Last year was a bad year in terms of saving for me. I tried my hardest to be frugal, but considering I went on several trips, one overseas, the saving thing was so not for me. I was also shopping fairly heavily, which was great for fashion posts, but not so much for the wallet! Enter: the no-buy challenge.
I’ve been on some form of this since the beginning of the year. Since starting a new job, I’ve had to pay for gas and tolls (it’s an hour away) and so I’ve been pretty stringent on buying material things. Since I got back from my London vacation over New Year’s, I haven’t bought much of anything! Here’s the run-down as well as I can remember:
- a one-piece bathing suit from Etsy
- a black blazer for work
- a white slouchy sweater
- 3 Kylie Lip Kits (no shame!)
- 2 pairs of headphones for a DIY project
THAT’S IT! I’m very proud of myself, I have to say. I haven’t even bought books. Obviously, food, drinks, and entertainment aren’t included above, so I do buy things, but it’s mainly food and beer and movie tickets. Anyway, here’s how I (and maybe even you) will go about performing a No-Buy Challenge for the month of April!
Evaluate what you have.
As preparation for my no-buy challenge, I went to my closet and made a list of all the items of clothing that I own but have never worn. Guys, it’s a long list. I was so surprised at all the things I’d never worn, because like so many of us, we tend to wear our favorite things over and over, and then overlook the new things, slowly getting older.
Once I did this, I started looking forward to wearing my unworn items as if I had just bought them. It was a great way to trick my brain into thinking I’d just stocked up my wardrobe, without spending a dime. This exercise will also come in handy when I’m putting outfits together. I can refer to my list, and then get creative thinking of ways to style “new” items with my favorite staple pieces. I wonder what I can come up with!
The same went for books. My current reading habits are audiobooks on my commute, so thankfully, I’ve been reading books I already have (and have never read) and getting audiobooks from the NYPL via the app OverDrive. It’s amazing.
Clean up, clear out, and simplify.
The second step is to be brutal about what you’re simply not going to use/wear anymore. Part of this endeavor is to simplify my life and train myself into thinking I don’t need quite so many material items. The hardest thing for me will be my shoe collection, because I’m so proud of it. There are some pairs, however, that I can definitely, honestly say I will never wear again! SO SAD. I will either sell them (my Poshmark is here if you want to adopt my old clothes/shoes and give them a good home), or donate.
Make sacrifices on all fronts.
Despite my obsession with all things clothing/footwear related, the biggest sacrifice for me will be FOOD. I can cook one thing and that is pasta, so take-out is a very frequent occurrence. That also goes for work hours, since my office pays $3.50 for every meal you order through them. The rest gets deducted from your direct deposit, so I never even notice how much I’m spending! V. dangerous.
Instead, I’ll cook, eat leftovers, be organized about my meals, and the worst part—cut down drastically on my Chipotle consumption.
What about entertainment?
I’m not going to cut out entertainment, going out to eat, etc. However, I tend to order blindly without looking at prices, so my specific version of this no-buy challenge will be to cut down on what I order. Like, I can go without a second beer, or just drink water. That’s $14 a meal saved right there. Once you start thinking of things in terms of how much you can save versus how much they cost, your perspective shifts. Every time I want to buy something or get something extra, I’ll keep track of how much it costs. At the end of a month, I can end up saving hundreds. INSANE.
So that’s my April challenge. Let me know in the comments what you think, if you have any advice or tips, or if you’ve done this before! I’d love to get fresh perspective. And wish me luck!