2020 Low-Buy Challenge

Here’s the thing: I don’t need anymore things.

I’m happy with my wardrobe right now. I have enough options for all four seasons, workouts, and even dressy occasions.

My home is fully decorated, and it would look cluttered if I added too much more.

This isn’t to save money. I’m out of debt. I can technically afford it. But there is more to think about than simply whether or not I can afford something.

Will this thing add true value to my life?

Will this thing be more hassle than it’s worth?

Will this thing get used once or twice and then turn into clutter that I have to deal with later?

If what I already have still works, why would I replace it – just adding another thing to a landfill?

There is a lot more to think about than just whether or not I can afford it.

But if you’re looking to save money, a low-buy will accomplish that too!

Why Low-Buy?

I’ve been inspired by Style Apotheca and Use Less. A low-buy isn’t exactly the same as a shopping ban. There is more flexibility and the rules are up to you. The point is to buy less than you normally would. To think twice before making a purchase. To be more intentional with what you consume and bring into your home.

It’s easy to fall back into old habits when you aren’t living by a set of rules. I know because I’ve completed a very strict year-long shopping ban – and then slowly went right back into my old ways.

I’ve decided that 2020 is going to be different.

I’m sick of the ups and downs of shopping.

I’m sick of the ongoing cycle of buying more and decluttering. Again and again.

I’m inspired by other bloggers and Youtubers who are doing the same thing.

I’ve wasted so much time and energy working on “simplifying my closet.” Which is great, but as long as I’m still shopping, it doesn’t actually stay simple!

The peace and ease of a simple closet comes from …

Noticing a bunch of space in my closet, not a bunch of stuff.

Not spending time in dressing rooms or returning things online.

Getting dressed in the morning without deciding from lots of options.

Not being worried about spending too much money on stuff I don’t wear.

Wearing my favorite clothes every day.

Courtney Carver, Be More With Less 

The truth is, we all need so much less than we probably think we do. Courtney Carver recommends trying the Project 333 challenge. (I’ve written about trying it myself here!)

I don’t know about you, but it is easier to me to succeed if I have a clear goal in mind. It is easier to me to adhere to a shopping ban or a low-buy than it is for me to just tell myself “to spend less.”

Without structure and guidelines, I’m doomed to fail.

In the past year or so since my last big shopping ban, I’ve noticed lifestyle inflation creeping in. I don’t want sit back and let that happen. I want to actively fight the tendency to inflate your consumption as your resources increase.

I want to live my values. I want to put my money where my mission is – not just where my “wants” are.

Like I said before, I already have everything I need. If I don’t make a conscious decision to stop, I’ll end up with too much. There will always be “one last thing” that I think I need. I’ve said that a few times…and it was never true. So clearly I need more rules and guidelines than just letting myself buy the “one last thing.”

My Low-Buy Rules

Things that are allowed:

Home repairs – since our home is an investment and we want to be good stewards, home repairs and even upgrades are allowed.

Replacements – instead of following the usual “one in, one out” rule this year I’d like to adopt a “one in, TWO out” rule. That way I will declutter more than I buy. Replacing things that wear out, plants that die, clothes the kids outgrew, used up products, and dead electronics are allowed.

Gifts – in all my shopping bans and frugality, the last thing I want to be is stingy. When it’s time to give gifts, I want to be generous and show love to the person. Since it isn’t for me and a gift is about a lot more than the “stuff” this is allowed.

Dates – The most valuable thing I have in this life is probably my family, right? And a big part of that is my marriage. Maintaining my relationship with my spouse is a responsibility and a joyful duty! While frugal dates are fun, this isn’t an area to skimp in month after month. Investing in our relationship is the best investment we could be making right now. As Pretend to be Poor puts it, you can’t afford NOT to date!

Things that are not allowed:

Alcohol – I drink a lot less than I used to, and I think I’m to the point I could actually stop buying it altogether! I’d rather spend my money on things that are nourishing and make me feel my best.

Unnecessary purchases for myself – most things I buy right now fall into this categoty. Clothes I don’t need. Home decor I don’t need. Just a lot of FUN Things that I DON’T NEED. This is the habit I hope to break.

Impulse purchases – I also buy a lot of things without sleeping on it first. But the times I have waited, I have usually forgotten about the item. It also takes the stress out of shopping. Having to make quick, on-the-fly decisions at the store is pretty stressful. But going to the store with a plan and a list that I’ve already thought about is as easy as going through the list and getting out of there.

Duplicate items – I’m constantly tempted to replace items that aren’t “dead” yet. If I’m not ready to donate or otherwise get rid of the original item, why do I need to go ahead and purchase a duplicate? If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it…yet.

An Invitation

If any of this sounds good to you, please join me in this year-long challenge. You’re free to create your own specific rules, using mine as a starting point. Cheers to a fresh, simple, and more meaningful 2020!


Photography by Priscilla Dr Preez


Add yours →

  1. I think I could benefit greatly from this challenge. I have improved with “sleeping on it” before purchasing & weighing the pros & cons of the purchase. I like your “one in, TWO OUT” rule. And I still think of your statement in another one of your posts, about not buying something until it’s ready to be replaced (not because we are bored with the item).

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