So I knew when I reviewed my 2019 spending that I have to take control of my financial life. I barely have savings and yet going through my spending, I realised I’ve made many unnecessary purchases that came from pure impulse buying. This has to change.
Initially I thought of avoiding shopping as much as I could but knowing me, I know there would be occassions where I don’t need another striped shirts or new blouse for work but I would still buy it. Because it’s on sale. Or because I’ve worked so hard I have to treat myself. Or I’m just sad I need temporary joy in life.
And that’s the reason I decided to take it up a notch — I’m embarking on a full NO BUY YEAR journey!
Yes! I’m not gonna buy anything unnecessary for a year. By unnecessary, I mean no new clothes, shoes, books, makeup, accessories, electronic devices, knicknacks – nothing out of want. Alah basically, it’s the same concept as puasa. But here instead of puasa food, I’ll puasa spending. I’m not gonna buy stuff. For a year.
First of all, I need to save money. My biggest financial goal in 2020 is to have untouched ringgit in my bank account. This year I’m working towards having an emergency fund and savings so hopefully, by next year or perhaps even earlier, stop the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck!
Secondly, I have to stop my habit of of impulse buying. Some of the purchases that I made within the past 6 months did not even last long or I no longer like them. What a waste! Those purchases were not expensive but you know the saying – small leaks will sink a great ship.
For context, here are some of the impulse purchases that I kinda regret:-
- A wrap top that I got on sale from Zalora but have not worn even once because I’m not able to mix and match it. Ringgit down the drain: RM59.
- Two pairs of cheap China shoes from Shopee that I tried to wear but they hurt my feet. Ringgit down the drain: RM37.
- Two pairs of on sale modern kurung from Zalora that are too fancy to be worn for simple events. Ringgit down the drain: RM125.
Lesson learnt from ringgit down the drain : I must stop buying stuff just because they are cheap or on sale!
So now, I’m setting my mind to a buy nothing mode. I wouldn’t entertain any internal battle within myself that tries to justify why I need to buy things that I know I don’t need. Nuh-uh. No argument this year. Put it down – that’s a no buy.
The number #1 tips given by those who have successfully completed the journey of a no buy year is to set rules for yourself and live by those rules. Choose the categories of expenses that you’re willing to cut, ideally those that you’re having trouble to keep under control, and don’t buy anything under those categories.
After due deliberation of what needs to stay and what I’m willing to let go, I’ve set up ground rules for myself. Most rules are attached with exceptions because I try to cater to every possible scenario without breaching my no buy commitment. Hence, these are what I came up with for myself:-
Things I can’t buy
- Apparel and clothing
Absolute no unless every piece in the same category tear apart and the category is necessary for my life. Simple example, undergarments.
- Electronic devices and accessories
Absolute no unless necessary items go kaput. Example, earphone.
Absolute no unless advised by doctor (background: I self-prescribed myself few supplements (93% probability that I don’t even need them) which end up going past their expiration dates as I fail to take them as recommended).
- Stationery and notebooks
- Home decor
To make it more interesting, I’ll add another feature to this; every time I get the urge to buy something on the list above or anything that I don’t need, instead of buying it, I’ll transfer the amount of money as per the price of that item to my savings account. This way I’ll be able to track how much money would’ve actually gone to waste if I entertain my habit of impulse buying.
Things I can buy / spend on / paying for
I’ll not compromise my health for money. I’ll see the doctors when I need to but let’s pray for a healthy year.
- Monthly bills
I’ll pay only for the fixed bills that I currently have, will neither upgrade nor add anything new.
- Groceries and food
I’ll keep this under strict budget.
- Skincare and makeup
I’ve pretty much have my skincare and makeup routine figured out so I’ll maintain that and the products that I use. I will only buy when they run out. No new item.
- Family / gifts / donations
Being stingy is not the aim of this year.
- Travel / social / dates / activites
I still want to be happy, will not compromise this but will keep it under strict budget.
Things I may (but preferably not) buy
There are also these other things that are not necessary and I want to avoid buying them, but most probably I would have to get them. I’ll just put them under my May-or-May-Not-Buy List:-
- Baju raya
This falls under the absoute-no-category but if my mom insists for our family to have a theme for raya this year, then I must oblige. I don’t want to get myself disowned.
Mine is broken for quite some time already and since then I’ve been borrowing from people whenever I need one, which is so uncool. I should’ve gotten one for myself!
- Yoga mat
Some days when I skip gym, I do workout at home. So for safe workout purposes, I may have to get myself a proper yoga mat to save my back in the long run.
The rules may not look as strict as they should be but I believe I have to give myself some allowance and leg room as this journey is loooong, one year long in fact. While I’m aiming to achieve my financial goal this year, I still want to have fun and live a great 2020. For that, I’m allowing myself to spend on things that matter to me and I promise to keep them under budget.
SO THAT’S IT
With that, here I am, officially on a no buy year! Fuhh announcing this to the Internet means things just go real. I’m doing this, Internet. Wish me luck.