NO BUY 2019: What I spent in February, a check-in

If you are going to do a no buy at any point in time, I highly recommend incorporating a budget into your rules. I did NOT incorporate a budget into my rules at the beginning, and I find that I am still spending a lot of money on beauty products. Instead of replacing products with cheaper products when they’re finished, it seems that I’ve been replacing them with equally expensive, if not more expensive products, which is something I aim to change in future months. I seriously cannot stress how helpful it is to create very specific and detailed rules for your no buy, as you will constantly seek out loopholes to feel okay about spending if you truly are addicted to shopping. It’s hard because I work in a clinic that sells expensive skincare, skincare that I know is really good and has been effective for my skin in the past. However, even with my staff discount, I cannot afford this skincare and I think I need to accept that. I can’t afford to keep buying luxury line replacements from work or from Sephora and I need to stop pretending that I can, because the interest rates on my credit card will slowly eat me alive. From here on out I am going to try and replace items with drugstore products, or from affordable lines like The Ordinary and Mario Badescu.

I think a big challenge in my no buy will be my upcoming trip to Toronto. Whenever I go to Toronto I tend to overspend because there are so many stores there that we don’t have anywhere in Saskatchewan, and I prefer to try on clothes or try out products in person. However, I plan on arriving with a set list of items that I can purchase and a budget for each day that I spend in Toronto to keep me on track. I need a pair of jeans as I only have two pairs that fit me, and the one pair is several years old and literally ripping apart on me. I also need a good bra that fits me, as well as an inexpensive eye cream. I’m hoping to visit the actual Deciem store, so I am hoping to pick up my Caffeine Eye Serum there and see what the store itself is like. I won’t be purchasing any makeup or books on this trip, as I have in the past.

As I won’t be purchasing or using up anything else in February, here is what I spent and what I used up this month:

What I spent on replacement beauty products in February 2019:

  • Mario Badescu Glycolic Toner ($22): I purchased this as I was entirely out of toners, including samples.
  • Laroche Posay Micellar Foaming Cleanser ($22): I purchased this because I had a bad bout of fungal acne earlier on in the month, and the ingredients in a number of my other skincare products aggravated and fed my fungal acne. I purchased this and a few other products to use until the fungal acne cleared up.
  • Laroche Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide ($34): Purchased for fungal acne.
  • Milk Luminous Blur Stick ($0): This was a Sephora reward that came with my Mario Badescu Toner order.
  • Aczone Gel ($80): Prescribed by the dermatologist I work with for my fungal acne outbreak.
  • Nude by Nature Foundation ($36): Purchased because I have no matte liquid foundations. I do presently have a Covergirl foundation, and though it claims to be matte it is a luminous finish. This is fine when I go out or to wear on weekends, but at work I prefer something more heavy duty. The shade itself turned out to be lighter than expected, but I have been mixing it with a summer shade of Glo foundation and it seems to be working a bit better for my skin tone.
  • Nude by Nature Powder Foundation ($32): I purchased this as I had entirely finished my Giorgio Armany Powder. I did actually try to go a few weeks without using any powder foundation to see if it was actually a necessity, but I did direly miss it. I frequently use powder foundation both on its own and to set my greasy t-zone when wearing liquid foundation, and have come to the conclusion that it is something worth keeping in my routine.

Total Canadian dollar value of product replacements purchased in February: $226

Products that I entirely finished in February 2019 and their value in Canadian dollars:

  • ZO Skin Health Sulphur Masque ($65)
  • Skin Medica 0.25 Retinol ($85)
  • LaRoche Posay Cicaplast B5 Gel ($20)
  • Celazome Penetrating Body LotionĀ  x 2 ($68)

Total Canadian dollar value of products I used up in February: $238

Another thing I am discovering during this no buy is what I can and cannot live without in my routine. For the most part I haven’t missed eye cream sort of products too much, but doing my makeup without using powder foundation was driving me insane. I’ve been trying to pause for a few days or weeks before purchasing replacements to see if in fact I do need to replace that item category, or if I can live without it.

Are there any makeup or skincare categories you think you could easily eliminate entirely from your regime? Off the top off my head I feel like I could probably go without primers of any kind without being too heartbroken, and maybe lip liner and translucent setting powder. Are there any categories you know for sure you could never give up?

NO BUY 2019: 70 days in

Southern Saskatchewan is in a deep freeze right now. It’s been -30 C or colder (much! colder!) for about six weeks now, and it is a depressing time of year for a number of reasons. Everyone I know (except me) seems to be off on a tropical vacation escaping the cold, I don’t want to leave my house because it is so damn cold, my normal aches and pains are aggravated aggressively by work stress and the cold itself, and I’m about ready to throw myself a selfish little pity party. I think this feeling of winter misery is something anyone in a colder northern climate can relate to. You just can’t escape the cold as it makes every day tasks like commuting to work or getting groceries infinitely more difficult and unpleasant. I swear, my car the other day made a noise like an injured tyrannosaurus rex when I tried to turn it on the morning of a -45 C day. I realize I’m being a huge whiny baby about this deep freeze, but I feel at least some of it is justified!

These self pity parties are super dangerous for budgets and no buys though, in my experience. What do you do when the cold outside can literally kill you in minutes, you’ve already eaten all of the good junk food in your house, and you’ve maxed out the new Netflix releases? Well, shop online of course! It’s frigid outside! You deserve a treat to cheer you up, don’t you? I find myself dangerously scrolling through the Sephora app and clothing store sites, loading up my cart, claiming I have no intention of purchasing it, but feeling oh so tempted to click that “check out” button and feel a little happy buzz amid this winter depression. The urge is so strong, even though there are no products that I genuinely need and definitely don’t have the money to pay for extravagances like a Foreo UFO or a whole slew of Charlotte Tilbury and Tatcha. I literally stopped myself and commented on a video by Allana Davison. It was a full face of Charlotte Tilbury video, and I said something along the lines of “If I wasn’t on a no buy year I probably would have logged onto Sephora and bought the majority of the products in this video!”. It’s terrifying how a low mood paired with even slightly triggering content and push you towards a shopping spree you definitely don’t need.

The main motivation for avoiding caving in is that I hope to visit my friend in Australia at the end of this year, and to go on a warm holiday at some point next winter, in addition to paying off the debt I’ve accumulated. Whenever I find myself browsing Sephora mindlessly I try to take a look at my makeup and skincare collection and remind myself of how long it will take to use it all up, and then divert my attention to Australia travel blogs or holiday Pinterest boards. I’m trying to set myself up financially so that I can afford to treat myself to experiences like travel, dinners out with friends, and concerts and other shows. Buying new makeup is great and exciting, but sitting at home with a vanity full of high end makeup and nowhere to wear it to isn’t a very full or vibrant life.

In moments of weakness I keep trying to redirect my attention to no buy youtubers and budgeting youtubers, to reiterate that I do not need to spend what I do not have to feel happy or to live a worthwhile life.

Has the winter SAD hit you? How are you doing at this point in your no buy, or at this point in the year in general?

NO BUY 2019: the ins and outs of December/January

Products I have purchased to replace products within my rules:

  1. SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel $74 CAD
  2. Laroche Posay Effaclar Gel Cleanser $23 CAD
  3. Essence Insta Mat Setting Spray $6 CAD
  4. Two Sephora Z Palettes on sale, to aid in the decluttering of my powder face products $17.15 CAD total for both
  5. Cheekbone Beauty Buffy Liquid Lipstick $29 CAD (work)
  6. Cheekbone Beauty Cindy Liquid Lipstick $29 CAD (work)
  7. Cheekbone Beauty Sweetgrass Gloss $24 CAD (work)
  8. Cheekbone Beauty Brow Gel $24 CAD (work)
  9. Cheekbone Beauty Contour Palette $49 CAD (work)
  10. Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner $22 CAD
    Dollar amount/value of products coming into my collection: $297.15

Empties I have finished:

  1. Phloretin CF $175 CAD
  2. Wet and Wild Photo Focus Matte Setting Spray $6 CAD
  3. March Jacobs Honey and Daisy perfume deluxe samples
  4. Giorgio Armani Beauty Power Fabric Foundation in 5 $72 CAD
  5. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask Mini
  6. SkinCeuticals Blemish and Age Defense $100 CAD
  7. ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser Mini
  8. Biossance Oil Cleanser $36 CAD
  9. Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Powder Foundation $72 CAD
  10. Lush Eau De Roma Water $10.95 CAD
  11. SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel $74 CAD
    Dollar amount/value of products leaving my collection: $545.95

NO BUY 2019: 54 days in


I am nearly two months into my no buy, and honestly I’m really loving it. I actually get excited when I use up a product category and get to seek out a new one. Instead of just hopping on the Sephora app and picking out multiple replacements as I previously did, I spend more time reading reviews, shopping around, and considering drugstore options. I’m actually getting good use out of my products, instead of letting them sit around and expire.

Products I’ve finished so far:
Skinceuticals Phloretin CF ($175)
Wet N Wild Photo Focus Mate Setting Spray ($6)
Marc Jacobs Honey and Daisy Deluxe Perfume Samples
Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation ($72)
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask Mini
SkinCeuticals Blemish and Age Defense ($100)
ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser Mini
Biossance Oil Cleanser ($36)

Total dollar value of products used up from December 2018-January 2019: $389

I wish I could boast about how much money I’ve saved and how great it is for myself financially now, but that is not entirely the truth. Any money that I have managed to save has had to go towards paying off debt, and paying for a sudden and expensive vehicle repair. Had I been spending responsibly and reasonably on makeup and skincare the past three or so years, perhaps I wouldn’t have some of this debt, and would actually have emergency funds for vehicle repairs and other unpredictable expenses.

I do want to switch over more of my products to drugstore as I replace them. For some reason, once I started using high end products I developed this petty superiority complex, where I thought that high end products were better and I simply could not revert back to buying less expensive drug store products, which is ridiculous. Now that I’ve started trying out more new drugstore products and that more drugstore brands are becoming cruelty-free, there are so many affordable options! I have recently been enjoying the CoverGirl Outlast Primer, and the Essence Matte Setting Spray, for example. Normally I have super low expectations for setting sprays, but this one by Essence is surprisingly nice. It has a fine and wide mist, and it actually does improve the longevity of my makeup without making my face feel cemented down.

How is everyone else’s no buys going so far?

Marie Kondo’ing my makeup stash

I know everyone is sick of hearing about Marie Kondo, but she is so popular for a reason. Instead of the usual tidying methods that involve aggressive change, clutter shaming, and intensive renovations and makeovers, the KonMarie method is so simple. Simply find what sparks joy, and thank what you no longer need. There isn’t a prescribed number of items that every person must have, as every person is different. One person may only find joy in a dozen books, while someone else may find joy in fifty. One person may be happy with a minimalist closet, while another may have a beautiful collection of shoes that brings happiness to their daily life. It’s different for everyone, and that’s okay.

I first read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up about a year and a bit ago, and at that time I wasn’t really able to entirely overhaul my home and belongings. I lived in a one bedroom apartment, had just finished up my degree, and was working multiple jobs. I often worked anywhere from 9 to 16 days in a row without a day off, and worked physically and emotionally demanding jobs, so that when I came home I just did not have the energy to dump out my makeup drawer or my closet and go through my items one by one.

However, at the start of 2019 I was stuck at home sick with the flu for a week, and began watching Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix, as I couldn’t leave my bed or my house as per doctor’s orders. With this spare time stuck at home alone, I started dumping drawers onto my bed and began sorting and tidying inbetween naps. I haven’t necessarily gone in Kondo’s recommended order of categories, but have been sorting as I’ve needed and have revisited a few categories a second time if I kept too many items the first time due to guilt or sentimental attachment. I have accumulated A LOT of stuff throughout the years, and I’m pretty sure I still have stuff at my parents’ house even.

Makeup was a hard category, as I’m very aware of how much each item costs and couldn’t help but feel as if I was throwing away money at first, even though so many items I never used, didn’t have the desire to use in the future, or had expired. Books were the second hardest, as there is this weird culture with English students and writers where you almost have this strange sense of pride over who and what is on your bookshelf, as well as the number of books you own. The fact that many of the books I owned were by local authors that I personally know or local authors that I look up to made it even harder to get rid of these books! I had to sit down, pause, and remind myself that I had already purchased the book, sang its praises, and supported the author to the best of my ability. By donating these books to others who might not otherwise have access to this book was only helping both that person, the author, and myself. I had to remind myself over and over again that there was virtually no downside to donating the books I knew I would not reread, and eventually I got over that hurdle. Considering that there are very few books I’ve actually wanted to reread in my lifetime, I donated a fair chunk of them.

Jumping back to the makeup, I want to touch on something that Hannah Louise Poston has mentioned in a number of her videos, the idea that having some empty space in her home is more valuable than certain items. I am discovering, as I continue to declutter, sort, and clean, that this is true for me as well. Prior to decluttering, I had zero space for anything new in my home. I moved to my new rental, much larger than my prior apartment, at the end of November, and unpacking literally came to a standstill because I didn’t have space for what remained in my boxes. That’s right. Even though I now had significantly more square footage at my disposal, I STILL didn’t have enough room for all of my belongings. If I were to find a new plant or a new book that I really liked, I wouldn’t have had anywhere to put it. Home wasn’t necessarily a space where I could ditch my stress and anxiety, because the number of items in my home was a cause of my anxiety and stress. This was contrasted so greatly by the yoga studio I attend, and the “after” shots of the homes in Marie Kondo’s show, where there was just enough blank space to put the mind at ease, but just enough items in the space to make it feel as if it had heart and character.

I’m not yet done decluttering, but I am getting to a point where there is a more comfortable amount of blank space in my home and that letting things go isn’t as difficult.

I wanted to share some of the decluttering I’ve done in my makeup collection, in case anyone else is working on downsizing their collection and making more space.

Eyeshadow palettes have been my weakness. Partially because they’re colourful, shiny, and divine, and partially I think because the trend and focus of new releases for the past year or two has been eyeshadow palettes. I thanked and decluttered my Tarte Make Believe in Yourself Palette because I never use it, my Tarte Swamp Queen palette because it’s very old and rarely used anymore, my Nyx Palette because I’m not a fan of the formulation, and my Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette because I have shade dupes for every single shade in that palette, but in better formulated shadows. I don’t think I will be buying anything from Tarte in the future as the ethics of their very whitewashed company rub me the wrong way, and I’m not overly drawn to their repetitive products at this point anyways. I have no beef with Urban Decay or Nyx, but just don’t use these palettes, and know they will be better used in the hands of a friend.

The gold and glass tray on the left has been with me for awhile. It used to be entirely filled with lip products, and I even had a smaller second tray for the overflow. The products on the right are all either very expired, freebies I never really sought out myself, or products that I’ve never been super into but came in a set of other lip products. Those on the right are all hitting the trash bin! It’s refreshing to see space in my tray, to have less decision fatigue when selecting a lipstick in the morning, and less guilt about leaving products unused. I’ve whittled it down to my favourites, and now stand a chance of actually using some of these products up before they expire.

I found that I wasn’t using a lot of my face products because they were all in separate, smaller palettes or compacts, and I had to open each and every one to see it. I depotted the majority of my blushes, contours, and highlighters, and put them in these magnetic palettes (that I got on sale!) so that I could chuck the shades I no longer liked and have the ones I do still love where I can easily view them. In doing so I downsized several palettes and compacts into two, and now have a rearrangeable palette I can curate for travel and other circumstances.

After purging the makeup, I took another gander at my skincare drawer and chucked a bunch of old crusty bottles, and rearranged my drawer. Everything feels more spacious, and less overwhelming, and I love it! I may still purge a bit more, but for now, this is a positive step.

Have you fallen into the Marie Kondo organizational trend? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your makeup or skincare collection? And would you rather have space, or have your space be filled to the brim? I’m curious to see what works for others!

NO BUY 2019: The end of sick day shopping

I’ve been sick with an awful flu bug since January 1, so sick that my doctor told me to stay off work for a week and do nothing but sleep so that I don’t spread the bug around to others and prolong how long I am sick for. As you can imagine it was great for the first few days to sleep all day and watch Netflix, but at this point I wish I were feeling better because I am bored out of my mind.

The urge to shop online has been a lot stronger since I got sick. I didn’t really put two and two together until now, but a lot of my outlandish spending from yesteryear took place online when I was at home sick. My immune system and stress management isn’t the greatest, so I’m sick pretty frequently during the winter months. When you’re bored and starved for some sort of stimulation or social interaction after staying home alone for days, online shopping easily filled that void. You’re getting that little happy buzz, and something delivered to your door to distract you from how poorly you feel. Without that distraction, I felt a little restless this time around. I kept flipping between Netflix shows, and mindlessly added Sephora items to my cart knowing that I could not and would not actually hit that checkout button.

After realizing this wasn’t helping, I tried to read a little bit, but ultimately ended up watching dupe videos for skincare. I figured if I couldn’t shop, I could try and research cheaper alternatives for my current skincare routine to purchase when I do actually run out of that item.

I haven’t caved yet and don’t plan on doing so, and I’m glad I made it over my first bump of the no buy! I’ve also got a lengthy list of skincare items to use as replacements when my current stash runs dry, and hopefully save a little cash in doing so.

NO BUY 2019: Why I’m doing a no buy year

Happy New Year, friends! I am now a month into my 13-month-baker’s-dozen-no-buy, and I figured it’s about time I come clean with why I decided to do a no-buy. Everyone’s reasons for doing a no buy are different: some just want to save money, some are running out of room in their homes and on their vanities, and others have an unhealthy relationship with shopping. I definitely fall into each of these categories.

I first got into makeup at the end of high school/beginning of university. My first year of university I had two friends/roommates from high school who had been watching Youtube tutorials since Youtube’s inception. They were our resident makeup gurus, and we could usually coax them into doing our makeup before parties or concerts. My first year of university was the first year that I had been single in my adult life, and my not-so-supportive prior partner had always said how they didn’t like me in heavy makeup, and so this was the first time that I felt I could really experiment with makeup and feel beautiful and not be chastised about it. Makeup was also a fun bonding experience with my troupe of gal pals. It was fun to pre-drink, take pictures, and chat while doing our hair and makeup together before going out for a fun night. Even though I was mostly just using cheap ELF makeup and my roommate’s UD Naked palette, it was probably the most fun and exciting period of makeup in my life. I wasn’t buying much makeup other than the odd lip product because I couldn’t afford to, but I loved doing my makeup each day before class.

My second year of university was a little more dicey, and I think this is where the bad spending first started to pop up. This year I bought my very first higher end makeup product, the Urban Decay Naked 3 (pink) palette. My high school and first year friends and I had ended up going separate ways, and I was hanging out more with people from my English classes and some students who worked at the same job I had started working at that previous summer. It was a harder time, as I found myself struggling more with my mental health, like many university students do, and my physical health, and trying to keep up with university, writing, and work, all while not really being well. I had one friend in particular who also experienced moderate to severe anxiety about school and life in general, and I found myself skipping class at least once a week with them to go to Chapters or the mall. At Chapters and Sephora we would usually end up getting expensive coffees and then making at least one stress-purchase. I don’t blame this friend at all, because we were both dealing with a lot and we definitely both enabled each other’s unhelpful spending. We always justified it, as English majors, as “You can never have too many books, right? It helps us with our degree, it helps us to be better writers, etc.”

From here my spending habits just kind of continued to slide. I continued to use shopping as a way to cheer myself up and cope with the depression and anxiety. I justified it because makeup had become a hobby for me. I had a few new friends who liked makeup too, we took makeup lessons together, and I spent most of my non-academic and non-work time watching makeup tutorials and recreating looks in my apartment. It was a hobby I could do from home in the cold winter months when school, my health, and the weather got me down.

However, because I had become such an avid watcher of the Youtube influencer community, I quickly became sucked into the “You need this!” race of getting the newest items, of feeling panicked when I couldn’t get my hands on limited edition items, and of feeling the need to get everything from each tutorial I watched. Again, I don’t blame anyone else for this. I applied critical thinking to essays and readings during my degree, but I didn’t apply this same criticism to my consumption of beauty products. I willingly chose to blindly dive into this unhealthy consumerism culture without questioning the reviews I was watching or the motives of those making the reviews, and without doing the math or creating a sustainable beauty budget for myself.

As I started first working at a spa and then later at a laser clinic, I discovered even more ways to enable and justify my addictive spending. I was seeing improvements with treating my acne and I didn’t want to revert back to my old breakouts. I claimed that it was for work, because I could make better product recommendations, more sales, and more commission if I used the products myself and could vouch for them. I was working in two different cities, and had a hoard of skincare at both my place and at my parents’ place.

It’s only in the past year or two that I’ve become more conscious of my purchases and have made an effort to get back on track. I attempted a no buy last year, but didn’t have a plan in place, or any sort of guidelines, and lacked specific goals, so I failed miserably. There have been set backs, such as being laid off and having limited income for awhile, and caving horribly during Sephora sales. I used each setback as an excuse to completely sabotage the rest of the progress I had made.

This time around though I know I have the tools to succeed with this no buy, to get back on track with my spending, and to pay off my debt and save up for my dreams. I want to be able to take a warm vacation in the future, to travel more overall, and to buy a house, and I’ve realized that with how I was previously spending, I would never achieve these goals in my lifetime.

Hannah Louise Poston (Youtube) said something along the lines of “I was spending like a rich lady, when I was in fact not a rich lady” in regards to how Youtube makes us feel like spending exorbitant amounts of money on skincare and makeup is “self care”, when it’s actually self-sabotaging. This hit home. I had been buying skincare beyond my means because I thought it was necessary to take care of my acne, and I was buying makeup out of my budget because I worked hard and was stressed and thought I deserved it. This sort of mentality, and many of the influencers I followed on Youtube at the time, have become a huge trigger for my harmful spending.

To sum up this lengthy ramble, I am doing this no buy year because I need it. I think it will be a positive step towards paying off my debt and meeting my financial goals. I think it will be a positive and planned out step towards breaking harmful habits and cutting out spending triggers. Most importantly, it is an opportunity for me to rediscover ways to cope with stress, poor mental health, and the usual mess life throws at us humans in a healthier, less expensive way. I’ve got my rules, I’ve got my community, and I’ve got the motive.

If you’re doing a no buy year, please get in touch with me! I’d love to have some blogging friends I can chat with about this experience. If you’re not doing a no buy, how do you manage your spending, whether it be for makeup, skincare, clothing, hobbies, pets, kids, etc.? What are your budgeting strategies and how have they worked for you?