Who’s Down With No Buy Month?

When my amiga The Frugalista mentioned that February was going to be her second go-round at No Buy Month (The Remix, LOL), I got so excited! I mean, I just put in notice at my day job, so right about now a bella needs to be stacking as much paper as possible!

The basic concept of No Buy Month is self-explanatory. In Natalie’s words, “I’m not getting my hair or nails done. No eating out. No car washes. I’m not buying anything other than necessities like groceries and gas. No, I’m not spending money to socialize either. I did this last year and saved $400. This year, though, I want to add a little twist. I am going to burn calories too.

Oh, word?

I’m definitely with her on the burn calories tip, and the rest of it sounds so very necessary.

I eat out entirely too much, and I know I can make that stuff way better at home. Initially I was quick to sign on board. Then the e mails started whispering to me. Valentine’s Day sales! 50% off clearance! Buy one get one free! Ack! It’s only February 3!

What’s an admitted product-junkie to do? How does a beauty blogger take on no buy month?

For one, I’m digging through the drawers for the stuff I’ve been putting away for a rainy day, or just plain forgotten about. That includes clothes, shoes, jewelry, and yes, beauty and cosmetic items. I’m trying to approach this as a challenge to remix my existing wardrobe. I know I’ve got style, so I should be able to work what I’ve got instead of always wanting to cop something new. Throughout February, expect to see some fashion remix suggestions, and product re-reviews mixed in with the regular reviews, previews, and giveaways of beauty items.

Secondly, I’ve been hitting the stores — to return items! And I’ll take the cash back if I can get it. If not, I’ll get a store credit. Does returning a too-big shirt to TJ Maxx and spending the store credit on something new that fits go against the principle of No Buy Month? Technically, you didn’t actually buy anything, did you? If a tree falls in the forest…

Third, I’m trying to share The Frugalista’s perspective. No Fear: ” I look at No-Buy Month as a 28-day treat. I get to spend the month watching my bank account stabilize or grow. I get to spend a month without waiting in long lines at the hair salon or mall… This month is the one month you get to pamper your finances. Bank accounts need love, too!

She’s so right! 28 days to just sit back and let the money marinate makes so much sense. But when I’m alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall, and in the back of my mind, I hear my conscience call. I need stuff! Or at least, I think I do. Or it makes me feel better to buy it if I’ve had a craptastic week. Something like that.

I’d definitely diagnose myself as a shopaholic. I mean, I’m never going to wind up on an episode of Clean House taking about why I can’t sell my collection of comforters in a garage sale, but I’m far from immune from retail therapy. Part of me is super gung-ho about No Buy Month. Part of me doubts my own resilience and really really wants to race to Target to comb through the clearance racks. (Outerwear’s on sale and I’m moving to Chicago!)

So my goal as of February 2 is to cut way, way back. Before I went grocery shopping yesterday, I double checked my pantry, freezer, and fridge to make sure I was getting exactly what I needed and nothing redundant. (HOW many times have I bought an extra can of black beans or bottle of Italian dressing, completely forgetting the other untouched items sitting in the pantry? Ridiculous).

At the grocery, I bought extra frozen meals and yummy soups to fill me up, in the effort to stave off those let’s-go-out-to-lunch urges. I work in a neighborhood that seems to pride itself on $10 panini places. By the time you order a soda plus tax and delivery charge, you’re looking at a $14 lunch. No. Thank. You.

I filled our house with all the food we need for a week, and filled my car with gas. And that’s how I started No Buy Month on Feb. 1. I can’t promise I’m going to make it through the whole month without buying anything extraneous, but I’ll try my best. (I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day, what can I say?)

How about you? Are you down with No Buy Month?

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Comments

  1. How about this. Walk 30-60 minutes everyday with the hub. It’s the nice time of year and it’s easy to do.

    I will be considering something for myself like no eating out. That would be tough for me.

  2. I’m totally down!!! At the very least, I should at least try. I feel like I won’t make it through the month either, but it’s an excellent idea. =D

  3. Oh, MAC Hello Kitty, I don’t think I can forsake thee! But I’ve been putting off other cosmetics purchases to save up my dough for HK. I think I’ll hold off on any “extras” except HK. Does that count?!

  4. Well, that’s pretty much how I live every month anyway! :-0

  5. Bella! Save money towards getting outerwear when you get to Chicago, I doubt that what’s on sale in FL will be as warm as what you can find in Chicago. And there are serious markdowns in March/April.

  6. So, I have already bought too much this month: new shoes, two shirts (only $10 each), 3 new books (from amazon all used and under $1) and some new CK eyeglasses (I needed them!) so I am going to have to start next month. Man, I have bought a lot of stuff and it is only the 3rd…ugh.

  7. I’m starting today! Hopefully I can make no buy a habit!

  8. Hijabi Apprentice says:

    I’m with Tiera! I don’t really want to miss the hello kitty collection so my no buy may have to be the 30 day after hk!

  9. I am shedding a tear over here. You have no idea how this post made my week!

  10. Homeinkabul says:

    Don’t buy winter stuff in the south! It’s rarely warm enough for the North, unless it’s camping gear which specifically tells you what temps it’s good for. I learned this the hard way (lived in Atlanta and moved to the NE).

  11. I will give it a try. It will be a fun challenge! Thanks for the idea. I will definitely spread the word. My fam & I can turn it into a competition.

  12. I agree with everyone else about not buying winter clothes in the South! I like in Michigan now and went down to Atlanta for Thanksgiving and it was next to impossible to find sweaters that would be suitable for winter weather. For coats, you need 100% wool if you’re getting a dress coat. A wool/cashmere or wool/angora blend would be even better. You can also get wool coats that are lined with thinsulate. I don’t wear puffy coats (my concession to my own personal style), so I can’t advise you on those. Definitely don’t buy a coat from cheap stores like target or old navy. They usually are thinner and/or use cheaper fabrics that won’t keep you warm in those cold Chicago winds.

  13. Well for some people every month is no buy month.

  14. hey you won me over with that LL line! I recognize that anywhere since I memorized it line by line when it came out!

  15. Great challenge – I’m down as well :o)

  16. @Tiera, I gotta get my MAC HK stuff. I have not gotten much stuff lately, so I can probably do a NBM.

  17. I’m going to try to do a “limited buy” month, lol. A shopaholic, product junkie like me needs to take baby steps!

    Good luck to Bella and everyone else!

  18. “What’s an admitted product-junkie to do? How does a beauty blogger take on no buy month?”

    See what you can make at home. You may be surprised…find some recipes online.

  19. I love this idea! Im not sure I could manage not to spend money on socializing but I can try! I think a good addition to this would be when you are sitting at home with that “I need stuff” feeling (which I get at least twice a week!) maybe clean out the crap you already have! Closets, garage kitchen crap drawers, nothing feels better than being organized. Not to mention this could be a great way to realize you can wash your own car and cook healthy fun meals at home!

  20. i have personally found a month to be too long, and sometimes i tend to go overboard once off restriction, so one week out of every month i do a “purchase free week” which is really the same thing, but for a shorter time period. don’t know how the annual savings would stack up to against no buy month…but if you do one “purchase free week” every month, then that’s 12 weeks free of spending or 3 months worth, depending on how you look at it. this method is also a little more flexible so that you can still take special days, like valentine’s day or birthdays, into account.

    but that’s just my truth!

    no matter what method one chooses, i definitely think that there are major benefits to be had from abstaining from spending sprees!

  21. I think this is a fabu idea. I really do live this way most of the time.
    So do you really need the newest MAC collection? I mean sure the packaging is fly but it’s the same thing that’s out now.

    Also, get creative with your man. He knows that you need to save a few pennies so surely he isn’t expecting anything fancy for V-Day. Make him a meal from the food in the pantry, have a picnic in the living room, give each other massages. The possibilities are endless.

    Also, not buying things for a month will definitely clue you in to why you shop when you do. Are you buying cuz you want something or cuz you need something? I’m sure you’ll agree that the money left in your account at the end of the week will more than make up for whatever new trinket you just bought.

    Good luck!

  22. Oh man this is a tuffie… I was all for it until you mentioned V-Day!!! lol… I really need to implement a “no buying” routine into my schedule b/c I’m a serious PJ
    :-/

  23. Love the new layout and no buy month sounds like a winner. I may do it for the next 28 days myself.

  24. MsCadiGirl(LadySoul) says:

    Wow! That sounds great, I cut back alot myself. Im pretty ol school and laid back and to only be 23 im quite proud of myself for not being the average young girl that loves to overspend and splurge because theres alot of temptation out there. I was once that but, thats the beautiful thing about time its brings forth maturity, wisdom and last but not least, change. I also learn that less is so much more and im pretty comfortable with that :)

  25. This last month I really cut back on my impulse spending. :) Yay me! Then McD’s had to do the free iced coffees, and I lost my mind. But I’m countering that with bringing lunch the rest of the week, since I started to reduce my buying lunch for work. Next month, I’ll have to work on reducing unnecessary trips to Target, wally world, etc.

  26. We had satellite cable and we gave that up for Netflix. Now we have no cable at all and just Netflix. In addition to saving a lot of money, it is nice watching movies or TV series together and in between cooking together, reading together, talking, etc. It has truly been wonderful.

  27. Ooh Gem I second that! We have Netflix, internet and XM…no cable. All three together gives the same benefit plus some, but for less money. Since the hubby’s a gamer, we have an Xbox and Wii, so we can use both to watch some online items on the TV in the living room. There are ways around…

  28. It can be done! I did this for the month of January and with the exception of what I spend on medication when I developed the flu and then bronchitis I didn’t spend what I had not planned on spending. Believe me, the clearance sales were SCREAMING my name but I ended the month with something better – money in the bank.

  29. StPatJack says:

    I love the concept of not spending money on anything but those items that I need. However, it isn’t going to happen considering I am a manager…at TARGET. I ( and my husband) are just happy when I go at least one day without buying anything over $10 dollars. I know… I have a problem, employee discount, plus the scoop on clearance items = little bank account.

  30. @Hijabi * I think March will be a better NBM for us!

    @AppleDiva * Yup, I’ve been passing on a lot of recent releases to make sure I’ve got the moolah to buy out HK! I’m also *trying* to save up for a new computer, so HK might be it for a while!

  31. In times like these, I totally subscribe to what all the fashion and beauty stylists preach: buy quality, because it will last longer! I mean with something like mascara, I think you can go cheap, but the perfect example is: I buy real eau de parfum instead of e.d.t. that fades after 30 min even when you spray on half the bottle. My latest find (um, obSESSION!) is Bond No. 9…has anyone tried these perfumes?? Literally, 2 spritzes last ALL day. It is amazing. When I spray in the afternoon, I can still smell it on my arms when I wash my face the next morning. (p.s. the West Side scent, in particular, I’m loving in this nasty cold weather.) THAT is how you stretch a dollar and still have a fabulous beauty routine…!!!!

  32. This is really cool, cuz I’m doing a No-Buy Month of sorts on my own already. I booked an unplanned trip for March and I needed to make some deep sacrifices to justify the expenditure. So, I’m down.

  33. Hi Bella,

    LOVE the new layout of the blog!!!

    Hehe, if you’re moving to Chicago, you’ve been forewarned, ahem, that there’s plenty of good shopping and restaurants, but I’m sure you know that already. [Don't worry, it all gets old after a while--you'll get tired of paying our 10.25% sales tax, plus the service taxes for food, plus amusement taxes for entertainment (seriously, this exists), etc...] ;-)

    I used to be a shop-a-holic myself, and I’ve seriously cut back on my binges for about a year and a half now–makes all the difference in the world to see what one actually can live without, and see how much money one can save in the process.

    I think that as Americans, we suffer from too much of a consumer mentality, but that’s a soapbox I’ll not go into here. ;-P

    In any case, love the post (as usual), and YOU CAN DO IT!!!

  34. Hello Afrobella
    Wonderful!! I’m so glad you are on board with the fabulous Frugalista.
    I will try my best…..
    PJD

  35. Your new site looks GREATTTT!

  36. No buy month? Oh man, I give up already. No magazines? No shopping at all except essentials? I’m getting the shakes….

  37. What! You’re leaving the paper! Oh no!!

  38. Does chocolate count as a necessity? I love the idea, I’m working on the willpower :) Good for you though!

  39. b.: We have Wii and PS3 too, so it is nice to “watch” stuff from the Internet on the TV screen! I hadn’t even thought about XM, that’s a good idea too.

  40. One day I was perusing the makeup aisle @ some fancy department store. I was feeling all warm, fuzzy and contented lovingly picking up gloss, shadow et al. I happen to look down and notice a SA open her stock draw. I’m glad she did. In it were all those colourful tubes of gloss, palettes of shadow and paint thrown in higeldy pigeldy. They just looked like junk. It stripped the haze from my eyes and made me realize no matter what they promise or how good they feel, its just stuff. Cleverly marketed stuff but stuff nonetheless.

    Since I started reading beauty blogs I got into the whole crazy thing of yearning ThAT shadow or nail polish everyone MUST have. I remember buying a MAC shadow that didn’t even suit me just because well I MUST have it coz everyone’s talking about it.

    Now I feel rather pleased with myself because I don’t rush out and buy yet another shade of gold, green, black or whatever just because MAC or OPI or whoever has a new collection. It’s all just stuff.

    My aim now is to buy investment pieces. I look for quality and longevity. Does it suit me, do i need it, can I afford it? This approach helps me. After all if I allow my money to whittle away on those minor relatively cheap items I will never have the money for the big trip, medical care, that interesting course, to help others, that wonderful dining experience at The French Laundry or the The Fat Duck and so on.

    So I say go for it. You’ll feel like the master of your destiny.

  41. I actually live pretty green and simple so it would be kinda cool to see just how much more I can save. I do go to veggie spots to eat from time to time and buy little things from thrift stores but I think I already do pretty well as far as not being a big consumer.
    I think this is a great concept for our society in general… people are feeling the crunch but I think the crunch would be a tad lighter if we weren’t use to spending money on so many unnecessary materialistic things.

  42. Pearlsrevealed says:

    This is right on time! I haven’t eaten out in 2 weeks and I want to keep the momentum going. Flying home at the end of the month so to offset travel expenses I’m living low on the food chain. Will be checking out her site for inspiration.

  43. Black Pearl says:

    Sounds great to me! And as a broke grad student looking for a job, it sounds like my life for the last year, lol!

Trackbacks

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  4. [...] far I’ve been a very good bella with my no-buy-month pledge. The one big expense I was concerned about for the month of February? Valentine’s Day! [...]

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