Ending the compact like I ended the South Beach Diet

bike trailerAt the end of my “One Month without Buying Anything New” kick, I felt pretty good. It wasn’t very hard for me. I felt like I could continue forever… or at least for the self-imposed year of not buying new stuff that Real Compacters sign on for (or more realistically something like a season).

I bought a non-nursing bra (completely allowable under the underwear clause) and scored a free used toddler bed from a friend. We still need some new shoes and miscellaneous shoe repairs (darn those half size too big pregnancy feet!!) but that’s allowable too. I had also thrown a clothing swap mid-month, so I was feeling pretty good about clothing options.

I felt like at the end of the South Beach Diet when I started to think that I could just eat whole grain carbs and low glycemic index food all the time without really caring. That is, I felt that way until I saw a box of Krispy Kreme donuts unattended.

So, I was feeling happy with my network of freebies and good access to high quality used stuff in general, when I started to want things!! Uh oh. Like, I sent Holden to a Three-Year-Old girls birthday party yesterday and we bought a little suitcase with drawing paper and crayons. It was cute and it was less than $10, but I had to ask myself if that was really worth breaking the compact over? Hmmm.

But I figured that I had made it an extra 7 days already of not shopping with very little discomfort and it had to end some time. In other words (in South Beach Diet words), I rationalized that I had met my goal weight and I was now in maintenance phase. No biggie.

Today is when I really had to start questioning my goals and ideals though. I brought Holden to the bike store to pick out a new bike helmet so we could start riding the boys to school in the trailer.

Side story: Holden and Milo go to daycare/preschool close to our home. I work close to their school. We’d like to bike them to school and bike them home rather than me driving each way. How environmentally friendly of us, no?

It was at the bike store when I saw it: A new AND ON SALE Burley d’lite bike trailer. Certainly this was much better and safer (and shinier and prettier) than the well-worn hand-me-down in our backyard. Obviously saving well over $100 on a new thing is a worthy purchase. Or was I trying too hard to convince myself?

Then again, isn’t a used bird in the hand worth a new bird in the bush? As compact-minded people, don’t we have to keep our good enough trailer? Or at least be absolutely sure we’ll get good use out of it before we drop a few hundred dollars on a new toy? That’s what Alec would have me believe.

So I struggle. And hope that nobody buys that shiny rocket ship of a bike trailer while we make up our minds. Anyone else out there in a similar boat?