2020: My Year of Less

In 2018 and 2019 I attempted versions of a no buy year, succeeding in a few ways and failing in many. I failed, most importantly, in that I ended up breaking my rules and buying forbidden beauty and skincare items before the year was up. I succeeded in that I did significantly reduce the amount of money I spent on these products each year, and opted for more sustainable options.

In 2020, I am attempting it again. Of course, with the hopes that this time I will completely meet my goals and completely follow the rules I set out for myself. Even if I fail though, I feel confident that at the bare minimum I will make some progress, make some healthy changes, and learn a bit more.

I recently finished listening to Cait Flander’s audiobook, The Year of Less, and really enjoyed listening to her experience. Seeing that she is able to travel more and reach more of her goals now that she has her spending in check has made me really hopeful.

I’m attempting another no buy year/year of less sort of challenge for a number of reasons. I would like to save more money to visit my friend who lives abroad in Australia, travel more in general, and put more money towards purchasing a home. Reducing the amount of clutter and objects in my home has greatly helped with my anxiety and has made it a bit easier to keep my home clean, but I’m not quite at the ideal place I’d like to be. I still have a number of clothes that don’t fit me since I gained weight, makeup and skincare that I need to use or get rid of, and a pile of 27 books, 3 audiobooks, and 15 ebooks that are sitting about unread. I’ve got more of a push to downsize my belongings this go-around, as one of my brothers is moving in and we will no longer have a spare room to throw all of the odds and ends we don’t use on the daily.

My goals for my year of less:

  1. Opt for more sustainable options in my home, and reduce the amount of unnecessary garbage coming out of my home.
  2. Use up the backlog of makeup, skincare, and books that I own.
  3. Stop buying things I do not need so that I can travel and one day own a home.
  4. Improve my mental health and the way I cope with stress and how that translates to my shopping habits.

How I am going to achieve these goals:

  1. Regular declutter challenges, starting with a big clean and declutter right before the new year.
  2. Create a set of clear and simple rules about what I can and cannot buy.
  3. Dedicate the money I would have unnecessarily spent on beauty and books to savings accounts for travel and home ownership.
  4. Track the skincare and beauty items I am using up, with the goal of completing the Reverse Rouge challenge. The Reverse Rouge challenge is something I first saw on Instagram, where beauty enthusiasts pledge not to buy new makeup and instead attempt to use up $1000 worth of beauty products, as $1000 is the amount needed to be spent at Sephora to reach VIB Rouge status in their rewards program.
  5. Consume content that relates to my goals. For example, reading other no buy year blogs and books instead of watching makeup reviews on Youtube, spending less time on social media where I’m exposed to countless advertisements, etc.
  6. Hold myself accountable by blogging about it.

The rules:

  1. Makeup: No makeup purchases at all in 2020.
  2. Skincare: No purchases until I entirely run out of one category. Exception: The Caroline Hirons Spring Kit, as her Winter Kit has been well used and has actually been a good investment in my skin.
  3. Sephora: No Sephora purchases at all in 2020. I’m quite unimpressed with Sephora’s rewards program, and how even though Sephora does next to nothing to retain their customers, I still spend a stupid amount of money through their mobile app. A few hours ago I cut up my VIB card, and I intend to instead shop directly from brand websites or at local stores if needed to replace skincare once entirely out.
  4. Nail polish: No nail polish purchases in 2020. This has not been a bad category for spending since I stopped working at a spa, but I would like to use up the nail polish that I currently have first.
  5. Hair products: Purchase as needed. I don’t spend a lot on my hair, and I don’t shop for hair products impulsively or ridiculously. I’m not worried about this category and am fine with purchasing a decent shampoo and conditioner every now and then for my curly hair.
  6. I am only tracking the facial skincare and makeup products I use up (no body care, hair care, etc.).
  7. If I purchase a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes, one old item has to be thrown out, donated, or sold.
  8. Books: No books to be purchased in 2020. As I mentioned above, I have 45 books to get through first that have sat unread for weeks, months, and years. For the book club titles I will need to read, I will either borrow them from the library or borrow from within my book club. It’s a good group of ladies that is good for sharing both purchased and library copies to make sure everyone can read the book before the meet-up, so I am not worried.
  9. Any makeup gift cards will be kept until the challenge is over. Gift cards don’t expire, and there is no rush to use them. Any book gift cards can be used up after the challenge as well.

I am excited for 2020 and the positive actions I can take this year. If you’re doing a no-buy challenge or year of less challenge too, pop by and say hello 😊

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.

2019 NO BUY: The Inventory

I started my 2019 no buy a month early on December 1, 2018, making it a 13-month no buy. On the second day of my no buy, I took an inventory of all of my makeup and skincare products, which I think is crucial to determining the efficacy of my no buy. What use is abstaining from purchasing makeup if in 13 months I can’t go back and determine how many products I finished and decluttered overall, or if I am stuck with the exact same amount of makeup?

With this inventory I haven’t outlined a specific number I would like to reduce each category to by the end of the year, but I do have a vague idea in my head. In a perfect world, I would love to be able to chop my collection right in half. To be able to use up say 40% of my makeup and declutter 10% and be left with a manageable 50% of the collection going forward in 2020. However, I know that based on my previous makeup usage this is not a realistic outcome. Although I LOVE makeup, because I need to be at work early in the morning and I am NOT a morning person, I often go barefaced the majority of the work week. Even on weeks when I am really into doing my makeup in the morning, I still like to have 2-3 barefaced days so my skin can “breathe”. Realistically, I think that downsizing my collection by about 15% to 20% in this year is more achievable.

I also want to note that this starting inventory is not something I am boasting about. Honestly, when purchasing a decent portion of this makeup I was going beyond my means, and I don’t think that’s anything to brag about. This is just to give both you and myself an idea of where I am starting this no buy at, and to give a measure to compare my progress at the end of next year to.

The starting inventory:

MAKEUP (161 items)

Face Primers: 4

Eyeshadow Primers: 1

Foundations (including deluxe samples): 10

Pressed Powder Foundations: 2

Under Eye Tints/Concealers: 2

Concealers: 1

Colour Correctors: 2

Liquid Highlight and Liquid Bronzing Drops: 2

Setting Sprays: 2

Brow Gels: 3

Mascaras: 3

Eyelash Curlers: 2

Pencil Sharpeners: 1

Bronzers: 3

Finishing Powder Palettes: 1

Face Palettes: 3

Blush Palettes: 2

Highlighter Palettes: 3

Eyeshadow Palettes: 14

Lipstick Palettes: 1

Blushes: 7

Highlighters: 7

Setting Powders: 3

Lipsticks: 60

Lip Glosses: 5

Lip Primers: 2

Sunscreen Tinted Powder: 1

Brow Pencils: 3

Lip Liners: 6

Eyeliners: 6

SKINCARE (25 items)

(including deluxe samples)

Cleansers: 2

Oil Cleansers: 1

Toners: 3

Eye Creams/Products: 1

Face Sunscreens: 1

Body Sunscreens: 2

Antioxidants: 2

Acne Targeted Treatments: 3

Retinol: 2

Glycolic Acid: 2

Face Masks: 2

Sheets Masks: 1

Moisturizers: 3

Lip Scrub: 1

Perfume (15 deluxe samples)

Are you doing a no buy or low buy for 2019? Do you have any makeup related goals and resolutions for the new year?

How “No Makeup 2018” is going

In December 2017 I made the big-hairy-audacious-goal of not purchasing any makeup in 2018. I feel that this is a difficult goal for anyone who enjoys makeup, let alone someone who works around makeup daily and has a bad tendency of shopping when stressed.

I managed to make it two and a half months into the year without buying makeup, which is probably the longest I’ve gone without buying makeup since I began regularly wearing it about six years ago. When I made the goal I made the exception of my trip to Toronto as a makeup-buying weekend, as I’d already booked in at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab and didn’t have anything close to the same amount of shopping opportunities here in Saskatchewan. I don’t make it out to big cities very often, so I knew that this would be an exception. So I made my two little lipsticks at the Lab, and went on my way.

However I fell off the bandwagon once the Natasha Denona Tropic Palette (limited edition) rolled out, and my MUA friend sent it to me on Instagram. I didn’t *need* to have it, but it is a gorgeous and useful palette, and I am a sucker for anything Natasha Denona puts out. So while this wasn’t necessarily an irresponsible purchase, as the palette is a great blend of neutral mattes, mattes, and bold shimmer shades that are perfect for summer and work just fine any other season, it opened the flood gates.

Soon I was back to buying makeup, not to the same extent as before, but definitely not keeping up with my resolution. I ordered a few lipsticks here and there that I’d had my eye on for awhile, and then I went overboard during the first weekend of this month’s Sephora VIB sale, and purchased a few items at work because we needed to place an order and I wanted my staff discount.

Reflecting back, this was definitely too big of a step to just quit cold turkey for a whole year. Fortunately with the greenhouses opening here soon and summer around the corner, most of my spare cash will be going towards gardening projects and travel plants rather than hoarding more makeup. I’ve also got a month long project pan in the works in order to use up some of my makeup more efficiently, and will be scouring the internet for other ways to rein in my spending habits. But hey, you live and you learn! No goal is perfect, no budget is perfect, and no person is perfect. Challenging the way you act as a consumer and what you buy is a an ongoing process that takes time and tweaking to get just right.

Project Pan April 2018: Check In #6

What I’ve managed to cross off my list:

  1. Maybelline Master Prime 300 Redness + Blur Control
  2. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation
  3. Tarteist Contour Palette (mostly used, then expired)
  4. Laura Mercier Eye Primer Mini
  5. UD Naked 3 Palette (half used, then expired)
  6. Bare Minerals Mascara Mini
  7. ABH Brow Pencil
  8. L’Oreal Infallible Setting Spray

What remains:

  1. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Concealer
  2. Sephora Brand Bronzer
  3. Becca Luminous Blush in Brushed Copper
  4. Rituel de Fille Ghost Light Luminizer
  5. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Mood Light
  6. Essence Make Me Brow

All in all, I’m making progress. I’ve had a couple of duds, but a couple of products have grown on me. I wasn’t the hugest fan of the Rainforest of the Sea concealer for awhile, but I’m beginning to like it again.

Outside of my goal project pan products, I’ve always used up these in the past week or so:

IMG_3488

I don’t mind the Infallible setting spray, but the spray on it is a bit aggressive and can leave your face quite wet if you’re not careful. Young Living, as we all know, is trash, and I’m getting close to using up all of my old products of theirs. I think I’ve got about four bottles of essential oils left from them, and then I should be good. I recently learned a lot of terrifying information about the founder of YL that includes everything from false medical practices to drowned babies, and if even half of it is true, then I am even more embarrassed for having supported this company in any way. I adore how fluffy and smooth the OleHenriksen Transform Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer is! I nearly bought it to use as a night moisturizer today, but I opted for a product from my workplace instead (gotta love work discounts!). The Clinique pep-start sample moisturizer was pretty good, but Clinique does unfortunately test on animals so I avoid buying from them. The Biophora Light Hydration Serum was pretty decent, and I had no complaints! It didn’t really stand out to me, but it definitely got the job done.

Today I caved did a bit of Boxing Day shopping, but after today I think that’s it for makeup shopping until 2019. I’m excited and terrified to see how long I can last in a year-long no buy and how it will change my perspective on what I currently own, my social media consumption, my bank balance, and even my conversations with makeup-loving friends.

Project Pan April 2018: Check-In #1

It’s been a few weeks since I started, so I figured I would check in!

I unfortunately decided to throw out my Tarteist contour palette. I searched through my Tarte order history and discovered that I cracked it open back in December 2015. Based on the general 2 year guideline for powder products, the 12 month guideline on the product itself, and the fact that I’ve noticed a change in product scent, I figured it’d be safest to chuck it rather than to risk an infection or breakout. Other than my blush breaking, I haven’t really made a dent in this product. I think this is partially because contouring is always the last extra step I do only if I have time, and also because when I first purchased it I had no idea what contouring was. I’m still no expert, but at least now I have a vague idea of what I’m doing! So that product was a fail, but I’m going to try and use other older bronzing and contouring products that I have.

It does genuinely feel like a waste of money, to see a product that I’ve owned for two years and am now throwing out with roughly 3/4 of the product still in its pan. Especially wasteful, when you consider that I have purchased other contouring palettes, bronzers, and contour/eyeshadow combo palettes AFTER having already purchased the Tarteist contour palette that I hadn’t even finished.

I also went through all of my old Sephora and Tarte orders to see when I purchased the majority of my products and palettes. Between the product expiration guidelines and just general googled expiration guidelines I wrote down expected expiration months on my products. I panicked a little when I realized just how many products would be “expiring” (I use the term expiring loosely, as I find some products go sour long before or long after expiration dates) within the next six months. I reorganized my makeup organizers to put the oldest products on the left and the newer ones on the right so I can try and utilize the older ones accordingly, even if they aren’t in my project pan.

In my boredom while sick I did a similar organization of my skincare hoard, and am attempting to narrow it down to a simpler routine and then replace products from my extras as needed.

Though a little embarrassing and definitely wasteful, this check-in definitely has discouraged me from purchasing any new makeup in the near future, which is ideal! My goal is to one day have a minimalist makeup collection free of excessive duplicates and clutter. I understand that for some things I’m always going to have duplicates. For example, my skin tone changes so quickly according to the season, so having 2-4 foundations to mix and match as my skin changes is needed. But multiple purple eyeshadow palettes? A dozen blushes? Half a dozen bronzers? Definitely excessive and not required. Breaking bad habits is difficult, but I’m getting there!