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Why We’re All About The ‘No-Buy/Low-Buy’ Life

Why We’re All About The ‘No-Buy/Low-Buy’ Life

Veronica Murphy

You may or may not have heard of the ‘No-Buy/Low-Buy’ terms floating around the internet over the last while, particularly in the last month or so as we venture into a new year.

This minimalist approach to spending and consuming grabbed my attention from the get-go. The term minimalist can often instill dismay into those who hear it. When thinking of a minimalist, we often picture someone who lives with only the necessities, little to no furniture in their homes, owning four of the same white t-shirts and only two pairs of jeans. That may be the case with some of the extreme minimalists, but a lot of them simply live through the idea of needing or wanting less and being satisfied with that which you already own. I admit that while some of their ideas can seem extreme, they do make some valid points.

The Benefits of No-Buy/Low-Buy

As someone who has struggled with impulse buying in the past and has become more conscious of my consumption habits, I was keen to learn more. Maybe this move isn’t necessary for you, but as well as using it to be more conscious of your spending habits, it can also just be a great tool to use if you have a particular savings goal or item you are saving towards. I did a deep dive into the process and while it seemed scary at first, it can be altered to be whatever works best for you and your circumstances. Let’s get into the basics…

The main idea of a Low Buy or No Buy year/month is exactly as it sounds, you can either choose to not make any purchases for an entire year or for a month at a time. If you are not familiar with no-buying, this is a concept based on using what you already own and cutting out all spending for the entire year. A less restrictive version of this challenge is a low-buy, where you cut back on any unnecessary expenses. This obviously excludes the essentials, which once again comes down to what you deem to be essential. For most people, this would be groceries (duh), toiletries, whatever items need to be replaced when used up like cleaning products, so on and so forth.

Whichever concept you decide to choose, the goal of the challenge is more or less the same; a reasonable approach to money and eliminating unnecessary spending from your budget. If you are to partake in this idea, it is probably best to make a list of 3 different areas.

1. The Green Light List

These are the items that are deemed essential, ie food, and bills, along with those items that will need to be replaced once used up such as shampoo or make-up bits.

2. The Yellow Light List

This is for things you may need to replace or certain payments you may have coming up, for example replacing a pair of leggings, or factoring in the price of a haircut. Here you can also place a limit on how much you will allow yourself to spend on going out for food or coffee, money for upcoming gigs, or spending for birthdays.

3.The Red Light List

This is the strict no-buying-under-any-circumstances list. For me, this will mainly be clothes. I have more than enough in my wardrobe and will use this as an opportunity to learn how to better style the pieces I already have rather than jumping on every new trend that passes through. For you, maybe your weakness is make-up, and you constantly buy the newest blusher hyped up on TikTok while you still have 4 unopened in your makeup bag. Maybe your biggest splurge is buying a coffee every day on your way to school or work and you want to cut down there instead. Whatever it may be, your red list is for the non-negotiables.

How To Plan No-Buy/Low-Buy

Once you have curated your lists, the challenge can begin. Try your best to stick to the agenda, but if you fail and buy a new coat within the first week, don’t beat yourself up about it. It is all a learning curve. Living in the age of social media and influencers means that everywhere we look we are told about the newest fashion and beauty trends. What’s ‘in’ and ‘out’ is thrust upon us and often we may not even realise the subconscious pressure we feel, presenting itself in the form of the newest item of clothing we think we need to make us fit in or seem ‘cool’.


See Also

The idea of a low-buy year doesn’t have to be scary or daunting, but instead, a healthy way to challenge your spending habits. Maybe you don’t see anything wrong with how you handle your money and won’t need to partake in a challenge like this. However, if like me you have a savings goal you want to reach it can be a great way to hold yourself accountable and monitor your spending. There are many different Excel sheets and Notion templates you can access online to allow you to track your purchases and create your lists. I use this Notion template.

Most importantly, remember to make the challenge your own! Maybe you only want to commit to a low-buy month for one month every quarter, this might be more attainable to you. Be realistic about your time frames and spending limits. If you know you will need to buy lunch out once or twice a week because of work then it’s okay to factor that in. Try not to set overly restrictive goals only to end up breaking them after week 1 and then feel bad about it. Set your own rules and principles that will help you achieve your target.

This is your challenge.

Will you be trying No-Buy/Low-Buy?

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