I’m not going to say that you need to do a no-buy year.
What I am going to do is tell you about my experience with doing a no-buy year and how it has positively impacted on my life and hopefully by the end of this post you’ll have used my journey to reflect on your own habits and will know, yourself, if you need to do a no-buy year or not.
Why I did a no-buy year
I’ve talked about the reasons behind my no-buy year before, but to boil it down, I chose to not buy any new makeup or skincare for a whole year because I needed to reset my mind.
At the end of 2018 I had been wearing makeup for around three years and had reached a dangerous point of mentality where I was obsessed with online beauty gurus and the mainstream mindset of needing to own all of the latest releases.
With every new product launch I would immediately watch the reviews of influencers telling me I “need to buy this!” and I would get swept away in the hype and excitement of new makeup.
My makeup and skincare purchases quickly began to exceed the amount of spending money I was earning and the amount of packages arriving at my door made my family question what it was that I was buying all the time.
Eventually I started to feel guilty when the packages would arrive because my family would look at me and I would know that I didn’t need new makeup. I couldn’t even remember what I had bought half of the time, so it obviously wasn’t that important. But I couldn’t stop, I was addicted to online shopping and the beautiful photos of shiny new makeup kept sucking me in.
I knew after the Black Friday sales in 2018 that I had a problem with shopping.
Not only was I addicted to the excitement of new makeup but I was too susceptible to sales and offers of free shipping. Especially with online shopping, it was too easy when I was bored to search for new makeup that I hadn’t any original intention of buying and then end up with a purchase of hundreds of dollars in an afternoon.
Then last year, around October, I discovered Hannah Louise Poston as she was coming to the end of her 2018 no-buy year. I watched her videos and felt hope that maybe I could do something to stop my out of control spending.
I was scared at the thought of an entire year without new makeup and worried that I wouldn’t be able to see it through however in the end my problem with shopping was too much for me to continue it any further and so I made my plan to make 2019 my no-buy year.
The Main Factors
To sum up the main factors that led to me choosing a no-buy year:
My spending on makeup and skincare was increasing each month without my use of makeup increasing any
My spending was exceeding my available income
I was becoming ashamed of how many packages I was receiving
My shopping and spending was starting to scare myself
The excitement from my new makeup was quickly being overtaken by guilt
The main point that I would focus on from above is that my spending was exceeding my available income.
I literally didn’t have the money to be affording all of this new makeup. I was dipping into my savings to buy, what, an eyeshadow palette? My shopping was sending me straight to debt.
The second big turning point was that my shopping and spending was beginning to scare myself. I could see that I had a problem but I couldn’t seem to escape it. I knew by the end of the year that my shopping habits were very bad but I could just refresh my Instagram feed and forget about it for a while. I couldn’t find the mentality to change myself.
How I successfully completed a no-buy year
It began with a strict set of rules.
I am someone who needs tight constraints, especially when it comes to spending, because otherwise my mind will find loopholes and nothing will change.
So before I started my no-buy year I wrote down the rules that I was going to follow and made sure I had covered any exceptions or circumstances that might pop up throughout the year.
The one main rule was NO makeup or skincare for the entire year. After that my next rule was up to 2 items each month of clothing or accessories.
I could buy replacements but only if there were no other products of that category left. I could not declutter what was left of a category of product in order to qualify to buy a replacement. I had to finish my products through use. And if I received gift cards they would count as cash and could only be spent on purchasing those replacements.
The only exception I gave myself was that I wouldn’t compromise on health and safety for my no-buy. So far, that exception has not come into effect.
What I now know after recently completing my no-buy year is that those rules weren’t as constrained as they could have been.
About half way through my no-buy year I changed the second rule: up to 2 items each month of clothing or accessories to be no limit on the amount of clothing or accessories but instead a limit on how much I spent.
What I found was that limiting myself to only 2 items of clothing or accessories meant that I could still buy a $300 pair of earrings which went against the point of the no-buy year.
So by allowing no restriction on the number of items I bought and instead restricting the amount that those items cost, I have been able to complete the second half of my no-buy year underneath $200 every month. And that $200 covers all makeup, skincare, clothing, accessories and homewares.
Still unsure of a no-buy year?
If you’ve gotten this far into my story and have felt it reflected in your own shopping then you might now be thinking about what a no-buy year would be like for yourself.
I know when I first heard about it I was sure that I could never do anything of the sort. It was too long, I would slip up and if you’re thinking the same then that’s okay.
To complete a no-buy year you need to have a strong grip on your rules. You can’t slip up and buy a little bit of makeup here and there, that defies the point.
However a no-buy year is not the only option to reducing your spending.
Many people choose to do a no-buy month or a low-buy in which you try to not buy as much as you normally would.
Some of those might seem like more achievable goals for you and that’s great because any step to bettering your spending habits is a good one.
You might even find that after doing a month long no-buy or low-buy that you feel confident enough to keep going and extend it even further.
At the end of the day the main goal for any no-buy/low-buy is to change your mindset towards spending and come out on the other side with a healthier mentality towards shopping and your makeup collection.
I hope that by sharing my story of my 2019 no-buy year that it might have made a few others think of their own spending habits and consider a no-buy or low-buy for themselves.
If you are interested in learning more about no-buys then I will list some of the people that I like to learn from below.