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
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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?

NO BUY 2019: 26 days in

Well friends, it is 26 days into my 13 month skincare and makeup no buy. I’ve survived the Boxing Day sales unscathed, although I was tempted!

When drafting up the rules for my no buy, I said that when I receive gift cards for makeup or skincare I would use them up, but not spend more than what is on the card. I’d like to expand upon that, as I received a lovely Sephora gift card for Christmas. I think it’s best that if going forward I use gift cards only if they are going towards necessary replacement items. I can definitely see myself skirting the rules if I allow myself to buy anything as long as it’s on a gift card! I’m going to keep it on hand for the next time I run out of toner or mascara.

I’ve found it easier to dodge Boxing Day sale temptations since I switched phones, as weird as that sounds. I get most promotional emails sent to my iCloud email account, which now that I’ve switched back to Android, I only access these emails on my laptop. It makes a huge difference being able to ignore those sale notifications until the sale has passed. The only sale that really tempted me was the Sephora clearance section, as they had so many Viseart eyeshadow palettes that I’ve wanted for quite some time but haven’t purchased because of the price. The Tryst palette in particular was difficult to scroll past, but I didn’t cave.

I just watched Hannah Louise Poston’s most recent video upload on YouTube, in which she adds up what she spent on replacements during her no buy year, how much money she saved, and how much money she made from Adsense. It was really encouraging, as I feel like my collection and my spending habits are quite similar to what hers used to be, and just the thought of saving hundreds, if not a few thousand dollars by doing a no buy year successfully is so alluring. I want to be able to do something similar in copy cat fashion at the end of 2019 and be able to lay out my previous spending habits and my spending changes and see how it all adds up. I’ve started a document in my phone so that I can properly track what I’ve used up, what I’ve purchased, and what I previously would have bought but didn’t buy.

I’m feeling optimistic about not only my no buy, but also about others doing no buys and what it means for the beauty industry. I see so many comments on Hannah’s videos and on other no buy channels from other people who have also been inspired to do a no buy in 2019, or challenge their over-the-top consumerism in other ways. It makes me wonder, will makeup and skincare companies see a shift in their revenue? Will it force them to make items that are reusable and that stick around for awhile? Will we see fewer limited edition items, and more magnetic palettes and replaceable pans?

If you’re doing a no buy or low buy for 2019, I would love to hear how you are doing, what you are planning, and your thoughts on how and if the no buy trend will alter the industry.

NO BUY 2019: 3 weeks in

I’m three weeks into my 2019 no buy (if you’d like to see my rules and stipulations, or my inventory for this no buy, feel free to check out my previous posts!) and so far, everything is mostly good!

I’ve tried a year long no buy and smaller no buys in the past but have been entirely unsuccessful, primarily because I didn’t have a specific enough goal in mind and didn’t have rules to guide me to my goal. This year I am much more prepared, and know that I will succeed with this no buy.

I downloaded an app called NoMo, which is a sobriety app that has many different settings, including one for shopping. It keeps track of how long it has been since you’ve purchased something, and keeps track of how much money and time you’ve saved by not partaking in whatever habit it is you hope to break.

To keep track of how much money you’ve saved, it asks you to input an estimate of how much you were previously spending weekly on the habit. Based on my purchases at Sephora from 2016-2018, I calculated about $40 a week. This seems insane at first, but when you take into consideration that placing an order every month or so with a couple of items in your cart can easily total $100, it seems more easily done. This amount is on the low side, as it doesn’t factor in how much I spent on drugstore makeup the odd time I’d buy some as a treat while grocery shopping (I have no decent way of tracking what I spent on these particular items), and it doesn’t factor in the skincare and makeup I’ve purchased at work in the past few years. So while not entirely accurate, the money saved does give me an idea of the minimum amount of money I’ve saved thus far by participating in a no buy. I use the app just for the skincare and makeup portion of my no buy, and not to track books or clothing as skincare and makeup was the most frequently problematic genre when it came to shopping irresponsibly for myself.

The no buy itself hasn’t been difficult this month, as it’s early on in the challenge and I’ve had to prioritize my money elsewhere. I recently moved, Christmas is right around the corner, and I have debt to pay off from when I was laid off. Any spare money that I do have (which isn’t a lot, after bills, pet needs, and groceries are paid for) has been going to paying off my credit card and other debt, towards Christmas presents, and towards moving expenses like carpet cleaning and damage deposits. The thought of purchasing makeup has rarely crossed my mind because paying off my debt and becoming financially responsible has become one of my highest priorities, and when I do feel the urge to spend when I’m stressed, I take one look at my overwhelming collection on my dresser vanity and know that I can’t justify it in any way.

Moving unsurprisingly has been a huge help in showing me just how much I have and what an excess of products I have. You can’t ignore what you own when you physically have to pack each and every item up, haul it across town, and then unpack and find a place for it! I’ve moved twice in the last year and since that first move I’ve been doing ongoing declutters of expired items, items that I don’t use, and samples that I don’t find appealing. I try not to force myself to do it, and instead try to do small declutters when I notice I have expired lipsticks or when I get fed up with how many foundations I have. Awhile after I did my makeup inventory for the year, I decluttered a handful of lip products that were expired, rarely used, and/or irritated and dried out my lips in some way.

Lip products is by far my most out of hand category, so decluttering offers a lot of relief. I really won’t need to purchase any lip products until 2020 and beyond with the outlandish amount that I currently own (50+!).

Skincare has been the hardest not to buy, as I work with medical grade skincare every day and am selling these products and using them on patients. I have avoided any unnecessary purchases though! My only purchase was a SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel, as I was entirely out of any redness neutralizing/inflammation soothing products. This agrees with my repurchase rules I set out for myself.

I know I will succeed with a no buy this year because I want to succeed so badly. I am fed up with my poor spending, and with shopping when stressed or emotional. I don’t want to experience that weak feeling of knowing that products and advertising have more control over my impulses, decisions, and finances than I do. I want a cleaner home with less clutter, and I want more money in my bank account for my future and for travel. Being financially comfortable is SO enticing and I cannot wait to get to that point.

For those who have also recently started no buys, how are you doing and feeling so far? For those starting no buys in the new year, what are your goals and what do you hope to achieve by doing a no buy? For those not doing no buys, what are your thoughts on the efficacy of no buys and their recent trendiness?

Wishing everyone a lovely Christmas and wonderful holiday season ♥️

-Andrea

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?

2019 NO BUY

I’m back at it again, friends. Yes, I failed my no-buy for 2018 about three or four months in. I learned from this failure, and feel that I have the tools I need to get through 2019. I’m doing another year long no-buy, and this time I am much better equipped! Between the WUIM Panners Facebook group and Hannah Louise Poston’s videos on Youtube, I feel that I have a number of strategies that will help me to accomplish this goal, and that I also have the online support to push me through to the end of this goal. There are a number of reasons I am doing this no-buy, and I’m going to be quite honest and candid about them.

The first is that I financially need to. When the skincare centre I previously worked at laid myself off and most of my coworkers off due to the centre’s financial predicament right after I got home from an expensive holiday, I did accumulate a fair amount of debt. It simply does not make financial sense for me to continue to purchase makeup at this frequency when it would push me further into debt. The second reason is that my makeup collection is more than enough! I recently did a thorough inventory of my makeup and skincare collection, and makeup-wise there is not one item category where I do not have duplicate or backups of some sort. I am not in need of makeup, and likely won’t be for several months. Thirdly, shopping for makeup does not make me happy. I used to get this little thrill when I would place an order, or walk out of the drugstore with a little bag of cosmetics, I really did. Now, however, I feel nothing but guilt and dread, and that moment of happiness is unimpactful and fleeting. The final reason is that I am so exhausted by this quick-release makeup industry we are now dealing with. Companies just keep cranking out collection after collection. It is exhausting to keep up, and I don’t have the desire to even attempt to keep up anymore!

A goal is meaningless without a clear idea of what the actual goal is, and the steps and rules that will get you to said goal. So, here are my set of rules and my game plan for this no-buy:

  1. The no-buy started December 1, 2018 and will carry on until December 31st, 2019. Once 2020 hits, I will permit myself to drop this no-buy if I so desire. Oh my god, it so strange to say 2020. It seems so far in the future, but it’s honestly only a year away!
  2. This no-buy includes not only makeup, but skincare, clothing, shoes, body care, and books as well.
  3. If I am entirely out of a necessity item (e.g. I use up every single drop of every single facial cleanser that I have in my home, or I have used up all of my mascaras, etc.) then I am permitted to purchase ONE of that item.
  4. Exceptions to the no buy:
    –When in Toronto in March, I am allowing myself to go to the Bite Beauty Lab to create two lipsticks as per their package, as long as I finish two lip products prior to this trip.
    –When in Toronto in March, I am allowing myself to purchase TWO books, permitting I finish reading 10 books or e-books that I presently have at home before this trip.
    –If I gain/lose a tan as the seasons change and none of my foundations (powder or liquid) match my skin tone, I am allowed to purchase ONE foundation product.
    –I will not force myself to use products if I have an allergic reaction, breakout, or if they are genuinely expired, because that is just unhealthy.
    –If I need an item for my own health or for work (e.g. if I need to purchase new glasses, or if I completely wear out my work shoes) then I am allowed to purchase it.
    –If by chance I receive a gift card, I’m going to use it. If I don’t, I will forget it and it will go to waste. However, I won’t spend more than what is on the card, i.e. I won’t use my own money to top up a purchase.
  5. I will be more mindful of the content I consume. I will follow more folks who are doing no-buys and project pans, and who actively challenge others to contemplate how and what they consume. I will unfollow pages that feed the urge to purchase new releases, or who glamorize excess.
  6. I will be open about my no-buy on my blog and Instagram, and seek out support from online groups doing similar projects and from friends who understand the end goal of this project. I’ll also make a thorough list of the items that I do purchase out of necessity this year, for my own personal interest.
  7. I will shop my stash and put away makeup for periods of time to take a break from them, and will seek out tutorials for the products that I already own.

And that about sums it up! Do you have any makeup related resolutions for the new year? Have you done a no-buy previously and do you have any advice? Are you attempting a no-buy for the new year as well? If there was enough interest from others doing year-long no buys for 2019, I would love to start up a Facebook group where folks can chat about how they are using up their makeup, reach out for support, and chat about the ups and downs of this experience. If you are doing a no-buy and this appeals to you, comment and let me know! 🙂

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.