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My 2020 Low-Buy Year – why I’m doing it and what are my rules

As I already mentioned in my YouTube video which I’ll link below, this year I decided to do a Low-Buy year. Here’s why I’m doing this and how I’m going about it …

Why am I doing a Low-Buy year?

  • Unchecked spending: despite having (re)discovered The Minimalists as well as low/no-buy influencers such as Style Apotheca, UseLess, Tarable Decisions among others over the last six months, I would still talk myself into creating a need to purchase something and succumb to it. Most times I have tried to follow the quality over quantity but I would still buy more frequently that I should or needed to, and of course at a higher cost since I would buy better quality / more ethically or sustainably produced items;

  • I am my own enabler: Being alone and with no one to account to for my spending, I would reason with myself and always find a loophole which would allow the purchase, whether I needed it or whether it added value to my life (to use The Minimalists’ jargon), or not;

  • I came to realise that shopping or the act of purchasing something, is a coping mechanism for me: I tend to enjoy the act more than the item purchased itself and I realise I need to replace this with coping skills to deal with boredom, tiredness, lack of motivation and loneliness;

  • I need a better option for a rainy day: Despite my current savings, as I get older I need to be in a better position to handle any unforeseen expenses linked to health etc and better protect myself for the future.

What are my 2020 Low-Buy Rules:

  1. What does it apply to? Clothes; shoes; accessories; candles and home décor in general; mobile or other techy gadgets; skincare, makeup and cosmetics; and take-out food;

  2. Are there any allowances or exceptions? a. Replacement is allowed if skincare, make up or cosmetics actually run out; b. Replacement is allowed if anything breaks or tears and cannot be fixed – provided it is something that adds value to my life and its absence would be felt; c. Travel related expenses are allowed, in particular with regard to travel to Malta to see family and my Japan trip. If possible, avoid weekend getaways or seek the cheapest option to do them if unavoidable; d. Any fees for social activities or art exhibitions etc are allowed; e. True – not perceived – gaps in my wardrobe can be bought. By this I mean if there is an essential item which I truly don’t own (or don’t own a close enough replacement option);

  3. When replacing or addressing a true gap in terms of clothing, accessories, footwear: a. I have to pay by using cash or with my debit card – no credit card is to be used for such purchases. I have to have the money upfront rather than pay later for something; b. I have to wait and not buy on impulse. Allow time to consider if there is already something else in the wardrobe I can use instead first and also allow time to determine how much I really wish that item; c. Check the pre-loved and vintage market first (I might allow an opt-out for footwear on this); d. Give preference to brands who actively engage in more ethical and sustainable practices over fast fashion brands.

  4. Most importantly, create a budget. Set aside a monthly amount for the greater temptations but aim not to use it rather than exceed it every month. Any replacements etc are to be taken from that budget.

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