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.
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?