What You Need To Know About The ‘No Buy Challenge’ To Save Money

Money - Savings
Flickr | 401(K) 2013

Are you looking to save some money and simplify your life? You’re not alone: There’s a reason that the TV show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” which teaches viewers how to declutter and downsize our lives, is hugely popular on Netflix. Thanks to Kondo, a Japanese organization expert, people are embracing “less is more” in our homes and cutting down on consumption.

Now there’s a social media challenge to encourage you to pare down your life — and plump up your savings while doing it. The “No Buy Challenge” started by Instagram user Katy Goodman, a Los Angeles-based musician who decided to apply Kondo’s mantra of “sparking joy” to her 2019 spending habits. Goodman posted her self-challenge to the social media platform for the world to see.

View this post on Instagram

When deciding what I’m “allowed” to buy this year, I’ve actually been applying the Konmari method! “Does it spark joy?” I ask myself this before buying an iced latte. 99% of the time the answer is no, but the other day, while on a 5 mile walk with my family, the answer actually was actually YES! It literally sounded like the best idea ever. I was thirsty and tired, and going and getting a delicious drink sparked a shit ton of joy. Before I order food delivery, or go to a restaurant, the answer to “would doing this spark joy?” Is usually no. I don’t want Walter growing up thinking eating out / ordering grub hub is normal. I want him to see us chopping vegetables, using the stove, washing the dishes, etc. So yes, while ordering delivery might save me time/energy, the idea of spending way too much money by taking the lazy route does NOT spark joy in me. I know I’ll feel bad about that decision later. However, when asked to go out for dinner with some friends, the answer was YES! I want to be social, and to enjoy meals with others occasionally. The #konmari method doesn’t only work for making decisions about stuff you already own. It works for all of my consumption behaviors! Before I buy anything, I ask myself if this is something that adds value to my life, or if it’s something that I’ll regret later. So far this month, I have spent: $8 on food eating out with friends $2 on a phone app to help me stay focused $4 on an iced latte while walking around LA with my family. $14 so far in January ain’t too bad! ❤️🎉 and yes, I am treating Instagram captions like lil mini blogs. This is my solution to “should I start a blog?” My answer is “meh, I’ve got Instagram captions!”

A post shared by Katy Goodman (@iamkatygoodman) on

Goodman declared 2019 a “No Buy Year” for her and the challenge was born. As the post got picked up by Buzzfeed, followers started to wonder what this challenge actually meant. Could she not buy anything for an entire year? Is that realistic? Ultimately, Goodman shared her rules for her personal challenge for others as a guide to follow.

It turns out that the “No Buy Challenge” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to avoid all purchases for 12 months. However, each purchase needs to be carefully considered, using the following rules:

  • No new clothes, except for replacement items.
  • No food (or very occasionally) from restaurants
  • No coffee from coffee shops
  • No cleaning supplies, except for replacements
  • No toiletries, except for replacements
  • No home decor
  • No books or magazines

Exemptions from the “No Buy Challenge” rules are groceries, gifts for others, and paying the rent/bills.

“The GOAL of my #nobuyear is to reexamine how I spend my money, why I want to spend it, where I’m spending it, and so on,” Goodman explained in her follow-up post. “It is NOT meant to ruin my life, make me a recluse, or keep me locked up inside for a year.”

View this post on Instagram

I forgot to actually make a post about my #nobuy rules! Here it is. Now, these rules are more guidelines than rules, not to be strictly enforced. The GOAL of my #nobuyyear is to reexamine how I spend my money, why I want to spend it, where I’m spending it, and so on. It is NOT meant to ruin my life, make me a recluse, or keep me locked inside for a year. I am trying to become a more frugal person who creates less waste and only supports ethical companies. There will be times where I will have to break these rules, but I will be trying my best. Let me know in the comments which aspect of this journey is the most interesting to you… the frugality? Creating less waste? Ethical shopping? Simplified life with only the minimal basics? All of these things are SUPER fascinating to me, so I’ll be talking about all of them all year long. 🙏🎉 feel free to ask me about ANYTHING below, including my thoughts on specific purchases. I love having conversations about this challenge.❤️ . . . . . . #simpleliving #livingsimply #livesimply #lowbuy #goingzerowaste #lowwaste #intentionalliving #mindfulconsumption #minimalistlife #minimalistlifestyle #frugalliving #frugal #frugality #frugallife #nospendchallenge #nospendjanuary #nospend #spendingmoney #debtfreejourney #debtfree #debtfreecommunity #debtfreeliving #daveramsey

A post shared by Katy Goodman (@iamkatygoodman) on

Goodman shared she has said “no” to ordering takeout food just for convenience for her family. She does say yes to going out to dinner with friends and even getting her hair cut. However, she does these things far less often than usual.

“I used to get my hair done every two to three months,” she shared recently on Instagram. “Now it’s every six to eight months. I consider that a great improvement!”

Could you meet the “No Buy Challenge?” What do you think would be the hardest part of completing the 12-month commitment?