Low Buy/Mindful Consumption Plan for 2018

Welcome back to my blog! I've taken a hiatus since May, sticking to Instagram and Reddit, but I'm back. I wanted to kick it off with a post about mindfulness in beauty going into the new year. I spent a lot on beauty items in 2017 and I want to have a plan going into 2018, as I played fast and loose with makeup and skincare this year. I kept to a strict low/no-buy for perfume in 2017 and majority of 2016, so that gives me confidence to plan these categories out.

What I struggle with:

  • "Treat yoself" whenever I  have a crappy day or get bored
  • Going down rabbit holes of finding the perfect X and buying something after a week of Charlie/Pepe Silvia research...only to realize I never needed or wanted that X thing in the first place.
  • Buying things from my favorite brands, whenever they come out with something new or have something that remotely catches my eye (Tom Ford, Hourglass, Fyrinnae, Besame, NARS)
  • Shopping as an activity- the worst part of this is once I start/get the ball rolling, I'm way more likely to keep going. I'm the person that has a 2 month gap in her Sephora order history, and then 5 orders in the span of 2 weeks. I want to start breaking myself of that tendency.

What I don't struggle with:

  • Spending beyond my means (I always stay well within my Fun Budget, which doesn't even touch my Important Things Budget)
  • Shopping random brands (I tend to be strict about avoiding brands I have no experience with and can't swatch in-person)

2018 No Buy Schedule

January NO BUY

February OK to shop

March NO BUY

April Ok to shop (coincides with Sephora sale)

May Ok to shop



August NO BUY

September Ok to shop

October Ok to shop

November Ok to shop

December Ok to shop

  • I am least prone to emotional buying in the summer months- I am most happy and sociable during this time, so compulsive shopping is already not a problem. I will take advantage of that headstart by doing a solid no buy during the summer.
  • No buys are easier to stick to once I get going, so I don't want to intersperse too many "Ok to shop" months with no buys as I feel it'll throw me off. I'm going for multiple consecutive no buy months to reinforce the habit.
  • I do well with time-bound challenges, so I think it will be easier to stick to no buys for 30, 60, 90 days rather than a strict dollar limit.

2018 General Guidelines

  • No drugstore makeup, period, except replacements for the 1 or 2 drugstore items I use regularly
  • Repurchases are fine, no stocking up majorly
  • No shopping while in pajamas, in bed, or while watching TV (like snacking, shopping becomes easier the more comfy you feel)
  • Using gift cards does count as breaking a no buy- I will not use gift cards during my no buy months. The act of shopping, period, makes me want to shop more, so even if it's free money, I'm still engaging in the addictive behavior.
  • Stick to Sephora and Beautylish as much as possible- considering I don't shop drugstore beauty, there's no reason to shop at Ulta. Ulta's high shipping minimum tricks me into hauling more. It's also easier to minimize expenditures when they're spread across 6 or 7 retailers compared to only 1 or 2.

New Item Wishlist

Example of my "wishlist" for 2018

Instead of keeping a disorganized running list of things I want, I will have a more structured wishlist for 2018. There will be a mandatory cooling-off period for any new item of 4 weeks per piece. I am going to, to the best of my ability, avoid hauls and make single-item purchases. Because I nearly always shop on Sephora's site anyway, free shipping isn't an issue.

The above list shows product slots/categories that, in a vacuum, I can see myself wanting and acquiring in 2018. I wanted to do this before I got wind of what will actually be released in 2018, because that will only confuse me with shiny new pretties. This list represents only the number of "new to me" items I will allow myself to purchase. So I can continue to buy  7 or 8 units of my favorite Holy Grail cleanser in 2018- but what the list does is allow for me to try 2 new cleansers if I decide I want to.

I believe this itemized wishlist will suit my needs because I can sometimes go on category binges where I acquire 3 or 4 new things in one specific category slot all at once, and it always causes issues. Usually I end up not using each of the items enough, and it either sits around until it's too late to return, or it just feels shitty to have to return a bunch of these ill-planned purchases.

For my favorite color cosmetic categories, I'm being fairly generous. I'm hoping by having, for instance, 8 slots available for 2018 purchases of "single glitter shadows" that I think very hard about any glitter shadow I decide to buy, and I'll be a bit more discerning. I want to avoid category hauls at all costs, so if I have 8 "slots" available across 12 months, I'll mentally be prepared to allocate more gradually.

For my "basics" categories that have been settled for more than a year, I'm allowing 1 extra purchase- for instance I only own one brow product that I use every single day. I love it, it's Holy Grail- but if I decide I want to try something else, I can do that once in 2018. Same goes for highlighter and concealer.

Concluding Thoughts and More Resources

If this post resonates with you or makes you consider a no buy/low buy, then I suggest drawing up your own customized plan, as everyone's habits and weaknesses look different. An excellent resource is Reddit's Makeup Rehab subreddit, where users discuss their successes and failures and offer support.

If you struggle with social media encouraging your mindless consumption, it can be good practice to take a break entirely. If you think you can handle without going cold turkey, curate the people you follow. Unfollow all brands as well as large "influencers" who receive free products for reviewing purposes. Those will dull your ability to understand consumption in real dollar terms. Follow YouTubers and Instagrammers who focus on finishing their products, anti-hauls, and shopping their stashes. Some of my favorites:

Bad Outfit, Great Lipstick who can be found on Instagram @reneesanatomy

Kimberly Clark's Anti-Haul series on Youtube, which spawned a whole video format

Some social media hashtags to check out: #panningcommunity #projectpan #shopyourstash #projectuseitup #makeupempties #skincareempties #antihaul #panporn


  1. This sounds like a great plan! I especially like the idea of allowing yourself a certain number of items per category. I don't think that would work for me (I find it very hard to anticipate what I'll want in six months or a year), but it's a good way to think about consumption in general. I also like the "no drugstore makeup" resolution, and I might adopt that one myself. I find myself naturally turning away from drugstore makeup as I get older and more conscious of my spending, and it might be good to make an official rule.

    1. I think this will work on a shopping level since it will force me to stay within certain limits...but I definitely decided the quantity in categories based on what I already own, so as to not get my collection TOO bloated in the next year.

      I genuinely don't enjoy drugstore makeup, with VERY few notable exceptions, so it was the easiest makeup rehab rule to impose on myself :)