Lesson 1363 – A Year of Nothing New

Kristin Skarie is a friend of mine whom I met through my son when she did workshops at his college. Like me, she also loves to do life experiments and one of her finest was going a year without buying anything new. It can be done,  she’s even written a book about it! Here’s Kristin to tell you about what she learned when she didn’t buy anything new.


Hello and thank you Wendy! In 2010, I made a decision to buy nothing new for a year. A friend had shared her recent nothing new experiment so I decided on the spot to give it a go – no preparation, no stocking up, no plans. In many ways this was an answered prayer to remedy a BAD 2009 (don’t ask!) and it gave me a welcome distraction – an active, positive focus on the pending adventure.

year of nothing newI tailored my Year of Nothing New to allow “new” consumables like food and toiletries. I also allowed new office supplies (mostly consumable) and business materials for my teambuilding work. My car had to keep running and my house had to stay safe so there were a few allowances there. Beyond that, If I needed anything else it was second hand or handmade by me. The dollar amount of anything I did buy new went into a separate account, which I donated at the end of the year – $757.50 to be exact. I tell you that not to impress you but to impress upon you that I was highly aware of privilege to still buy something new if I chose to.

Initially, I simply stopped going to my shopping trouble spots – it was easy really. I was committed to this project and I knew that stopping shopping would benefit me in numerous ways. That year I did not enter a Target or a Pier 1, nor did I set foot in our local mall chock full of fun and favorite stores! I kept my distance from Home Depot too – another danger zone for me (More Spending, More Doing) and switched to small resale shops or markets from almost everything. What are your shopping hot spots?

I started a veggie garden that summer and got way into eating local and seasonal. After the of good habits were safely underway, I added monthly challenges to keep things interesting. No lights on in the house for one month and only foods grown in New York State for another month. I gave up buying plastic for a month (I swear EVERYTHING is made of plastic), tracked my trash production and did a “fashion fast” wearing only 6 items of clothing for a month. Good times!

Did I learn anything? Oh yes. I looked through the microscope at how I spent my money as well as my time and my energy. I saved $5,998.00 by watching every penny spent on clothing, household goods, food, utilities and gas. I decluttered and freed myself from material things, keeping only items that are Beautiful, Useful and/or Memorable. I got way better at saying Yes to the right things instead of Yes to everything. I overhauled my values system serving to clarify what I want, what I need and what I have. The year after that, I turned off my TV, skipped all chain coffee shops, ended 6 committee/co-curricular responsibilities and released 2 friendships. So there’s that. All of my great Nothing New habits from that year have stuck and I continue to learn how to leave a smaller footprint and to appreciate the simple joys.

Freedom, clarity, openness, space, peace…no sale flyer, coupon or special deal needed! I wish you well on your cost saving journeys – may you have Nothing New and all your needs met in this year!

Kristin Skarie lives in Fairport, NY – track her down at www.betterteams.com  and you can find her book: A Year of Nothing New on amazon.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under Life Lessons

3 responses to “Lesson 1363 – A Year of Nothing New

  1. Kristin Rounds

    I guess I’ll have to buy a USED copy of her book.

  2. Kristin Rounds – yes! Check Amazon – lots of used 🙂 Book is 100% recycled paper 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Nothing New and commented:
    This is my friend Wendy Thomas’ blog – “Lessons Learned from the Flock” check it out! Thank you for this opportunity to be a guest blogger, Wendy!

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