To be honest, I'm quite lucky in that, once I've decided I'm not buying something, I'm just not buying it - period. I have pretty decent spending willpower and can resist the temptation to get something quite well. However, I'm still human and find that these tips help me along my way.
First of all you need to be very clear about what you're hoping to achieve and why.
What is meant by a No Buy? It's a no brainer really. Being on a No Buy, means you're plain and simply not to buy that thing. If you're on a make up No Buy, then you don't buy make up. If yours is a book No Buy, you buy zero books. It's that simple.
Problems can start when 'No Buy' gets confused with the following
- Low Buy - where you're trying to buy less, but are still shopping
- Saving up for a splurge at some forthcoming special event or sale when people who've declared themselves on a No Buy for a set period of time until the next VIP sale or some show where they will, basically, go and spend all the money they've not spent on their No Buy category items and stock up as much, or even more than they would have done had they been shopping as usual. This is also one to watch out for when specifying exceptions to a genuine No Buy (more on that later).
Can you see the traps here? All these fake No Buys still equate to adding to the stuff you already have and may even want to reduce.
You also want to be very clear on just why you're wanting to be on a No Buy. Some common reasons are:
- Financial reasons - you want to save money for something special, such as a trip somewhere or a wedding. Maybe you need to spend less in order to get out of debt or to make ends meet.
- Interest in a more minimalist way of life - simplicity has begun to appeal to you.
- Pressure from family/partner to stop buying a certain thing which they see as unbalanced and maybe your storage is driving them mad or taking up space needed for other things etc.
It may be a combination of all of the above. For me embarking on my make up, book and art & crafts supplies No Buy it was a combination of already having more than enough, being attracted to a minimalist lifestyle and an impending home move. What are your reasons? Sit down and really think about them. Let the reason(s) really resonate with you and make a list of why the reason(s) are important.
- Avoid temptation. Do you really need to go around the shops in your lunch break? Or do you need to surf tempting websites? What and where do you need to physically avoid in order to make it harder to spend money? Where were you and what were you doing the last five times you bought something you shouldn't have? Analyse the answers and take evasive action. Go somewhere else for lunch. Find something else to do.
- Unsubscribe, unfollow. If you're like most people, you're on e-mail mailing lists and/or follow Instagrammers, bloggers and YouTubers who buy and review the kind of products you like, but are trying not to buy. Unsub. It's that simple. Unsub from all the mailing lists that send you tempting offers, unfollow all the companies who promote their products on social networks in order to make you buy them. Just go cold turkey on any and all enablers. That can also include people you might go shopping with and who persuade you to buy. See them in other situations, but don't let them influence your shopping habits!
- Plan in advance how to treat youself and what you're going to do if you ever feel the need to indulge in retail therapy. It happens to us all. We need a treat and, before we know it, we've bought something and blotted our copybook badly. So, make up a list of treats that you can indulge in without breaking your No Buy.
- Take great care when specifying exceptions. The most common pitfall I've seen here is to specify the special sale/event as an exception. You're doing so well on your No Buy and then up comes the event you've given yourself permish to splash out at and - BANG - up goes all your hard work and self control in smoke. Not only have you splurged badly and bought all the things you wanted all through your No Buy (thus nullifying the whole thing), but you've very possibly also bought even more as 'a treat for having done so well for 3 months' or as a release for all the pent up frustration of not being able to buy. Your collection and/or finances are then in the exact same state as they would have been had you never been on the No Buy, or maybe worse! Again, don't confuse a No Buy with saving up to spend at a special event or sale.
My only exceptions are: 1) When I genuinely run out of a product as I did last year with the one make up item I bought - an eye primer. 2) When I really have nothing that will do, then I can buy it. Recently I've made a couple of baby knits which needed buttons. I don't stock buttons, so I always need to buy those specially for each completion. Something similar may happen with a zip or something like that,
- Plan rewards in advance for succeeding, but DON'T make them a violation of your No Buy! If you're on a make up No Buy, don't make your reward the latest Too Faced palette. Make it something else that you'll enjoy.
- Pal up with genuinely supportive people. We all have a friend who says, 'Why don't you buy it, Elizabeth??' and they are best seen away from the shops or computer. It's like being on a diet. Some people will kindly help you to avoid temptation and support you and others will, in mistaken kindness, encourage you to 'treat yourself'. Well, if you're needing to be on a No Buy, you've been treating yourself to quite a degree already and now it's time to stop. So, enlist the help of people who are reliably able to help you and to give you some accountability.
- Make a really unpleasant forfeit for failure and hold yourself to it. The supportive friend is useful here too as they can be someone who can keep an eye on you. Don't make your forfeit something that you really don't mind so very much or that you will feel good about, such as making a donation to a good cause. Make it something you really, really don't want to do and do NOT make excuses or let yourself off 'this once'. One easy failure leads to another and another and another. It gets easier to excuse yourself every time, so start in right from the start on being tough about it. You may even want to consider passing this task to someone else to punish you when needed!!!
Well, I hope that's been helpful to some who are struggling out there. Remember, if you're on a No Buy then DON'T BUY ANY and get tough with yourself to keep yourself on track. Recently I saw a make up No Buy-er post on Instagram that she was packing for her trip to Paris and asking what products should she bring back? My suggestion was perhaps predictable: "None. You're on a No Buy."
What do you think? Will these suggestions help you? Can you add anything to them?
Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2016