Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

A No-Buy Experiment

Hello and happy 2020! I know it's been awhile since I posted. Things have been pretty busy for me since the start of the year. I'm taking an online Italian class that takes up quite a bit of time, I've been working on some personal projects, and just generally been having an energetic start to the year.

One personal project - a No Buy experiment! I believe I've written here in the past about consumption. I am a consumer of ALL THE THINGS - books, TV, movies, internet (this last one being the most problematic of those three IMHO), and to some degree I think this urge to consume rather than create has dulled my creative nature. Consuming enough to be inspired to create your own work is one thing. But consuming to quell boredom, or to avoid uncomfortable feelings? Not good. So in some ways, beyond just a financial experiment, this No Buy period is meant to force a bit of creativity back into my life.

No Buy means something slightly different for everyone, but generally speaking it means only purchasing essentials unless otherwise noted. After looking over my bank statements from 2019, I realized just how much I spend on eating out (too much!) and other tiny non-essential purchases. I'm the type who buys a lot of small things, which go unnoticed and don't seem like a big deal until you add them up. So I decided to buckle down and see how a No Buy period of three months would change my habits.

Each individual's No Buy rules will be different, because only you know what you consider essential and what you don't. But here are mine:

1. The No Buy experiment will last for a period of roughly three months. I started last week and decided that I would review how things went around my birthday (March 9). At this time I'll look at what worked, what didn't, what adjustments I need to make, and whether or not I'll continue.

2. I can buy essentials (grooming products, cleaning supplies, house supplies, etc.) but I can only buy replacements for things I already have at a 1:1 ratio, and that's only if I don't have any alternative. Running out of shampoo? I can buy another to replace it. Running out of lipstick? Nope! Since I have a few different colors, I'm required to use those up before I buy a replacement.

3. I'm allowed a budget of $60 "fun money" per month to spend on going out with friends. This is an intentionally small budget, because I want to force myself to find alternatives to my usual fall back activities - going out to eat, or going out for drinks.

4. I'm not allowed to buy lunch at work. If I haven't packed my lunch for the day, I have two alternatives: use a gift card I was given for the holidays to buy lunch, or take the purchase out of my "fun money" budget, which impacts how much I have at my disposal for going out with friends and having real fun.

5. I must track my expenses and stick to my budget.

There are a few other tiny rules, but these are the major ones that I'm adhering to. It's only been a week, but so far things are going well. It hasn't been too hard so far, but I also realize that a week is nothing. I anticipate that things will get more difficult as I move deeper into the experiment, and then things will get easier again as I finally get used to the adjustments I'm making in my habits.

My main issue is planning. I don't mind bringing lunch from home, but sometimes my lack of planning gets me in trouble in terms of actually getting it done. There are other ways that lack of planning trips me up, mostly when it comes to meal planning and not anticipating my needs. For example, around 11 am every day at work, I want a snack. Instead of running to the vending machine or Walgreens, I need to plan to bring a snack with me from home, so that I'm prepared. That means I need to remember to add snack stuff to my weekly grocery list.

I'll try to write a weekly check in here and let you guys know how it's going! In the meantime, let me know - have you ever done a No Buy? Or have you ever wanted to try one?