My No-Buy Challenge // Want to Join?

no-buy challenge

I am super pumped and also kind of scared to tell you that I have embarked upon a no-buy challenge! I sort of made an off-the-cuff announcement about it the other day on Instagram and the response was overwhelming. People were wondering why, and how, and if they could join, and if I could just share more about it. And the answer to those last two things is yes! So here we are, and I’m about to break it down for you. Basically I have just been feeling for some time that I’m drowning in an excess of stuff. And I wanted to do something about it.

In this line of work, one really fun perk is that companies often send you samples to review and share with followers. And I get to share my favorites with you guys. That also means that we have a huge number of boxes coming and going from our house, with a constant influx of stuff. Add on to that the fact that I definitely enjoy shopping, and it all just started feeling too much. Silly, almost. I try to give lots of it away but that doesn’t help with the waste that it all makes (yeah, there’s a little bit of an environmental perspective here, too). Boxes and packaging and plastic and all that. It just feels like I need to pump the brakes. Here are a few other things I had been noticing over the last few months.

+ I had been going on mini sprees, shopping from my phone for things like J.Crew Factory shirts that were almost exactly like things I already owned but had forgotten about.

+ My cabinets were cluttered enough that I couldn’t see what was in the back of them any more, even though what was in the back of them was really great stuff.

+ I would buy a little tchotchke from Target or somewhere similar, and get it home and then truly have nowhere to put it.

+ I just started feeling swallowed up by stuff.

+ There was a craving in my heart for simplicity. Well, something a little more simplistic than the path that I was on.

And there was lots more, but I’ll spare you. You get it. So I decided to try this whole no-buy thing, and give it until the end of the year to see what shakes out. I know on a no-buy challenge, the parameters can be all over the place, because basically if you decide to embark on one you can set your own guidelines for how it will apply to your life. So here’s what I’m doing.

+ No purchases for myself that are non-essentials. This means no clothes, shoes, accessories, non-essential toiletries (i.e. nail polish or hair product), home decor, stationery, and so on.

+ No purchases of photoshoot props, with the exception of fresh flowers (and only if needed). Anything else that I need I will source from items I already have, or borrow and return.

+ No purchases of excess crafting materials beyond what is needed for a specific blog project.

+ No purchases at coffee shops unless I’ve been invited to one for a meeting, or I’m having a date with my kids.

+ Things that are allowed: consumables, essential toiletries, replacements for broken household items, anything that my kids or husband need (they didn’t sign up for this! 😉 ), travel items like plane tickets and hotels, gifts for others, occasional meals out, and so on.

I know I’m probably going to come up against a million questions as I get deeper into this (what about souvenirs for the kids on vacation?), and I figure I’ll just work through them as we go. But truth be told, I’m super excited.

I’m about two weeks in right now, and if I’m being completely honest, I don’t miss buying things one bit. In fact, it almost takes a lot of pressure off. Over Labor Day weekend a couple of weeks back, I had almost 40 emails come through, all screaming at me about the huge sales that were going on at this or that store. And for once, I didn’t feel stressed about combing through each and every sale looking for something that I just HAD to have. I didn’t spend hours scrolling those sales. I just deleted the emails and remixed an outfit from my closet that I hadn’t worn in forever. It felt awesome.

The one regret I’m finding that I have about this whole thing is that I LOVE to support my friends with shops, and this stops me from doing that. I’ve been thinking about that conundrum a lot lately and wondering if there’s a way to reconcile it. If you have any thoughts there, I’m all ears.

So that’s my no-buy plan! I’ll be checking in monthly on it until the end of the year with my thoughts and progress. And now I have to know, would you like to join me? Does it sound interesting to you, or like torture? Would you like to just try it for a month and see? Let me know in the comments and we can check in with each other!

UPDATE: Want to see my progress on the challenge? Check out these posts:


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  1. I have been trying to do this and already I’m noticing buying habits that I really need to break. Then I discovered Bullet journaling so now I own the most stickers in my life. lol. But then I realized I had enough. I have enough of everything and if I get the itch to buy clothes I just do laundry and ta da, more options to pass the time. =)

    It’s definitely a challenge but I’m all for it! =)

  2. LOVE THIS SO MUCH. I’ve been having the same craving for simplicity for awhile now, but was always too scared to pull the trigger on a challenge like this. Not sure why, maybe because I might miss out on a good deal somewhere? Which sounds incredibly ridiculous now that I typed it. lol Anyway, here’s to No Buy September/October!

  3. We are living somewhere for exactly a year and we’re on a mission to not add to anything we own while we’re here. In fact, we want to leave here with less. And, you’re right, it feels so freeing! It has been hard to break the habit of shopping when I’m bored. Also it’s torture when I have to pass up a really good deal on something (you know I’m talking about you, Bath and Body Works candles). But it’s good! I can be satisfied with the things I have – truly I have enough.
    Maybe an idea to support your friends shops while sticking to your rules is by purchasing gifts for others from those shops. I know I like to receive unique, thoughtful gifts from people that often come from little shops and boutiques.

  4. Living on the road all the time, I try really hard to no-buy most all the time. But people keep giving us kid clothes or toys, mostly hand-me-downs. I feel the need to purge and de-clutter often.

    One question: do you already have Halloween costumes planned out, or will that factor in to non-buy and just source from what you already have?

  5. This is such a great idea and the next logical step in my month-long de-cluttering adventure. My instinct after getting rid of so many items of clothing is just to replace all of them, but I really should be embracing the new empty space.

    As for supporting your friends with shops, you could recommend their shops to others! Help promote them to your friends and followers!

  6. Wow! You basically just read my mind! I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time but have a hard time with it because fashion is such a big part of my life. I am going to try it starting today. I’m going to the city to buy canteen stuff for my drop in but I know whenever I go, I want to buy other things as well so I’m looking forward to testing this. Thanks for the ideas! It’s great to know it’s not just me who thinks this way!

  7. I love to buy, too. And as someone suggested, I have a lot of fun buying gifts for birthdays, etc. Also fun: donating my used but still pretty household “touches” that I’m running out of room for, to places like Hospice, Good Samaritan, Salvation Army, etc.

  8. This is excellent! I need this, & I’m in!! I’ve bought most of my Christmas presents already, & I’m planning on making the last two anyway & already have what I need for them, as well as for the cards I’m going to include with them.

    I will need to make one bigger purchase, cost wise, & that’s a new pair of shoes for work. Otherwise there’s nothing else I need, aside from essentials like food & toiletries & things like that.

    I have waaaay too much stuff & not nearly enough room for it all. I need to go through my things & clear out a bunch of it.

    Thanks for this, & I’m going to pass this post on so that others can join in.