A year of no shopping! Has anyone done this? Need inspiration!

posted 6 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
4837 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I’ve seen things like this before and i’ve always been tempted.

I’m not doing it this year as I have already frivolously shopped!

I actually think a year would kill me, I might start with a no buy month though.   I really need to break the habit of shopping as a hobby, no popping into a shop on my lunch break, not browsing asos when i’m bored/sad etc.

Post # 3
14885 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I already know there’s no way I could do this.  I can’t pass up a really good deal on something I really do love… that I see as saving money by buying on sale in the long run.  I used to be much worse and buy things just cause they were cheap evenn if I didnt really love it, and then I wouldn’t wear/use it.  Now I pass those things up and only buy it if I *love* it and think I really do need it.  Like if I come across a pair of jeans on super sale, but it’s a boot cut, which I dont wear as much now and have a pair, I wont get it.  But if its a skniny jean, I have a pair, but I wear the hell outta it, so I might pick up that second pair.  And then I have a rule that if I buy it, then don’t grab it to use/wear with in a month, it gets returned.  

Post # 4
2851 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

techmom :  There’s literally no way in hell I could do this, and I applaud anyone would could.

I am definitely working to shop less though, I’ve got an expensive surgery coming up, we want to buy a house, and I’m trying to lose weight so buying clothes that (hopefully) won’t fit in a couple months makes zero sense.

Good luck to you!


Post # 5
4128 posts
Honey bee

A year?  No.  But quite a few years ago I put myself on a no-buy and was successful for 6 months so I could pay off school loans faster.  A lot of my shopping came from using it as a reward.  A lot of it was just overindulgence after finally having a steady income and getting bill collectors off my back.  Then it got worse because I think I was using shopping as a coping mechanism for grief after someone very close to me died.  I’ll still periodically put myself on a one to three month no-buy.

I’m think of starting up again from now to June.  I tend to go in streaks with my shopping and I’ve been too indulgent lately (my vices tend to be make-up, perfume, and jewelry – sometimes clothes).

A few key things for me:

1. Shop your stash.  When you get the urge for something new, I almost guarantee there is something in your closet not getting enough love or that you forgot about and it will feel brand new all over again.

2.  Organize the stuff you do have to make it more accessible, to remind you of what’s there, and make it obvious just how much you have.

3.  Have specific limits and rules.  For example: I’m allowed to buy more of X if I run out, but not Y and Z.  Or shopping can consist of restocking essentials, grocery shopping for meals I plan and I’m allowed one meal out and one treat per week, but no buying more than what we need to get through the week. 

4.  Remind yourself that sales happen constantly.  Really.  If it is on sale now, it’ll be on sale again.  I promise you.  Stores love enticing people to come spend their money.  They will have another sale.

5.  If you get suckered in by limited editions, remind yourself that you will eventually find something else you like just as much.  Really.  I promise you.  Yes, it might be the last of that specific color or that style or that scent or whatever.  But everything tends to cycle.  It will come in fashion again or someone else will have something similar enough or you’ll discover something that’s even better later.  There is almost nothing so completely unique that you can’t find an acceptable substitute for it later at a more appropriate time to be spending that money.

6.  Get off the internet.  Really.  I used frequent a few forums and blogs where people were also really into these things and we’d share the latest and greatest and read reviews, etc.  Not to mention social media bombards us with advertising all the time or even just people talking about their stuff.  Spending less time online decreased my exposure to a lot of the stuff I was buying and pretty soon I stopped feeling like I NEEDED to have all these things.  Also unsubscribe to mailing lists that email sale information or new products.  You can’t shop sales or crave the latest and greatest if you aren’t aware of them.

7.  To that end, stop spending time at stores (in person or online).  If you do your grocery shopping at a multipurpose store like a SuperTarget or SuperWalmart, start going to your local neighborhood grocery instead.  Or find an online grocery that offers delivery or pickup where you just drive up and they bring your order to you.  It curbs a lot of impulse buys.  

8.  Find rewards that work for you and build in some treats along the way to mitigate risk of cheating.  Also find more active things to do to replace shopping.  Sign up for a yoga or art class.  Start hanging out at your local library.  Use the shopping money for a date night or an activity like seeing a local play – almost guaranteed to be cheaper than shopping and no clutter.

Post # 6
7166 posts
Busy Beekeeper

techmom :  I joined my local Buy Nothing Project group a few years ago and hardly buy anything beyond consumables these days. It’s a great way to simultaneously get rid of crap you don’t need and get what you do need for free. Plus meet your neighbors and build an awesome community! 

Kids stuff is especially easy to get for free – everyone wants it out of their house when they are done with it! My kid does not know or care which toys we bought her new and which were received for free from a neighbor – so we save our money and load up her college savings instead. She’ll appreciate that much more in the long run.

Post # 7
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016 - City, State

techmom :  some great advice from PPs already! I second the BuyNothing group for your neighborhood!

I haven’t done a year of no shopping per se but by trying to reduce my waste many years ago I changed my shopping patterns in order to reduce my needs. I recommend reading the blog (or the book) Zero Waste Home for ideas on how to start/what to do. Basically you learn that wasting less starts by wanting/accepting less. I am a more conscious buyer nowadays:

I try to buy stuff secondhand whenever possible and of high quality to make it last for a long time.

I fix things before buying another one: had the lining of my wool coat redone instead of buying a new one, re-do the soles of my shoes at the cobbler, etc

I don’t shop in stores anymore and I keep stuff in my online basket for a long time to see if I really need it or can do without

I (try to) gift and get gifted experiences instead of things (works great with Darling Husband, not as well with family members!)

I follow  minimalist and “buy it for life” blogs and forums to get inspired. I highly recommend that. It’s kind of the antidote to the instagram/FB posts showing off the new stuff people get.

I borrow stuff that I don’t need regularly: the buyNothing group is great for that, otherwise friends and family.

For books (and music): the library! I have rarely bought any books since I started this journey as I can get any books, ebooks, and audiobooks through my library. Your public library might be enough, otherwise you might be able to check a university library nearby. You may also have different kind of libraries in your neighborhood: such as a tools library.

Reward yourself in experiences: go to a play, movie, concert instead of shopping spree. Suggest a board game time to friends or your SO at a game cafe for a rainy afternoon, go to the museums,etc.


Post # 8
952 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

I was turned off this whole idea by a bad experience with a Buy Nothing Group a few years ago. I was moving to a town several hours away, and it seemed like a good time to pare down my belongings. So I wanted to join two groups, one in the old city and one in the new town. But I wasn’t allowed to join the new group before I had actually arrived in the new town, even when I offered to show them my signed lease as proof that I’d be there the next month. I’ve never felt so unwelcome—my new coworkers were happy to give suggestions about the town before I actually arrived, I had met with the local Girl Scouts coordinator to talk about volunteering, etc.; and the Buy Nothing Project was the only group that said they wanted nothing to do with me. So yes, the Buy Nothing Project can build community—but it’s apparently a cliquish community with no room for newcomers or those whose lives don’t fit into a nice little box.

As you can tell, I’m still bitter about it years later. Sorry for the rant.

Post # 9
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016 - City, State

BookishBee :  Sorry you had such bad experience with the BN group! Each section is run by someone local so one bad experience in place A doesn’t necessarily translates in a bad experience in place B (and the admins rotate quite regularly so it might be someone entirely new for your section now). For what it’s worth, it’s actually a rule of the BN groups that you cannot be in 2 groups at the same time, it was nothing personal against you or other newcomers, it’s the same in every city/neighborhood. I think it’s to prevent people from getting all the free stuff and potentially profiting from it.

Post # 14
1254 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018 - The Venue, Barkisland, UK

I’m in the process of changing my shopping habits. Often I’ll spend minimal amounts for a while and then I’ll start on a spree, so it’s best if I just don’t start. I have a bad habit of using PayPal’s 2 week payment thing at the end of the month to borrow from my next wage so if I start feeling tempted to use it for ‘evil’ laughing I’m turning that feature off. I’ve unsubscribed from newsletters and unliked or unfollowed pages on FB.

What really helps me is No Spend Days. My problem is often the ‘small’ shop I’ll do at lunch time in the supermarket or corner shop and if it’s 4/5 times a week those can add up very quickly. So, I’m aiming for 20 NSDs a month.

Bills (direct debits and standing orders) and cash spending aren’t counted as spends. When I withdraw the cash, or use my debit card for something that counts as a spend. You can make your own rules up though!

I use You Need A Budget, so every penny has a job in my budget. We’re about to complete on our house and that’s a great motivator. If I want a new dress that’s fine, but I’m gonna have to find money in my budget or save up. At the moment, things are tight because of the house and also we have some credit cards to pay off. Hopefully once we’re sorted there, saving will be so ingrained that I won’t get back into spending sprees!

Post # 15
2029 posts
Buzzing bee

I’ve done this and I love it! But never a full year. It’s really changed how I think about shopping. I have a much smaller wardrobe these days (a result of a lot of purging + no rebuying) and it’s totally fine. If you would have told me I’d be totally happy with 5 pairs of shoes per season, I would have thought you were nuts. But ironically, I’m totally content with it now. It’s funny how the less you focus on shopping (going to the mall less, shopping online less, reading fashion blogs/magazines less), the more you realize that most of it just becomes a waste of space and money. 

If it’s really hard for you at first, get new credit cards (so you don’t have the number memorized) and stick them in your safe at home. Carry 1 for emergencies only and give yourself a small cash budget per week. You can’t randomly stop at the store and spend $100 when you have $20 in your wallet and no credit card. If I got gift cards, I just saved them and didn’t keep them in my wallet. 

It forced me to really evaluate what I actually needed/wanted and what were just impulse wants. Once I know what I actually need, I pick something Good quality that I love and try to wait to see if it goes on sale. If it doesn’t, I still get it. I’d rather get exactly what I need (within reason) than get something I don’t really like for less money. I still have half a closet of things I don’t love that I haven’t purged out/replaced yet, but I’m getting there. 

Same goes for make up and stuff like that. I don’t buy a new foundation unless I actually have no foundation, as opposed to picking up a new one ‘just because’. 

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