Friday, November 9, 2018

Let's Try a Year-Long No Buy

Shortly after the big move in July, my fiance and I noticed a bunny hanging around our apartment complex. One of his feet had been crushed by something, so he scurried around with it flopping at his side. We affectionately named him "Tripod." When he stared at me through the door of my new workplace for a solid 30 seconds, mere moments before my teaching evaluation, I decided he was our lucky bunny. We loved seeing the little guy, but we didn't expect him to last past the warmer months due to his damaged foot and the many coyotes in the area.

And indeed, as the weather turned cold on the great plains, we saw less of Tripod. At the same time, tragedy upon tragedy occurred in the United States, including a horrific shooting at a synagogue in my hometown. I have friends who attended that synagogue. I used to pass it every time I rode the bus in to the city. I fell in to a depression, constantly questioning why I bothered to do anything when the world was so desperately shitty, then feeling even worse because my pain simply cannot compare to what the victims of these tragedies are facing. I briefly considered abandoning the blog entirely and wallowing in self-pity.

Then Tripod reappeared this week. I didn't believe it at first--surely he hadn't outsmarted the coyotes!--but there he was, floppy foot and all. And he showed up again the next day, and the day after that, nibbling on grass and doing whatever else bunnies do. Maybe it's silly, but seeing our lucky bunny made me realize that I need to quit moping and get with the program.

Privately, I've taken action to help the communities affected by these many tragedies, and it's helped me shake off that feeling of impotence. Publicly, I've started wondering what I really want out of life. With that comes the question, "Do I really want to spend that much money on makeup?"

Don't misunderstand me: I still love makeup! I recently had an awful reaction to a new product (review coming soon with pictures, oh boy howdy), and taking a week off of wearing makeup to let my skin heal felt odd. And I've been excited about several products I've stumbled upon. But I remember that, even when I was challenging myself to stay on a budget, I spent $322.27 on beauty products in a year. That's a hefty chunk of change. Prepping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales has further emphasized that I've probably spent more on lipstick and face cream than I should have. Don't I have goals beyond trying new products? What else do I want to achieve in my life? My interests are varied, but the blog is relatively linear--how might that change if I created more of the content I really wanted to create?

That's when I decided I'd like to try a year-long no buy in 2019. I'm still working out the details, but it would be a great way to challenge myself. I'm sticking with a no buy rather than a low buy; I want to spend $0 of my own money on new products. I've made the following exceptions:
  • I'm allowed to purchase replacements. For instance, I go through a bottle of La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser every 5 months or so.
  • I'm allowed to accept PR. I receive a relatively small amount of free swag compared to bigger influencers, no doubt, but if I review what I do receive, that will provide ample reviews for the blog.
  • I'm allowed to use gift cards and store/referral credits. Sephora gift cards have become my family's go-to present for me. And hey, if they're just about all I have to spend, I'll be more thrifty with them!
Those seem like fair exceptions to me, but...I dunno, is that maybe a cop-out? What if I use these exceptions to make excuses for spending my own money? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Hilariously, I'm not worried about the blog's content becoming stale if I do this. If anything, I'm hoping it'll force me to be more creative. Reviews and swatch posts are great, but what else am I capable of? Can I get back in to experimenting with different looks, for instance, or come up with another series that will benefit my readers? And of course, there will be regular posts to keep me accountable, posts that will list what I wanted to buy, what I've finished up, where my money is going instead, etc.

I'd also like to do more non-beauty content from time to time. I've posted the occasional "not beauty" post on the blog, and while the response has been mixed, it's been personally fulfilling for me. As a hobbyist, I think that's a perfectly fine motivation for posting "here's some food" videos or "I have an opinion on stuff" rambles.

So if you'd like to join me on a no buy journey in 2019, comment down below! We'll share some tips, address our fears, talk more about floppy-footed bunnies...whatever makes us feel right with the world.


  1. I'm definitely up for a no buy in 2019. I've been on a low buy for several months while I work on using up a lot of half empty products. I'm down to just my ride or die daily skincare and foundation products now and it feels good to have fewer also rans cluttering up my space. That said, I still have enough eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, etc to get me through the next few years! A no buy is just what I need to encourage me to work through more of those items.

    I don't think that purchasing replacements, PR or gift cards are cop outs. It would be impossible to stick to a no buy without replenishing your holy grail items and PR/gift cards aren't spending your own money so they don't count!

  2. I think it's terrific! The exceptions don't sound like cop-outs to me :) I love all your posts, so branching out to do a few more "tangential" posts would be as welcome as the rest of your work. And thank you for sharing about Tripod -- we could use more hope in the world, and he's a fantastic reminder. I'm glad you came back to the blog despite your questioning. You help the rest of us by having something to look forward to and learn from. Your voice would be missed!

  3. I'm so glad Tripod is still around! This year dragged me down a lot too, and while I started out the year near-obsessed with beauty routines, after I started marathon training (where I'm either sweating or showering half the time), I pretty much stopped doing anything but the bare minimum. Feeling hopeless about the world didn't help.

    I originally came for the product reviews, but kept following because I enjoy hearing your opinions, so please keep writing - whether it's about beauty products, Tripod, whatever!

  4. Yay Tripod!

    The idea of a year-long no-buy has been percolating in my mind for a couple of months now, and I have some similar exceptions in mind. I have so much stuff, and I want to work through it, and finally, finally, finally, I feel like I'm at a point where my collection reflects my life (mostly). Plus the push to be more creative with posts is highly appealing!

  5. I am also on the no buy 2019 train. I also have a fairly minimalist collection like you, but I would love to spend even less. This is also going to be helpful since early 2020 me and my family will be moving.
    I admittedly will have an advantage, as I have a new baby arriving in March, so likely won't have much time for shopping.

  6. Lurker compelled to comment, based on the adorable / tragic / thought-provoking content above and in the comments: I’ve spent the last year really struggling personally and my online content consumption has changed to reflect that. I do enjoy the occasional frivolous WHEE NEW THINGS and influencer type focus but it does get a little cookie-cutter and more and more I’m craving good writing with an authentic voice. I like reading about books, plants, personal style, thrifting, DIY and creative projects, and makeup blogs that focus on why we have things, and how to work with less, rather than simply accumulating more and more. I really wonder where those PR packages end up after the YouTube review gets posted. It all seems a bit too much. I’ve enjoyed your reviews and swatches and thought-out analysis of what you use and why, and will continue to visit this space to see how 2019 treats you. I hope the next year is kinder and gentler for us all.

  7. "My interests are varied, but the blog is relatively linear" is a thought I've had about my own blog, too. I definitely want it to stay beauty-focused (I have plenty of outlets for my other interests), but the posts I have the most fun writing aren't review posts. I do like reviewing new makeup, but I get most excited about writing bigger, more abstract reflections on the beauty industry or cosmetic history or my changing tastes or whatever. I don't feel the need to go on a yearlong no-buy, but I might try a no-buy for the first few months of 2019 and see where that gets me. I think it might push me to write more interesting and creative posts! (And it's not like my blog will lack for reviews, either, since I have a huge backlog of 2018 stuff to review.)

    I've been thinking of you often during the Pittsburgh shooting. I'd like to believe that even in this timeline, there's some merit in celebrating the small things that make us happy.

  8. My first intro to YouTube was Emily Noel, and when I first started watching her, I thought I would determine the perfect red, mauve, and berry lipsticks for me, the 2 or 3 perfect eye shadow palettes, etc., and be able to fit all my products in one drawer in the bathroom. I told this to my daughter recently and we both cracked up.
    I love your blog because it reminds me of that ideal. I enjoy all kinds of makeup and collecting different colors and textures. However, when other people see me, I don't think they see any of that. They just see me in my standard look and makeup appreciators might notice that the colors are slightly adjusted to go with my clothes that day.
    Your discipline around make up is inspiring and encouraging.

  9. I don't think I have the willpower to do a complete no-buy but I am planning to buy a lot less in 2019. In a way, I'm hoping this will make the beauty parts of my blog better, as it was always a subject that I wanted to approach in a broader way than just reviews. This is a great post and I really look forward to seeing what you do in the coming year!