I’ve read a lot about No-Buys, whether in daily, weekly, or monthly intervals, and it’s high time I try one for myself. I’m cheating by doing this in the shortest month of the year, but I wanted to at least give it a go! So, in three days, I’ll officially start my first-ever No-Buy.
What’s a No-Buy:
It’s exactly what it sounds like! For the entire month, I will say no to any unnecessary purchases. This means that, for the next 28 days, I will forego all discretionary spending. If it doesn’t fall into one of the following categories, I’m sorry, but it’ll just have to wait.
How I’m Prepping:
To help prevent impulse buys and accidental spending, I’m taking a few precautions. I canceled every Amazon subscribe & save purchase, and made sure to unsubscribe from all promotional emails. Every message I get from Adore Me and Reformation is a risk, even though I
never rarely buy.
I also cheated by loading up on $4-6 Chardonnay because my local grocery store was having a 30% off 6 bottles deal, and I had to purchase one for a friend’s party. They got a fancy-pants bottle, and I get a few (now $2.80-4.20) bottles for the month. I also got myself one thing that’s been on my list for some time: Cards Against Humanity. Party at my house!
And finally, I deleted the apps on my phone that made spending just way too easy. Looking at you, Amazon!
What I’ll Spend: $3,482
- Mortgage payment (duh) — plus HOA dues and the additional $250 I throw at my principle each month. That’s a good habit, so I’ll keep it during the no-buy. Total: $2999/month
- Utilities — but I will do everything in my power to reduce our usage! Green tips like keeping lights off in unused rooms are obvious, and the only bills I can really influence are energy, gas, and water, but my roommate and I are on it. Budget: $80/month
- Insurance — another fixed expense for auto and home insurance, so goodbye $153/month
- Groceries — I spend an average of $40/week thanks to my grocery hacks, and I won’t deviate from that. $160/month
- Gas — If I don’t plan any weekends away, I can get away with $70/month just in commuter gas. I’m going to set that as my goal.
- Pet — I inevitably have to purchase either kitty litter or kibbles for my furry friend, so I’ll allow myself a budget of $20/month
All in all, this is an expected budget of $3,482. Obviously, this is a lot of money, but if we strip away the mortgage (which is partially subsidized thanks to house hacking), it’s $483 to insure and feed myself (and my cat), and keep the lights on. Cool, totally doable.
What I’m Cutting Out: $443/month
I’m human. Despite my aggressive savings plan, I spend plenty on:
- Entertainment (average: $36/month)
- Eating Out (average: $87/month)
- Travel (average: $104/month)
- Gifts and Donations (average: $71/month)
- Other — let’s face it, this is mostly skincare, alcohol, home goods, and crap from Amazon! (average: $145/month)
That’s $443 in an average month that, frankly, could be either going towards my early retirement or towards the principle on my house. In reality, that $443 isn’t the end of the world and it is valuable to spend on the things that enrich your life (travel, entertainment, gifts/donations), but for the sake of the No-Buy practice, I’m going to cut it all.
What I’ll Do Instead:
Pretty straight-forward — I’ll get to enjoy a month spending time working on my home with DIY projects, hosting friends with my new wealth of cheap wine and Cards Against Humanity, and more thoughtfully enjoying my work and hobbies. I’ll probably explore a bit and find some live music, and enjoy playing “DD” and sipping on water.
So, wish me luck! It’s the shortest month of the year, aka the best month to test out this No-Buy practice. Looking forward to seeing how this makes a difference in my quality of life!
My favorite free financial tool I use is M1 Finance. I've previously written about M1's free trades, automatic rebalancing, and easy-to-use interface, but it really does make investing accessible and easy. If you're not already investing in some way, or if you're looking for a tool that makes it easy to manage, I recommend trying it out.
You can also sign up to have my most recent articles sent straight to your email inbox for free!