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Join Us for No Buy February

January 31st, 2011

This weekend I heard about Xan’s No Buy February Challenge. Since I’m a big fan of saving money and being thrifty I joined up. Mr Chiots and I did a no buy year 5-6 years ago and it was a wonderful thing, it really helped us get off that treadmill of buying stuff we didn’t need only to get rid of it a few years later and replace it with more stuff! It was a turning point for us financially, it really made us think about needs vs. wants and as a result we were able to pay off our house last year.

The idea of No Buy February, is to refrain from purchasing anything you don’t absolutely “NEED” during the entire month. You set the parameters for what you need or don’t need, here’s what Xan says:

Take the pledge with me for a NoBuyFebruary. If you don’t need it to live, don’t buy it. Taken to extremes, this means only buy groceries, because I’m guessing you have plenty of clothes, and you certainly don’t need any more dust catchers. If you can make it at home, you can’t buy it. Coffee. Meals. I’m including electronic expenditures, too, so that means no Kindle books or online subscriptions. Just go for a month without spending any money that you don’t have to spend. No fair using the last day of January to go on a buying binge either.

Of course you can still purchase things you need, I’ll be buying supplies to make my own seeds starting mix and a few amendments for the garden when I head up to Ohio Earth Food later this week and maybe some more seeds once I finish planning the garden. To me these things count as needs though not wants, if I didn’t purchase them I wouldn’t be able to grow my own food this summer. I’m fairly certain, however, that I can go the entire month of February without purchasing any additional food, heaven knows I have enough in the pantry to survive for months. It may mean going without mushrooms, or maybe running out of something, but we won’t starve! I decided that I was going to keep track of the amount of money I’m saving buy not purchasing things I don’t need and at the end of the month I’m going to donate that money to charity.

I’m also going to focus on going through the house and getting rid of stuff I don’t need during February. This is a perfect way to reinforce the don’t buy mindset. When you start making piles of stuff to give away or sell, it’s eye opening. You see how much you actually have and how little you really need.

What about you, do you think you can go a whole month without purchasing anything you don’t need?

23 Comments to “Join Us for No Buy February”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Join Us for No Buy February #miscellaneous #savingmoney […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Join Us for No Buy February | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. anotherkindofdrew on January 31, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I don’t think we’d have a problem at all. Right now we are moving toward a debt-free life so we already buy only what we need and spend the “leftover” money towards even more debt payment. We also already have substantial tithing and donating built into our budget (yep, we believe in blessing others first so that can make room to be blessed) so we are cool with that too.

    It is a fantastic idea though and perhaps a month of making it a focus again instead of the norm would allow to recognize again why we live the way we do.

    I’ll be anxious to hear how you and Mr. Chiots do!

    Reply to anotherkindofdrew's comment

  3. kristin @ going country on January 31, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Easy–all you have to do is have a baby. Makes it about five thousand times harder to leave the house and run errands–especially in the winter–and therefore harder to buy anything.

    Not that I was a wild shopper before, but now I rarely even get to the grocery store.

    Or you could just do the no buy challenge. That’s maybe a little less drastic.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on January 31, 2011 at 8:03 am

      Slightly cheaper too! Living in a rural area helps as well since it’s not convenient to run the store, you have to have a few hours.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. goatpod2 on January 31, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Good luck with this challenge! It doesn’t help that my parent’s and I are leaving for vacation in 3 weeks.


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  5. Nancy from Mass on January 31, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I know that I can participate in this challenge…but it may be difficult to get my husband to! (He likes wonton soup about every other week – only $4 – but can’t get him to give it up). I may ask him if he wants to participate though.

    Count me in!

    Reply to Nancy from Mass's comment

  6. Teresa Rawlings on January 31, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I have never tried a no spend month but I think we could do it. So I’m up for this challenge.

    I think this will be very interesting just to see for myself if I can do it.
    So come on February!!!! Bring it!!!

    Reply to Teresa Rawlings's comment

  7. PapaSwamp on January 31, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Amazingly timely idea. The govt just released it’s report on personal incomes and outlays for December. Wages were flat, costs increased (such as taxes), spending increased…but most worrisome, savings decreased (NIPA Personal Savings rate at a 60 yr low!).

    Reply to PapaSwamp's comment

  8. Louise on January 31, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I like this idea, count me in too.

    Reply to Louise's comment

  9. TreeHugginMomma on January 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I was litterally just thinking of doing this last night. So yes I’m in. Its going to be the topic of my blog tonight. I will outline my parameters of my no spend February. I may extend this to a no spend year (well what is left of it) because I need to get things under control.

    Hello my name is Tree and I have a spending problem….

    Reply to TreeHugginMomma's comment

  10. Miranda on January 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Ooooh. We should do this. I’ve been kind of on a ‘no buy’ kick since my husband took a job that pays less than half as much as the one he left (crazy!), but since christmas i’ve been stocking up on ‘wants’ with christmas money. I still have a few: a big carbouy and other hootch and cheesemaking supplies, a netti pot, and some fertilizer. Other than that, though i think i can do this. (maybe i’ll make a quick order before tomorrow, tee hee).

    Reply to Miranda's comment

    • Susy on January 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      I think your purchases are wise ones that will help you save money down the line. Do you love your netti pot? I love mine, keeps me breathing well all winter long and keeps the colds/flu away.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Nebraska Dave on January 31, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    It sounds like a great idea. Since my Uncle Sam decided that I should really support him a little better this year my no spend month may turn into two and a half to scrape up the required funds to fill his coffers. I wish all those luck that are attempting the feat of no spending outside of basic needs for February.

    Have a great no spending February.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on January 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      Just went to my tax meeting today, sickening how much I pay and being self-employed I see it all in one big lump sum. Fell your tax induced pain :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Marisa on January 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    My husband and I have January doing the no-spend thing (or at least trying to). It’s been mostly liberating, though I have been the tiniest bit frustrated to miss the post-holiday winter clearance sales. However, I’d say it’s been 95% wonderful and I’m so glad to be spending less, paying off debt and saving more.

    Reply to Marisa's comment

  13. Kathi on January 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I like the idea,but really wonder if I could do it. All the more reason to give it a try. I do have a full attic to clean out Guess I could go up there if I get the urge to buy anything…

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  14. Terry on January 31, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I have pretty much been doing this since November when I quit my job. I do splurge about once a month or sometimes every other week on a big Starbucks coffee though I don’t think I like those super sweet drinks as much now that I don’t have them that often. We buy a lot of stuff at auctions but it goes right on ebay so I don’t think that counts. Sometimes I take pictures of stuff that I like instead of buying it because I rarely keep anything very long. Good luck with your challenge, I know it isn’t easy.

    Reply to Terry's comment

  15. Xan on January 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Well, I was watching for this, and still didn’t manage to get in the first comment! Anyway, Chiot’s Run helped me get all the way through January without buying any produce this year (through a generous gift of seeds!) and Not Dabbling in Normal got me off the HFCS last year through the Eat Real Food challenge, I’m thrilled that you’re helping my little call to revolution here. I’ll be posting the “rules,” such as they are tomorrow! Be sure to link your blog so I can add it to my blog roll! And thanks, Suzy, you’re the best!

    Reply to Xan's comment

  16. Sincerely, Emily on February 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I will do this. I have been out of town for the past two weeks and won’t get home for a few more days, SO I will start then. I will do a post on my blog to pass the word too.

    Netti pot – LOVE it. Forgot to bring it with me on this trip! Dang!

    I hope that photo of you is from the summer, you aren’t wearing flip flops right now in OH are you! Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

    • Susy on February 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      Yes, photo was from summer a few years ago, I’m wearing knee-high wool socks this time of year :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. No Buy February… | Sincerely, Emily on February 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    […] keep up with. Tuesday I had access to a computer for about an hour and was reading a post over at Chiot’s Run about taking a pledge and participating in a No Buy […]

    Reply to No Buy February… | Sincerely, Emily's comment

  18. Make your own Lemon toothpowder | Chiot's Run on February 9, 2011 at 8:25 am

    […] part of our No Buy February Challenge, I’m going to be posting Make Your Own how-to’s on Wednesdays. Learning to make things yourself […]

    Reply to Make your own Lemon toothpowder | Chiot’s Run's comment

  19. Whole Grain Olive Oil Crackers | Chiot's Run on February 23, 2011 at 4:46 am

    […] part of our No Buy February Challenge, I’m going to be posting Make Your Own how-to’s on Wednesdays. Learning to make things yourself […]

    Reply to Whole Grain Olive Oil Crackers | Chiot’s Run's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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