The long term effects of a no-buy challenge

My no-buy year challenge ended over a year ago and it feels like it is still producing effects. It feels like the good habits created are now rooted deep and have built a strong foundation.

Here, I wanted to do a recap of the things I bought the following year to see how it went. For myself obviously! And for you, in case you are interested and are wondering what happens next!

There are a lot of no-buy challenge articles out there. I published my share of them. There may be slightly less articles exploring the after effect. So here is one!

Dancing

May seems weird, since I am here talking about not buying stuff, but a gal has to pay for her organic veggies, so:

This post contains affiliated links in case you are interested in the products I bought. If you decide to follow such links and make a purchase, I may get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

The no-buy challenge year

You’ve heard about my no-buy challenge if you’ve been on this site before. Such no-buy year challenge was originally supposed to only relates to clothes but really quickly became a much wider challenge. It happened so naturally that it took me a while to even notice! To be fair, I was spending so much on the renovation of my motorcycle, that I couldn’t really spend a lot, on anything else. I mean I could have, but my priorities were set in stone, or in steel actually!

Yet, as I had mentioned before, that year I bought a few things not related to the bike renovation, mostly sewing attachments – I now have all the ones I need/want, at least for now! Three months or so after the end of the challenge, I was still not buying much and thought I should just continue to do so! So then, I decided that I wouldn’t buy anything new, only vintage things. I really wasn’t sure what that would apply to because there was nothing I needed when I wrote this. As you’ll see below, I actually didn’t buy anything vintage. That didn’t work.

Then came the pandemic and lockdown. Some retaliated and mindlessly shopped online. I bought nothing for months! I had gotten really good at this!!

What I bought the year following my no-buy challenge?

So what did I buy the year following my no-buy challenge? A very special year admittedly, considering this was the first year of the pandemic.

Let’s do a detailed recap.

Clothes

I bought new yoga pants. I had mentioned before. After having done numerous repairs to my existing collection, I had to give up.

In addition, in September, I bought a new pair of black vegan boots (Nae boots, but I bought them at Avesu). My previous one had lasted 7 or 8 years, and I couldn’t wear them to go to the office any more. They were in a truly pitiful condition.

Funny enough (if you read any of my previous status reports!), I should confirm that I didn’t even buy new socks, despite what I had mentioned several times! I tried once, but didn’t find anything I liked. Plus having nowhere to go, did made this purchase unnecessary.

Finally, I bought some fabric and that didn’t go so well.

Tech wise

I did have to replace my phone charger and EarPods. Why are those things getting more and more expensive? It is really becoming ridiculous!

My printer needed some new ink cartridges. #LockdownEffect!

Random

And then there were a few bits and pieces, which nowadays are just lone and random, where some of them used to be a category on their own. These were:

The essential oils and soldering iron were technically not even bought by me, but by my partner as these were my Christmas gifts (although long story short, I didn’t receive the soldering iron for Christmas and had to buy a new one in January. First time I get delivery troubles of the sort!) The tarot cards were a Christmas gift to myself.

tarot cards

That’s it. These things are all my extra spending of last year.

Maybe I should re-confirm that by extra spending, I mean everything that isn’t food, shampoo, deodorant… rent, telephon bills, insurance, gifts to my dear ones… I’m super descriptive in my quarterly status reports.

OK…

You may think I’m kidding (or not because if you are frugal, you may have bought even less) but I swear these are the only things I bought last year. I follow my spendings very closely and write down every details, so I know exactly.

Technically, I could have gone without some of such extra bits. The tarot cards were clearly not a necessity, nor were the candle wicks. Even if I love essential oils and use them for lots of different things, these were not a ‘must have’. I mean, that’s why I got them as a present!

On the other end, the laundry wash ball was a magical purchase! You can check out the very specific piece I wrote about it, just because I’m so happy with such acquisition. So much plastic, money and chemicals saved! I only wish I bought this sooner.

Essential oils

How did it feel?

Absolutely fine!

I’m really glad I did this recap because it confirmed, I bought very little and still felt completely fine. No signs of deprivation here. No savings made for future purchases. No delay gratification… It feels completely normal to not buy new things every week, or every month or whatever. As it probably should, you know?!

I don’t need to challenge myself to not buy things anymore. I’m just good at it!

And when I need or want something, it is fine too.

Despite what some may say, I don’t miss out on the “fun”. My idea of fun has maybe changed. My idea of gratification certainly has. I do not feel restricted in any way either and I’ve pretty much said it in each and every one of my status reports.

Now, I should mention again that I didn’t start this no-buy challenge to get out of debt or for any specific financial reasons. At the time, I had come to realize, when starting working on a budget, that I had no clue where my money was going and later concluded that I was buying way too much stuff. However, I had no debt and no significant financial issues (appart from spending too much on my motorcycle renovation!).

Instead I had an eco-consciousness which wasn’t aligned with my spendings!

Maybe this is important. Maybe the reasons why you start a challenge like a no-buy one, is paramount. Maybe there are wrong reasons to do it? I don’t know.

Like the reasons to start such a challenge are varied, the outcome are probably just as diversified. I surely didn’t know how it was going to affect me. I did not anticipate it to spread like it did and didn’t anticipate it would last.

Overall, I am super happy that I was able to handle such a rewrite of my perspective on spending and consumerism.

Looking forward

This new year is going to be very different. I know and part of me dread it and part of me is looking forward to it.

As my partner and I bought a new apartment and will probably be moving toward the end of the year (although it might be delayed slightly), we will have to buy new things. A new kitchen for a start! As well as bathroom fixtures, chandeliers, lightbulbs, curtains, shelves and who knows what.

There is therefore a new category in my budget for such spendings, which I intend to anticipate and spread over the year. As previously mentioned, there will be hopefully a lot of vintage shopping done and DIY! I have a lamp on the burner but I can’t seem to manage to get to it.

In addition, I have hopes that, even if things are not even close to normal (pandemic wise), I will be able to ride Minty this summer. This means I’ll need, at one point or another, a few additional protections and maybe even a few upgrades, camping gear wise. Fingers crossed, that would be a great sign!

Also, I really need a new phone. After 8 years of loyal services, my iPhone is dying a slow painful death. Yes, I’ve been saying this for a year now, it is indeed a slow death! 😉

So every month, if I manage to keep up, I’ll talk about my best purchases in my monthly recap. Like this one in January and this February one.

*****

Well, if anything, I hope this summary shows you how amazing the long terms effect of a no-buy challenge can be. At least, I think it’s amazing considering how I used to spend soooo much money, pretty much mindlessly, on all sorts of stuff.

And if in any way, I have convinced you to start a no-buy challenge, do let me know! I’d be glad to follow your adventure!

My no-buy year challenge articles:

If your goal is to save money, I have written a couple additional articles which you can find under #MoneyTalk!