Tuesday, 8 March 2011

'Buy Nothing' for Lent

Lent is a Christian festival marking the 40 days and 40 nights that Jesus spent on the desert preparing for his ministry. He fasted and prayed. Traditionally Christians have used this period as a time of learning, and preparing for the resurrection of Jesus. Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, actually lasts for 45 days in total because Sundays are excluded from the 40 days.

In recent times, people have given up something for Lent - may be chocolate, sugar or alchohol. Whatever your beliefs, it can be a good time to reflect on, and tackle, over indulgence. 

One community group is trying out a 'Buy Nothing' Lent. Of course this does not mean buying nothing at all - food and the basics of life are allowed - and it is up to the people taking part what they define as the basics. They intend to make themselves more aware of consumerism and the temptations around them from advertising, media and clever marketing. 

If you are living with debt or on a tight budget, having a 'Buy Nothing' Lent could have a positive effect on your finances and make you aware of any wasteful spending, as you think about each purchase you make. It can also make you think about where the stuff we buy comes from, and where it ends up at the end of its life.

This is a learning exercise in doing something cost free instead of spending money - such as having friends round for a DVD sharing night instead of going to the cinema, or going for a walk instead of paying for the gym or swimming pool. One member of the group wants to make things, where possible, instead of buying, starting with a cushion cover.

The group is also practicing skills sharing.  Two members are exchanging some IT knowledge for some home cooked meals. It makes me also think of Third Thursday Club who share their produce and skils amongst themselves.

'Buy Nothing' can raise awareness of media and social pressures on having the latest thing, and empty promises about what a product can do for your life.  Spending less and saving more, relieving the pressure on finances may be far more beneficial than so called 'retail therapy'. And if on a tight budget, finding new ways to save a few ££s can be positively exciting!

Please explore this website to find new tips and ideas for frugal and #creditfree living. 

What are you (not) doing for Lent? 


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