No-Buy Curious

A few years ago I was barely buying anything except necessities, and it felt great! Now I think I should go back to that mindset. I do need a few new shirts because I’ve outgrown my old ones, but I have a whole bunch of nice sweater dresses that I acquired last year and then I got a whole bunch of summer dresses this year (since nothing fit anymore), so I’m set on that front. And I have enough gym clothes. I just got a great backpack for next summer since the one I used this year wasn’t big enough, and a pair of casual shorts that actually fit.

The one thing I really need is a good pair of walking shoes for next summer’s trip. The podiatrist said I trashed my feet (my words, not his) by wearing shoes with no cushion in Europe. And I need a new phone that has eSIM. I know which one I want and am waiting for a good price.

Other than that, I think it’s mostly spending on food, concerts, and our cats. No more stuff!!


An illustration from last month…

Things I bought:

  • Decaf sencha (impossible to find in person)
  • Large umbrella (replace a lost one)
  • Furminator (100% great purchase, should have bought this years ago)
  • Set of 20 little sports cones (great open-ended toy)
  • Cradle cap brush (did i really need it or did i just need to wash his hair more often, who knows, cap is cleared up now)
  • A very delightful book (I still have aspirations of using the library more, but hours are limited, and in the meantime we’ve read this book 3x a night for a whole week, worth it)
  • Baby jumper for doorway ($25 used from ebay, Tiny Roommate is wildly in love with this)
  • Midweight sports top ($50 used from ebay, a fancy brand I know and love, my one “perfect” sports top for fall weather that fits my 2nd-time-breastfeeding chest but isn’t maternity so i should be able to wear later too)
  • Wide legged checkered pants ($98, not the cheapest and not actually mandatory, but super comfy, fun, and disguises kid smudges. i saw them in a different color on ispydiy’s IG and they sat in my cart for weeks. bought 4 colors/sizes/lengths and kept 1.)

Things I deleted or delayed from the list:

  • Baby teething toy (deleted, found one brand-new for $3 at the used baby store)
  • Huggapod baby sitting cushion (deleted, this seemed extremely important at the time, but 2 weeks later he is basically sitting up on his own and just needs a rolled-up blanket, glad i waited)
  • Baby rattle socks (deleted, also outgrew the need pretty quickly and this baby gets plenty of stimulation)
  • Harness seat portable fabric high chair (deleted, just didn’t seem urgent enough)
  • Midweight sports top (deleted, it was $130 even on ebay and I dithered until a slightly different and much cheaper one became available)
  • Rotating wooden music box (saved for later, maybe look for one used, we already have a beloved one but it’s hard to use with little hands so an adult has to do it)
  • Oiselle pocket leggings (saved for later, I have the shorts version and love them. Let’s see if they really feel like a hole in my wardrobe after another month of fall. Favorited on ebay, and if it sells out from under me I won’t be heartbroken.)

Nonconsumer Advocate led me to The Compact. Sounds awesome!



#3 is my achilles heel, working on it!


I need to get better at attempting a fix before I replace. There are so many little fixit shops around me! I should at least try.

So many posts today because I am in the office and don’t have any work to do :upside_down_face:

What has helped me buy less in the past? Some floating thoughts:

  • Body changing. When I was pregnant I found it easy to avoid buying clothing because my body was in flux, and honestly still is. But! When I anticipated these changes making my current wardrobe nonfunctional I…went to the thrift store instead of buying a bunch of new stuff!!
  • Seeing how much I have and feeling overwhelmed by it
  • Forgetting about things I want, or enacting a “pause” before buying on impulse/with a rushed feeling
  • Becoming sale-agnostic. I think sales made me buy things I didn’t need, for the most part, instead of buying what I needed for less. The real thing that makes me spend less? Buying less :laughing:
  • Making it a challenge to use an item up before buying a replacement
  • Buying smaller sizes
  • Not being tricked by free shipping minimums
  • Unsubscribing ruthlessly from marketing emails
  • Less social media usage
  • Taking time to purchase higher quality items that are well-researched and patiently saved for
  • Talking to DH when I’m feeling impulsively spendy

Here to follow along, at least, and maybe mini-participate!

I’ve never done a full no-buy year, but I have definitely done no-buy on particular categories (books and teas being good examples), and found it very, very useful. I can imagine another book no-buy year being helpful for me again.


Lots of the frugal people on YouTube do No Buy Months and many have a No Buy week every month.

I had pretty much a No Buy Decade when we were in grad school and when the kids were little, and while I’m pretty invested in sourcing things second hand, I feel like I’m already pretty good at not over consuming. Lol


I feel like I’m swinging wildly on this topic, which means I should probably do a variation of this.


I think I maybe want to try something like this. I’m in quite a spendy period of my life right now having just moved out into my own flat, and also doing some body-related therapy which is a) expensive in itself, and b) resulting in the purchase of nice clothes, and although I don’t want to avoid spending what I need to to make the most of this place I’m in right now, I also want to avoid it becoming too much of a habit.

I’m thinking I have a “buy period” just before I get paid each month - I only keep a month’s expenses in my current account normally so hopefully that will help me easily see how much I have “left” from my predicted spend.

I’ve pulled together some draft rules
Other than the 20th→25th of each month, only buy:

  • food
  • groceries including replacements of things like toileteries that I’m already using in regular rotation.
  • gifts for others
  • urgent transport needs.
  • Self-care experiences (therapy, chiropracter).
  • experiences with other people including eating out etc.
    • including equipment/ clothes/ etc that urgent and totally necessary to the enjoyment of the event. (i.e. “we’re going on a swimming trip and I don’t have a swimming costume that fits” is ok, “we’re going on a swimming trip and I don’t have something that I absolutely love” has to wait until the 20th.)
  • Small and totally necessary things for ongoing projects (i.e. “I’ve been sewing these trousers and realise I need a zip” is ok, “and I want some fancy new trimming or tool for it” has to wait).
  • 1 second hand or <£15 “treat thing” per week

Explicit exclusions:

  • Clothes (other than as covered above)
  • Pretty house things
  • Hobby equipment (other than as covered above)

I make it a point to do this on Black Friday every year - because the onslaught of emails that day is SO OVERWHELMING, you see them all and I unsubscribe from everything I don’t want.

(I try to keep it up through the year too, but that day? You really see them all laid out in front of you, the ones you missed)


Okay, I have been thinking a lot about this.

I think this is the method I am going to try!!

One thing anyone doing this challenge should define is WHY you want to do the challenge. Is it for frugality? Environmental impact? Community building? All of the above?

There are things that I haven’t replaced in many years (clothes) and I objectively need new ones. I want to get the exactly perfect things for me that feel amazing. Expensive, maybe even tailored.

If I do a challenge like this I want it to be to stop the mindless spending and purchases that do not add to my life. I think limiting the spend to a time frame of the month is a great idea to ensure the purchases are intentional and well thought out.

I might make some categories of things need to be on the list for 90 days instead of just monthly. Unless there was a big sale.

Examples of spending lately that were totally worth it and I wouldn’t want to cut out: replacing all eye makeup when I got pink eye. New work pants and lulu leggings. Stuff for nursing/pumping/making working easier.

We are getting 95% of toys and kid things (minus diapers and wipes) from FB marketplace.

I personally want to do it to reduce waste, improve my environmental impact, not bringing clutter and things I don’t use or like into my home, and community building. An example of community building - my sister wanted to go camping and was going to buy all of the gear. We have all of the gear and she borrowed it instead of buying new. I am sure frugality will be an outcome but I think I would rather switch towards spending more on what works and is high quality so this may not happen either.


Count me in as no-buy curious and considering trying a challenge for 2024. I’ve followed the Non-Consumer Advocate blog for so many years and have always been interested in trying the Compact (not buying new). (By the way, the Non-Consumer Advocate blog is still active, and Katy also posts on Instagram, which I super enjoy.)

I will say that it really does take longer to buy used in my experience-- perhaps amplified because I have picky taste. It was a real struggle for me to buy used consistently when I had a full-time job. Also, when I had a full-time job, I also didn’t own a vehicle which made some thrift and resale shops impractical for me to visit. I think I am much better positioned to succeed at the Compact than at other points in my life.

That said, I have a guilty habit that I’m not sure I’m willing to give up. I am in a program where I review items that I receive for free-- due to IRS rules, I’m on the hook to pay taxes on the value of the items, but I don’t pay anything out of pocket. It is a huge dopamine rush when I score something great through the program.


I felt bad about buying so much new stuff when we moved, but when I added it up, it wasn’t so bad - flooring, shelves for the garage, two small bookshelves that needed to be exact dimensions, the dining room table, an about a million hooks. Plus I replaced some pans that got lost along the way.

Really, I could have gotten a nicer table if I’d been patient but eating on a card table was driving dh crazy.

It’s a lot easier to source things secondhand when it’s not a rush job, so I’ve always got an ongoing list of stuff that we will need at some point. We do live in a thrift store wonderland, though.


All of the above, but also:

  • Gratitude for what I have
  • Mindfulness throughout the purchasing process
  • A desire to shop locally as often as possible
  • A wish to return to a more generative rather than consumptive state

Things I want to avoid should I choose to do this challenge:

  • Restriction for restriction’s sake
  • Avoiding self-reflection
  • Making a lot of tricky rules to follow. This should be straightforward/simple

All of these really resonate for me, especially the “generative vs. consumptive” phrasing. And also, a desire to model these values for my kids.

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite: we’re rebuilding our house, which is very large (not in house terms, but relative to any other belongings) and very expensive. I guess another way to look at it is that no-buy is a way to counter all of that.


Ooooohhhh I didn’t even consider the “modeling for my kid” aspect.

I like the idea of balancing the reno with a stricter purchasing model


Just joining in to follow the discussion here! Soemting I think about a lot is that everything I buy is eventually going to be garbage, it’s just a question of when. I spend a lot of time handling packaging and so on.

I have three children and a barely adequate work wardrobe- actual no-buy won’t be for me but I will noodle a little on what I COULD do.


Going to the bin store (the thrift store clearance/outlet) has been sobering for me. There is so much damn stuff out there.


I’ll be joining in starting in November! It will be focused on stationery/art supplies, I just need to figure out the structure still. I tried earlier this year and did not do well with the cold turkey- I tend to have very all or nothing thinking. I’ve been working with my occupational therapist (OT) on this, and I’m leaning towards relying heavily on a wish list and giving myself a small budget for that category. My backwards brain finds the small budget easier to work with and not spend then a no spend.