dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Monday, July 29, 2013

No Buy July

Near the end of June, I declared publicly on Facebook that I was embarking on a No Buy July.  What exactly is a No Buy July?  It was my attempt at getting through an entire month without bringing any unnecessary items into my home.  It wasn't a spending freeze- we were free to go out to dinner, catch a movie, or spend money on fun, non-tangible things.  Rather, it was an attempt to totally eliminate purchasing non-essential items for 31 days.  Aside from consumables, like food or necessary toiletries, I attempted to not buy any **things**.

So, how did I do?  Pretty good, I think!  I was not perfect, though.  The exercise taught me several very important lessons:

  1. I want a lot of things!  Perhaps I wanted more this past month, because I knew I wouldn't be buying anything.  But, honestly I suspect this is my normal.  I was surprised at how many times "I want that!" crossed my mind.
  2. Once some time passes, I realize that I don't really need most of the things I want.  Yowza.  That lesson right there was worth the whole month of delayed gratification.
  3. Waiting on something and planning for the purchase makes it all that much sweeter.  So, I guess there really is something to this whole delayed gratification thing.  There is a purchase that I have been waiting to make since the beginning of the month.  When August 1st finally get here, the purchase will be all that more rewarding- not because of the purchase itself, but because I had to wait so long for it.

So, where do I go from here?  I mean, this was a good exercise in self control and all, but I don't want to go back to my old ways.  I have decided to make a wish list.  In the back of my calendar (yes, I still use a paper pocket calendar to keep track of my schedule), there are several lined pages with the header Notes.  I plan to record my wish list here, dating each entry.  My goal is to wait one week after adding something to the list before purchasing it.  Often, the "need" wears off within a week, and I can't wait to see how many things I am able to cross off after deciding not to purchase them.

So, how did you all do?  I know there were several who joined me in a No Buy July.  Learn anything through the month?




  1. Good job! I like your idea of waiting a week before allowing yourself to buy things off of your wish list. I'll be interested to hear how that goes. :-)

  2. Emily, I'm so glad that you invited us to join you in No-Buy July. I learned how prone I am to buying things without giving it much thought. Several times during the month, I caught myself during a "quick trip to Target for essentials" with a full cart of other "things I wanted." Thankfully, before I got to the register, the thought "No-Buy July!" struck me, and I was able to walk back through the store putting things back. One wonderful side benefit is that my children learned the same thing. As I was shopping with Ava one day, we found a couple of cute t-shirts on the clearance rack, and as we haphazardly threw them into the cart, Ava exclaimed, "Oh, Mom! No-Buy July!" and we put them back.

    I also learned that I am often quick to justify something as "necessity" when it really isn't. For example, I was so certain that I *needed* a large basket in which to store pool towels on my back deck. That was one of the items I walked to the front of the store with in my cart before realizing I had to put it back. Once I arrived at home, I realized that I already had several really attractive options for holding those pool towels on the deck.

    Great lessons learned! Thank you!

  3. I have a criteria I have been using for the past few months. Do I WANT it? Do I NEED it? Is it necessary? If it's just a passing want- I don't buy it. I do buy the needs if I REALLY need it...and I usually KNOW whether something is necessary. If it's not necessary I don't buy it. I have even cut back on my Starbucks!!! xo Diana

  4. I find myself wanting and buying less and less all the time. I'm not exactly sure why, I guess I'm starting to see it all as just that - stuff! I think I would just rather have less, but more meaningful stuff in my life. And there is certainly beauty in simplicity! ... I love your idea of No Buy July! Sometimes we just need something to make us think a little bit more about what's really important to us! ... Hope you are having an awesome summer!

  5. I love this concept. I may talk to my family about trying it.