No Buy Year, First Update

We’re two months into my no buy year and … it’s harder than I thought. WAY harder. Like, crazy hard. I think partially because my expectations were out of whack. I really thought it was going to be challenging but ultimately, I’d breeze through it.

I’m two months in and I still find myself eagerly opening sale emails and browsing for a moment (or several moments) before I catch myself.

Later in the post I share more about the mental stalls and progress I’ve made, as well as what steps I’m taking moving forward. But first, what have I purchased?

Wait! Before that let me say that I don’t see these as “fails.” I’m not failing. I’m working through stuff. I’m experimenting. I’m doing a year long challenge to challenge myself, not punish myself.

Stuff I Bought

Okay, here we go. Warning, we’ve bought a more stuff than I ever thought. After finishing up all the skincare bits I had lying around, I bought a new jar of my favorite face cream of all time. We bought a set of 4 Brush with Bamboo toothbrushes. I bought our favorite teething oil for our baby. I bought a few pairs of pants from my favorite local consignment shop for my daughter who grew out of 3-4 pairs of pants at the same time. I thought I had a few pairs of the next size in storage from my sister/niece but no such luck. Also you might’ve seen on Instagram that I got a mirror for my daughters’ room at Goodwill.

Many of our purchased this year were for our trip to Seattle for a family wedding (which we were all “in”). Truly though, most items we know we’ll use for a long time. It did feel a bit like using the wedding and trip was an “excuse” to buy stuff, but looking at our new/new-to-us stuff, I feel we did very well still being mindful of the purchases. We bought a backpack for my daughter which we’ll have for many years for school/etc., and a pair of secondhand Saltwater sandals for her that she’ll also wear this summer. I also stocked up on a few makeup items like RMS UnPowder that I might normally just live without for a while but felt necessary given the special occasion. We bought two small toys for the girls to open during our loo-ong travel days across the country. Looking back I’m not sure it was 100% necessary because my oldest ended up mostly being entertained by play dough, snacks and movies on the iPad (and the built-in TV screens on the plane). The baby just wanted to nurse and climb on mama. I don’t regret the toy purchases, though, because it helped my travel anxiety and made me feel more confident about the trip. We’ve always tried to be pretty minimal when it comes to traveling with kids but having a few new/special things *can* help. I have more tips about low-waste travel with kids here.

The two purchases that I had been feeling the most guilty and uncomfortable about I have now completely made peace with. Here’s the story. I bought a nice secondhand dress from The RealReal for the wedding. It was on sale and was the right color. Perfect! However, it was a little too tight and I realized that I couldn’t breastfeed in it at all unless I took the whole thing off. Not practical, plus who wants to feel squished into a dress and feel slightly uncomfortable during a full day of wedding festivities?! No one. So, I searched around for another option and ended up buying separates inspired by an old set from BHLDN: a long flowy skirt and top. With the time crunch I couldn’t find something secondhand so I bought both items new. After I talked myself down from feeling lots of guilt, I realized how much I really love the outfit I bought and wore. I had brought a plain black shirt to wear with the flowy skirt but it just didn’t feel very special. While in Seattle I found a gorgeous embroidered top on the sale rack at Anthropologie and it was perfect. Similar here.

On the one hand, the whole endeavor was out of character for me. But the story has a happy ending in that I felt wonderful in my outfit and will wear both pieces again.

Trying Some New Tactics…

Moving forward, here are a few steps am I going to take. I’d like to feel more on track or at least feel more empowered to continue the challenge all year.

  1. First I’m going to get serious about unsubscribing, unfollowing, hiding and other things on social media. I am a member of BST (“Buy Sell Trade”) groups on Facebook. I follow brands and shops I love on Instagram. I subscribe to a lot of newsletters. I see options to buy things all the time. I’m spending too much mental energy and time resisting all the sales and offers.
  2. I’m going to note and possibly share anything I’m thinking of buying and whether or not I go through with it. The truth is that I am swayed by advertising or simply recommendations online or from friends and family. Sometimes those “wishlist” things linger for a moment, and sometimes they linger for a long time.
  3. On the subject of wishlist, I’m actually going to try out making a wishlist. Initially this seemed counter productive and not in the spirit of the challenge. I’ve read about others doing a no buy year starting a list of “to buy next year” things. It has mixed reviews. I think it’s worth a shot. I’m going to make some kind of document with the item, link and price. Maybe even a spreadsheet so I know I mean business. I’m also thinking of setting aside some money in a separate savings account for these items. It might be interesting to see what I end up doing with the funds. Will I just end up spending it on food (likely, haha) or will I actually use it to buy a wishlist item?
  4. This might sound odd but, I’m also going to take a month or longer break from *selling* stuff. I sell my kids’ old clothes, etc. online and it somehow makes me feel more validated in searching around mindlessly for new (but secondhand) clothes for them.

This is all about making small and big tweaks to try and make the most of this year.

If you’re doing a no buy or reduced buy year, how is it going? Any advice for me? Please share in the comments here or feel free to email or message me if that’s more your style.

4 thoughts on “No Buy Year, First Update

  1. I loved your Wait! moment. My own challenges can sometimes feel more like punishments, depriving myself to the point of neglect. This was a good reminder for me not to get caught up in the “challenge” but an opportunity to make slow, mindful decisions.

  2. I am working on a no buy year as well. I have chosen to buy more than I thought I would, but I am much more mindful in my purchases. I too unsubscribed from my favorite brands, canceled catalogs, etc., but I find that even when I do see something the “I want that!” feeling is very fleeting. I mostly shop online, so I put things in my cart, usually when they are on sale, and let them sit for several weeks.. I will go back and look at my cart and if I’m still in love with the item at full price, I *might* buy it, but I’m finding that I really don’t love the things I thought I did. I’m learning it’s all about marketing with me and sales really get me. 😦 The hardest part for me is that I’m also working on switching over to more sustainable, nontoxic, low impact, zero waste choices in our household, and I want ALL THE THINGS right now instead of waiting for my current item to run out. I have found that making lists, both on paper and on Amazon, is helping me curb the impulse to buy. Seeing the actual cost of items all added up almost always keeps me from buying. I research, research, research each item and in the process sometimes find that I can do without it or just don’t want it anymore. The more time I can put between myself and the item, the better chance there will be of me not buying it.

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