Dealing with Wants: How I failed my No-Buy Challenge

Remember I was on a self-induced three month no-buy challenge? Here is my confession: I failed it miserably in March.

People say that the first two months are the most difficult, and then the miracle happens. You get out of the habit of wanting things. Maybe for some of us it works. It definitely does not work for me. If anything, the longer I go without shopping, the more I crave it.

I induced a three month no-buy challenge and failed it because I found myself in the mall, obsessively staring at the new shoe collections. You would think that I should be able to avoid spending money on things that I want, especially that I promised here, publicly, on this blog, to buy based on my “needs” only.

Maybe it is physiological, maybe it is just my pure greediness. Maybe, after all, I am a weak person who cannot control and deal with raw emotions. I succumbed to my wants. I came up with “needs” just to get myself into a store.

Dealing With “Wants” Three Step Action Plan

Determine a real cost.

Before buying anything, I decided that I want to figure out how many hours I have to work to afford my “want.” Maybe determining this real cost of a particular commodity, will put a different perspective on my “wants.”

I’ve never used this approach before, so I was quite curious to see what was the real cost of my last three pairs of shoes that I got. It took me 10 hours of work to earn the price of my three pairs of shoes.

Keeping busy.

This should not be a problem between my full-time job, social life and blogging I keep myself very busy. I don’t have time to fill because I am doing something all the time. I just need to make sure I don’t succumb to my wants and make time to run to the mall.

Set up a new challenge.

Since I failed my no-buy challenge, I am contemplating a new one. We all want to update our wardrobe as the new season rolls in: new colors, new styles, new looks are tempting and alluring. Instead of depriving myself from shopping and malls, I need to set limits on things I buy. Why not let myself update five things a season? At least then, I will be more careful and more choosy with the things I buy. Since I updated my wardrobe with spring clothes in March, I will wait till June to decide on five things I want to get for myself for the summer.

How do you deal with “wants?”

25 thoughts on “Dealing with Wants: How I failed my No-Buy Challenge”

  1. When I first started blogging, I was so good with challenges like this, and now I just can’t do them. I always fail them.

    1. I am going to stick to not going to the malls for now. Just need to make sure not to use any pathetic excuses to get myself to the mall.

    1. Hahaha! Maybe I should reconsider, huh? No, I am okay with people knowing that I am so not perfect.

  2. I actually just wrote about this recently but I use a wish list to deal with any wants. I write them down and if I still want them after a month, then I go ahead. Most of the time, I find I don’t really want them anymore.

    Another good way to deal with wants is simply to want something else more. What do you want more: more clothes or getting out of debt?

    1. I want both! 🙂 I want to be debt free and have a huge closet. Oh well… one step at a time.

  3. the “no buy” challenge just doesn’t work for me.. it just doesn’t. i can maybe do a “buy very little”, but life will always get in the way. something will break, something else will run out, and somehow, my money will just be beckoned from my checking accout.

  4. I don’t think a “no buy” challenge is a good idea. It’s like yo yo dieting. I like your new plan of buying 5 things per season much better. You can adjust that as you go. Maybe you’ll find that you need 6 things/season in the long term.

    1. I am going to stick to this one for now. I just hope I won’t increase it from 5 things to 25! 🙂

  5. I agree with retirebyforty. Eventually you are going to have to buy something and I find that the floodgates open then and you just start buying everything in sight. I think your approach to setting limits is better because over time you will learn to buy an appropriate amount of stuff without overspending/overbuying.

  6. I few things I did to curb the desire of wanting things, although drastic, turned out to be very helpful. I ditched the t.v., traditional radio, and magazines. All of these things offer advertisements that play to our emotions. Not having that constant emotional response being stimulated my sly marketing/advertisement has helped in ways you can’t imagine.

    Your methods that you mention here are great from a rational point of view, but reason alone will not keep you out of the mall. Shoes aren’t my thing, but I’m sucker for snacks, especially anything with the chocolate and peanut butter in it. I know not to keep these things laying around house because I will overindulge myself. The trick is to figure out how to sidestep those emotional triggers.

    Wish you the best.

    1. i’ve been working on my emotional triggers for a long time. I know that I am an impulse shopper. I shop when I am in the bad mood, when I am bored, when I am happy. It seems that I find reasons to shop everywhere. It is hard to determine particular emotional triggers. TV and magazines do not necessarily appeal to me. Maybe I will analyze it further and write a post on it. 🙂

  7. Great post! I actually failed at my no spend challenge this week. I went to the mall and spent money. I really love my shoes! Do I really need them? Hmm…Idk.
    I agree with you that sometimes no spend challenges are hard. Just like hard core diets are hard. I cheat a little bit here and then, it helps with my sanity.

    1. Yes, no-buy challenges is like diets. I don’t do diets. Now, I am thinking that I should have not done the challenge. Oh well…

  8. I think that I have similar shopping habits to you. I know for myself that shopping bans do not work. I binge before and after they are over. The only thing that has worked for me is before I buy anything I ask myself if I love it, can afford it, and most important wait a few days or a few hours even to purchase. So often I don’t want it if I wait.

    1. I am more an impulse shopper: I like what I see, I buy it. However, it has changed a little recently. I am more focused on style now, then on buying for the sake of buying.

  9. I’m definitely an impulsive shopper & No Buy Months just doesn’t work for me. It’s not like a splurge on a lot of things but I tend to buy little things which also adds up.

    I also work in the city – surrounded by shopping malls all day & guess where I take the bus to & from work, yep that’s right – in front of a shopping mall.

  10. I tend to be one of those people who does great going cold turkey… for a while. Then, the self-imposed restrictions become overwhelming and I splurge. I find that when I don’t artificially restrict myself, I’m far more even-minded in my purchasing decisions.

    1. I liked the choice of words you used – artificially restrict. It definitely doesn’t work for me any more. Diets don’t work, no-buys don’t work. I just need to find something that does work. 🙂

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