No Buy November? No, Thanks

by Sarah Harris
Originally Published: 
A woman's hand holding a bag full of Christmas gifts

For the past few years, I’ve heard whispers and rumors about a social-media-fueled movement called “No Buy November.” The premise is that you are to only purchase necessities during the month of November; food and consumables are okay, as are service purchases such as hair-cuts and spa treatments. It’s a movement rooted in green living practices: Fewer purchases will lead to less waste in our landfills, less energy consumed, and less wasteful spending.

I get it, really I do. Kind of.

If I was a younger, childless, more-hipster version of me I would totally get on board. Well, except for the spa treatments thing. Am I the only woman alive who cringes at the idea of getting a pedicure?

But, as a mid-thirties mom of three who is, like, the least hipster person you can imagine, I just can’t quit you, Buying in the Month of November.

First of all, it’s November: The Month of Plenty. The cornucopia of months. There are extravagant meals to prepare for and, though I know food purchases are allowed, do the bylines also allow the purchase of Thanksgiving decorations? Those adorable pinecone-and-jute turkeys in World Market are calling my name and I really must set a festive Thanksgiving atmosphere in our home. And just past those natural-fiber turkeys is my favorite scarf of all time–now in a rainbow of must-have colors! And because of the impending cooler temperatures and preying on the vulnerability of smart shoppers like me, they’re on sale!

It’s not just World Market. There’s something about November that makes me want to get serious about the Christmas shopping I’ve been dreaming about since September. I’m not talking about the ridiculous Black Friday shopping. I won’t wake up in the middle of the night to go stand on line for some stupid electronic. I’m not without my shopping standards. What I can’t resist, though, is that Target circular that I find in my mailbox the first week in November. It’s a catalog of every Hot Toy item of the year, which my kids pore over with a marker and their Wish List in hand. And the centerfold? She’s a beauty: 25% off any 1 item, Buy 1 Get 1 50% off, $10 Gift Card with the Purchase of $50. But the beauty comes at a price: Expires 11/26. It would be irresponsible of me to not use them.

Maybe I would be more likely to get on board with No-Buy November if I didn’t have a sleigh to fill.

Or kids who have worn out their school shoes (already!) and whose pants, which I swear they tried on just a month ago, are suddenly too short.

I could support the No-Buy movement if it happened over the summer, when shorts are more forgiving during a growth spurt and flip-flops are meant to be worn down to the ground.

Instead of No-Buy November, I propose No-Buy July.

In No-Buy July, there are no sleighs to fill. No extravagant feasts to prepare. No reason to deck the halls. Have a No-Buy July 4th potluck picnic where the neighbors show up with whatever meat they have in the freezer to stick on the grill, the party games involve the hose and a wiffle ball set, and the decor is courtesy of the hot and hazy sunshine pouring down. Spend your days at the pool (just make sure you buy that pool membership in June!). All moms know that it’s at the pool that you can get your kids to finally finish those half-empty boxes of snacks from the back of the pantry, anyway.

So, No-Buy November? No, thanks. But let’s talk again in about eight months.

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