How I Started My Low Buy Journey in Quarantine

 

What is a low buy journey?

A low buy journey (or challenge, as some people like to call it) is a way of limiting the number of things you buy to only buy what you need. It’s a great way to help limit your spending and move towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.

Why I started a low buy journey

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Illustration from unDraw by Katerina Limpitsouni

I started this journey because I wanted to save money and pay off my credit card debt. Although I’ve been working harder to pay off my credit card balances this past year, my spending habits never changed. It was hard to see my balances go down when I was still spending more money than I needed to.

Ever since the quarantine started in March, I started to discover what items I truly needed in my life. I found out about the low buy journey on YouTube and became motivated to try it. My main goals were to save money and to bring fewer items into my home. Since I was at home much more, I started to get familiar with my belongings.

Starting this journey was difficult at first. In the past, I would put many items in my cart while I shopped because I thought they were cute and I really needed to have it. Spoiler alert: I didn’t really need them.

On this journey, I stopped buying things I didn't need and I’m much more conscious about my spending habits. It’s also been rewarding to see my bank account balances being higher and being able to contribute more towards my debt.


Here are some of the things I used to buy on a regular basis

Makeup, skincare, and haircare

Browsing Sephora’s “Just In” section to see all the new makeup and skincare items was one of my favorite things to do. I wanted to buy a lot, just for the sake of buying. Since the quarantine started, I haven’t reached for my daily makeup routine, which has been great for my wallet. Because of this, I haven’t needed to buy a replacement for anything. I also felt no need or desire to buy new makeup because I wasn’t going anywhere. I realized I only need the bare minimum when it comes to makeup.

I made a rule for myself to only buy makeup if I actually have a need for it. This will usually be when I run out of something that I use very often. For hair care, I’m a little more lenient on this rule. I’ll allow myself to try 1 or 2 new items a month because I’m still on the lookout for some good curly hair products.

Clothing

I cut back a lot on my clothing purchases. This does have a lot to do with quarantine, but it’s now a habit I want to take with me forever. With most of the clothing items I bought, I never actually needed any of them. I just wanted them. Now, I only buy clothing or shoes very rarely, and only if I have a need for the item. An example would be for the start of a new season or if an existing clothing item ripped or got damaged.

Home decor

Buying home decor was also another favorite pastime of mine. Cutting back on those purchases made a big difference in my living environment. Having a few decorative pieces can be really nice and help elevate a room, but having too many pieces can make the space look too cluttered. I prefer to have a more minimalistic home decor style and not have a lot of things on my countertops. Having clean and more empty countertops has helped me feel more at peace in my home.

Going out to eat at restaurants

Not going out to eat has been the biggest money saver for me. While I’ve been at home in quarantine, I have fallen in love with cooking for myself. It’s so fun to try new recipes and I save so much more money. It’s also a much healthier option too because I know exactly what I’m putting into my dishes.

I do order from UberEats about once a month to treat my self, but I still feel guilty about spending so much on one meal.


Tips for starting out on a low buy journey

  • If you’re online shopping, ask yourself if it’s something you actually have a need for. Do you already own something similar? Try leaving the site with the items still in your cart and visit again a few days later to see if you still want them.
  • Try cooking at home instead of eating takeout. There are a ton of YouTube videos of different types of recipes. It’s a great way to get inspiration on what you can cook and try out some new cuisines.
  • For home decor or furniture, check out Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp. They both have a “Free” section you can browse for any household items, including furniture! When I lived in Seattle, I was in a local “No buy” Facebook group and people would post free things for neighbors to pick up. See if your neighborhood has a similar group.

Two of my favorite low buy YouTubers

Signe of Use Less, and Christina of Style Apotheca both have awesome videos about their low buy journeys. I recommend giving their videos a watch if you want to learn more.

Low buy challenge video from Use Less’s YouTube channel
Low buy video from Style Apotheca’s YouTube channel

Being on a low buy journey has helped change my mindset around spending money. Now, I only want to buy what I actually need. It’s helped me save my money and I have been using that towards my financial goal of paying off my credit card debt. It’s much easier to budget my monthly spending too, now that I can remove a big chunk of my personal spending.

Low buy can be a great thing to try if you want to save money or start a more minimalistic lifestyle. It can help you learn how to create a budget for yourself. It’s also a great way to appreciate the things that you already have.


This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.