Saying “no” can open a whole world of opportunity.
- Some of the best things for a no-buy list are those that you already have a lot of, but for some reason still keep buying, such as hobby supplies, clothing, or even media.
- Deciding to put something on the no-buy list is only the first part of the process.
- You should also take the time to rediscover — and put to good use — all the things you already own.
Some of us like a bit of clutter. Others can’t stand it — but seem to accumulate it anyway. Which is understandable, considering the buy-buy-buy world in which we live.
But what if you just — didn’t? Buy, that is.
That’s the idea behind a “no buy” list. It’s a tool for identifying all those things you want to stop buying more of, often because you already have too many similar items you simply don’t use. A good no-buy list is not only great for your finances, but it can also be a boon to your storage space!
Looking for a little inspiration for your own no-buy list for 2023? Here are a few common clutter-prone categories to consider.
1. Hobby supplies
My personal clutter kryptonite. I have all kinds of hobby supplies tucked into closets and cabinets, from paintbrushes to weaving looms to literal buckets of rocks. But despite a stockpile rivaling the local craft store, I still somehow manage to find — and almost compulsively buy — hobby supplies I don’t yet have.
This year, hobby supplies are at the top of my no-buy list. Perhaps if I actually put some of these supplies to good use, I can eliminate a few potential hobbies (and the piles of supplies associated with them).
2. Clothing and shoes
The fast fashion industry has spent decades convincing us that we need to buy new clothes, shoes, and accessories, well, pretty much all the time. They’ve even made everything thinner and cheaper to encourage us to rip it and replace it. How thoughtful!
Stop the cycle. Pull out last year’s coat, dust off those shoes you only wore twice, and just say “no” to buying more clothing that probably isn’t even that different from what’s already in your closet.
3. Food you never finish
Most of us have that food that we buy — just to throw out. You have the best of intentions. But somehow it always spoils before you get to it. Yet you dutifully keep adding it to the grocery list out of some perverse sense of obligation.
For me, it’s milk. Growing up, I was instilled with the sense that a fridge is supposed to have milk in it. But I can’t remember the last time I actually finished a bottle of milk. Even switching to the smaller bottles — which are more expensive per ounce — still leads to a lot of waste. In 2023, I’m giving myself permission to stop buying milk.
Food waste can be a particular problem if you’re a bulk buyer. Unless you have a big family (or just really love mayonnaise) it can be hard to get through it all. If you’re often tossing food — and therefore money — in the trash, it may be time to add them to your no-buy list. At the very least, perhaps add them to your no bulk buy list.
I love books. But sometimes it feels like I like to buy books more than I like to actually, you know, read them. Video games and movies often create the same problem. How many games are you halfway through — or haven’t even booted up? How many movies are wallowing forgotten on your watch list?
Whether you love towers of physical media or hoard digital downloads, just say “no” to buying more in 2023. Instead, spend time working your way through your backlogged collection. As great as buying them was, reading / listening / playing them will be so much better.
Pro tip: Your local library likely has a large collection of media you can borrow, from books to movies to music. And it’s all free!
It can often seem that there’s a new version of all of the top tech toys every week. What was a top-of-the-line phone one minute is suddenly yesterday’s news — with last year’s software.
As much hype and flash as these things have, however, it’s rare that a tech upgrade is actually worth the cost. You’re probably not getting much more than a slightly better screen or a marginally more advanced camera (and you’re probably losing things like headphone jacks and SD card slots).
Unless you have a professional impetus to keep up with the latest gear, you can safely skip the upgrades this year.
Embrace what you already own
Humans like novelty. New things give us all the chemically induced feels… for about 10 seconds. Then the newness wears off and it’s just one more thing to store.
Meanwhile, your closets and cupboards are already full of things that used to be just as new — and are likely still in almost-new condition.
This is the real joy of a no-buy list. Sure, you’re saving money. But just as, if not more, important is that you’ll also be recovering all the great items of purchases past. You never know what you’ll discover!
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