Do you find yourself impulse buying things you see advertised on social media, purchasing clothes to find the labels still on them months later, or grabbing a quick coffee or takeaway without much thought?
You’re definitely not alone if these sound familiar.
One in five Brits have no idea how much debt they’re in, and 36% of people are worried about their finances.
After the instability of 2020 and the negative impact it has had on our finances, there’s never been a better time to get your money in check – in the form of a no-buy year.
When I did my no-buy year, I managed to save up £25,000, so it’s well worth doing.
The idea of a no-buy year might sound overwhelming, but with my easy-to-follow steps, you could find yourself on the road to better financial stability.
Know your ‘why’
Your ‘why’ plays a huge part in the success story in front of you.
If you don’t have something to focus on and keep holding on to as a goal then you can easily slip back into unhealthy spending habits.
Your ‘why’ might be a house deposit, a holiday, or simply some security.
Pin your ‘why’ to the fridge or make it your screensaver so it will be there to remind you whenever you feel like you’re slipping.
Tell your loved ones what you’re doing
Be upfront with the people you spend time with so that they can understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, so they can support you. You may even inspire them to do it with you.
If you go out to dinner a lot with friends, telling them your goal will help them understand when you turn down invitations to go out or do things with them.
Change your mindset
This is not a punishment, so don’t treat it as such. It’s a challenge for yourself, and no one else.
If you buy something then it’s only your own goal that is going to be further away.
You should feel inspired to do well, not forced. Once you get going and in your stride it will become much easier to stick to.
Reframe your no-buy year as a positive challenge rather than focusing on the things you’re going without.
Check your statements
It’s a powerful exercise to go through your statements and see where your money is going.
It can be shocking to see that every other outgoing is for a Starbucks, ASOS and Deliveroo.
Seeing it in black and white can really hit home and help you see that you’re wasting so much money on things that you could cut back on.
Work out your rules
This is very personal to you and what works for you – this is your challenge.
If you want to budget for one takeaway per month because it’s a treat you don’t want to go without, then add that in.
If you want to have a £50 clothing budget, then that’s your choice.
Check out the video below for some of the no-buy year rules you might like to set yourself.
My rules for my no-buy year:
- No clothes
- No skincare or makeup (only buy if a product has run out)
- No haircuts
- No beauty treatments
- No takeaway coffees or meals out – with the exception of a friend’s birthday, but even then, just have a main meal and don’t drink
- Have a weekly food budget
- Plan meals and don’t let any food go to waste
- Sit on all purchases for 30 days – if you still want it after a month, you probably really want it
Work out upcoming dates
Sit down and work out what events are coming up in the period ahead that you’re doing your no-spend challenge.
If you have a birthday or wedding that you can’t miss, then be realistic about what you will need to spend around this time so that you can budget for it and include it in your financial plans.
Have a look around at the things you can declutter from your home.
Having a more minimalist approach can be a positive change towards not spending.
Also, look at some of the purchases around the home that you’ve bought and ask yourself if they spark joy – do they make you happy?
This could help you put into perspective what is really worth spending your money on and if you’ve wasted it in the past.
Make a plan for all your extra time
It’s amazing how much you’ll gain from doing a no-buy challenge, but money isn’t the only thing. You’ll find you have a lot more time on your hands and you can be so much more productive with it.
Save yourself from getting into bad habits out of boredom by starting a course, or learning a skill with all the extra time you have to spend.
Starting a no-buy year, month or just weekend can be daunting, but hopefully these tips will get you started. Remember, it’s not a punishment so if you slip up, recognise how that makes you feel and use that to spur you on for the rest of your challenge.
If you’d like to chat with an encouraging, supportive community who are also doing a no-buy year, come and join my Facebook Group – Budget Best Life.
Don’t forget to head over to my blog, my YouTube channel and Instagram for daily money saving advice, tips and hacks for living your best life on a budget.
For more money-saving advice as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join Metro.co.uk’s Facebook group, Money Pot.
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