How To Do A No Buy Year Successfully and Save Thousands.

I am writing this with both great pride and shock, that after starting what was just a no spend January at the beginning of this year, I have managed to successfully complete 12 months of not spending on everything non-essential, so I wanted to share with you all of my tips for how to do a no buy year and how you can also save thousands of pounds by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle.

no buy challenge

Life as a spendthrift.

I ended 2018 as I had done the rest of my life; spending money on things I didn’t need, not thinking about how much they cost and buying things just to put in the wardrobe and never wear. Clothing, makeup and skincare were probably where my worst buying habits lay. I would buy items of clothing which I already owned in a different shape or colour, because I wasn’t mindful in what I was buying, I would buy makeup to replace that which still had months of use left, and skincare was purchased at the drop of a hat with every Instagram advert that greeted me when I scrolled. Does any of this sound familiar? It’s not that we had untold wealth, just that I was never really mindful of my spending habits, I’m sure like most of you reading might be able to relate to!

I wouldn’t say I had a great money education growing up. We certainly didn’t have a lot of it and my early years were spent dressed in charity clothes and hand me downs as my Mother raised my brother and I alone whilst working two jobs and studying for additional degrees. It wasn’t until Stuart and I were saving for our wedding a decade ago that I first started saving money. Not that I had ever had any debt, I just had never saved money, or realised the great joy of doing so. For me the buzz of being able to add to our savings each month has since replaced the short-lived excitement of buying a new top or lipstick.

So, enough about me, you’re here to learn about how to do a successful no buy year, so here are my tips for how to save thousands!

flat lay of ladies purse with money a watch and sunglasses

How To Do A No Buy Year Successfully and Save Thousands.

Set your own rules

You might be doing a no spend month, or weekend, or even a no spend year – so set your own time frame, something that seems achievable. You might even surprise yourself and add time on like I did! I also had some spending rules for what I was allowed to buy when I started – I could buy makeup if it ran out, however, I had so many make-up items that I could use up before needing to re-purchase so it’s really only been my foundation that I’ve needed to do this for. I could also do experiences if they enriched my life. It’s not about saying no to everything and having a miserable year, but being choosy with what you do and spend on. Have a think about what rules you want to set and write them down.

Look through your bank statements

The shock factor of seeing how much money you’re spending on unnecessary things will really help you identify and break down your spending habits and relationship with money. Do you find that you’re buying coffees out a lot – maybe consider packing a flask. Or maybe pack a lunch if going on days out, rather than buying lunch out.

If you do need to spend, earn while you do it!

Over the past 12 months there have been some items come up that we have had to purchase – for example our TV which blew up!! So, we made sure we shopped savvy and used the cashback site, Quidco. You’ll be surprised at all the things you can use cashback sites for, such as train journeys, your car insurance and even your phone bill. Also, getting the new cashback reminder tool is such a good way of making sure you don’t miss out on any cashback you can earn whilst shopping online as it uses clever technology to show you where the best cashback offers are while you’re shopping on your usual web browser; I used to forget to go via Quidco a lot of the time, so it’s a really handy reminder tool. I have been talking about Quidco for over a year in my YouTube videos as a great way of earning additional money. I know how successful people have been using them; I recently mentioned them in a video and I had so many messages from people saying they had earned thousands of pounds just by buying the things that they were already buying, one lady had earned £4,400!! To me it’s a no brainer and has absolutely no catches which is great. You can also refer people and get bonuses – if you use this link we can both get £10 on our account and then you can use your own referral code to do the same.

I’d also recommend getting the app so you can make sure you are getting your cashback while shopping on your phone. (Android here)

large tv on white background

Meal plan!!

Food can be a huge expense, and it’s not like we can go without it. So I 100% recommend meal planning each week so you know exactly what you need when going to the supermarket, thus spending less money on food you don’t need or having to go in mid-week to top up on things you forgot.

What are you saving for?

This is the exciting part – turning it around to be a positive rather than a negative will help you get through the hard days so have some things written down, or photos of them on a vision board it will really help by referring to it when you feel like you might slip back into spending. We are saving to buy our first house, so it’s a huge mountain to climb but doing a no buy year successfully has helped so much.

Tell your friends

It is so much easier to get through a no buy year if you have support from family and friends so that they understand why you’re not able to go out for that meal, or buy presents etc. and really encourage your challenge.

Use comparison sites

Make sure you’re saving the most money on utilities and insurances by using a comparison site, and be aware that being a loyal customer sadly doesn’t equate to getting the best deal!!

Go SIM free

Do you really need to spend £50+ on your phone contract each month, especially if you have a reasonably decent phone. I pay £15 per month which is SIM only, I did upgrade my phone because it was 4 years old, but I know I can use this for a couple of years and save half of what I would pay using a monthly contract.

discussing how to do a no buy year with a mobile phone flatlay


Each time you go to buy something, ask yourself if you really need it, what will you do with it, do you already own something similar, does it spark joy with you…then, if you do still want to go ahead, can you get it somewhere else cheaper?

30 Day rule.

I set this rule for myself, which was if I really really wanted something, I had to wait 30 days to buy it – if I still wanted it, I could go ahead and buy it – guess what – I never bought the things after 30 days! This really helps with impulse purchases which were a big issue of mine.

Take the pressure off.

Finally, I wanted to add not to put too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes we can put these things off because we are too overwhelmed by them. Set your intention of starting with a day, then build it up so that you don’t give up because it feels to daunting!

These no buy year tips should help get you started, but I have a huge amount of video content on my YouTube channel if you’re looking for more money saving advice and ways to do a no buy year successfully! I’d love to know if you’re inspired to start a on buy year for 2020, or if you’ve been doing one already – what are your tips? Get involved in the comments below! If you want to hear more about my 12 month update of my no buy year you can watch the video.

starting a no buy year

This post is written by myself, in collaboration with Quidco; all views are my own.


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