No-Buy July



If you've never heard of a NO-BUY challenge; it refers to a period of time in which you intentionally choose not to spend unnecessary money.  During the challenge, you're only allowed to spend money on bills and necessities. I have designated July 15th to August 30th as my No-Buy period. The summer clearance sales begin August 30th and it's the best time for us in SFla to grab a good buy. You already know that I live on a strict retirement budget, therefore frugality is the name of the game.  Almost everyone has their weaknesses and bad spending habits, but not many people are willing to talk about them. So, I am here to tell you that I do have a "shopping weakness".  Yes. . I am that person who has a hard time passing up Budget Buys that are drastically reduced, and a No-buy month has really worked for me in the past. Every year I choose a month or two to do a No Buy challenge.  Why?  To save Me from Myself.

If you are contemplating a no-buy challenge, just keep the 'no buy' for areas of your spending that are more extreme. If you tend to overspend in a more essential area, such as your grocery shop, a budget will help you keep costs down in that category.  This type of a challenge is also called:

The parameters of no buy months are up to individual interpretation, but most of them suggest that you don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely need. Having excess things doesn’t make us any happier. Buying more and more of something just allows it to take up more space in your home and more money from your account. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2020, the average American household spends a whopping $5,102 every month.

Make no mistake, starting a no buy month is a challenge and keeping it up is going to be hard. You’ll have to learn a good deal of self-reliance and moderation, probably some self-control too. At the end of the process though, you might find that you saved quite a bit more money than you anticipated. You may find yourself wearing items out of your closet that you haven't worn in forever. Or, reading a book you meant to pick up years ago. No buy months can help you appreciate and utilize everything you have. 

My No-Buy Rules:  Only Buy items I need (food, hygiene products, detergent, etc). I'm allowed to dine out at a restaurant once during the period. My goal is not to deprive myself. It is simply to force Me to think twice before buying something, I may or may not need.

Here are a few popular no-spend challenge ideas:

  • No Spend Weekend – suitable for no-spend beginners and people who want to save up a small amount of money.
  • 7-Day No Spend Challenge – good for spending freeze beginners who want to save a small to moderate amount of money.
  • 30-Day No Spend Challenge – good for medium to advanced no-spend challenge participants who want to save a lot of money fast. If you’ve never done a no-spend challenge before, you might want to try a no-spend weekend or 7-day no-spend challenge before you try this.
  • No-Spend January – this 30-day no-spend challenge is suitable for those who want to save more money in the New Year and start the year off right.
  • No-Spend November – another 30-day spending freeze, which many people participate in to save for Christmas.

Many shoppers prefer to do a Low-Buy challenge instead of a No-Buy month. Because a no buy period is too restrictive for them. With a no buy period, you’re only allowed to spend money on essential expenses like food, rent, transportation and healthcare. With a low buy period, you can also spend money on discretionary expenses, but you set restrictions on certain areas of spending

Before you try this experiment - Look at your finances to see where most of your money is being spent. Then choose the top categories you want to reduce. How long you do a No-Buy is a personal choice, but it takes a long time to unlearn shopping behaviors so try to do it consistently. For example: Every time you want to buy something, but can’t because of the no-buy, write down how much it costs. At the end of the no buy period, you can see how much money you’ve saved. 

There are so many ways to get free things nowadays to help you with your no buy challenge. There are resources like Freecycle, a network of over 5000 groups with over 8 million members strong, give away free stuff.  I was so intrigued by the 'Gift Economy' concept, that I created the WestIndys Freestyle group in my community to gift the overabundance of my friends closets to others. The Buy Nothing Project Group operates in a similar style and is also a good resource for items you do not wish to buy. 

If you cannot walk pass the dollar aisle at Target, without grabbing $20 worth of crap you didn’t want or need. Then, consider this is an excuse to do better and change your spending habits. So many Ladies do No-Buy challenges every year. Some enjoy the success and others learn from it. Who knows. . . you may enjoy not spending money and decide to live the Minimalist Life.  But, whatever you do this Summer. . .

Love Up On Yourself!

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