Low Buy Challenge 2021

As I wrote in my last post, I was planning on doing a low buy challenge last year – but then ended up having to buy more than I originally planned, as I suddenly did not fit into some of my summer clothes anymore. While this is still in line with a principle of buying only what you need, I feel like this didn’t really count as a low buy year.

So this year, I am going to try again. The idea behind a low buy challenge is to buy as little as possible and only what you really need – both for minimalist and sustainable purposes. It is a bit more lenient than a no buy challenge, in which you usually can buy necessities such as food and replacements for broken items, but not much else. The rules of these challenges can be adapted to what you personally want to challenge yourself with, and you can also do it for only a month or a week.

White curly font on a turquoise background reading Low Buy Challenge 2021

For me personally, not buying anything for a month is quite easy – so I am going to try this for a whole year. I will focus on the categories I tend to buy more of than I need: clothes, haircare and skincare.

The main goal when it comes to clothes is to reduce the number of fast fashion items I buy. The goal with hair and skincare products is to be more intentional about what I buy, which is something I already started doing last year too. Never buying hair products I don’t necessarily need is not an option though, because I review them here on my blog.

These goals translate to the following personal rules for my low buy challenge:

  1. I can still buy second-hand or from sustainable brands. I will not put a limit on the number of items, but this rule will automatically reduce the number of items I buy, as sustainable brands are expensive and finding an item that I love second-hand is a challenge.
  2. I can still buy replacements for basics, socks and underwear. I have decided I can still buy these things from unsustainable brands, because buying them from sustainable brands is not within my budget.
  3. I will try to only buy new hair- and skincare products if I have finished another product first. I deliberately put “try” here, as I do try to post one hair product review every month and this will not always line up with the exact moment I finish another product.
  4. Other things, like books, games and home items are excluded from the challenge. These are areas where it has always been a lot easier for me to be intentional and not buy too much, so I do not really need to lower my number of purchases here.
  5. I can still use gift cards, buy gifts for others, or occasionally treat myself. While most of the time, gifts I buy for others or myself are in the areas that I already excluded from this challenge, I still decided to include this as a rule. If I were to receive gift cards for clothing stores or beauty items, I want to give myself permission to use them. However, when it comes to treating myself, I will opt for things like books or games instead of clothing or beauty products I don’t need.

At the end of the year, I will write a post in which I talk about how it went, what I learned, and what I ended up buying. I might do a little update halfway through the year as well, if I feel like I have enough to write about at that point. While the scope of my challenge is pretty limited, I think not buying any fast fashion at all is still going to be hard – but being a more sustainable consumer is important to me, so it is definitely worth trying.

Have you ever done a low or no buy challenge? What were your rules and how did it go? Let me know in the comments!

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