Allowed / Not Allowed

In the Not Buying It book the author states that her friends revealed their “Consumer Ids” when they would ask her what she was “allowed” to have. When I first started talking about my project I was amused to find that this held true for my friends as well. And they used the same word – allowed.

“You’re not allowed to eat out?”
“Are you allowed to buy wine?”
“You’re not even allowed to go to the movies?”

The way they (and I) frame these statements makes it sound as if the terms of this experiment are coming from somewhere else. People don’t disallow themselves, other people disallow. Right?

I like the word Allowed to describe what I can have or do during this year, so I’ll use it. I’ll even have a category for it. What is allowed and what is not allowed and why.

Drawing a line between necessary and not isn’t as simple as it seems. Food is, of course, a necessity. But dining out is not. I won’t go out to movies, but will I rent them? And, of course, can I still have something on the not allowed list if I don’t buy it?

I knew I would have to write up a firm list of allowed/not allowed at the beginning then modify it until I settled into the project and understood my needs better. After all, anyone can talk themselves into ‘needing’ almost anything. There’s always a justification somewhere.

If you decide to try not buying for a month or longer, you can use whatever term you like. But I suggest you sit down and really think about the parameters of your experiment. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure if something is allowed or not, and then choose to have it and become demoralized or something. Plus, parameters are good.

This is my current list of Allowed/Not Allowed.

Not Allowed

  • Shopping for non-necessary items such as:
    • Clothing
    • Accessories
    • Electronic Gadgets
    • Software
    • Toys
    • Home Goods
    • Kitchen Items
    • Books (unless for research and that can’t be obtained from the library)
  • Anything from the Container Store
  • Anything from Bed, Bath, & Beyond
  • Taxis
  • Prepared foods
  • Delivery or take-out food
  • Dining Out (except under particular circumstances)
  • Movies (in theater – renting is an unresolved issue)
  • Music
  • Theater
  • Television (i.e. no cable)
  • Concerts
  • Buying food or drink in:
    • Bars/Clubs
    • Cafes/Coffee Shops


  • Food / Groceries
  • Toiletries
  • Items legitimately classified as business expenses (more on this in a later

This list is going to change and grow as I go along. I hope to have it firm by the beginning of February at least.

Taking a look at my not allowed list will probably give you a nice peek into my psyche. What would your list say about you?


1 Comment

Filed under Allowed / Not Allowed

One response to “Allowed / Not Allowed

  1. Wow- I applaud your doing this. I think what my son said recently is instructive. I am always pointing out to him the differences between wants & needs, and when I said we had to stop by the store because I needed to buy new underpants, he said, “You don’t need them, you want them.” Well, I had to think, from my point of view,the old ones were getting pretty shabby, but really, they would probably go on serving their purpose for a long time yet. In truth I wanted to a quick-picker-upper, without feeling like I was ‘buying clothes’. Twenty dollars seemed cheap to get to go home and throw out all the old pairs and have fresh new ones to put on in the morning.
    I guess my point is that our NEEDS are actually very few. It all depends on how ‘virtuous’ we want to be, how much inconvenience we are willing to put up with.
    I am looking forward to seeing how your year goes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s