Low Buy 2019 Update: One Quarter Through!

We’re three months into the year, which means I am a quarter of the way through my Low-Buy year. I set out on a mindful year in an attempt to shrink my beauty/body care stash by using up what I have, and to only buy replacements when I’ve run out of a category completely.

You may remember from a previous monthly update that I have already broken the ‘rules’ of my low buy by purchasing beauty products that were not immediately needed.

This month, the low buy went kind of out the window as I purchased not only new beauty items – shampoo and a beauty bag – but also apparel: a pair of black flats from Payless (my favorite flats!), a raincoat from Uniqlo, and some socks. (Total spent in March: $124.)

I did have a little short-lived success trying to be creative and make new candles out of old wax. I melted the old wax down and used new wicks, but was having issues burning them. I have to figure out a solution, or will likely end up tossing the ‘new’ candles.

What’s New in 2019

In the interest of holding myself accountable, and because I like flatlays, here’s a breakdown of all the things I’ve acquired over the past few months; a number of these were free items but I’ve spent just over $160 this year on items in the low buy categories (bath and beauty; clothing and apparel; home decor):

Most of my new bath and beauty products in 2019.
  • January
    • Spent nada in low buy categories!
    • *Received a bunch of free items including nail polish
  • February
    • Dove Lavender Body Wash
    • Biosilk Silk Therapy leave-in treatment with coconut oil
    • Lavanilla Summer Vanilla Deodorant
    • Elizabeth Arden Green Tea scent spray
    • Bath and Body Works Body Cream & travel sized Body Wash (body wash free with purchase)
    • *Received a free Kiehl’s facial moisturizer
  • March
    • Whole Blends Argan Oil Shampoo
    • Payless Black Flats
    • Uniqlo Raincoat
    • Black no-show socks and nude socks for flats
    • Whole Foods Beauty Bag (photo below)
    • *Received a free sample of Rituals – Cherry Blossom Hand Cream, which I’ve since given to a friend
    • **Two rejected Ipsy bag items from a friend (not pictured)

In March, I returned an unopened facial moisturizer to CVS for $18 in store credit. Normally I would have kept it to use eventually, but I want to try another brand (TBD), and I still have plenty of moisturizer. I won’t count this dollar amount towards anything, since I’ll eventually spend that credit.

Beauty Bag!

Whole Foods Beauty Bag 2019 – “24 Hour Beauty”. So many fun new products to try!

I was excited to purchase the 2019 Whole Foods Beauty Bag as I wanted to, but didn’t buy one last year. I love the idea of subscription boxes as a way to try new products, but have never subscribed to one since I have plenty of products, and these boxes seem to be a bit wasteful due to the small sized products, packaging and shipping. The Beauty Bag was kind of like a one-time subscription box that was well worth the money, and I’m looking forward to trying those products. I’ve also been eyeing both the Target and Walmart monthly beauty boxes and their ‘favorites’ selection boxes, but maybe will save for next year…

I’m most excited about the moisturizers, SPF lip balm, and mascara!

What’s empty this month

I’m pleased to say that I used up quite a number of products in March. Most of these were partially used and towards the older end of my stash, so I moved them into heavy rotation to get them out of the cabinet.

March 2019 empties!
  • Body Care
    • Kiehl’s body lotion 2.5 oz ($11) – wasn’t ‘scented’ but didn’t love the smell. Wouldn’t purchase.
    • Tokyo Milk Candied Violet Lip Balm ($10) – this took me TOO long to use and I didn’t love the scent. I prefer a stick applicator so my fingers aren’t touching the product. Towards the end I used this as a foot balm overnight. Would not purchase.
    • Top Care Hand Sanitizer 2oz ($1) – no comment, it’s hand sanitizer.
    • Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender hand soap ($4) – not pictured as I’m reusing the bottle. Didn’t love the smell, too sweet, and was a bit drying. Wouldn’t repurchase.
    • Gold Bond Softening with Shea Butter Lotion 14oz ($9) – This was super thick and at some point I couldn’t get any more out with the bottle’s pump, so I moved the rest into the small glass container to be able to use up the last drops. It had a nice scent, kind of like a fragrant sweet and light tea, but the consistency was too much. Definitely wouldn’t repurchase!!! The Bath and Body Works Body Cream I’m using now, which I thought was thick, is nothing compared to this and sinks in much faster.
    • Inis perfume sample – I love this light, breezy scent. I’m a little tired of it right now since I was using it every day, but I have a larger, travel-size version in my perfume stash that I’ll definitely use later.
  • Skincare and Makeup
  • Haircare
    • Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo deluxe sample ($3) – Can’t say this was better than other brands since I only got a few uses out of it over the past year I’ve had it. I don’t often use dry shampoo so most likely won’t purchase another.
    • Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures Repairing hair mask sample packet – didn’t notice any change to my hair, if anything it felt a bit strawlike after using. Wouldn’t purchase.
    • Vaughn Styling Creme ($20) – not pictured; my husband got this as a gift, but I used it instead. I got lots of compliments when I used it when air drying my hair, as it dried curly. Wouldn’t purchase due to more ‘manly’ scent and price.
    • Mineral Fusion Shampoo and Conditioner ($10 each) – nicely scented products but I am not sure they are worth the price. I liked that the were made of ‘cleaner’ ingredients but probably won’t repurchase.

I was so glad to use up a lot of these products as some were underwhelming, but looking forward to cracking open some ‘new’ items from my stash.

Running total for beauty products used up this year: $161.50.

Reflections on the Low Buy

I saved all my empties for the past three months to give myself a better idea of how quickly I can actually use things up, and to give myself a visual picture of the literal trash that my habits produce. Putting it all together makes me want to use package-less products going forwards. I wonder if I can use down my stash enough that my replacement products could be zero waste.

Fortunately most of the items won’t be actually thrown away – I’ll be bringing them either to Origins or L’Occitane for recycling. I know recycling isn’t the solution, but I feel more confident that dropping these items off with the beauty retailers is more of a guarantee than throwing it in my residential recycling bin. Anyone have any data on this? Otherwise, the foil packets may be trash, and some of the bottles/jars will be saved for future use, as it’s always handy to have empty jars to fill up for a trip!

Three months of empties.

I think embarking on a low buy would be a helpful exercise to anyone with a large stash of products (beauty related or other) to really understand how long it takes to use things up. I am so surprised that it took me weeks!! to use up a little perfume sample, and also how long a lip balm can really last even with multiple applications each day.

This past month, I broke the Low Buy multiple times, although one day I wandered around midtown window shopping, without buying anything! Shortly after, though, I bought a number of new things and I wonder if that was related to the window shopping, and finally ‘caving in’ to my wants?

Hopefully next quarter, I can stick to the Low Buy. While there are no particular regrets about the new items, as everything will be used, I didn’t really need anything. This exercise definitely reminds me that I am susceptible to ‘good deals’ and sales. There will aways be a sale, so I have to remember that it’s easy to get something when the time comes without too much hassle.

Here’s to a successful Q2 – if you have any tips, tricks or stories to share please comment below!

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