Over the past few years, I’ve been exploring and educating myself about sustainable living, minimalism, and personal finance. I’ve been slowly decluttering my wardrobe and household items that I don’t need. I’d like to fill my space with the things I use or bring me joy.
I have the tendency to replace the items that I’ve decluttered with more items that I don’t need in the future. If I’m not being mindful, it’s so easy to fill the empty spaces with new things again. So, this year I’m planning to do a low buy year.
What is a low buy year?
A low buy year is an idea to cut back on any unnecessary spending from your budget. This means you’ll be making more mindful decisions when purchasing something. There are no restrictions on what you can and cannot buy because you’ll set the rules for yourself to follow when shopping.
No buy year vs. low buy year?
Both no buy year and low buy year are aimed to reduce excessive spending from your budget. With a no-buy year, you only use what you already own and cut out all spending for the entire year. This means you’ll only be spending money on necessary costs, such as your groceries, rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation costs, car payment, and insurance.
Why am I doing a low buy year
1. Simplify my life
I felt overwhelmed when I looked at the clutter accumulated in my house. There are plenty of things that I don’t use or bring no joy to my life anymore. Still, this doesn’t stop me from buying new things from time to time. But now, I want to feel happiness with fewer material goods. I also want to focus on quality instead of quantity.
2. Change my shopping habit for the long term
Like I mentioned above, I have the tendency to fill back the empty space I just created. When I’m on my way to drop off the things I had removed from the house, there’s a chance that I stopped by somewhere and buy something new to fill in the empty space. I also tend to impulse buy, which only leaves me frustrated and upset. By doing a low buy year, I want to rebuild my shopping habit.
3. How I spend my time without buying material goods
I love walking around the groceries store or mall. It gives me a rush of excitement after a long day of work. But this also makes me buy unnecessary things because of the emotional triggers at that moment. I want to take this opportunity to explore what I can do without involving shopping or spending money.
Rules I created for a low buy year:
1. Budget for clothes, dining out
I’m creating a budget for some specific things. For example, I set myself a certain amount for buying new clothes and dining out. Honestly, I don’t need any new clothes, but I just want to give myself some room for flexibility just in case my weight fluctuates or my lifestyle changes. I also want to limit myself to just dining out or taking out once a week and more on home-cooked meals.
2. Use what I have
I stock up my fridge and pantry every week. Sometimes I haven’t finished what I have and stock up on new vegetables and fruits. This causes the previous food, vegetables, or fruits to go bad even before I get to finish it. This can cost a lot if added up. I want to focus on finishing what I already have in the fridge or pantry before buying new vegetables and fruits or stocking up on any new food staple.
3. No buy categories
I will be implementing a no buy categories. This is for unhealthy snacks, sweets, and home décor. I don’t even really have a sweet tooth, but if I have chocolate, sweets, or dessert around the house, I know that I’m going to eat that. I also realized I’m snacking a lot on unhealthy snacks like chips, crackers, and pretzels. So, I really want to be mindful of what I buy this year and what I have around the house. If I want to end my meal with something sweet, I’ll switch to fruits or a cup of tea.
4. Keep a wish list
I will create a wish list of the things I want to buy this year. Sometimes I buy thing that caught my eyes, but I ended up not using it. Like I mentioned, I want to be mindful of what I have around the house. Keeping a wish list can help me to avoid impulse purchases, especially for a bigger purchase. I then re-visit the wish list after a week and ask myself am I still feel the need of buying them, will they bring me joy or add value to my life, and where should I place them in the house. If I get to answer those questions with honest thoughts, I can have them. If I am hesitating when answering, then I’ll know which to remove from the list.
5. Buy second-hand or preloved items
Not everyone loves to buy second-hand or preloved items. Some people are grossed out by the idea of using someone else’s things. I’ve never bought anything second-hand or preloved before, but I’m intended to do it this year. Instead of judging the bad sides of the preloved items, we should look at the bright sides. Buying a second-hand or preloved item saves us a lot of money when the new and original item can cost 3 to 4 times the preloved price. We also get to support local businesses as many of them are often a fundraising extension of a non-profit.