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The "No Buy Challenge" Is The Pre-KonMari Method You Need In Your Life

Let's just call this preemptive Marie-Kondo-ing, shall we?

Do you ever buy things from Amazon and forget to return them?

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Do you ever clean out your closet and feel pangs of relief but also a hidden underlying guilt about money? Do you ever look at your bank account and think, Damn, I really thought I would have saved more by now. 😓

Yes, this is all me. 🙋 And every day I get one step closer to starring on Hoarders, Season 39, Episode 2,832, sometime in the not-so-far future.

Which is why I felt particularly inspired when my friend Katy started posting on Instagram about her #NoBuyChallenge journey.

I was really inspired by this list of rules, and maybe even MORE inspired by the amount of money that Katy was saving.

What she spends now looks something like this, which I can tell you is a hell of a lot less than what I spend on any average day, living my average damn life in NYC.

Instagram: @iamkatygoodman

Katy also has a toddler, which inevitably makes this even more challenging. Most of us will probably never get on Katy's level, but framing it as a challenge does somehow make not spending money seem actually kinda...fun?

So let's start with some small steps and ideas to just get started, which, let's face it, is certainly good enough in this harried time of riding the struggle bus full speed ahead.

1. Let's start with all those beauty products we think we need.

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Whether it's dating or beauty products, we are always looking for the next best thing instead of appreciating what we already have. Resolve to always use up the entire product before replacing it, and if you want to get really wild, you can extend this into other things you can't seem to stop buying, like candles and hair products. And of course, you can make things easier on yourself by making exceptions, like "OK to stock up when traveling."

2. Don't buy any new books or magazines. Read the ones you already own or go to the library.

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Chances are, you own things you haven't read yet. This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in one of those unread books collecting dust on the shelf or to just get through that stack of New Yorkers. This is also an excuse to start borrowing books from the library on your Kindle. Or just exchange books with friends that they've read and highly recommend — let's just face it; these are really just gifts ("Hey, can I get that book back?" said no friend, ever).

3. Stop with the new electronics and useless gadgets.

Just because the new Airpods came out doesn't mean you need to own them, at least for now. Limit purchases to the replacement of truly vital things that get lost or broken, like your phone.

4. Cut out the source of your number one shopping addiction.

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Whether it's Etsy, Amazon, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, eBay, Ulta... We all have our one shopping vice. Let's see what it's like to live without it for a month. Remove temptation by taking yourself off of any e-commerce email lists that might be likely to entice you with a sale.

5. And maybe actually just stop buying new clothes in general.

Or limit yourself to just the thrift store, or no fast fashion. Or maybe you limit yourself to only the $$ amount that you're able to get back from your current wardrobe (if you have a resale shop like Buffalo Exchange in your area or are savvy enough to sell on a resale app like Poshmark).

6. You can probably live without new stationery...for now.

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Stationery is delightful and not terribly expensive, which seems to be why so many of us are enticed into buying it. There's also this subconscious hope that that new pen, notebook, or planner is going to make us so much more organized, creative, and productive in life. That might happen — but it probably won't.

7. Limit eating/drinking out in some way, shape, or form.

Whether it's your everyday morning coffee, ordering delivery, or buying lunch at work, you can start by cutting out one regular habit that adds up. You could also resolve to only use the gift cards you've received in the past so you're not spending any new money.

8. Let more time elapse between between beauty treatments like hair appointments, manicures, or waxes.

Of course, the possibilities are endless, depending on what your lifestyle is.

You could stop buying video games, records, DVDs, lottery tickets, kitchen accessories, pantry staples, tea bags, underwear, socks, single-use products like wipes, or cleaning products. Maybe you want to make exceptions for things like school books or art supplies. This is an exercise in seeing if we can learn to live without, and trying to get use out of the things we already own.

Start by writing out your own rules and exceptions.

So instead of talking about the products we love, let's talk about what we're not going to buy.

Or at least take a 10-second break from the iron fist of consumerism. Add your comments about what you'd consider resolving NOT to buy, and I'll create a follow-up post including them at the end of the month.