Money

No-Buy: Did I break the rules in my first month?


We’re two days from the end of February, and now seemed like a good time to take a look back at my first no-buy month. I say “first” because I will almost certainly continue into March, with modifications. But that is for another post.

With this post, I wanted to look back at the last four weeks and confess to you, the anonymous Internet, three times where I stepped over the line and bought things this month. While I may have violated the letter of the rules a couple of times, I feel that each of these stayed within the spirit of my midlife makeover goals.


1. Pour over coffee filter, $12.99 (Amazon). It just so happened that, about a week into February, I realized that I was almost out of pods for my coffee maker. Yes, I’m one of those people; the Kuerig fit into my lifestyle for the last few years and helped me kick a pot-a-day coffee habit I’d had for most of my adult life. In the mindset of my frugal goals for my midlife makeover, however, I came to the conclusion that now might be a good time to move off the relatively expensive (and wasteful) pods and instead get something sustainable and cheaper in the long run.

The pods I normally buy are Kirkland (Costco) brand, and a box of 100 is about $38. So, I said to myself, if I could get what I needed to move from pods to pour-over coffee (an option which doesn’t require buying a drip pot or anything) for less than the cost of a new box of pods, I would make the switch.

My original goal was to get both a pour over filter and an electric coffee grinder, but I couldn’t get the kind of grinder I wanted (a burr grinder) within the budget, so I just bought a the filter ($13), a 40 oz. bag of Kirkland ground coffee ($12), and a package of 400 cone filters ($4). Altogether, with taxes, it’s about $31. Seven bucks less, and I am in a good position to keep drinking coffee at a cheaper per-cup price for the rest of the year.

Did I break my rules? Technically, in that the pour-over filter falls into one of my forbidden categories. But I feel this one was deep within the spirit of a no-buy. Since I technically replaced pods with the filter (allowed in my rules) and also set myself up to spend less on coffee in the future (which align with my money goals), I feel good about this one.


2. Bubble Tea and Mochi, $16, plus tax. My older daughter is twelve, and she is the pickiest eater I know. Her diet largely consists of about five things: chicken (mostly breaded), white rice, pasta noodles, cheddar cheese, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos … and they cannot touch or mix on the plate. So when she came to me in the middle of the month and asked if I would take her out to try bubble tea for the first time, I was not going to tell her ‘no’.

It was in that spirit that she and I went out to a local sandwich shop that also happened to have a full bubble tea menu. We each had a tea and, because my daughter is also an unrepentant weeb, also each got a mochi treat. She enjoyed them both (though the mochi much more than the bubble tea).

I admit, by going to a restaurant (or an eatery, or whatever you’d call a place that serves bubble tea), this was a violation of my no-buy rules. But it really was about giving my daughter a little fun experience she hadn’t had before. I never really defined my rules concerning “experience costs” this month, so I’m looking at this one as a grey area violation.


3. Black pumps, $59 (Overstock.com). Of course, within two weeks of my no-buy starting, I had a fashion emergency: my only good pair of black work-appropriate shoes tore right along the center stitch.

If it had been something less core to my wardrobe (burgundy heels, brown flats) I could have managed, but black work shoes are a necessity. This is especially true since I am trying to move towards a capsule-ish wardrobe, and black is a necessary component of that.

This one wasn’t a violation. “Buy to replace” is a rule in my no-buy, and those shoes needed replacing. I don’t feel bad for doing it. And hey, I got a $100 pair of shoes for $60 out-the-door! Considering I have real a Peggy Hill problem when it comes to buying shoes, I cannot complain about the price.


So there it is: three times I skirted (or stepped over) the line in my first no-buy month. All things considered, I think I did pretty well. These moments definitely helped me see where I might need to adjust or better define some rules, and they also showed me that, even when I spend money, I can do so without using it as an excuse to spend excessively.

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One thought on “No-Buy: Did I break the rules in my first month?

  1. Mjit RaindancerStahl says:

    I’m with the kid, food shouldn’t touch. I can’t eat pumpkin pie because someone dumped my first piece in a smear of tomato juice on my plate.

    You can’t bribe your kid into liking something they’ve never tried, so kudos on the splurge.

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