2019: A Low Buy Year!

As the new year has kicked off, I’ve been thinking of what I can do to positively impact my 2019. While I hope to continue on some self-improvement projects and planning some exiting trips during the year, I wanted to also do a ‘slower’ project that I can tangibly see the results.

Last year, I had a goal to read 30+ books. I read over 60. This year I’m going to take it easy and plan to read at a slower pace. In terms of media, I would like to focus on watching engaging movies and documentaries, while still spending less time with a screen. My husband and I are trying to stop using phones/computers after 8:00 p.m. which gives us time to take care of things around the house and to read.

This year, I’ve decided to embark on a Low Buy Year. This will help give a focus and an overarching goal for the full year, in addition to spending less screen time and just a general goal of saving money for the future.

The Low Buy Year is, in part, inspired by the many beauty Instagrammers who are participating in the strangely addicting #shopyourstash or #projectpan, but the reasoning behind it largely inspired by all the minimalist blogs and podcasts I’ve been following – I don’t need a hoard of products! And also by Cait Flanders’ Year of Less shopping ban and Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month (which I did last summer). Somehow one month was really hard because it was all inclusive (little to no eating out, no taxis, etc.), and I had to be really creative to make it work. But a year of really focused shopping seems easier to me. I say that now – I’ll check in throughout the year!!!

Low Buy does not apply to necessities like rent, utilities, groceries, or experiences – but of course everything in moderation. For the categories listed below, I have plenty stashed away in the apartment and would like to work through what I have. Also, as we are renters, it means eventually we will leave this beloved apartment, and I would hate to think I’m packing and moving soap and lotion! It will be helpful to know the rate that I am using products to stop overbuying – and then when I need something, to buy it fresh rather than use something that’s been sitting in the closet for who knows how long.

Also, since I am an adherent to the principles of Marie Kondo, I want to make sure that what I’m taking in, and what I have continue to Spark Joy. I do get excited to buy new joy sparking things, but I’d like to appreciate the bounty that I have and I would like to use things up before making new purchases.

My Low Buy Year Guidelines:

Clothing, Shoes and Accessories

Items from a large shop of sweaters and shirts this past fall. I kept some of the ones pictured, and exchanged the others.
  • It’s OK to replace items if I am low in a certain category. For example, I have plenty of t-shirts and sweaters, but only two pairs of pants. If a pair of pants rip I would replace it because two seems to be my minimum number, and they both get worn often.
    • If I do need to replace something, I would like to find a better quality item so that I won’t need to replace it as quickly later.
    • If there’s something I don’t have that I need for a specific event, I should try to borrow first. If that is not possible, then I can purchase a new item. For example, if I need to wear specific items to be part of a wedding party, or part of a work uniform, I can purchase that item.
  • I can accept clothes from friends who are giving things away.
  • It is OK to spend money on repairs (tailoring, replacing heels of shoes, sewing rips that I can’t fix myself, specialty cleaning if needed.

Bath and Beauty

My full sized items – definitely enough for the year. I don’t have a Bath and Body Works problem, you have a Bath and Body Works problem.
  • I do not want to purchase any new products unless I completely run out of that category.
    • If I run out of bar soap, but have liquid soap, I should use up the liquid soap or vice versa. I also want to use up the minis so these count as part of the category.
    • I really think I have enough products to last for at least a year. Exceptions include: a bottle of shampoo, face wash, and some floss, but otherwise I think I am well stocked.
  • I can accept products from friends or family who are getting rid of things they won’t use or don’t use.
  • I can accept giveaways like the Sephora birthday gift!
  • Medicine/prescriptions are completely exempt from restrictions (within moderation, we don’t need 400 antihistamines). I don’t want to find myself in a situation where my husband or I need a pain reliever or cold medicine, run low, and we are not able to get to a pharmacy.

Home and Decor

My beautiful candles! Two of these I made from the carcasses of other candles. I definitely have enough to last the year, especially since I don’t burn candles in warmer months.
  • This is kind of a shared category so I will focus more on my own behavior. My husband is doesn’t shop for random things so if he finds a need for something I’m not going to stop him, although I may try to dissuade him from getting new kitchen gadgets.
  • No new consumable items unless I run out of that category (candles, I’m looking at you! Love me a new candle.) This also will include cleaning products like dish soap, bleach, sponges.
  • We can replace things like kitchen supplies, electronics, linens and towels. But hopefully the things we have will last!
  • We can accept household related gifts, but should only keep if there is a need.

I’m not curbing my restaurant spending or taking taxis but would like to be conscious about the spending choices I’m making.

Here’s to a successful year! Have you done a Low Buy? Please offer tips and encouragement in the comments.

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