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Objectives: Why do a low-buy or no-buy at all?
For me, creating a concrete budget (and sticking to it) is the best way to save more. Simple as that. I have some goals I'd like to work towards later this year that require having a bit of extra cash on hand, so saving more is like... good and stuff. Also, like many beauty/lifestyle bloggers, I own PLENTY of cosmetics, clothing and other little odds and ends as it is. In addition to saving, I want to use the low-buy period to weed through my collection of stuff, figure out what I actually use versus what's collecting dust, and use that information to shop more savvily in the future.
Why do a low-buy instead of a no-buy/spending ban?
Frankly, allowing yourself zero leeway with spending sucks and feels like a punishment. I'm not doing this because I want to punish myself, I'm doing it because I want to save some extra cash and divest myself of some of my crap. There will occasionally be products that I'm really eager to try, and as long as they fit into my low-buy budget, I don't see anything wrong with purchasing them. Speaking of which....
My low-buy budget (and rules):
I am budgeting myself a grand total of US $75 to be spent on between now and April 30th on frivolous things, AKA whatever the hell I want. That averages out to about $25 per month, which I think is pretty modest. There are a couple of ways that the spending limit can be increased:
- If I sell something I already own, the profits can be added to my total budget. Seems fair, right?
- If someone gives me money as a gift, I can add it to my total budget. My birthday is at the end of the month so this could happen, but I'm not really counting on it. Those birthday cards from distant relatives with a $5 bill inside tend to stop after you reach a certain age.
That's really all there is to it. I'm excluding some expenses (detailed below) from the $75 spending limit because the purpose of this exercise is to limit unnecessary spending, and some expenses are actually unavoidable. Oh, the joys of adult life.
Excluded (AKA necessary) expenses:
Outlined for the sake of transparency. Oh, the fun.
- Food/drink to be prepared at home: We all have to eat, right? Meals and drinks purchased at restaurants/quick dining establishments do count towards the $75 limit though. But if someone treats me, it won't. ;)
- BILLS BILLS BILLS BILLS BILLS: Can't really avoid paying these, now can I?
- Medical expenses: I anticipate some dental work in my future. And allergy medicine purchases. Sexy!
- Transportation and travel costs: This will likely just be the occasional subway/bus fare and train tickets to visit family in nearby states. Not owning a car finally has its perks?
- Non-beauty personal care items: Ain't no haul like a TAMPAX haul!
- Gifts for other people: Within reason, of course. It would probably be strange if I showed up to my cousin's baby shower without a gift, y'know?
- Streaming video/movie tickets: Some of you might not consider this as "necessary", but I think budgeting for some entertainment is appropriate and non-frivolous. We use streaming services like Netflix instead of subscribing to cable television, and go to the movies about once per month on average, which I don't think is excessive.
- Expenses related to working from home: Things like stationery, printer ink, replacement computer equipment etc. In other words, everything that's super exciting and awesome! Or not.
- Expenses related to running this blog: No, I do not consider epic makeup and skincare haul-age to be a blog-related expense (well, not usually). Things like domain registration fees, software and subscriptions that aid me in running my blog, supplies for sponsored posts and payment processing fees definitely are legit blog/business expenses though. And I have a separate budget for giveaway prizes, so those will still be happening without affecting my personal spending total. :)
- Subscriptions I have already paid for: Things like my Birchbox annual subscription, Amazon Prime etc. They're already paid in full, so it seems silly to try and factor them into my spending limit now.
- Items purchased with rewards or referral points: Like Birchbox and their points system, just to name one example. If I'm not spending actual currency in my bank account, it won't count towards the $75 limit.
For the sake of accountability, I will be doing a couple of check-in posts around the beginning of March and April, and a final summary post at the beginning of May. In these posts I will detail what (if anything) I spent, what (if anything) I earned by de-stashing, any any thoughts I may have on the process.
I don't think this exercise will really affect the content on my blog—there are actually a number of products and topics I've been meaning to write about, but haven't yet due to a lack of time. Plus any budget-friendly things I pick up may still be worthy of a review—doesn't matter if they only cost a few bucks! I will also continue to share sales and whatnot on Facebook like I usually do, I just won't be partaking in quite as many of them myself.
What do you think of my low-buy plan? Have you engaged in a low-buy or no-buy recently? How did it go?