Sunday, November 24, 2013

Simplify #1: Buy Nothing November

One of my lofty goals for this month was to Buy Nothing in November (apparently I was also doing 30 days of gratitude this month, oops?). I thought I'd check in about how it's going and share some tips in case you want to take on your own "buy nothing" challenge. 


Check In: 

With only a week left to go, I'd say Buy Nothing November is going very well. I have not bought a single piece of maternity clothing. Huge accomplishment. I have not been to Starbucks at all. I've taken far less trips to Walgreens for last minute things I need. I technically have only purchased one item for the baby, which is a cute baby book on Etsy. I know I should've waited until the end of the month but I already feel like I'm forgetting important dates/milestones, so I just went for it. It was only $30, so my bank account will survive. I also exchanged one item for another that ended up costing slightly more, which I think is cheating but Eric technically paid the difference and it's not his challenge. Ha. For the most part I've been really happy with not buying and only once or twice have thought "woe is me, I can't do anything, I should at least be able to buy things!" That passes quickly :) 

Here is what I did so far to be relatively successful with this challenge: 


Step 1: I identified what I was buying that was not necessary. 

I first identified what I was buying that I really wanted to stop buying. No, it wasn't toothpaste or groceries. It wasn't gifts for others. It was maternity clothes, accessories, tea at Starbucks, impulse food purchases, things for the baby, books, items for my classroom etc. The list helped me know exactly what I was going to avoid buying for the month. 


Step 2: I thought about when and where I was buying these things.

Most of my shopping that I wanted to avoid was happening online. I mentioned I was not always a big online shopper but since maternity clothes are basically only available online, I got into a habit of looking at the sales and websites on almost a daily basis and then inevitably wanting something. It really helped me to just avoid looking at online websites. I have no idea what Old Navy is selling these days and this is for the better, because I'm sure it's a great deal. 


Step 3: I found some different mindless activities to do online so I didn't shop. 

Sometimes it's 8pm and I'm too tired to read or do work so I just do something mindless online. This has become a larger problem because I'm really trying to take time at the end of every day to rest. I was in a habit of looking at Old Navy and H&M online during this time so I broke the habit by doing some other mindless things. 

- I cleaned and organized the apps on my iPhone. I totally download apps and then never use them. Every once in awhile it's essential to delete some of the apps I haven't used since the day I downloaded them. 

- I cleaned out of my Feedly feed. I never have time to read ALL the blogs I subscribe to and I like to keep extras that I enjoy in case I have some free time. However, sometimes I just find myself NEVER reading a blog and then it obviously should just stop cluttering up my feed. 

-I deleted e-mails. In particular, I deleted sale e-mails immediately. This stopped the inevitable "oh, but it is such a good deal" justification.  

-I spent lots of time on Pinterest instead, looking for teaching ideas, gift ideas, recipe ideas etc. 


Step 4: I tried to plan ahead when possible.  

I am definitely a planner, but sometimes when I end up spending money is when I failed to plan ahead. Its 6:30am and I need a science lesson for that day. I come up with something by 6:40, but then I need to stop at Walgreens to get some of the materials necessary to do the project. If I planned ahead, I could ask the parents for some of the items or I could find them for free elsewhere. This month, I just went by the theory that if I didn't have the materials, I could not do the project. This forced me to plan ahead a bit. 


Step 5: I planned other fun things to do other than shopping. 

Even though I need to rest as much as possible, I still need to get out of the house sometimes and do some fun things that don't involve shopping. I tried to return to my tourist planning self a bit this month because that entertains me online and gives me something more fun to focus on than shopping. 


Later this week I'll be talking about having a simpler holiday season, which I'm even more motivated to do now that I've curbed the spending habit. 


 What are your tips to stop yourself from buying unnecessary items? 


  1. I have done pretty well on the whole not buying things in November, with the exception of last weekend when I had a 5 items for 50% off coupon from Banana that I felt I just HAD to use. ;) Besides that I have done well. Oh, except I had to buy a laptop because my 5+ year old one is on its death bed. So I guess maybe it was not as successful as a month as I would have liked. ;) But I have been good about bringing my lunches, not eating out on the weekends, and not buying unnecessary items at Target. I think for me, the best thing is identifying what I need to avoid purchasing, which is clothes, lunches out, and unnecessary stuff at Target! I think you have done very well!

  2. I think these are all good tips! I find this time of year I am soooo bad for mindless shopping because you end up running out to get so many different things and then get more than you'd originally planned to pick up and so on. Today we spent $140 on Christmas decorations. Lovely! Haha. I think I might do a no buying challenge for myself in January though - this is a good idea!

  3. Good tips and you're doing so well with the challenge! I don't think I'd be able to do a no buy challenge. I fear that I'd just put all my spending off until the next month and go crazy then to make up for it haha. I've been doing a good job in general this fall saving, just got to kick the online shopping habit.

  4. Ohh I think you have inspired me to do this in Jan! I have found myself buying some of the most unnecessary things and I really need to be saving.

  5. Ok, I have to just go off on a rant about maternity clothes primarily being available only online. It is the SUCKIEST thing for pregnant people. I don't like the prices at the actual stores because I think 85 dollars for a pair of fat pants is ridiculous, so I typically order from Old Navy or Loft online. It's hard to know what size to get yet ATL for example charges you shipping if you spend less than $125 and charges you to return AND it's not possible to do a teacher discount online (as far as I know) so I lose the change to save an extra 15%. So basically they charge you to try things on when you are at a hormonal and uncomfortable point in your life. It's just rude. They should have a better system! Many of my pants from my last pregnancy don't fit so I need new ones but it's so hard to know what's going to fit and look decent.

    End rant.

    Very impressed about your non-buying. Especially in November. I have already done most of my holiday shopping and everything is already wrapped because I know December is going to FLY by. I am especially notorious for online shopping because I love seeking out coupon codes and getting deals and I use ebates which gives you cash back for purchases at certain stores. LOVE IT.

  6. Woo you're rocking it - and only one day left! I like how you figured out why/how you were doing stuff and worked on that instead of just restricted yourself. I feel like you're less likley to go on a buying binge come December 1st! :)