Month without purchases: I was checking to see if I buy junk often


June was special for me - I followed the challenge set by the people of Debesy not to buy anything except food for yourself and the car. 1

And this month went easier than I expected. It turns out that such a seemingly crazy challenge is not so impossible after all! 

...Not buying anything is not as difficult as it may seem. 

But first, why put such a test to your discipline and your inner child who wants everything?

Why a month without shopping?

Here are some honest reasons why you too should try going shopping-free for a month. Thanks to this challenge…

  • ...You will be able to reduce your growing debts. Or save money for something you've been wanting for a long time.
  • ...You will be able to start the fight against your impulsive buying habits.
  • ...You will be able to improve your discipline skills and strengthen your willpower.
  • ...The fight against consumerism and deceptive advertising will begin.
  • ...You will be able to remember or discover what is more important to you in life.
  • ...You can always donate the money you save who need them more.
  • ...You will save minutes and hours of your day, which you would otherwise waste choosing new products or comparing discounts. You will be able to use the excess time for other, more important work.
  • ...You'll also save on your health bill, because you won't have to worry about whether the gift you bought (or another purchase) is good enough and won't break the next day.

Or at least you will notice that it's really nice to live more minimalistic.

Simple no-buy rules.

At first glance, the rules of the challenge are not complicated: not to buy anything for a whole month (or another selected period of time), except for food and transport (gasoline, tickets). 2

However, as I found out during the challenge, it's not that simple. The definition does not answer two questions:

  1. What exactly is a purchase?
  2. And what exactly is food for yourself and for transport?

Let's try to answer this...

*Costels and starts speaking in a professor's voice.*

We can say that purchase is the acquisition of a new thing or service by paying with other things, services, money, work or time. In other words, it is an exchange in which participants receive benefits.

*Coughs again and returns to Daniel's voice.*

Um While the definition is not bad, it does not answer - what exactly is an exchange? Here are two examples: donations and loans. It seems that there is no exchange here, but don't you become happier by donating a euro to your grandmother? And when you borrow, don't you promise to repay in the future?

Let's move on to the next question - what is food for self and transport? Is the popcorn you eat at the movies food or just candy? And plane tickets to Malaysia - can it be added to the cost of transportation?

Such questions occurred to me often during the challenge. They will rise for you too. The solution, however, is simple: In such cases, it is better to listen to the voice of common sense and choose what is really necessary.

In other words, if you really need new underwear, toothpaste, or toilet paper, buy it. But first make sure you can't live without it any longer. 😉

  1. First ask WHY?
  2. And then - do you REALLY need it?

I've made rules for myself that food is what makes me fuller, 3 and I allowed transport only when it was absolutely necessary. 4

You can, of course, choose your own way. After all, we each choose our own rules.

What did I learn in a month without shopping?

First: I need less new purchases than I thought.

Although I have never been a big spender, until I took the challenge I would still buy something new every other day: pencils, a new book, a notepad, some nice junk from AliExpress... And most of the time I didn't use any of those things to their full potential.

After a month I realized - I don't need all that. It turns out I had piles of pencils, 5 grandma has piles of unread books 6 and it turns out I didn't need that "interesting" junk to make myself happy.

It is possible that you too have such a problem of unnecessary purchases.

If you accumulate shopping receipts - review them. If you don't stock up, the next time you're standing in the store, check what you've put in your shopping cart. Do you really need everything? 7

Probably not.

Second: Saving money by not buying unnecessary things becomes... Too easy.

Likewise, I've never been one to spend my savings quickly. But living with this challenge, not saving has become... Impossible.

It would seem that food, transportation and housing make up the majority of expenses, so reducing non-related expenses will not make much of a difference. But this is not true - small and unnecessary purchases make up a bigger part of your expenses than you might think.

Remember the suggestion to look at the receipts? Do it now. It is possible that your little things make up a bigger part of the expenses than mine.

By getting rid of the need to buy loads of unnecessary stuff just because it's cheap, I managed to save over 100 euros this month. And when my total monthly expenses as a student are around 350-400 euros, they were reduced by 20-30 percent in June! 8

Third: The easiest way to not buy is to ignore purchases.

If there was only one piece of advice to be given to someone starting this challenge, 9 it would sound like this: ignore purchases.

I am talking about the truth that many know, but few apply - if the eyes do not see, the mind does not want to. If you don't visit shopping centers, it's like a church, if you don't browse through shops full of goods on the Internet, if, after all, you have less cash when you walk around the city, then you won't want to buy.

The biggest temptations I experienced were when I visited Maxima, various markets, or knowing that I have more than enough money in my bank account for a new self-development book. 10

Looking back at June, I can say that the month without shopping helped me. Although I've never been much of a shopaholic, 11 the challenge showed how, who and when I spend money. And at the same time, it helped me to discover piles of unused things that I would have bought new.

The challenge has shown me that I need less than what the store's advertisements on the Internet, TV or newspapers are trying to convey.

I didn't lose anything by buying less, I just gained. Not only in terms of money, but also in terms of peace of mind, true self-discipline. A month without shopping has taught me to say no. And I am very happy about that.

However, what do YOU think of the challenge? Will you join?

P.S By the way, before I even finished the challenge, Edmund from the cloud joined me. Here is his challenge blog!

  1. After all, the car also needs to eat! 😉

  2. Or you can customize the challenge for yourself. If you need to look after a child - don't be afraid, change the rules to your own.

  3. So no sweets!

  4. No flights and no rides because "there's nothing to do"!

  5. But in another drawer...

  6. Which I would have bought myself. Now I can find them in the library.

  7. Maybe you buy only because you are used to buying everything with a discount? My dad has this habit. Constantly buys everything, because it's a discount! What is the savings here if half of the purchases were not needed at all?

  8. Update for 2016: 2 years after the no-buy challenge, my monthly expenses have dropped to 300-350 euros. And I'm not a student anymore. Don't buy challenges help you learn not to buy crap. I also wrote about it in the article presenting minimalism.

  9. I hope it's you.

  10. Self-development is not always useful.

  11. My friends always think I buy too few clothes.

  • I think it's just a good challenge, I've used it often lately, but it's good that I "fall back". I think it should be a challenge for life 🙂

    • Well, you can and for life, but is it necessary? It is better to try to live without unnecessary things every year and thus return to a "normal" level - like passing an exam, more or less :))

    • Even though I looked it up now that I'm practically living this challenge anyway, it wouldn't be anything to write home about xD

      • "Practically" is "almost"? Then make it so that it is "real". Or double the challenge and swallow me! I'd love to read a post if you write one :))

        • The idea that a large part of people live this way is not because of a challenge, but out of necessity, which depresses me. Taking on the challenge for fun or some sort of "self-improvement" would seem like mocking them and their pain. After all, I could devote my time and energy to pursuing something, instead of looking at what gaps in my personality maturity could attract more readers :/

          • Well, to each his own problems, but I don't think we should complain too much about it. However, if one person buys chocolates like crazy, the other person buys vodka. And find that clever, the difference - both are bought not because they REALLY need it 😀

          • Well, that's why "to each his own problems" I read this blog. Because it describes such problems that still need to be thought through. And they are presented as if their existence were a matter of course. First world problems 😀

          • I have ideas. But they will not be good for you. You will say I am trolling. So what's the point?

          • Miss, don't tell me what I'm going to say. I have a million ideas in my notebook - yours will be useful too, so go ahead. 🙂

          • ENORCA, exactly, I agree with this point of yours. There are really many people who save out of necessity, and we are not talking about those who save to spend on alcohol or cigarettes. Here it would be very appropriate to tell a trend from the world of sports. In American football (but I think we would find equivalents here as well), it happens that there are a lot of really talented young football players in lower or local leagues, their scouts look for them and invite them to try their hand at the highest league, but when they get into it, the vast majority of those "promising young people" ” you never see on the pitch of the top league. Basically, only newcomers from the countries of Central America remain - Dominica, Puerto Rico, etc. And this happens because often local promising athletes fight only for a place in the highest league team, and when they come from the countries of Central America, they also support themselves and send more money to their relatives in the rest of their home countries . Their motivation is higher. There is a difference between someone who does it for the challenge and someone who does it for survival. But it's better to have a challenge than a necessity 🙂

          • Isn't "supposedly" self-development a sufficient goal to pursue - to know how few things a person needs in life? Get rid of them? Fill the gaps in your personality maturity? And then, when you are freed, bigger goals will open up before your eyes, which can be pursued.

  • In the whole of 2013, I did not buy myself a single item of clothing or shoes. I just decided on December 31, 2012... It wasn't difficult. It became so common to not visit stores that I didn't buy clothes or shoes out of inertia until this May.

    • Wow you are a real proof that it is possible to follow the principles of non-buying even longer, thank you, Dulksna! 🙂

  • It's a good challenge 🙂 Of course, most of them are proud to load carts full of goods... I even had to notice the difference: the people who were in the cash register before me bought a LOT of everything, while I only bought a couple of goods.. The mood of the cashiers and even communication depends a lot on this 😀 As they say: the more you have , the more you will spend.. And wasting your vital energy on work to earn a lot and spend it all without thinking is a complete disaster 🙁 Anyway, thanks for the article, Daniel 🙂 we will wait for the next ones!

  • Cool challenge! And it happens to me (only maybe it doesn't happen to adults :D) that if I have, say, 4 Lt in my pocket, I can buy a chocolate bar for them, but if I want to drink later, 1 Lt is not enough for juice, so I better not buy anything, but if I have all 20 Lt, I will buy it chocolate, drink and a notebook with a beautiful cover. Therefore, when you have less, you automatically spend less 🙂

    • You gave a good idea - after all, if it is very difficult to refrain from wasting money, you can stop carrying it. Or if you keep it in your bank account, don't carry a card. Or give to friends/family to save money!

    • And it will be soon!

      I was sick all last week, so I couldn't write. Therefore, a new article should appear today (or tomorrow)... 😉

  • The real challenge for a modern person is to resist advertising. I have been promoting the thinking behind this challenge for maybe 4-5 months. And I personally like it very much. The less things I have (that is, those things that belong only to me and are bought with my money), the more independent I feel, which is an important feeling for me. After all, you are responsible for all those things that belong to you. Clothes, shoes, make-up products, books, vacuum cleaner, decorative plates and candle holders with a half-burnt candle, shoe spoon, kitchen "rackands" and all kinds of other crap.. All these things require to be placed somewhere safely, to be taken care of, etc. And if you you are traveling somewhere for a long time, e.g. you are moving, your belongings must travel with you. Therefore, in my opinion, the less stuff you have, the more free you are. And a person really needs less than many imagine, come up with or are taught to think 🙂

  • You might be surprised, but I live like this all the time. It's just that I was raised that way from a young age and I'm glad to have a resistance to use not out of necessity. But most people have a problem with overconsumption. I'm glad you're encouraging us to buy less in this consumer-obsessed world! When there is so much information screaming "use" it is very important to spread different information! Thank you for that!:-)

  • The longest I lasted without buying was 2 weeks :). After that, the "abstinence" syndrome attacked and when I realized it, the account was already empty :). I'm going to try the 4 week challenge.

  • Before buying something - I think very carefully 🙂 even food and drinks. In my life, I had an obsession with buying (clothes, shoes), but now I try to reduce the number of things. I keep tidying up here and there, giving something away, throwing something away. Minimalism is power anyway! Fewer things means less time to manage them 🙂

    • Less shopping, more money! This is my method of saving and keeping my house organized 😀

  • I found this article at just the right time and place. Just when I realized I was an incurable impulse shopper (I buy to buy, trying to find that all-encompassing feeling of fulfillment with each new item that suddenly evaporates when I get home). Literally, I categorically decided not to buy new things in principle until I started using the ones I already bought (for example, not to buy new books until I have finished reading the recently bought books and those lying on the shelf). You just need to immediately decide what to do with the saved money so that it does not start burning your palms again (that is, where to put it so that it is physically inaccessible)? When bank savings deposits have zero interest, I saw in "Cloud's Crazy Goals List" that one such way could be to invest that "free" money in loans to people (Savy, Finbee, etc.). But this is new to me... Could you comment on this goal of yours in an article, why you decided to do it, why there is not one site, but at least 5, of which I understand you have already tried 4. Did it work? Did it pay off? Did you save a little or just that free money turned into an even bigger minus? (I'm still wondering if there will be a VMI to declare the invested money and pay some percentage, after which it would be obtained that I didn't save, but went into the red). In other words, could you write an article about this in more detail, where to put that "free" money physically, so that there is no temptation to spend it (because I really shouldn't have it)?

  • Well done Daniel! We think quite similarly.

    I remember well the moments when I had already decided not to buy anything (except consumables or only really, really necessary things). You go to some Ikeja for a very specific purchase, you go, you admire the Scandinavian household furniture... you want one, and the other is beautiful. Then remind yourself in your mind that you will not buy. I held back, but I also remember very well that it was necessary to make an effort.
    Now, for more than a year, I go to some Ikeja for a very specific purchase, I go, I admire the Scandinavian household items.... And absolutely zero emotions, total indifference. I don't need it, I want it.
    It's a damn good feeling anyway. Freedom.

    In reality, I've had enough stuff in my house in the past year to count on half the fingers of my hand.
    Although if you walked into my house, you wouldn't think that I live a minimalist life, because I have things from before. However, they all have their place and none are unnecessary.
    It is better not to have something than to think about how to get rid of it. Because I don't like to throw things away either - I try to find things that I might need and give away.

    If there are any occasions (birthdays, etc.), I am in the habit of not giving my friends and relatives categorically any items. For the past couple of years, when inviting to a birthday party, I say: either bring vegan food (preferably less, but tasty), or donate to Empty Cages. And I also add that 5 euros is ok. Well, so that those who earn less do not think that my birthday will be expensive for them (-:

    It's true that our understanding of not buying is somewhat different, because I'm only talking about material things. Travels, tickets to the cinema, concert, etc. I don't count. That's why I don't buy more because I don't want extra things, which to me are in a sense pointless and anti-ecological. And I buy after being impressed. And if I have the financial opportunity, I just try to limit them less (-: Donation is also not included.

    Less Is More.

  • Wow, how many people in Lithuania are not yet full users! It's really nice to hear that there are potential balticmustache blog readers out there. My thoughts will not go in vain 🙂

    The challenge is very good. We in the BM family occasionally try not to buy anything for a week (absolutely nothing). It was difficult in the beginning, but now, in the mode of financial independence, it is easy, sometimes even naturally without effort. You will have to try your monthly challenge, but only when buying food 🙂

  • >