The Low Buy

The Low Buy

If you ask me, ‘no-buys’ are the yo-yo diet of shopping. The process goes like this:

  • Declare a no-buy
  • See a pretty thing
  • Drool over it
  • Exercise amounts of willpower you never even knew you had
  • Repeat for a few months (or days – don’t judge me)
  • Declare the no-buy to be over
  • Reward your ironclad willpower with a little (or not-so-little) shopping spree

I’ve been thinking about this lately, you see, because I have a vacation coming up next month in San Francisco (can’t wait!). For once I’ll actually have access to some decent shopping destinations and a new tattoo is in the works, so squirreling away some discretionary funds seems like a pretty good idea. I know from experience that a strict cold-turkey no buy is basically setting myself up for failure, so my plan of attack (starting a few weeks ago) is the low buy – I can have a few things, but with a lot more rules and restrictions. I don’t want it to be an epic fail, so I’m planning on a few different strategies to avoid temptation.

Plan it out

Two words: ground rules. You gotta figure out when it is and isn’t acceptable to add something to your collection, because if you just buy things when you feel like it, how is that different than any other time?  Everyone has their own methods, but for me a few have been easier to stick with.

Timeline: So exactly how long are we doing this, anyway? Maybe you don’t really need a set end date, but it can be handy if you’re trying nix makeup purchases to save for something else.

Budget: This is useful if you’re doing a longer-term low buy, or just looking for ways to manage your purchases in general. It could be a set amount each month, a percentage of your discretionary budget, only using money that you get from consigning old clothes, whatever. The important part is to decide what it is and stick to it.

Wishlist: This is the method I’m using for now. There are certain things that I know I’ll want – like the Lorac Pro Palette 2 and the Tom Ford Nude Dip quad from the fall 2014 collection – so those will definitely be purchased. Other stuff, especially non-limited-edition stuff, can wait for later.

Squash that impulse

It’s tough, I know. Knowing as you do about my Le Rouge obsession, you can bet I wanted to go buy all the new colors that were released recently, but I limited myself to just Rouge Egerie. They’re permanent though, so the logical me convinced impulsive me that we can always get a few more colors later.  There’s a little checklist of questions I go through when this happens.

Why do I want this? Because there’s a bunch of hype about it? Meh, not good enough. Because I’m trying to make a certain look and don’t have the stuff I need? Ok, valid. Because I want to review it for the blog? Ok, but only if it’s something I’ll really use more than once. Replacing a staple item like primer or foundation? Yes, but only if I don’t have a different one that still needs to be used up.

Do I already have something similar? I’m really bad at this one. Warm pink blushes and lipsticks specifically. I’m trying to get better at it though.

Can I get it later? Assuming it passes the first two, I know I can still wait on it if it’s permanent. Limited edition stuff is a little more tricky, but even then I’ll usually wait a bit if I don’t think it will sell out.

Shop your stash

If you’ve  already built up a fairly large makeup collection – which I think is a safe assumption if a low buy is necessary – odds are you have things that aren’t getting enough love. Dig out some of the stuff that’s gathering dust in a drawer and rediscover how much you love it (or why you didn’t).

Challenges are great for this too – lately a lot of people on my instagram feed have been doing 30 days of eyeshadow, 28 days of lipstick, etc. It helps make sure things get rotated and gives you an excuse to post a selfie.

Work for it

If you’ve got something else you need to start doing, go ahead and use your makeup purchases as an incentive (but make meeting your goals a pre-req for any purchases). Give yourself $X per workout, for biking to work, for getting up early enough to beat rush hour, whatever you’re working on.


What do you do to make sure your low buy/no buy is a success?

Title image courtesy of Rafael Matsunaga on flickr



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