By ALEXANDRA MATZKO

It’s 2019, and it’s happening.

I’m a fan of resolutions, just like the next person, and this year’s resolution has arrived: a No Buy for the entire year.

I’ve been trying to live a more environmentally sustainable life for the past decade or so by choosing healthier, non-toxic products. I’ve flirted with the idea of a minimal and simple lifestyle. Thus far, I’ve definitely got the buying better products under control, emphasis here on buying.

It’s become a problem.

I have way too much green makeup for my one face. (I created a green beauty blog just to talk about all of it.) I spend on stuff I don’t need when I should be saving. Plus, it’s not just buying healthier products itself that results in a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Using less and eliminating wasteful purchases and possessions is one
of the best ways to be environmentally friendly, and I have been doing the opposite for far too long.

Enter the No Buy adventure.

Why?

As mentioned above, I rely too much on retail therapy, and I suspect a lot of other people are in the same boat. As the year came to a close, I was looking through my
makeup stash and had a realization: I have way too much stuff. The absolutely last thing that I need to do is to buy any more stuff.

Yes, some of the stuff I love and use, but I would guess 80% of it just sits there. It’s been used maybe once or twice ever in the entire history of my owning it.

I’m too afraid to calculate it right now, but I would estimate that I have thousands of dollars sitting unused in my closet. And, a couple thousand extra dollars would certainly be helpful. I don’t think anyone would turn a nose up at that extra cash.

Ever since I can remember, shopping has been a comfort and a thrill. As I grew up and life became more complicated, I continued to seek out solace in my products, but, as we all already know, a new blush isn’t going to solve dissatisfaction with a job, a relationship, a body, or whatever other underlying issue may exist.

I’m about to turn 30, and I need to get my personal financial situation sorted. I need to prepare for having a family. I need to be a better financial steward for my husband, who is great with money and has worked so hard to help us create a healthy savings account.

How?

Here are the rules for my purposes. You can tweak them to suit your own needs.

  1. No new makeup, skincare, clothing, homeware/food supplements, or books that are frivolous, just for fun, or not a necessity. Makeup is a given as are clothes (scarves especially). I can get way obsessed with home decor, but there isn’t anything I need for our house. Supplements are another weak point. I love buying teas I don’t need, powders to add to smoothies, etc. I also have so many unread books, more than enough to last me through the year. I should probably, you know, read them.
  2. I can repurchase products that I use up only if there’s nothing else that serves that purpose in my collection. For example, if I finish my beloved Josh Rosebrook
    Hydrating Accelerator toner, I cannot repurchase it because I have at least four other toners/essences to use up. Only if I had no other toners, I could repurchase the Josh Rosebrook one.
  3. I can replace things that break if there are no other replacements already in my collection as defined above.
  4. I can buy gifts for others, even beauty gifts.
  5. I can receive gifts. If I receive a gift card, I can only use it to repurchase what I’ve run out of, and, again, only if there’s nothing else of that thing that serves the same purpose.
  6. Exceptions/allowances? I’m allowed to spend money on experiences like going out to the movies, dinners, concerts, travel, etc. (all in a budgeted way).

Hacks?

I’ve done a lot of researching and voyeur-ing on others’ experiences so far, and there are some changes I’ve made (and will make) to help the initial transition be more
bearable.

  1. Unsubscribe and Unfollow. Unsubscribe from any emails, YouTube channels, and Social Media accounts that fan the flames. Unsubscribing from email lists the last two days has felt amazing. My inbox doesn’t ping every two minutes. I still follow a lot of shopping-oriented/blogging Instagram accounts, but I’m doing that to keep track of what I would be tempted to buy and how much money I’m saving by not buying it.
  2. Data Collection. I want to learn which products I use the most and truly love to get to a capsule collection at the year’s end. Informally, I’ll post my daily skincare and makeup on my Instagram stories. I’m going to start a spreadsheet to consult trends at the end of every month and tally the cost of my current routine. For clothing, there’s the Stylebook App, which is essentially like what Cher has for her closet in Clueless. You have to photograph and upload info about every item of clothing/accessory you own (color, size, price, brand) and then plug in your daily wear. The app calculates your overall closet cost, color scheme, etc., and it’s a concrete way to track what you actually wear over and over again and what goes unloved, unnoticed, and unneeded.
  3. Inspiration and Support. For now, I’m following Hannah Poston’s channel on YouTube, the nobuy2019 and nobuyyear tags on Instagram, and seeking out some
    financial health YouTubers too.
  4. “Treat Yourself” Replacements. Taking away my coping mechanism of retail therapy means I’m going to need something to fill that hole. I want to replace it with reading, hanging with friends and family, and focusing more on writing.

Results

  1. Improved Financial Health. By the end of this year, I will hopefully have myself in a healthier financial situation.
  2. Focus and Success. By ending my use of shopping as a crutch to avoid dealing with the real issues, I hope it will open up success and focus toward my career goals. I’ll take away my biggest distraction.
  3. Simpler Living. By decreasing my focus on all the stuff, I’ll hone in what I love and have more time and money for what matters: the people I love, the memories we make, and my overall quality of life and fulfillment.

Are you considering doing a No Buy for the year or any amount of time in 2019? What do you think of the idea?