I'm the kind of person who loves standing up to a challenge. Whether it's committing to run a race, doing yoga 6 days a week, saving a certain amount of my income, I love a good goal! So in early 2018 I decided to make a change in my shopping and consuming habits by embarking upon a year-long makeup no-buy/low-buy challenge. I've been blogging about it on a regular basis to keep myself accountable and on task, and I finally have my final numbers for how much I spent, my thoughts about the challenge itself, and my regrets along the way. While I've done smaller no-buy challenges in the past, this was the most extreme challenge I've ever completed, and I'm very glad I did it.
Why I'm Glad I Did the Challenge
One of the primary reasons I'm very glad I started this challenge in February of last year was because about six months into my challenge, I was laid off. That meant I had to significantly curtail my spending in ALL categories of my life, so it was great that I had spent the previous six months practicing mindful consumption!
By the time of my layoff in late July/early August, I had become a pro of evaluating my purchasing decisions, for beauty, clothes, almost everything and found that I didn't suffer too much from my change in income with regards to shopping temptation. I had a tricky time in May and June and it made me really reflect on my triggers and coping mechanisms. While at times it was tiresome and frustrating, I was so used to being mindful of my habits that I found it was easy to adjust, probably easier than some of my fellow coworkers during that same difficult period.
And this mindful spending definitely followed me throughout the rest of the year. I was concerned that when I started working again, I would fall back into bad habits, but it was actually a breeze. I ended up spending nothing my last month of the challenge, and the following month afterwards because I'd completely detached from my "urge to purchase" and was able to just go through my days NOT being enabled by people.
I'm also really glad I did the challenge because I was able to use SO MANY PRODUCTS in my collection. I finished up so many things because instead of having five different versions of the same primer or moisturizer or foundation or mascara, I was slowly working through things all year long and had a lot of empties to show for it.
How much did I spend on makeup in 2018?
Essentially within the rules of the challenge, I told myself I was allowed to spend $25 a month on products, prioritizing things I needed to get as replacements (i.e. makeup removal wipes, primer, setting spray, foundation, etc.) From February 2018 to the end of January 2019 I spent approximately $219, or about $18.50 a month.
I did have some back-and-forth over what was considered a "gift" or not because I had some spending money from a giftcard I got for my birthday and won another giftcard as a prize at work which amounted to $60 each of those months, but I decided it was ok within the scope of the challenge.
Things I did NOT count as makeup/beauty purchases during this time was my Fab Fit Fun subscription and my hair appointments. My first Fab Fit Fun box I purchased with the gift card I won from work, and I enjoyed it so much I maintained a subscription throughout the rest of the year. I personally felt it was ok to not count as the makeup challenge don't usually opt for the makeup products in the box (and have actually traded most of them away), and have actually used almost everything I've received. With regards to my hair, I don't do any other type of treatments (nail, facials, spa, etc) and my hair legit brings me so much joy, so that was never part of the challenge.
I feel it's good to always be up front about this, because some people may say I'm "lying" or pretending to not be so frugal, but I really wanted to focus on my mindless purchases with this challenge, and things I anticipate and prepare for, were not the goal of this year.
What are some of my regrets?
The entire idea for my 2018/2019 no-buy/low-buy challenge solidified with me last February when I realized I had purchased YET ANOTHER brand-new makeup primer, while I still had at least two Smashbox ones left to finish sitting right on my vanity. Somehow, even then, I knew that primer would come to haunt me, and lo and behold I ended up not even needing to USE that primer until FEBRUARY of 2019. So yeah, that's right, that primer that broke the camel's back lasted an entire YEAR before I needed it. So I think one of my major regrets was that it took so long for me to realize what I was doing with my purchases in the first place.
I have to say, I wish I had more "drama" during this challenge, but even when I stumbled, I didn't do that badly. So I don't really have too many "regrets" when it came to spending money. I think the one thing I addressed head on was my impulse purchase of one of those cutesy Sephora skincare sets last June, of which I'M STILL using some of the products from. Otherwise the purchases I made were pretty well-thought out and planned. I felt SIGNIFICANTLY less purchase regret, I literally lost my desire to 'cruise' through Shoppers Drug Mart or Sephora, and I unsubscribed from SO MANY EMAILS. Inbox zero here I come!
So all in all, I 'completeted' the No Buy Challenge in February, but I'm happy to say that I've spent less than $10 so far on beauty in 2019 so far! I bought a Blistex lip balm because I lost my mentholated one but ended up FINDING IT like 3 days later, and a hydrogel face mask for an upcoming review. Not a bad start and I have the 2018/2019 no buy/low buy challenge to thank for it!!