Did you know that October is Buy Nothing New Month; the “global movement for collective, conscientious consumption”? Well, here at Gumtree we (of course) love the idea! We see so many amazing second-hand goods being bought and sold every day, but don’t always stop to think about the real difference it could be making.
Buying something second-hand because you’ve found the perfect item at the right price is fantastic. But making a conscious effort NOT to buy new items (except food, hygiene products etc.) is a really interesting concept.
There’s a stark difference when think about the things you want, when compared to those you actually need. In fact, most things we own we probably don’t need. But by the same token, it’s not a realistic expectation for us to give up all our material possessions. So the question is, how many things do we buy new that we could have bought second-hand instead? And in doing so, not only saved money but also helped the environment.
Most of us will have bought a second-hand items at some stage; furniture, cars, houses etc. A big motivator being that it saves us money. When you can pick up great quality gear, sometimes hardly used for up to half the price, then why wouldn’t you buy second-hand? There are some items, like cars for example, that we automatically buy second-hand because we’re not prepared to fork out for a new one. But how many items do we automatically buy new, without thinking twice about second-hand options? It would be different for everyone, but some examples might be; mobile phones, computers and other technology, books, shoes and clothes, plates, cutlery and other kitchenware, or maybe home décor like lamps and cushions.
If you cut back on unnecessary spending by buying more second-hand, or even swapping with friends, how much money do you think you could save each year?
Making a choice not to buy brand new is about more than just saving money. Buy Nothing New Month makes us think about the environmental impact of our purchases. Because the fact is, every little thing we buy has an impact on the environment – from the energy and materials used to packaging and transport.
Take clothing, for example. You may not know it, but cotton is one of the most polluting crops, making up for 25% of the world’s pesticide use. So, by simply buying second-hand clothes, you’re making a small difference to help reduce cotton production. And that’s just one example. Buying second-hand helps reduce landfill and lower our carbon footprint. Who knew that saving cash and hunting down a bargain could also make you so environmentally friendly?
Of course, we all like to treat ourselves every now and again and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This month is just about taking a step back and thinking twice before we buy. So, next time you reach for your credit card, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need to buy this brand new, or is there a better, more affordable and more environmentally friendly way I can get it?