This is one behavior change that is great for anyone on any budget because you don’t have to spend money on anything, in fact, that is the whole point! A no-buy is a set period where you are not allowed to buy anything extra that you don’t need. If it isn’t essential for you to live your life, then you don’t buy it. I am currently doing a no-buy on new clothing for the entire year as a way for me to limit my consumption of fast fashion, and once I get moved back into my apartment on campus this fall, I’m going one step further and making my no-buy apply to everything that I don’t need to live comfortably.
No-buys are great because they are a way for you to analyze what you value most in your life and what we actually need to live comfortably. They are also amazing when you’re trying to save up for something because you end up spending less, meaning that extra money can go towards your savings goals. No-buys also let you reconsider some of your unhealthy spending habits and allow you to change those behaviors over time.
So how do you go about conducting a no-buy for yourself?
Set a Goal
First off, you are going to want to set a goal. For example, my goal at the beginning of the year was to only buy secondhand clothing and nothing new off the rack. My goal once I get to school will be to only buy the things necessary for me to live comfortably, i.e. groceries, cleaning, and hygiene products. You can be as broad or as specific as you want, but I recommend being more specific so that there is no way that you can justify an unneeded purchase through some kind of loophole. Now that you have a goal, you have to put it into practice, and I’ve found some easier ways to avoid these unnecessary purchases.
The next step that will make it easier for you to conduct your no-buy is to avoid stores and/or areas of stores that give you the most temptation. For me that means avoiding the clothing section and sticking to the grocery aisles. If you have to pass by the store or section of the store that you have to avoid, then try your best to stay on target and not even look at it. If you don’t see that cute shirt hanging on the rack, then you won’t feel the need to want it and buy it.
Make a List
Another good tip for no-buys is to make a list before you go to the store and stick to it. If it isn’t on the list, then you don’t get to buy it. However there are exceptions to this rule, like whenever you are out shopping and see something on the shelf and remember that you need that at home, then it would be an okay buy.
Have a Budget
Something to look out for whenever you are conducting your no-buy, is to make sure that you aren’t spending more in your allowed categories than you normally would spend. See, the human brain is funny and your subconscious is even funnier. Because you aren’t allowed to spend money on the things you usually would, your brain might trick you into spending more in other categories to get the same amount of gratification that it would have gotten anyways. Remember that the no-buy is meant for you to save money and reduce your spending. A great way to hinder this problem is to set a budget for the categories that you are allowed to buy for and stick to it. Another trick that you can use is buying the value packs of food and other products so that you can trick your brain into thinking you’re making a bigger purchase, while also saving some money. Value packs also mean that you can go longer without having to visit the store, therefore minimizing your temptations.
Delete Online Store Apps
My last tip might be the hardest for some people to do, and that is deleting online shopping apps from your phone. They are just temptation to spend waiting in your pocket. There may come a time in your no-buy where the thing that you absolutely need is nowhere else to be found than online, and in that case, it is completely alright for you to go and buy it, but again, limit your temptations to buy anything else as much as possible. A lot of times, I find that I could’ve actually done without that thing that I thought I absolutely needed. So maybe it is just the better idea to leave the online option out of it. Whenever your no-buy is over, you can always redownload those apps back onto your phone.
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