How my no-buy year has improved my mindset

In January of 2019 I began my no-buy year.

From the 1st of January to the 31st of December I have chosen to recognise my spending problem and so far I have not bought any new makeup or skincare.

Towards the middle of 2018 I started to track my spending on makeup and skincare and the results each month were far exceeding my income. By the end of the year my monthly spending records had shown me that I had a shopping problem and my mindset towards buying was in need of a fresh start.

The solution I chose was to make 2019 my no-buy year. The rules of which are: No new makeup or skincare for the entire year. Only when I use up an entire category of a product, e.g. all of my sunscreens, then I may purchase 1 replacement item in that category and that is it.

So since the beginning of the year I have only needed to buy occasional skincare replacements and no new makeup products. Comparing that to 2018 when I was buying up to 20 new products each month, it has been a huge change. And do you know what I’ve learnt through this huge change? I didn’t need any of them. None of the new products I was buying, none of the “specials” that weren’t saving me any money, none of it.

I have, this far, survived 10 months without buying any new makeup and I haven’t hit any artist block, no lack of inspiration from my own collection or any new makeup release that I haven’t been able to dupe the vibes of.

So to say that my no-buy year has successfully changed my mindset towards makeup would probably be an understatement. Not only has it made me realise that I was buying too much makeup but I’ve also learnt some of the key factors that were contributing to my overspending.

The first contributor being social media influencers. I was hooked throughout 2017 and 2018 on the YouTube beauty gurus and the Instagram models who would review every single new product release and immediately exclaim that it was amazing and I needed to buy it and I foolishly did. Since the beginning of the year I have lost interest in most of the previous influencers I followed because all they talk about is buying the latest releases and that’s not what I do anymore. So now the people I follow online are project panners or Youtubers who don’t try and force their affiliate codes down my throat and it has made a big impact on shifting my mindset away from spending and more to appreciating my collection and what I already own.

Another contributor to that was adding to my overspending was sales. Like most other people on the planet, I viewed sales as a money saving period of time and so would spend big and “save big”. However during my year of not buying and watching sale seasons come and go I realised that sales don’t save money. I like the way that Hannah Louise Poston put it in one of her videos, I think about it whenever there are sales going on.

If I am already walking to the register with my full price product, having made the decision to spend my budget on it and at the register the cashier informs me that it’s on sale then, and only then, has a sale saved me money. If I see a sale is happening and buy 10 products that I wasn’t going to buy originally, then I have not saved money I have spent money.

Figuring that out has made it much easier for me to survive some big sales that I’ve seen during the past year. It was one of my biggest issues previously and somehow that almost rule has made sales much more bearable for my mind to get past. I’m not saving money, I’m still spending money, no matter what. When my no-buy year is over I might still buy items during a sale period however they would only be products that I was going to buy originally and not products I have just found because there is a sale happening.

The final key factor I discovered that was contributing to my overspending was that I was buying new makeup to get the rush of something shiny and new. When I first cut myself off from spending I lost a lot of my interest in makeup due to no longer getting that frequent rush of a new thing. Since that point my interest in makeup has been built back up again but this time through means other than spending.

Now I get excited whenever I finish a makeup product and cross it off my project pan list. I get excited when I depot an eyeshadow palette and can play around with its composition and create my own curated palettes. And I get excited when I try a new makeup technique that improves my makeup abilities. These things have created a love of makeup that is much more healthy for me than what I had previously and I wouldn’t have found this improved mindset if it weren’t for my no-buy year.

However I am going to be honest and say that I am still worried about coming out of my no-buy year for 2020. It’s scary to think that I could go back to my bad habits because I really don’t want that, so the next big step for me will be to learn self control without strict boundaries. This no-buy year has been easy for me to follow due to it’s tight constraints. I now need to learn how to exist without the set rules and just learn to say no, I don’t need that, I only want it temporarily. And that is going to be a very hard lesson for me to learn.

However I think that when I am able to just say no, on my own, then I will truly have changed as a beauty consumer. Then I will successfully be able to navigate the makeup and skincare world without overspending or getting caught up in any sales and that is the ideal place that I want to be.

I know that was a heavy post but it’s good for me to put into writing how I have changed and also how I would like to continue to grow as well. I will try and update this next month and hopefully by then I will have found some good ways to gain more self restraint when it comes to next year and being out of my no-buy.

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