I’m Going to Do a Buy Nothing Year and You Can Too! Rules and Tips to Succeed

Have you ever wondered how much money you spend on things that you don’t actually need? I’ll bet it’s more than you think. That’s why I’ve made the decision to do a buy nothing year and stick to it! A buy nothing year is exactly what it sounds like: no unnecessary purchases for an entire year. It’s not going to be easy, but I know it’s the right decision for me and the planet.

I’m actually just going to do a buy nothing for the rest of the year (July 2023 – Jan 2024). Here are the rules I’ve set for myself.

Don’t buy

  • No new clothes and shoes
  • No fast food
  • No home goods, sporting goods, etc

I can buy

  • Groceries, take out meal once a week
  • Pay bills and mortgage
  • Refill consumables
  • Replace a broken item if it’s the last one of that category, or if son outgrows a clothing or shoe size
  • School supplies

If you’re feeling inspired to do the same, here are some rules and tips to help you succeed.

Define Unnecessary Purchases

Before you start your buy nothing year, it’s important to define what an unnecessary purchase is for you. For example, if you usually buy a coffee on your way to work every day, ask yourself whether it’s something you couldn’t do without. Just because something is a regular part of your routine doesn’t automatically make it necessary. Make a list of everything you’re planning to give up for the year and use it as a reference point when temptation strikes!

Set Goals and Rules

One of the keys to success is setting clear goals. You should decide what you’re allowed to buy (groceries, personal hygiene products, etc.) and what you’re not allowed to buy (clothing, electronics, etc.). Also, set some guidelines for dealing with unavoidable expenses, such as a medical emergency or a broken appliance. Having some clear rules will help you stay on track and avoid confusion.

Shop Smart

While you’re not allowed to buy anything new, you can still shop for things you need by getting them secondhand. Buying used items not only saves money but it’s also an environmentally-friendly choice. Thrift shops, garage sales, and online marketplaces like eBay are fantastic places to find everything from clothes and furniture to electronics and books.

Get Creative

Doing a buy nothing year doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on things you love. Instead, see it as an opportunity to get creative! Want to try a new recipe? Look up some ingredients you have on hand and come up with something delicious. Want to spruce up your wardrobe? Host a clothing swap party with your friends or turn your old clothes into something new by altering them. There are plenty of ways to have fun without spending any money.

Stay Motivated

Doing a buy nothing year isn’t easy, but remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Maybe you’re trying to save money for a big trip, or perhaps you just want to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Whatever your motivation may be, remind yourself of it regularly. It also helps to have a support system, whether it’s a group of friends doing the challenge with you or just one or two people you can turn to when you’re feeling tempted.


A buy nothing year may sound like a daunting task, but it can be a rewarding challenge that can make you more mindful of your spending habits and, in turn, help you save money and live a more eco-friendly life. With these rules and tips, I hope you can achieve your goal of doing a buy nothing year. Remember to be kind to yourself: if you slip up and make an unnecessary purchase, don’t be too hard on yourself. The most important thing is to keep going and stay committed. Here’s to a year of smart and mindful spending!

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