HAVE A FINANCIAL GOAL
For me, I think this is without question the thing that kept me going. I originally only intended to do a No Buy for a few months, just to bolster my savings incase of redundancy, but by having a financial goal that was important to me - in my case saving for a deposit for a house - it kept me going so much longer than I anticipated.
It really doesn't matter what the goal is, whether it's large or small, only that it matters to you. It could be as simple as just having enough in savings for an emergency, like a boiler or washing machine breakdown, to something as large as clearing student debt or paying off a mortgage; again it really only matters that it's important to you.
I found that every time I was tempted to shop, I thought about how the money could be potentially more valuable to me as additional funds for a house deposit, and then it was so much easier to just walk away.
SEE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY
If you've been a regular shopper in the past, it's likely you already have plenty of things. One of the side benefits of not shopping has been the opportunity to appreciate what I already have.
By buying no new clothing, I found new enjoyment in things I'd sort of forgotten about, in embracing creativity to put together items in a new way. I learnt a lot about what I wear most, what fabrics I like, and I think this will also help guide my shopping in the future, to enable me not to waste money.
By buying no new cosmetics or skincare, it was a good opportunity to use things up and begin to declutter my cupboards. Again this taught me a great deal about what I actually tend to use day to day and will help ensure I don't waste money in the future on things I just don't use.
In general, by not bringing more things into the house, it was a great opportunity to learn to appreciate what I already have, and we truly need very little (although that's not to say at all that having things we want is bad!). This time also taught me so much about my values and shopping habits, which will serve me in the long term, and ultimately help me make the most of my money.
So see it as an opportunity, not only to save money, but to learn more about yourself, about what actually matters to you, and potentially this will help you maximise the value you get from your purchases, long after your no buy and low buy ends.
It's also a great opportunity to declutter your home if that's something you want to do - the surest way to reduce clutter is to stop bring more stuff into the home!
CHANGE YOUR INTERNAL DIALOGUE
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do when on a No Buy or Low Buy is to change your internal dialogue. Most of us are having little conversations with ourselves all day, every day, and a lot of the time our internal voice can justify pretty much any purchase. You will likely be familiar with these conversations: 'You deserve it', 'I've had a really tough time at work recently, it will cheer me up', 'It's only x pounds, its not really expensive, why not?'
Yet if you simply ask yourself: 'Do I actually need this', 'Why do I want this?', 'Do I have something similar at home already?' - you will be genuinely surprised at how often you walk away from an item you were about to purchase.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and make our goals hard for ourselves. Certainly when doing something like a No Buy or a Low Buy, we need to help ourselves by removing temptation to buy things.
This can come in a few different forms. The first thing I would recommend is to unsubscribe from email newsletters from brands you like, you can always re-subscribe at a later date if you wish - but when I would get emails telling me about sales or discounts, even though I didn't need anything, I would find myslef logging onto the site and looking for things to buy.
Secondly, if you can, stay out of stores. Often we tell ourselves that we are just window shopping, but when you spot something that seems like a great deal, or you just see something you really like, it becomes hard to walk away, especially when purchases can take just seconds.
Thirdly, I've raised this before, but consider limiting social media. When we scroll through Instagram for example, we might perhaps see a great outfit on an influencer you like, or maybe just a friend and think 'Oooh I really like that, where can I buy it?'. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing, I've found some truly fantastic brands via social media, but if you are committed to a No Buy or a Low Buy then it's just tempting yourself, and can induce feelings of missing out which will just make the No Buy period feel miserable.
SLEEP ON IT
If you happen to see something you really, really want, be it in store or online, I'd recommend to just sleep on it before purchasing.
Even now, well after my no-buy has ended, I still use this tactic and more often than not, if I leave the item in the basket, sleep on it, the following day I find I've either forgotten about it or decided I don't really need or want it.
HAVE AN UNRELATED GOAL
One last thing you might find helpful is to have an unrelated goal. When you are shopping regularly, it actually takes up a lot of time - travelling to stores, perusing the stores, trying things on, scrolling through websites, looking at reviews, waiting around for deliveries - and yet so many of us say we don't have time for our goals. For a long time I said I didn't have time to work out for example, that I wanted to read more but was too busy, yet I would easily find an hour to scroll through websites shopping!
Replacing those shopping habits with working on a goal thats important to you will not only distract you from not shopping, but also potentially increase your self esteem, something that is of huge value.
So that's it for my top tips for a No Buy or Low Buy - I actually don't believe in saving money at all costs, but I highly recommend the experience because not only did I save money, I learnt a lot about my shopping habits and to understand what I actually value. For example, now I would much rather have less items, but better quality, maybe even luxury items, even if per item they are more expensive.