Not Buying Anything New for Five Years: Not as Hard as You Think

Just this weekend I bought a handful of brand-spanking new things: a wedding gift for a friend, a pair of cheap pink sunglasses, and nail polish. But one woman from Portland hasn't bought anything new (except for food and personal care items) for five years. Katy Wolk-Stanley of Portland, Ore. is a member of The Compact, a group who aims to borrow or buy used instead of buying any new consumer products.

Related: Best and Worst Vintage Buys

When I first heard this, I thought um, no way. There's no way I could go more than even a month without buying something new. When I go to the mall "just to browse," I almost always walk out with a purchase, even if it's just a $5 trinket. How did this woman stave off the dreaded shopping itch for five long years? Then I realized … she didn't.

Even though Katy Wolk-Stanley got creative with her purchases -- sifting through thrift stores and vintage shops instead of buying new -- she was still buying stuff. That "shopping itch" we all feel is less about buying something brand new, and more about just buying something.

Related: Street Style: LA Flea Market

The real challenge would be going a long period of time without buying anything at all. I'll admit: I doubt I'd last a month. Spending money can be stressful, but it's also satisfying. Going to the cash register, ringing up your purchase, and coming home with something new-to-me -- that is what satisfies the shopping itch.

What do you think? How long could you go without buying anything?

More on

Best Bargain Fashion Websites

Editors' Embarrassing Beauty Items

Underground Beauty Brands