To read about our challenges and victories of buying nothing new in 2013, visit the Nothing New Archives!
When Buying Nothing New Doesn’t Make Sense
Living in California means we get a lot of sun. Every day. All. Year. Long.
(Yes, you can hate me now.)
So you can understand why I nearly cried when I driving down the road one day my sunglasses broke in half and fell into my lap. If there is one challenge with buying nothing new, it is highly personalized items — like sunglasses, jeans, and shoes. You can’t just pick up any pair and make ’em work. Thankfully, I had saved an old pair from last summer and although they were pretty beat up, they did the trick. Until later that day my back-up sunglasses suffered the same fate: breaking in half and falling off my face.
SERIOUSLY?! On the same day?! Yep. Just keepin’ things interesting.
Out of desperation, I bought a pair of cheap gas station glasses at the thrift store ($1.99) and tried not to think about the fact that I was probably better off spending good money on a new pair of well-made sunglasses rather than a cheap pair every few months. I began to wonder if this may be an exception to our Nothing New resolution — for the sake of the environment!
The jury is still out on this but thankfully, this past month I found a sweet pair of tortoise-shell cat eye glasses at Goodwill for $3.99!
Our July Sins
Jack lost a tooth and instead of putting the customary $2 under his pillow (I need to have a talk with that Tooth Fairy over this serious inflation rate…what happened to a quarter?!), we decided to get him the Hot Wheels cars he has been going on and on about ever since seeing them in the grocery store the week before. Of course, we have not bought the boys any new toys for the last seven months so the Tooth Fairy now looks like a saint while Mom & Dad still appear to be toyless tyrants. Oh the price of parenting…always the bad guy.
In retrospect, getting those cars reminded us yet again why we are doing this resolution. Jack was over the moon happy to find them under his pillow and then no less than six hours later, he was already asking to go “thrift store shopping” for a new toy. Jack’s addiction to stuff has tremendously improved over the past year of buying nothing new but it is still a scary part of his personality. People with the primary Love Language of Receiving Gifts (like Jack) value ANY gift, even those with no monetary value (it’s the actual act of giving/receiving that means the most to them) but sadly, the deep abyss of consumerism easily exploits and distorts that Love Language, cheapening it to just temporary thrills that come and go like Made In China toys. After thinking more about this, perhaps the way to fill Jack’s “love tank” without adding to his “stuff” addiction is to simply give him more gifts that don’t cost anything; a love letter, a special rock from the beach that made me think of him, that sorta thing. I welcome any other parental advice in the comments below!
So a little known fact: last month we started a band. Correction: Tim and his coworkers started a band, told me they needed a backup vocalist, and once I committed, informed me that I’m the only singer. Well played, Timothy. Well played.
Being in a band means I need a speaker for rehearsals and not being able to find a secondhand one that fit our needs, we were faced with either missing rehearsal time or buy a new speaker. So we bought a new one. It joins our very small list of new things we have bought this year (as I’ve said before, we aren’t beating ourselves up for buying new if we feel it’s a wise decision that couldn’t be avoided).
As the sole singer in this pop/rock/funk/soul/whatever band, Tim suggested I get the VoiceLive Touch 2, a looping and effects processor that you may recall seeing the talented Kimbra use. Only problem — it’s totally NEW and was just released a few months ago so secondhand options are non-existent.
When visiting our local music store to play around with it, we pointed out the poor condition to the sales rep (the display face had multiple scratches and marks) and he admitted that the unit had been purchased and returned after one day. Ah hah! It’s not “new”! As Tim and I hummed and hawed about whether it was a fair loophole — I mean, I would technically be the second owner — the sales rep offered us a hefty discount to sweeten the pot. Well, every musician knows that music toys aren’t cheap so getting a hundred bucks off was a fantastic deal for something that just hit the market a few months ago. Well twist my rubber arm, I’m sold!
Now here’s the great part. After sitting in our hot trunk under the glorious California sun (yeah, I did it again), I took the VLT2 out of the box and noticed a weird bubbling. Although the sales rep insisted there was no protective film on it, it now appeared that there was but it was so tightly wrapped over the display that none of us could remove it — until the Cali sun helped a sister out. Sure enough, once it was gone we found a pristine, good-as-new display underneath! I was GIDDY. A hundred bucks kinda giddy! And if it weren’t for our Nothing New challenge, I probably would have just asked for a different one and paid the full price.
I’m Dangerously Close To Having an Antiques Shop as a Living Room
Quite possibly one of my favorite scores from this entire year was found in July: a wooden starburst clock.
These mid-century clocks, which are insanely popular right now, are crazy expensive ($200+) and really hard to find. After seeing a picture of this one posted in an estate sale ad on Craigslist, I showed up an hour early knowing that the professional antique dealers (aka “The Vultures”) would be waiting outside. Sure enough, they were. I texted the number from the listing, telling the woman that I was here for the clock, would treasure it forever, and wouldn’t resell it like all the other dealers who were waiting with me.
Once we were all finally let in, she had taken it down and saved it for me, later telling me that it was special to her late father and she was happy it would be going to someone who appreciated it. Of course her father had glued gold sequin fabric all along the rim of the clock (don’t ask…I have NO idea….) and painted the tips of the clock hands white but for $30, I could handle a little bit of elbow grease in removing those two…um…”improvements”.
Natasha Drisdelle (aka Domestica) is a mom of twins, baby-weight survivor, and health & fitness blogger who lives in California’s Silicon Valley. She posted her before-and-after pics on the immortal internet as living proof that morphing into a gelatinous baby-growing-factory doesn’t have to mean your bikini days are over. You can find her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, cutting through the myths and guilt that keep women from realizing true health.