I finished reading "Not Buying It, My Year Without Shopping" for the second time a couple weeks ago. It's an interesting book written by author Judith Levine about the year she spent attempting to not make any new purchases with the exception of "necessities". In the author's words, "it's the confessions of a woman any reader can identify with: someone who can't live without French roast coffee or SmartWool socks but who has had it up to here with overconsumption and its effects on the earth and everyone who dwells there."
Although I found the author's political and religious viewpoints pretty much the extreme opposite of my own, and had to work hard to look past them, I still enjoyed the book enough to read it twice. She and her mate's views and attempts at defining what is a necessity and what is a luxury are humorous, yet give the reader much to think about. Are Q-tips a necessity? They have a diabetic cat which requires insulin...a total necessity in their eyes; to me, who even needs the cat?
No Impact Man has taken on a similar experiment, choosing to only purchase socks, replacement shoes, and under garments new for an entire year. The Compact, a movement begun in the San Francisco area, also has a similar goal. It's an interesting experiment, one which I might like to try some day, although I believe the author had more luck bringing her mate on board with the idea than I would.