It seems like everyone is jumping on the trend of Low Buy and No Buy years in the YouTube beauty space, and never one to shy away from an outrageous trend I decided to join them. I’ve been watching a fair amount of videos by Hannah Louise Posten who spent all of 2018 on a No Buy Year (not only with makeup, but several areas of her life). Now, the name is a little misleading: a No Buy year doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t get to purchase anything, and everyone establishes their own rules for their personal projects, but generally a No Buy means that you only by replacements, and only if you have completely exhausted all of your options. For example, it doesn’t mean that you can buy a new mascara once you’ve used up a single tube of mascara, but rather once you’ve used up ALL of the tubes of mascara in your collection.
I don’t have that sort of discipline, and I do still legitimately get some joy out of shopping for, trying, and reviewing new makeup products. But I also recognize that my spending got a little bit out of control over the last year so I decided to go on a Low Buy year. And if I’m going to do a Low Buy, I need to have some rules to follow!
Here they are:
- For the first 4 months of the year, I can only buy 5 items per month. For the next 4 months, I can buy 4 items per month. For the last 4 months, I can buy 3 items per month.
- Bundles or collections can be purchased, but it counts as two of the monthly items.
- Unused item slots can be rolled over to the next month (I know – wishful thinking, right?!)
- Gift cards given to me as gifts or purchased using points with various loyalty programs are “freebies.” Products purchased with gift cards do not count toward monthly item limit unless the amount paid for products themselves (not taxes or shipping) exceeds $5 over the gift card amount. If it does exceed, then I need to count that as one of my monthly items.
- If I overdraft either of my primary bank accounts by not managing balances correctly, I remove one of my monthly item slots. If I’ve already used all the slots for that month, I need to subtract one from the next month.
- Bargain Shopper Special: once every quarter, if there is a sale that is 30% or more, and both items are on sale, I can purchase two sale items and count them as one monthly item slot. This cannot be rolled over from quarter to quarter.
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend: I am only human, and the sales during this weekend always get me. And there are legit some amazing deals during that time. Because of that, I’m giving myself permission to have a shopping spree! But even that has to have limits:
a. items must be at least 25% off the regular retail price
b. total spent on the shopping spree must not exceed $300 (not including shipping or taxes)
- During the year, I can give myself ONE “birthday gift” and ONE “Christmas gift” – a single product that doesn’t count against my monthly totals. The birthday gift needs to be in the first 6 months of the year, and the Christmas gift in the last 6 months. This can be used on something like an eyeshadow palette or one larger standalone item, but cannot be used for a set or bundle.
- One of my goals for 2019 is to explore more UK and European brands, and shipping can get expensive. And in general, I have always preferred to spend money on actual products than on service fees like shipping. If I can add a product to an order that will net me free shipping, and the cost of the product is equal to or less than 2 times the shipping fee, I can add the product without using a monthly item slot.
a. For example, if shipping for an order is going to be $20, I can add a single product that is up to $40 if that one additional product will result in free shipping without needing to use an item slot. If the shipping is $6, then my cutoff is $12.
- I need to balance my desire to reduce spending with the fact that I do create a lot of makeup-related content and that makeup does still legitimately bring me joy. I reserve the right to modify these rules as needed throughout the year, but any changes or exceptions have a 7 calendar day “cooling off period” to ensure that I am doing it for something I actually want vs. just trying to meet an immediate emotional need.
I’m actually excited about my Low Buy year and I’m hoping it helps me be more conscious of how makeup and spending fit into my life. I was only about two days into the year when I used my first item slot, so we’ll see how well I keep up with it. What did I buy?
The Too Faced Pretty Rich palette. I was really conflicted about this palette! The colors are somewhat basic and probably dupeable in my collection. Plus, I’m pretty sure that this is a limited edition collection, so there is a good chance that I would have found this at 50% off at some point this year (that’s how I snagged the Then & Now palette right before Christmas!). But for the last month or so since it was released, I just kept thinking about it and I just really wanted to play. Pressed glitters are a new trend that I’m not 100% sure I’m on board with, but all of the times that I’ve been in Sephora or Ulta and have swatched the glitters in this palette, they actually looked pretty good. And that’s what this Low Buy is about – taking more time to consider products and see how I feel about them instead of just purchasing them the day they release (though I’m sure there may still be some of that – I’m talking to you, Lime Crime Venus XL2!) – and a month seemed like a good amount of time to give something consideration!
Here’s hoping that 2019 is filled with makeup products that actually delight me without breaking the bank!
Are you doing any kind of low buy or no buy this year? How long? Who are some of your inspirations for the project? What kicked off the project for you? Let’s share some Low Buy/No Buy support in the comments below!