Buy Nothing Challenge 2018, Frugal Living, Saving Money

Buy Nothing in 2018 Challenge

“I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.” 
― Jackie Mason

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[ Day 60 of 2000 ]

I am scared of no challenge! So when the Happy Philosopher asked if anyone wanted to participate in the buy-nothing-for-a-year challenge, I decided to accept it. Without considering my current wardrobe situation. Wise decision? Not so sure. Hard-to-follow decision? For sure!

I first decided to do a buy no clothes challenge. But then realized that it would not be so hard anyway, I wouldn’t really feel the pain. After all, clothes are not my weakness.

I am not saying that it will be easy. Any other year, it would have been way easier. Like I said earlier, I lost 30 lbs in 2017. And I am planning to lose more this year. Since I had plans to lose more weight, my current wardrobe is really a bare minimum. This is what I own:

  • 4 dresses (because I like dresses a lot),
  • 5-6 shirts/blouses,
  • 3 not-so-good t shirts,
  • 2 pairs of jeans,
  • 4 track pants (I wear that at night instead of pyjamas),
  • 8 tshirts for home,
  • 3 pairs of shorts,
  • 3 pairs of gym clothes,
  • 2 pairs of sneakers (1 of the pairs almost ruined),
  • 7 pairs of other footwear(although I hardly wear anything but sneakers)
  • 4 coats (varying lengths, thickness, and even sizes),
  • 16 pairs of socks.

I do have 3 shirts and two pairs of jeans in a size smaller than I am, so I will have some “good” clothes to wear even if I lose weight. If I need more, I will either have to wear loose ones or alter them myself. I think that being able to alter clothes will be a good skill to have 🙂

Like I said, hard. But not really painful. I will probably just use that as an excuse to dress shabbier than I do. I work from home thrice a week, so I don’t need a lot of good clothes.

To call it a challenge, I have to make it harder. If you analyze all the discretionary spending that I do, the ones that are truly a waste of money will be stationery. I love office supplies. I love pens and pencils, coloring supplies like paint and even crayons. I own a cricut and spend money on vinyl to design my own tshirts. All of that has to stop.

If you look at the Happy Philosophers blog post he has a huge set of rules describing what is allowed and what is not. I decided to come up with a set of rules myself.

First, anything for BusyDad and GBoy are allowed. I cannot ask them to participate. BusyDad just did more than a year of no spending on clothes just because he was just too lazy to shop. All his clothes are in a pretty bad shape. GBoy hits a growth spurt every now and then, and I don’t want to restrict buying clothes for him either. As to the other things, both of them are not big spenders, I cannot ask them to not buy anything just because I want to take the challenge. We won’t even save a lot of money because most of our expenses come from items other than buying stuff.

Let me also make this clear. I am going to buy groceries, we are going to eat out. If something is broken, we will replace it. If something is consumed, we will get replacements. I am also going to spend money on experiences, even if that involves buying flight tickets, etc to get to wherever it is.

This challenge will be about me not buying stuff that I don’t need that badly. For instance, I have a phone, a Kindle, an iPad and a Chromebook. I will replace it if my phone or Chromebook breaks. However if my iPad or Kindle breaks, I won’t. I can use the other devices to do whatever I do with it.

I will buy gifts for others. I do not want to cut that out.

Most gifts I get are from BusyDad and GBoy. I have told them not to get me anything. However, if someone else gets me a gift, I am going to accept it.

I am going to buy myself e-books and movies. I don’t usually spend my money on them – The only time I buy myself books or movies is when I have free money available by picking no rush shipping from Amazon, or through Google rewards program. I will refrain from using the Google rewards, since it doesn’t have an expiry date. Amazon promotional credit however has expiry dates, and I am not going to let them waste. So I will buy that for myself.

I get myself Brazilian Blowouts about twice a year. That makes my life very easy, I am not going to cut that out.

I do maintain scrapbooks. I will refrain from buying anything to decorate it, but will have to buy the ink and paper to print the photos out. I use this photo printer and these supplies. I will continue buying those. I don’t think of that as my expense, it is for the whole family. We never look at old pictures unless they are printed out.

I know that I can’t think of all the circumstances right now, and a few months down the line when I am tired of the whole thing, I am going to try and find loopholes in all my rules.

When I buy something for me, I am going to come back to you and tell you what I did.

It is going to be hard. I walk a lot, and on an average, my sneakers last three to four months. I have one pair, breathing it’s last. I was trying to get it to last a couple more weeks so that I could take it on one last trip and leave it there. That is what I regularly do. All the things that are falling apart, I take it when I am traveling. And I leave it in the trash just before I fly back. That way, packing is a breeze on the flight back.

I will have to plan my sneakers usage now. May be I should wear it only when I go on walks and to the gym. Not always like I do now. I am glad that I have already bought a new pair. Because the current ones won’t last more than a month or two no matter what I do. I think it is a good idea, though. People will get to see me in footwear other than sneakers 🙂

Do I expect to save a lot of money? Probably not. If you look at our budget for 2018, all these expenses fit into the $10,000 per year “everything else” category, along with all the other things that I haven’t itemized.  If they were significant enough, I would have a category for it.

Honestly, I have no clue why I am doing this. Except for the vague feeling that I shouldn’t have so much to give away every time I “declutter”.

 So far, joining me on this challenge are:

If you want to join us, let me know and I will add you to that list.

What do you think? Am I just giving you a chance to give me a hard time, or will I actually stick to it?


End of January update here.

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About BusyMom

Mom, Software Engineer, Dreamer - Can't wait to be less busy! . Please leave me any feedback you can think of. I am still learning and anything you can tell me about making this blog better is very much appreciated. .
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21 thoughts on “Buy Nothing in 2018 Challenge

  1. This is awesome! You’re going to save a ton! I’m thinking of doing this too. Just need to iron out a few things we can buy first.

    We’re considering a nice new bed because my Ikea one is sagging… There are some cool mattress companies with long tryout periods online. Also, I think we need a kitchen island + living room table because we just moved. I’d also buy beauty and grooming products once I’m finished with them. I have a ton of samples from Sephora and random subscription boxes I used to have. I should use them up first. It doesn’t seem so bad right now! When I really think about it, I do have everything I need :).

  2. I’m sorry – I won’t be committing myself in the no-clothes buying challenge! I have a job where I need to dress up. A lot. but I buy all my stuff on clearance…always dresses & tops under $10 and I refuse to pay for pants for more than $25! I do need to upgrade my 10yr old business jackets sometime this year as I feel like the Chris Farley skit “fat guy in a little coat” 🙁 Sometimes it’s hard to find your size – but I consider that my challenge to find the deals!

    1. I understand. I can get away with this just because I don’t go to office everyday, and I am anyway cold whenever I go. I end up wearing a pullover (the same one) every day I am there 🙂

  3. Very brave! I go back and forth on this type of shopping ban. I will do it sometime this year but not right now. Right now all my brain-power is diverted in clearing debt. All the best on your challenge – hope to read more about your progress on it 🙂

  4. I’m also committing to buying nothing in 2018 and will be posting about it on my blog.

    Also, your list of clothing is admirable! I have a post up of all the clothing I own and it’s a ton more than you. Clothing is tough for me.

      1. I have added a link to your blog. All the best! I now realize that it is not easy 🙂
        Looking forward to checking out your blog periodically.

        No worries about the extra comments.

  5. I wasn’t so far off the program over the last year, although in a more accidental way. I found being more conscious of my purchases and spending to be very rewarding.

    We have a big year coming up, leaving the country that we currently living in, four months travelling, and then taking possession of a new apartment, so I’m not brave enough to commit formally to the challenge. But I will continue with my thoughtful purchasing.

    Looking forward to the updates. And by the way, I wouldn’t dare put old sneakers (trainers for any British readers😀) in my luggage – trust me, my other clothes would be forever unwearable!

    1. If you have never been very conscious of your spending, when you first start doing it, it is indeed eye opening. Even if you don’t spend a lot. I tend to spend a lot if I am not thinking about each decision.

      BusyDad doesn’t spend a lot because he hates shopping. However, he is not conscious of his spending. Once in a blue moon, he spends a lot on something that he thinks we are going to enjoy. All those items usually end up being not used that much. The decision to buy is not made intentionally, it just happens. I can sometimes make him see, but not always. Luckily it doesn’t happen very frequently. We almost bought a huge TV and recliners last Thanksgiving. In a house where we don’t even turn the TV on most weeks.

      I normally wear those sneakers flying in, and wear something else flying out. Sneakers usually take up more luggage space than my other footwear. 🙂

  6. “Honestly, I have no clue why I am doing this. Except for the vague feeling that I shouldn’t have so much to give away every time I ‘declutter.'”

    As good a reason as I have heard for taking on the no-buy challenge. I salute you, Busy Mom. Best of luck.

    1. Thank you!
      Just a couple of days into the program, and I already saved $5 by not buying something I would have bought otherwise. This is already better than I thought it was going to be.

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