It’s crazy to think that about 365 days ago, I decided to embark on a low buy year. Sometimes I think, maybe if I didn’t do a low buy year my financial situation would have turned out to be a complete catastrophe, but who knows. Taking part in a low buy year was very interesting. It taught me a few things about what I prioritize when it comes to spending and how I spend most of my time. It made me look at what I value, enjoy, and want more of in my life. At times, it was really difficult and I wanted to give up. I mean, I did for part of the year because I allowed my emotions to dictate my spending. But I still went back to analyzing my purchases and reflecting on the rules I set in place for myself.
1 | MY PURPOSE
My purpose was to figure out what I consume on a monthly basis in order to cut out unnecessary spending and to stop mindless shopping. I wanted to learn to appreciate and use what I have, double my emergency fund, take a solo trip, and pay off my car.
2 | THE RULES I SET
- Do not buy any new products until what I have is used up
- Only eat out once or twice a week — cook more!
- Unsubscribe and edit what I consume on social media
- Be strict about my purchases
- Remember my purpose!
3 | THINGS I CAN PURCHASE
- Rent and utilities
- Groceries and eating out with friends or with coworkers
- Entertainment – this blog and Apple Music, which I pay for yearly
- Healthcare – massages for pain and vitamins
- Car maintenance – gas, oil change, taxes, and biweekly car washes
- Travel/new experiences – if planned and budgeted
- Basic toiletries and kitchen/cleaning supplies
- Home goods – a snake plant and a microwave cover
- Gifts for others
- Giftcards are guilt-free spending on whatever I want!
4 | THINGS I CAN’T PURCHASE
- Clothes – unless I have a weight change, or something gets destroyed and I don’t have a replacement
- Eating out when I’m just being lazy, but I have ample time to cook
- Books – rent them from the library or read what I have
- Pampering beyond my monthly massages
- Stationary, notebooks, and art supplies – I have so many that I need to use up
- Essential oils – unless I use up all of the ones I have
- Stylish homewares – My apartment is fully furnished and decorated so I don’t need anything other than my snake plant and microwave cover, which I’ve been meaning to buy for a while
5 | THE VERDICT
I failed when it came to cooking, buying toiletries, and stylish homewares. It wasn’t a total failure in my opinion because it could be a lot worse. The only extra things I purchased for my home were a rug, new bedding since my previous ones were destroyed, and organizational products. I realized that since I was renewing my lease that I needed to make my organizational system better and to do so I needed to buy some things. So, I don’t regret this at all. Since I wanted my place to feel more like a home and it does now.
When it comes to toiletries, I was trying to figure out how to buy them less even less than once a month. But it did not work out as planned at all. This made me buy more at times, but I think I’ve figured out a system to purchase them only once a quarter, so we’ll see if this works in this year. Either way, I want to stay out of the store as much as possible!
When it comes to food, I should have forced myself to cook more. There really isn’t an excuse for why I don’t cook more when I’m home more than anything else. I have ample time to whip up something quick and make enough to have leftovers. I also want to decrease my food budget and food waste. I’m making it a point to use up what I have before buying a lot more.
6 | NEXT STEPS . . .
This low buy year made me realize that when I am given way too many options, I choose nothing at all. I need to get rid of having too many options and just choose one.
Going forward, I’m just going to take it one day at a time. My word for 2020 is release. When it comes to spending money I want to be even more intentional about my purchases while following a strict budget.
I toyed with the idea of embarking on a no buy year for 2020. But I realized that being restrictive just makes me want to rebel. Instead I do what I want to do when I want to do it. I don’t want to have an all or nothing mindset either. Instead I want intentionality to be at the forefront of my mind and to let go of overconsumption. I may not be doing another low buy or a no buy, but I feel like I will spend less and save more than I ever have this year.
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