Can You Buy Only Essentials This Month for No-Buy November?

3 years ago

Christmas is in the air the already, though the dust from All Hallow's Eve has hardly settled. Christmas music is on the radio, and the stores are rolling out the beginning of the Christmas sales.

People have been saving all year, and they're ready to buy as many gifts as they can fit into their budgets. And so a No-Buy November, for many, sounds simply counterintuitive.

Credit: Meg Stewart via Flickr Creative Commons

I saw it suggested on my budget forum YNAB, and was instantly captured by the idea.

With Black Friday sales right around the corner, this is definitely a wonderful time to take on a spending challenge.

What is No-Buy November?

The basic rules of the challenge are to refrain from buying anything nonessential in November. If you have to shop for gifts, list that as a caveat, and focus on not buying anything nonessential for yourself.

You can personalize the challenge to fit your needs. For instance, if you find that you spend too much money on treats or sodas, you can tailor the challenge to only include those things.

In my case that means no snacks, clothing, books, stationery, or takeout food.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it is something that motivates you, and that you have a good plan for how you will stick to your challenge.

I plan to not visit any online stores, pack ample snacks and treats when I am at work or out on the town, and use meal planning to avoid getting takeout.

I'm in my first week, and I have already been tempted by the allure of a hot chocolate mocha with lunch at work. I resisted and drank my water instead, but it showed me that may I need to start adding coffee to my grocery list, so I can make some at work. It will be cheaper and healthier, too.

I feel I need to do a challenge like this because, while I am pretty good saving, I am awful at resisting an impulse buy, especially if I see something I was planning to get on sale.

The more incredible the sale, the more likely I am to buy, despite not having the money in my spending plan for the month.

I could easily overlook this problem, since I am not in any debt and I have a pretty good financial cushion. I believe, however, that continuing this trend over a long period of time will impact my future spending power.

We've all been there, when the shoes we bought last week no longer have that same allure, and you start wondering what on Earth possessed you to spend that money.

I am hoping to cut down on the buyer's remorse and the budget walk of shame when I realize need to cut something out to fit in my unplanned spending spree.

November is a great month for focusing on family, gratitude, and self-love, and those things cannot to replaced by spending money on material things.

I encourage you to join me for a No-Buy November, and focus on filling this month with fun family activities and staying out of the shopping frenzy. Onward to glory! 

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