No-Buy List for 2021

Several of the influencers I follow online talk about no-buy lists (you can see here, here, and here for examples). This is something new that I learned about at the end of 2020, and I figured I’d give it a go. Some people do No-Buy Lists to target financial goals. Some do so to work towards a better sense of minimalism and intentional living. And yet others have still other reasons.

I’ve never been a hyper-consumer and I often get really overwhelmed, really quickly, with an abundance of clutter. However, I think God gave me the words “intentionality” and “stewardship” for 2020, and I think He has given me the word “discipline” for this new year. Together, these words have inspired me to be more intentional with my spending, as well as ensuring that I am making purchases that I agree with entirely.

Some of the items on my list have stipulations, specifically those that are on a “when empty” bases. Some of these items, also, are more of declarations of items that I don’t need to purchase any more, as I have found reusable alternatives. Also, I want to point out here that this list does not include gifts; I’m just not spending my own money on these items this year. This is simply the list of items that I’m challenging myself to not purchase.

Also, as I only have three goals for this year (reading my TBR List, working on my book, and losing weight), I feel very confident in being able to take on this challenge, of a No-Buy list. At this point, though I am considering it for the future as a way of saving, I am not doing a full year of not buying non-essentials. Simply, I am not yet ready to try a complete No-Buy year, in which I would only spend money on essentials (like gas, groceries, bills, etc.) However, I think my little list for this year is a good way of dipping my toes in.

My No-Buy List for 2021

  1. Books

This is directly tied into my first goal for 2021 – to read my TBR (to be read) List. However, I’ve found that I have so many books for my little home at the moment, that I don’t have near enough space to store them all. I took stock a little bit ago and realized a lot of the books I have are books I haven’t read yet. So, my plan is to read all of the physical books I have, in order to determine which I want to donate/release from my collection and which I want to keep in my collection before buying more. Thus, I am planning to not buy any more books this year. There is one stipulation: This does not apply to my collection of antique books.

2. Makeup

As I have begun to apply some minimalism principles to my life, I went through my makeup collection and picked through the pieces I use on a regular basis and pieces that I haven’t touched in some time. This was a great exercise, as it made it very clear how much I don’t use a lot of makeup, and how much makeup I unintentionally waste. With this, I’m also working to update my makeup and skincare items to reflect more cruelty free, vegan, and zero waste principles and practices where possible. This year, no matter how I am tempted by the e.l.f sections at Target and pharmacies (my current favorite brand for all cruelty free and vegan makeup), my goal is to not buy any more makeup until I run out of a product. I have seven eye shadow pallets (ranging in sizes), and some of them are even past their marked expiration date (but give no sign of needed to be thrown away yet), but in order to reduce waste, I want to use what I have before buying new. I’m also a sucker for matte lipsticks, and this same principle applies.

3. Candles

Much the same as the previous items, I love candles and tend to buy more than I can burn. I’m also very particular about the candles I burn, so when I find one I like, it is very difficult to pass it up. (I’m working on this.) But as I’ve mentioned here, I also “make” my own candles from the left over bits and bobs, and I want to be intentional about burning these candles before buying more. Plus, I up-cycle all of the empty and cleaned out candle jars (hello, great cute little pots for succulents!), and I want to also be intentional about using these jars (in any way) before adding any more.

4. Disposable cotton rounds

This one is very much a a declaration: I made reusable cotton rounds from some old t-shirts, and thus I don’t need to buy cotton rounds any more. This was a cool experience, as I was able to take old shirts, specifically shirts that had meaning and memories to me, but that I don’t wear anymore, and give them a new life.

5. Nail polish

I don’t wear nail polish all the time, though I recently discovered, that much like chewing gum, nail polish has amounts of plastic in it. So, to piggy-back off of my pursuit of finding more natural-based makeup and skincare, I’m also in the pursuit for more natural-based nail polish. (So far, Ella & Mila are my go to.) However, much like I’ve said before, I don’t want to buy any more nail polish until I use what I have.

6. Convenience meals

In my pursuit of being more mindful of my waste, I’m challenging myself to not buy lunch for work, and aim to pack my lunch. As I recently started a new job that doesn’t require near the driving, I’ve really been working to use leftovers/the food at home to pack for lunches. Thus, aiming to not purchase lunches out does two things; 1. limits “unnecessary” spending and limits impulse food buys, and; 2. keeps me aware of our leftovers, in order to minimize food waste.

7. Fast fashion

As I’ve been going through my clothing recently, I’ve been making a concerted effort to head to thrift stores when I need new clothing, instead of heading to Old Navy (my “preferred” fast fashion store). I’m also trying to look into sustainable, fair trade, etc., companies to buy clothing from. One of my favorites stores, even before aiming to be more intentional about being a conscientious shopper, is Sudara. (Fun fact: these were the robes my bridesmaids and I all wore while we were getting ready for my wedding.)

What are some of the things you would No-Buy this year?

Ciao for now,



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