I’m saving money: My no-buy year check in.

In case you’re new to this blog or you missed my earlier post in which I introduced this topic, 2019 is my no-buy year. From the first of January to the 31st of December I have not and will not be purchasing any new makeup or skincare products until I have used up all of my current ones.

Throughout the first few months of this year I kept mentioning that I’d be writing quarterly check ins for my no-buy year but for some reason in my mind I was mixing quarterly with four and thinking that I had to wait until the end of the fourth month to write my first quarterly check in. Whoops. So what I decided instead, at the end of April, is that I will just write a six month and a twelve month summary of my no-buy year experiences instead.

So it is currently the beginning of July and I’ve just passed six months into my no buy year.

For anyone who is reading this and are unaware of what a no-buy year is, I will reiterate the rules of my personal no-buy year to catch you up.

NO makeup or skincare for the entire year.

Can I buy replacements?

Yes. But only if there are no other products of that category left.  E.g. I can buy 1 concealer if I completely use up all of my other  concealers.

Can I receive gifts?

Yes. Gift cards will count as cash and can only be spent on purchasing replacements.


I can buy tools for work as long as they are absolutely necessary for me to do my job more effectively.

I won’t compromise on health and safety for my no-buy. E.g. if I need  a pair of high quality sunglasses for my eyes but I have a cheap pair that aren’t broken, I can buy that high quality pair.

Using up categories of products

I cannot simply declutter every product in a category to enable myself to purchase a replacement for that category. I must finish everything I own to be able to purchase a replacement. If I finish a  category by decluttering items that I don’t like, I cannot purchase a replacement until the end of my no-buy year. I will simply have to go  without that category of product.

In terms of how difficult it has been to stop buying makeup I can easily say that it hasn’t been difficult at all and I think this is due to two main reasons.

The first reason is that I know I had a problem. I was spending too much money, too carelessly and too often. By the end of 2018 my shopping habits had become so bad that I forced myself into an entire year without buying anything new because I was aware that I needed to stop. So it’s been easy to ignore the emails from Sephora about a new sale when I can still remember the sick feeling in my stomach last year, adding up the totals of a weekend of online shopping to realise I’d spent more money in two days than what I’d made in two weeks.

The second reason that this no-buy year has been fairly easy for me is that I know from previous experiences that cutting myself off entirely and going cold turkey is the best way for me to improve myself. I’ve done it in the past and it’s the only way that I have ever been able to follow through with something. So because I know myself and what works for me I’d always known that this no-buy year would be achievable and was, really, the only option available to me that would work.

When I was first researching no-buy years and how other people were constructing and completing theirs, one option I came across a lot was to completely cut yourself off from anything to do with online shopping. People were deleting their Sephora app and unsubscribing from sales emails however after some deliberation I haven’t done any of that.

I still receive weekly emails from all of my favourite beauty brands launching their latest products and advertising their massive sales. I do this on purpose because I can’t spend the rest of my life ducking for cover if I ever saw a 50% off sale sign. I need to be exposed to makeup and skincare and still be able to say no. I need to be able to look at the shiny new product and then look back to my current makeup collection and realise that I already own something similar anyway.

So six months have passed and my spending habits have been much better.

To compare my spending before and during my no-buy year; in the last five months of 2018 I spent $1,666.70 on makeup whereas in the first five months of 2019 I spent $463.84. Through my no-buy year I cut my spending by more than two thirds and have finally been able to start finishing more products than I’m buying.

Therefore my experiences so far with doing a no-buy year have been really positive. I’m beginning to plan a monthly spending budget for when I finish my year so as to not fall back into my bad habits but I’ll go into further details about that in my next check in.

In each category of my makeup and skincare I have been able to condense what I own and start simplifying my collection. Slowly I am moving towards a shorter, more structured skincare routine and my makeup stash features only products that I actually use and like.

With so much of my focus shifted away from buying makeup I have been able to start watching more makeup tutorials and trying different techniques that I’d never bothered about before. I am learning more about what style of makeup I like to wear and working on perfecting my basics like foundation and skincare.

Even now writing this post I’m reminded of how much time I used to waste scouring online for products that I didn’t ever need and now what I have been able to do with that time instead.

If you feel as though your spending habits are getting out of control or you’re buying too much then I would highly recommend a no-buy year or any period of time really.

If you are interested in learning more about no-buy years then I would also highly recommend you look at Hannah Louise Poston, she is the inspiration behind my no-buy year and is a continuing inspiration throughout her beauty budget as well.

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