The Compact: Not Buy Anything New for a Year

Not buy Anything New for a Year

Our family has agreed to go another year without buying anything new. We did it in 2010 and it dramatically changed how we lived and what we put value on as a family. It rocked my world, but in an amazing way. It’s fun,  challenging and really makes you look at objects differently. Yet over the past few years I have slowly let material consumption creep in and have bought many things that I definitely didn’t need and, looking back, sometimes didn’t really want.

It just happened.

2013 Resolution: Buy nothing new for a year. It’s often called The Compact, and it’s a world-wide social and environmental movement where people make a one year commitment to stop buying new stuff. There are no official rules to The Compact— everyone can put their own twists and exceptions in their Compact.

The goals of The Compact:

  • to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socio-economic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc.
  • to reduce clutter and waste in our homes
  • to simplify our lives


The Family Sponge Compact of 2013

I am super excited that Jadah and her awesome family have decided to join us with The Compact. Together, we will be sharing our bargain finds, our struggles and our breakthroughs with it all. We would love to have more families join us. Maybe it’s a 3-month pact, or a 6-month pact. Start small and see where it leads. We invite you to be a part of this movement and would love to share your stories as well.


Where you can shop:
Second-hand stores (Salvation Army, Goodwill, Plato’s Closet)
Consignment stores
Local food markets are preferred (farmer’s market, local bakery)
Garage sales
Estate sales

Other ways to get what you need: Borrow from a neighbor, share what you have, make it yourself or even barter with someone.  



You are allowed to use services such as movies, theaters, museums, massages, haircuts, and music downloads.
Underwear. I just can’t buy used panties.
Household cleaning supplies.
Health and safety items.
Automotive essentials (like oil).
Home repairs.


Additional Resources

The Story of Stuff
The Compact Yahoo Group: Full of questions, helpful information and a great community of over 10,000 people.
Stop buying and Start Saving
My Personal Experience with The Compact

Join the Discussion

Interested in joining The Compact or have questions about it, please share below!

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18 Responses to The Compact: Not Buy Anything New for a Year

  1. Audrey December 31, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    I really think we could do this! Committing for the full year is kind-of intimidating….starting small…maybe with a 30 day challenge!

  2. Family Sponge December 31, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Yeah! I hope you join me Audrey. Even if it’s a 30 day challenge, I think it will still be amazing.

  3. Regular Chick January 4, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    I thought this was so funny because I just told my husband about this 2 days ago having no idea that this was a movement. I thought I was original! LOL

    • Jen @ Family Sponge January 5, 2013 at 5:14 am #

      When I did it a few years ago I thought I was original too! But I guess this has been going on since 2006. Too funny!

  4. Trina | January 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Love it! I’m doing a no-spend/low-spend year. We lowered our monthly spending money to focus on paying off student loan debt, and I decided to put limits to how I spend mine. Don’t think I’ll get my husband on board with using his spending money this way, but the kids and I will be doing this! 🙂

  5. Michaela - Livin' January 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    My sister-in-law and I were just talking about something like this the other day. I had no idea that there was a official name for it and everything! Last year I really tried to only buy clothing that was fair trade/used. I really found that I purchased a whole lot less!
    Excited to follow along and be inspired! Maybe I’ll have to jump on board. 🙂

    • Family Sponge January 19, 2013 at 5:27 am #

      Hi Michaela! I did it a few years ago and had no clue it had a name either! When we made the resolution to do it again this year I did some research and was shocked that it was an official thing. Yet it actually exciting because now I have more resources to help me when I am in a bind.

      I love that idea of only buying fair trade/used clothing! If you ever want to share your experience with that, I would love to hear more about it!

      Hope you join us with the compact— it’s really a great thing to at least experience. Even if you don’t completely stop buying new, it will at least make you more aware of how often we buy things that we don’t really need. It happens to me ALL the time. Glad to have you here!

      • Michaela - Livin' January 20, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

        I think I will try a form of it anyway! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

        I ended up mostly just buying new (the fair trade was a little out of my budget), but it was interesting researching different companies and how they treat their employees and where they purchase their materials.

        I’m excited to follow along on your journey!

  6. Jen | February 15, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Totally love this idea!! I just launched an online consignment boutique that allows parents to swap in their outgrown infant & toddler clothing for credits to shop for items in their child’s current size. Check it out- Hope it can help some of you on your journey!! Can’t wait to read more about how it’s coming along! 🙂

  7. Phoenix November 28, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    I love this idea and think it is totally doable! My only question is how to approach gifts… How do you recruit others to this ideology when they expect to receive something pretty/shiny/new as a present? Any ideas?

  8. Nancy December 28, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Hi, I just found you after a Google search for the compact/no spend 2014. My family of 4 is committing to a year of not buying new and we have almost identical rules as you! I am so very excited to find more people that are doing this all the time. Have you thought of starting a Facebook group for this adventure? It would be great to have more like minded people to “hang out” with 🙂

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  10. Heather May 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Very inspiring article! Someone wondered about how to cope with Gifts, & I have a solution which I find very easy & enjoyable – try to make all your gifts, whether it be making a batch of soap, or knitting a pair of hand crafted socks or other item. I find that most everyone is very touched to receive something home made. I like to spin yarns & then knit socks, & also make lavender soap, incorporating some of my own home grown lavender, which always seems to be well received.

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