NO BUY 2019: August Empties and Purchases

Products I used up in August:

  1. Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Vanilla SPF 31 ($23)
  2. Elf Blotting Mist ($10.50)
  3. Sol de Janeiro Copacabana Bronze Glow Oil ($44)
  4. SkinCeuticals Metacell B3 ($125)
  5. ZO Skin Health 0.5 Brightenex ($100)
  6. Cheekbone Beauty Brow Gel ($24)

Total: $326.50

Products I purchased in August:

  1. SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair, 0.3 Retinol, and Phyto Corrective Gel ($246.42)
  2. Sephora VIB Sale purchases ($356.09)

Total: $602.51

 

Advertisements

NO BUY 2019: June Update

To put it bluntly, I did not have the same success in June as I did in May, though I’m not sure if I spent quite as much in June as I did in April.

I’m going to skip past the preamble and get right into the numbers:

Dollar value of the items I used up in June:

  1. Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $88
  2. Laroche Posay Micellar Foaming Wash, $22
  3. SkinFix Oil Cleanser Deluxe Sample (free)
  4. SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier Serum, $125

Items purchased in June:

  1. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution to replace my near empty Mario Badescu Glycolic Toner, $8.70
  2. IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 that definitely broke my No Buy rules, $58
  3. CoverFX High Performance Setting Spray Mini to replace my empty setting spray, $20
  4. The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants as I had no liquid sunscreen for the face, $9.70
  5. Biossance The Tea Tree Trio (minis) to replace my gel cleanser and partially break my No Buy rules, $38
  6. ELF Cosmetics Order of blushes, brow gel, etc. that were partially replacements, and partially sales purchases that broke my No Buy rules, $35.35 USD or about $46.43 CAD

Items used up: $235 
Items purchased: $180.83

 

 

NO BUY 2019: Success in May!

Drumroll, please!

I made it through the entire month of May without purchasing any beauty products. None! Whatsoever!

May went entirely the opposite of how April went, and unfortunately I can’t contribute my no buy success to my willpower alone. I came down with pneumonia in the first half of the month and had quite the time with it. It took about a week until I was diagnosed and prescribed antibiotics, and throughout the entire illness I was still having to work partial days at work because of short staffing issues. I was so exhausted from being sick and feeling like crap from working while so sick, that by the time I came home I just slept and had no time to even contemplate online shopping. On the few days that I was able to take off to recover, I still was so wiped out that I did not buy anything. As well, there was also the pressure of missing out on so much pay from taking time off work, making it easier to stick to my budget and prioritize paying for the bare essentials.

Here’s what I used up and purchased in May:

May purchases: None!

Total dollar value of products purchased as replacements or otherwise: $0.

May empties:

  1. Essence Instant Matte Setting Spray ($6)
  2. Glo Skin Beauty Daily Power C ($126)
  3. Drunk Elephant Protini Peptide Deluxe Sample
  4. Laroche Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide ($34)
  5. Nude by Nature Flawless Foundation Powder ($32)
  6. Laroche Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel ($25)
  7. NuFace Gel Primer ($17)

20190602_102228

Total dollar value of products used up: $240

Definitely my best month yet! As for replacements for cleansers and Vitamin C, I have a number of samples and trial sizes that I plan on using up and clearing out first, and then have some very low cost options I plan on purchasing eventually. We’re heading into summer, so I’ve been transitioning into my summer shades for powder and foundation, and have plenty to use up from last summer. For setting spray, I have plenty of facial mists to use up and a number of setting powders to substitute as well. I’m really hoping I can keep this frugal momentum going as we head into June!

NO BUY 2019: April empties and purchases, falling off the no buy bandwagon

Remember how I wanted to spend absolutely nothing on beauty for April? Yeah, me too. Embarrassingly, I accomplished the exact opposite of that goal.

I had heard that the Sephora VIB sale was going to be later in the spring, so I assumed it would be mid-May or later. I had some things I’d be planning to replace during the sale, but I hadn’t planned on going all out.

The start of April was a busy and tough time. There were lots of birthdays, lots of stress in my work and personal life, and I was sick for about a week and a half straight, missing four days of work and two weekends of plans. It’s fair to say that I was feeling sorry for myself and threw a huge pity party for myself. I decided, unwisely, to treat myself to a birthday order from Sephora.

Now this order in particular is not the hugest part of the problem. While I did purchase a very expensive item in this order, all of the items I purchased are things that I entirely love, have used non-stop since purchasing a few weeks ago, and see myself either using up entirely or using as much as possible. The order included the Pat McGrath Mothership V Bronze Seduction palette, which I have been drooling over since it was first released. I have watched more reviews and tutorials online for this palette than probably any other palette ever, and I have used it nearly every day in different ways since it arrived. The other items were the Fenty Beauty Lil Bronze Duo that comes with a mini Matchstix cream bronzer/contour and a mini version of the new Sun Stalk’r powder bronzer. Both are really excellent products that can be used on the daily, and because they are minis that I can travel with and keep in my purse, I do foresee myself panning them in the future.

This is where things fly off the rails. This beautiful little treat-myself purchase, that in itself wasn’t entirely awful, though it does violate my rules, burst the no buy dam. This is exactly what happened to me last year when I attempted a no buy, and I should have known better! I got that little rush of buying something new, trying something new, talking about my new purchase on my Instagram and with my makeup-loving friends and coworkers, and I just kept buying. I purchased a lot of the Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter line, and then made a huge purchase during the Sephora VIB Sale, that surprise, actually did start in April. Some of the items in my Sephora sale purchase were replacements, but I probably could have purchased for those replacement categories from the drugstore.

All-in-all, I did pretty horrible with my goal this month and I am really ashamed to throw these purchase totals up on the screen here. I cave horribly to these shopping cravings when I’m sick, depressed, or even just a little bit down, and it’s something that I need to be more active in addressing. I’ve decided that it’s in my best interest to block and delete anything Sephora-related from my devices and social media for the time being. However, unlike last year, I’m not going to completely give up on my no buy/low buy after this setback. I’m going to keep on going for the rest of the year with my no buy rules, and think about revising them to cut out any loopholes within the next week or so. In addition to deleting and blocking Sephora, I’m going to brainstorm other ways I can act to prevent this backslide from happening again.

The only good news in this otherwise bleak update, is that I managed to pay off some debt! I owed some money to some loved ones who had helped me out when I was laid off last August, and when my vehicle needed a number of expensive repairs this winter. I have entirely paid off both of those debts, and I am relieved to have them off my chest! I only have one outlet of debt left to tackle.

Anyways, after that long ramble, here are my totals for April:

Products purchased (some replacements, most, unfortunately, not replacements) for the month of April:

*Note: though a number of these products were purchased during the Sephora VIB Sale at 20% off, I’ve posted their regular prices. My calculations for the entire year won’t be entirely consistent, but I am fine with this, as this was my fault for not making clear protocol about my calculations when I started this no-buy year. I’d rather keep track of the total value of the products purchased for the year than the specific, miniscule sales savings. The 20% saved during the sales barely covers what the tax would have costed, anyways!

  1. Pat McGrath Mothership V Bronze Seduction Palette ($170)
  2. Fenty Beauty Bronzer Duo ($30)
  3. Physicians Formula Lip Creams in Brazillian Nut and Brazilian Sunset ($22 altogether)
  4. Physicians Formula Butter Eyeshadow in Sultry Nights ($20)
  5. Physicians Formula Matcha Melting Cleansing Balm ($20, this is an actual replacement)
  6. Joe Fresh Brow and Lash Brush ($10, this is also an actual replacement)
  7. NuFace Gel Primer ($17)
  8. Amika Soulfood Nourishing Hair Mask ($36)
  9. Amika Blockade Heat Defense Serum for Hair ($33)
  10. Tatcha Violet C Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA ($110, replacement product for my Glo Skin Beauty Vitamin C Serum)
  11. Patrick Ta Major Glow Body Oil ($65)
  12. Drunk Elephant Protini Peptide Moisturizer ($84)
  13. Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Detox Hydragel Eye Patches ($60)

Total retail value of products purchased in April 2019: $677**

**keeping in mind that a number of these items were on sale, so that actual dollar amount spent is a little bit lower than this, by about $81.00

Products I’ve finished in April:

  1. Essence Make Me Brow ($4)
  2. Essence Superlast Brow Pomade Pencil ($4)
  3. Covergirl Outlast All Day Primer ($13)

Total retail value of products I’ve used up in April 2019: $21

There’s not much left to say other than I made some huge mistakes, and May is going to be a month of figuring out how to stop myself from making those mistakes again year after year.

NO BUY 2019: Thoughts on inevitably losing VIB Rouge Status

This is something I’ve been thinking about since I decided to do a “no buy” year back in December 2018, and then thinking about why losing VIB Rouge status is even important to me. Serein Wu recently posted a video touching on this and I share many of the same feelings.

Presently as I write this on April 8, 2019, a little more than 4 months into my 13-month no buy year, I would need to spend $940 at Sephora before taxes by the end of 2019 to reach VIB Rouge Status for 2020. I’ve only spent $60 at Sephora since December 2018, averaging out to about $15 per month. If I continue along similarly with this spending average, there is no way I will reach VIB Rouge Status again by 2020. Even if I were to quit buying replacement products from the clinic I work at or the drugstore, I would still have to spend a little over $100 a month at Sephora to reach status again.

I think I first entered a Sephora about 4 years ago or so, back when I was but an infant mystified by the world of makeup and skincare. My friends were super into Sephora, but we didn’t have one in my university city yet. However, one opened up not too much later, and I gradually began shopping there more and more. At first I had zero disposable income during my first year of university, but gradually I picked up part-time work while in school, which fuelled the shopping.

At one such part-time job at a spa in my hometown, I worked with a number of reception staff who were trained as makeup artists and collected makeup, and this rubbed off on me. At this point in time I thought it was wild and unfathomable that I somehow made VIB status, and couldn’t believe that these ladies regularly made VIB Rouge status. I was a little envious not only of their makeup skills, but their luxury makeup collections as well.

As I found myself working more, school getting more difficult, and my mental health declining, I spent more and more. I became a little obsessed with the cycle of new releases, and was the person who would stay up late just to get a new palette as soon as it launched on Sephora. At this point, I had definitely more than made VIB Rouge status, and maintained this status for 3 years.

Sephora has done this really great job of marketing their rewards program and making it seem far more luxurious and important than it actually is. Even the language they choose to use amplifies the want to reach each tier of the program. Rather than using “VIB level” or “VIB tier”, they use “VIB status”, alluding to high social standing. They stagger their “perks”, saving benefits like free standard shipping and VIB Rouge event access for Rouges only.

All of these perks make a person feel special and privileged at first, but when it comes down to it these perks are not really a worthy award for the amount of money you are spending, and their only use is to aid in the shopping process. The tiny sample sizes are often too small to even be considered a proper travel-size, and only wet your lips to encourage you to buy other high-end products. The savings you receive are minimal, and the events are entirely shopping and sale based. Why did it make sense to spend $1000 on makeup, before taxes, in a year just to receive free shipping and tiny samples? I very rarely place a makeup order under $50, so by default I’m getting free shipping regardless of my Rouge status. While I love samples and travel sizes as much as the next person and find them to be quite handy at times, they often just end up sitting in my bathroom drawer unused until they expire.

After mulling over these points and Serein’s video, I realized that being sad about losing a fake status was something I didn’t need to waste my time with. In fact, losing VIB Rouge status or VIB status would actually be an accomplishment; it would mean that I’m making wiser financial choices and refining and minimizing my beauty collection.

NO BUY 2019: Products I finished and replaced in March, no buy update

I have become very aware of my moments of weakness, and what triggers the mindless Sephora app browsing for myself.  Usually it stems from the idea that “*something has happened* so, I deserve *blank*”. For example, “A patient verbally abused me on the phone at work today, so I deserve a pick-me-up”, “I’ve been doing so great at my no-buy that I deserve a treat”, “It’s my birthday in April, so I deserve a gift”, etc. My default thought process basically goes about self-care and emotion-regulating entirely wrong.

I’ve been trying to rethink these sorts of enabling thoughts. “I work hard so I deserve to be debt-free”, for example. I still mindlessly scroll through the Sephora app, but for shorter periods of time, and I unload my cart more quickly rather than letting these items pile up there for another day. Spending money on things I don’t need or even necessarily want when I know I have debt and upcoming expenses is no longer something I can pretend is okay, and even “window shopping” online isn’t as satisfying as it used to be, which is good! This lowers temptation significantly.

Through all the temptations and tribulations, here is what I actually purchased in March:

  1. Glo Skin Beauty Foundation, Pressed Base, and Brush ($74). I will fully admit, this technically breaks my no-buy rules. I was not entirely out of foundation or powder foundation, and probably could have made do with what I’ve got at home for brushes. I broke my rules as we were placing a retail order at work, and when ordering for the clinic staff is able to get a discount. I stocked up on things I know I’ll use. I go through pressed powder like water, and wanted a dewy foundation in a more suitable shade for my skin tone. The shade I purchased, Tahini, is light enough that I can wear it now with a lighter powder if really blended out, but dark enough that I’ll still be able to wear it throughout most of the summer. Still though, I did break the rules, I cannot deny that!
  2. Essence Instant Matte Setting Spray ($6). I had entirely used up my last Essence Instant Matte and had no other matte setting sprays, so this was a rule-abiding replacement.
  3. Pixi 24K Eye Roller Serum ($28). I was entirely out of eye cream, so this is a rule-abiding replacement.
  4. Laroche Posay Cicaplast Hands ($12). This as well, technically breaks my no-buy. However I was stuck in Toronto with no hand lotion in the middle of winter, so I am justifying this purchase. I keep this in my purse and it will be used and appreciated quickly.
  5. SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3 ($125). This replaces the daytime moisturizer I finished.
  6. Laroche Posay Cicaplast Lips ($10). I was in need of a lip balm. I’m 90% sure I’ve already lost this in the depths of my car.
  7. Laroche Posay Lipikar 400ml ($33). I finished alllllll of my back up Celazome body lotions and purchased this as a replacement for my bathroom, and to refill all my little portable lotion tubes.

Total dollar value of products purchased: $288

What I used up in March:

  1. Essence Instant Matte Setting Spray ($6)
  2. Glo Skin Beauty Oil Control Emulsion ($56)
  3. Physicians Formula Killer Curves Mascara ($15)

Total dollar value of products used up: $76

Not my best month, according to the numbers! And definitely not great compared to last year’s numbers. In 2018, on average, I spent $197.83 per month at Sephora. Mind you, this didn’t include work purchases, and I certainly did a fair amount of shopping at work, so the numbers may not be that far off. Still, I would like to get to a point where I am spending significantly less than I did at this time last year, so that I can save significantly more money towards things that actually matter.

Because I am sitting pretty comfy with my makeup and skincare stash right now, I’m going to challenge myself more for the month of April within my no buy. I will buy absolutely nothing for my entire birthday month with my own money. I don’t foresee myself running out of anything, so I will need no replacements.

 

NO BUY 2019: Trip to Toronto, and advice for those travelling on a low buy or no buy

Travelling while on a no buy can be…challenging. I recently had the privilege of travelling to Toronto for the Jack Summit 2019 national youth mental health advocacy conference. It’s an annual summit where around 200 or so applicants are selected to attend a three day long conference of panels, guest speakers, workshops, and networking events related to mental health advocacy for those under the age of 25. I decided to extend my visit by a few days to see more sights around Toronto, visit a few friends, and take a break from work stress.

For those who live in larger cities, this may not be a big deal. But coming from small-city-Saskatchewan where the shopping isn’t bad but definitely isn’t impressive; this posed quite a challenge for my no buy. In the past when I’ve gone to Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver, I have always flown home with a suitcase ready to wrench itself open at moment because it is so filled with purchases that I normally can’t get at home. Usually I’ve done a mini-clothing spree and have half a dozen Sephora purchases, alongside the usual post cards and Chapters/Indigo things I pick up at the airport or for the plane ride home.

This year I was determined to enjoy myself, but still do my best to stick to my no buy. I budgeted myself $100 per day maximum for sightseeing, eating out, transportation within the city, and shopping. Surprisingly, I did manage to stick to this budget! I think the thought of overspending, coming home to even more debt, and then letting that guilt ruin my holiday and conference, kept me in check. There were a few days where I was slightly over my budget, but this was balanced out by the few days where I was significantly under budget. By braving my public transportation anxieties (I am SUCH a country mouse in the city, as we don’t even have a subway system in my entire province) to take the subway and walk to the majority of my destinations, I spent maybe $45 total on transportation. To my recollection it was about $21 for the half a dozen subway rides I took, about $7 for the Uber my roomie and I took the last day of the conference when we were absolutely exhausted and overslept, and about $15 for the UP Express from downtown Toronto to the airport. For food, it fluctuated between cheap meals on the run and a few really nice sit down or order in meals, and I didn’t go too wild with any alcohol purchases, which is what usually hurts the food budget the most. For sightseeing I did a few free attractions like local art galleries and the Allen Gardens Conservatory, with a few paid entrance attractions like Casa Loma ($30 or so), which were worth the price because they were not only enjoyable but filled up so much of my day.

I think what was most impressive is that when it came down to shopping, I didn’t buy anything that violated my no buy. My purchases included: postcards to thank my conference sponsors from Casa Loma, an eye roller serum from Pixi by Petra (I was entirely out of any eye products for multiple weeks prior), a Laroche Posay Cicaplast hand lotion because I had forgotten mine at home and the hotel lotion was doing nothing to help my cracked hands, a 10 year goal planner from Indigo, and some bandaids and Polysporins because I absolutely destroyed my feet with the boots I was walking kilometres in.

It was really satisfying because when I flew home I didn’t have to worry about fitting everything into my carry-on bags, I knew that I hadn’t created a ton of debt to add onto my already existing debt, and I was going home with a few well-needed and well-wanted purchases that I was genuinely excited about!

My advice for anyone going on a tantalizing and tempting trip while sticking to a no buy:

  • Create a realistic (key word: REALISTIC) budget. Consider food, transportation, sightseeing, the taxes added onto those totals, and whatever shopping that fits into your rules. Make sure your estimates are realistic to the actual cost of those items in that area, and make sure to give yourself a bit of wiggle space. I like to round up my daily travel budget by about $15 to $20 to account for miscalculations or surprise expenses, like getting lost and having to take a cab, etc. Consider whether or not you will be eating in sit down restaurants or more so fast food and on the fly, whether or not you will be making your own food at where you are staying, and whether or not you’ll be consuming alcohol on your trip (that adds up quickly), but don’t deprive yourself of an enjoyable vacation. It’s a tricky balance, but I’m always reminded of my mom’s advice. She always says that you can eat inexpensive bologna sandwiches for weeks when you get home for a trip, but you should enjoy the brand new sights, scents, and tastes of your destination while you’re there.
  • Look for tourist deals or coupons before you head out on your trip. For example, Montreal has a MTL Passeport where tourists can by a two day or three day pass that gives them unlimited access to public transportation and a number of museums, galleries, and other attractions for the amount of time specified. If the attractions on that list are what you mainly plan on doing for that number of days, it can save you a fair bit of cash on admission to all of these attractions.
  • Research free attractions in the city. Toronto’s Allen Gardens is a beautiful example! I spent nearly an hour wandering around the glass conservatory checking out the plants and turtles, enjoying a break from the cold outside, and taking in the warm temperatures of the conservatory.
  • Take a breather when you are close to impulse buying. Take a lap around the mall, or take a moment to head to the bathroom and come back before purchasing something. It can be easy to get caught up in the mentality of “We don’t have that back home, I need to buy it, now or never!” with things that we don’t need or even want that badly. Taking a moment to think about how it will be a pain in the ass to haul home with you, or to remind yourself of the similar items you have back home, helps.

That’s about it from me today. How is everyone else doing on their 2019 no buys? The majority of folks seem to be on month three (except for those who started earlier, like me!). Has it gotten more difficult as time has gone on? Easier? I’d love to hear how you all are doing!