drive you absolutely batty.
Oh fine, here’s a subscribe button, because I’m really not on social media much anymore.
I’ll be in your inbox next time I have something I want to tell you, and not until then!
We all know the first rule of newsletters is to send them on a regular schedule, so yeah, I’m just breaking the rules here. Don’t care.
you can really start to see the anarchism creeping in, can’t you?