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!

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!

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?

No Buy November!

Well friends, November is nearly half over! The holiday season is sneaking up on me as it usually does, and as per usual, I am definitely not prepared for it.

For the month of November, I was inspired by Pam of @thebeautyconservator on Instagram to do a #nobuynovember. For me, this means not buying any skincare or makeup products unless they are a necessity that I am 100% out of and have no back ups or deluxe samples for. I have actually stuck with this month-long no-buy so far! The only products I have purchased were the Laroche Posay Cicaplast B5 Gel, as I had microneedling done for a training session at work and had no moisturizing/hydrating products that didn’t have active ingredients in them to use for the first few days following the treatment. The other item I bought was an SPF 60 from Laroche Posay, as I was entirely out of liquid sunscreen, and we all know sunscreen is a non-negotiable! Especially in the winter with all of the flashback from the snow.

I find it really hard not to impulsively buy skincare and makeup, and it has genuinely been a problem for me sometimes. I work in a medical skincare clinic, so I’m surrounded by skincare, makeup, AND, the worst, an employee discount. I find it all especially taunting when it’s a slow day at work, because often times I’ll end up shopping around as I tidy up the clinic. Another issue I have with shopping for makeup and skincare, is that if I’m stressed, depressed, or bored at home, I’ll often start shopping about on the Sephora website. You get this happy little surge whenever you just say “f*ck it!” and place an order, but then you’re immediately stuck with the financial ramifications of that impulsive decision. The third and final trigger for my shopping would definitely be social media overall. It’s true that you curate your social media experience, and I have gotten better at following channels and pages that do more declutter and Project Pan sort of content, but if one of my favourite content creators comes out with a video about a new product I’ve been interested in, of course I end up watching it. The haul videos, the new product releases, it can all be so tempting! Even just seeing haul photos and discussions in my Facebook makeup groups can push me to want to go get a haul of my own, even if I don’t need it and can’t afford it.

To combat all of these temptations, I’ve done a couple of different things. I found this super helpful app called NoMo, that is actually a sobriety app, but it has an option for shopping.

Screenshot_2018-11-12-09-54-58

You can input the amount of money and time you would typically spend on shopping in a week, and then it calculates how much time and money you’ve saved. This is probably the most helpful part, as I can look at my total and think, “Okay, so that’s $80 that can towards paying off debt” or “Okay, so that’s $80 that can go towards decorating my new place” and so on. In the past I’ve used this app and have gotten to 54 days without buying anything (this I broke for the Sephora sale, but I am back on it again). There’s also a feature of the app where you can buddy up with accountability partners, but either because the app seems to be fairly new and unknown, or there aren’t many people utilizing the shopping setting, there aren’t many people on there. If you do end up picking up the app too and want to be accountability buddies with me, comment and let me know! I can definitely add you. Another helpful strategy has been diffusing that stress, depression, and boredom by filling a bit of my spare time with yoga. A really cute yoga studio opened up right around the corner from my workplace, so I’ve been going to 2-4 classes per week, and I’ve been thinking about buying skincare and makeup a little less, in my opinion. Blogging is another excellent distraction! Either blogging myself, or reading Project Pan posts and low-buy and drugstore posts has really helped. I absolutely adore minimalist makeup bloggers, because I strive to have a more streamlined collection like that one day.

If I can make it through November, I would love to expand upon this goal and do a no-buy/low-buy until my birthday in April. During this time I would do exactly what I’m doing now–I would only buy products that I need that I am 100% out of, and try to substitute my current routine products with more affordable options where I can. I don’t think it will be easy, and at times it won’t even be enjoyable. However, I’m going to keep using the strategies that have been working for me so far, and hope for the best! I get such a good feeling when I can use up and recycle or throw away a product, and when I have a little less clutter in my life, so I think that will make it worth it.

Finished Five

No reviews today, but I just wanted to share a quick little update about some products I’ve used up! I’ve done really well this past month or so I’m not purchasing new skincare products until I’m completely out of that item, so my massive hoard is slowly diminishing. I’ve been trying to use once-in-awhile products like masks more often, too. I find that they end up just sitting in my drawer because I don’t think I have time, or I feel the need to almost ration my fancy masks for a special occasion, even though if I wait for an occasion I’ll never use them and they will go bad. Sundays are my day off each weekend, so I usually mask Sunday nights while I’m cleaning or taking it easy at home.

I am forever torn between makeup minimalism and wanting a never-ending collection. I think I need to come to the compromise of having a minimalist for certain items (primer, setting spray, mascara, setting powder, and other necessities) and allowing myself to have a collection of certain items I genuinely enjoy being creative with and collecting (eyeshadows, for example). It’s taking me awhile to find the right balance, though!

Makeup Buy Ban, Minimalism, and other 2018 Resolutions

If there is any one thing in the world that makes me want to downsize and quit shopping, it is moving. It’s one of the few activities this world has to offer in which you have to come to terms with every single belonging you own. As I unpack in my apartment I find myself chucking things and piling items up to donate because I just have an overwhelming amount of stuff.

The whole moving process was a bit of a gongshow. We’ve had -35C weather and colder here the past week or so, with temperatures only beginning to warm up yesterday. Moving in this frigid weather was an exhausting experience in and of itself, and I am so relieved that I had my family and partner to help me! After going through all of that, and STILL not having unpacked everything days later, I contemplate accumulating more stuff with a sense of dread. I thought that it would kill me to not be able to buy makeup, but I just feel disgusted by the thought of bringing even more items into this apartment right now. I’m sure this resolution will be harder to keep up as time goes on, but right now, it’s an easy one.

I have so many resolutions for 2018, and I feel like most of them are achievable. I want to be more financially responsible so that I can afford to go back to Montreal with my friend this summer, I want to decrease my belongings by 25%, I want to withhold from buying makeup until 2019, and I want to take better care of myself. I just started Yoga with Adriene’s TRUE 30 day challenge and I’m determined to make it all the way through this year. I’m a day behind because of my delayed wifi activation, but that’s not the end of the world.

I feel like 2018 will be the year I trim off the excess and focus in on what I actually need and actually want to do. I’m going to quit agreeing to things to please people, and say no without feeling guilty or obligated to give a reason. It’s going to be great, friends.

What are your resolutions for 2018? I hope all is well.