The No Buy Challenge

Make this the year of homemade gifts and cards (and only use supplies you already own). You could even offer your time as a gift instead of spending money. Babysitting, house sitting, pet sitting, helping with a home or business tasks are all ways you can gift your time. ~source

Well, hey there! If you didn’t notice, I’ve hardly put up a blog post this last quarter of 2021. The reasons are twofold. One: my job changed. As I am not as young as I once was, when I get up at 4:30 am to start work at 6 AM, I’m completely exhausted by 2:30 PM. Naturally. My brain tells me I’ve got hours of daylight to burn, but my body’s thinking, “Bedtime? At 4:30 PM? Please?” So I’ve gotta force myself – ahem, give myself stuff to do – to do something other than sit on my butt the rest of the day. And two: I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from writing in general. I know, I know. I take a lot of those. However, life had other plans, and I’ve got plenty of medical issues which need sorting out.

Now that all those updates are out of the way, here’s another one. For the year 2022, I am going to attempt the No Buy Challenge. If you’ve followed this blog the past two years, you’ll know that I’ve used months and months of time massively decluttering my home. My online life. My, well, everything. I’ve gone through every single file on my hard drives. Every paper file in my closet. Every drawer, cabinet and appliance one can think of. While I can’t call myself a full-tilt minimalist (or whatever that term may be), I am working on formulating the term for what it means for my lifestyle.

I was already decluttering everything I could from my home. Why not take it a step further with the No Buy Challenge?

My mother and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to the act of decluttering. Dare I use the phrase “old school versus new school?” But both she and my dad are of the “save everything” generation – a trait they, too, inherited from their parents – and I decided that I don’t want my stuff or even sentimental items to become someone else’s burden in case I die. Okay, this post just turned morbid. Moving on. Whereas mom wants to “keep all the things to sell in the spring,” I just want it out of my house, and out of her house. I can’t put anything for free out on the curb because she’ll take it for a sale. Totally defeating the purpose of moving that item on to someone else FOR FREE.

While I understand where she gets her thrifting zeal from, and her want to try and get some monetary gains back from an item anyone in her family purchased, I just don’t think that way. She loves yard sales. They stress me out. She literally has a yard sale system. I have to deal with her idiosyncrasies if we’re setting up a fundraiser for church or our local non-profit. Whines in the blog post “But I just wanna deal with my stuff my way, mom!”

Gotta love Mom, though! Always!

All that leads directly to the point of tonight’s blog post: my attempt at doing a No Buy Year.

Let’s begin by defining a No Buy Year. What, exactly, is it? As the name would imply, it means one buys nothing but the absolute essentials for a year. Essentials being personal hygiene items, food and bills. Gas in your car, etc. How someone interprets this is completely up to them. I’m already thrifty with my books. I’ve already begun a transition into buying fewer items made of single-use plastics. Not only that, but any household item I consider buying now must be made up of mostly glass, metal or wood.

No, I haven’t switched to 100% cotton or whole fiber materials for my clothing. Still considering, but am trying to take better care of the clothes I already have.

Some of you might be thinking, “Leigh – this is a terrible time of year to think about this. The holidays are upon us, and that means presents!”

Good point. Now let’s look at a No Buy “guidelines” list over on the clevergirlfinance website for reference:

  • Decide on your why
  • Do it with a friend or partner
  • Start a gratitude practice
  • Eliminate temptations
  • Fill your time with other things

One of the overall goals of a No Buy Challenge is to reassess one’s budget. Or lack thereof. My situation has always taken on the latter form. I’ve never had a budget. And yes, I’ve gotten myself into plenty of money-related scrapes over the years. Here’s my response to CleverGirl’s list:

Decide On Your Why

I’ve never been a big shopper myself. What’s the caveat? I work retail. Not only that, but I worked for Target for ten years. Naturally, my entire bank statement was once nothing but Target transactions. I was most definitely spending more than bringing in.

I’d also like to try and reduce my own carbon footprint on this Earth. I do not need to add anything more to an already saturated planet. I don’t think I’ll ever label myself an environmentalist, I do think we should all be more mindful of the items we choose to bring into our lives.

Well dang – I didn’t mean for that to get preachy. Moving on.

My why: saving money for more important things, and reducing my footprint.

Do It With A Friend Or Partner

While I don’t really have any friends – unless one of you fine readers wants to join me in this – or anyone in mind who’d want to try this with me, I will be informing my aforementioned mother of this challenge. When she’s not volunteering, or crafting, or watching the grand kids, she loves to go shopping. Or pick up something she thinks I’ll need. It’s going to take a lot of convincing her to not do so in 2022!

Start A Gratitude Practice

These past few years of adulthood have been rough financially. I’ve had to borrow money from my parents, my dad let me live rent free in my place (that he technically owns) for six months, and I’ve had huge hospital bills. You bet your behind I’m eternally grateful for my parents. CleverGirl’s website describes this practice, however, as:

If you don’t already have one, develop a gratitude practice. A daily gratitude practice will remind you of all the things you do have and will make you less likely to feel the need to go out and spend more to feel fulfilled. During a low-buy year, where your goal is to purchase less, limiting this urge to spend by being grateful for what you already have is a key element to success.

source

While Mom and I disagree on how we declutter our items, we do agree on the notion of purchasing higher quality items that will last longer than something that’s cheap. Cheap invites overspending and impulse buying. That’s why the next item is so important to me.

Eliminate Temptations

Way back in spring of this year (2021), I deactivated over twenty online accounts and loyalty credit cards. You read that number right. Twenty. Thankfully I only had one loyalty card, the Target RedCard, and by then I hadn’t used it for almost two years. In actuality, Target had already cancelled the card when I called due to inactivity, and I was more than happy with that!

The only accounts I kept are ones I use for my website – Canva, WordPress – Kindle, and Spotify. I share a Netflix account with my dad via our phone plan, and I barely watch that. I never buy any other online subscriptions, I cancelled my Amazon Prime (yes, you can survive without it!) and spent a good three days messaging reps from other websites just to have my accounts deactivated.

Rule of thumb: if a site you sign up with doesn’t even give you the empowerment to deactivate it yourself, then steer clear of them!

The other temptation I’ve completely eliminated is watching the actual television. While I have one mounted to my wall, it’s been unplugged for weeks – mostly to save on energy – but I haven’t watched it for a little over year and a half by this point. Not only did that save my brain from the mind numbing newscasts and endless abnormally loud commercials. Commercials that were louder than the show I was trying to watch.

It’s takes daily, conscious effort to stay away from marking as much as I possibly can. I know I can’t completely eliminate ads, but you better believe I’m always on the hunt for the perfect ad blockers!

Fill Your Time With Other Things

Why does my life always circle back to history? Writing? Reading? Oh – because those are the things I love doing. Even after several life changes that slowed me down, I love them. I just need more time.

For now, tiredness rules my life. Hopefully that will change once I get some health stuff figured out. And health is the biggest reason I’m attempting this No Buy Year in 2022.

PSA – this post is not sponsored. I just used Clever Girl Finance as the base for this post .


So, what do you think? Do you think you’ll try and do a No Buy Challenge? Be it a week, month, six months or a year, I’m actually looking forward to trying this out. I think all the choices I’ve made these last two years have led to this decision. Now to buy all the things on my wish lists real quick before 2021 is over!

Wait…that’s not how this works…

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