No Buy Year 2020, No Spend Year, Retirement

A No Buy Year – The hot new trend.

If you do a You Tube search for “No Buy 2020”, a very large number of videos pop up.  You-Tubers have hopped on the “No Buy” bandwagon and are all expressing their desire to not spend for 2020.  Why?

assorted cosmetic lot
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

I believe it’s because many of them were becoming or were addicted to shopping.  Beauty products, planner supplies (guilty as charged), traveling, clothes, designer purses, subscription boxes/services — you name it.  Internet marketing, either through ads that flood your emails, or ‘hidden’ selling on sites online, can be very intoxicating and trigger the impulse to spend.  Things that you had no idea you needed you now suddenly have to have.  To be honest, I’ve been caught numerous times buying things not because I needed them, but because of FOMO (fear of missing out); including cruise travel. (expensive shopping for sure!) When others are ‘selling’ it, the urge to splurge is real.

But I’m fighting back, as are many others. I have unsubscribed to all cruise videos (sorry Sheri!), haul videos, people who do sponsorships nonstop videos, instagram feeds, email subscriptions, etc.  I just don’t need or desire the content, at least for now.  (I’m sure I will be watching cruise videos in the future — but only when I’m researching a trip that I already know I want to go on. 😉 )

And you know what?  It’s been WONDERFUL.  I’ve started reading more blogs, books, and engaging with my friends.  I’m exercising more by taking long walks outside.  I eat out less and make more delicious meals at home.  I’m saving money on food and gas, because I don’t have any need to shop.

I know it’s only been the first couple of weeks for this challenge and I have a long way to go, but I have a good feeling about it.   Knowing exactly why I’m doing this is helping me not to spend money.  And honestly, I am positively giddy when I can send more than 40% of my husband’s take home pay to savings, which is more exciting than the latest planner, purse or cruise ship.  I would never have believed that even possible.

So, yeah, I get this new trend.  I hope to see more people jumping on.  I just wish I had started earlier.



Late to the party, but finally here.

photo of cup near flat screen television
Photo by John-Mark Smith on

I’ve finally cut the cable and couldn’t be happier.

For years I’ve been considering cutting our cable.  Our provider made it nearly impossible, though, as contracts or bundled services made our internet the same price.  So why cancel?  Over the weekend, our provider started a new program where you did not need to sign a contract.   I had already released my home phone, and really wanted to ‘release’ the cable as well but had signed a contract in August.  It just so happened that I had to call our provider to challenge our bill (they overcharged for equipment we didn’t have).  I lucked out and got a manager on the phone.  He was more than helpful, so I thought I would check to see if I could get in on the ‘new plan’ without a cancellation fee of my other contract.

To my surprise and delight, I was able to get out of my contract (no fee), get the fastest internet, shed the cable and save $100 a month in the process. Oh my gosh, I am SO happy.  We rarely watched television, and mostly used the Roku for Netflix.  I did watch Hallmark, but can easily get the Hallmark app.  My husband will be getting the Hockey app. as that is his enjoyment.  We still will come out WAY ahead.

Saving almost $1,200 a year is exhilarating, to say the least.  I’m so glad I made the call. 🙂

Insurance is next….stay tuned….





Gratitude, No Buy Year 2020, Winter, Activities to do in Winter

30 Free Things to Do in the Winter Months (while keeping $ in the bank)

dwarf gnome on snow

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler

Here are some of the things I plan on doing this winter season that don’t include spending money.  Feel free to add yours in the comments!

  1. Create a winter capsule wardrobe with what I already have.
  2. Find and donate/sell 100 items.
  3. Paint a room with paint I have left over from a previous project.
  4. Declutter and deep clean each room of house.
  5. Walk outside in nature.  Hike the local parks.
  6. Practice taking pictures with my IPhone.
  7. Learn how to use my Nikon camera.  Finally.
  8. Meal plan a month at a time.
  9. Learn how to make a new dish every week.
  10. After decluttering, inventory EVERY thing in the house.
  11. CVS coupon for household items that need replaced.
  12. Clean up emails on all Apple devices.
  13. Start a yoga routine with free online videos.
  14. Work-out on treadmill, lift weights.
  15. Have a spa day.  Use up beauty products that I have in my stash.
  16. Watch a Netflix series (The Good Place,  Virgin River).
  17. Have a Gilmore Girls movie fest with my daughters.
  18. Write a blog post daily.
  19. Binge watch minimalism and low buy videos to stay motivated.
  20. Delete social media apps that are time sucks.
  21. Read books on my bookshelf, then donate.
  22. Give my dog a bath.
  23. Do a household maintenance walk through. (In preparation for Spring).
  24. Have a bill-reduction day.  Analyze all insurance and utility bills and try to lower them.
  25. Learn how to sell on Facebook Marketplace.
  26. SELL 10 items.
  27. Attend a religious retreat.
  28. Learn how to get free Walmart gift cards.
  29. Order groceries online for pick up to avoid impulse shopping.
  30. Write in a gratitude journal daily.

YOUR turn.  What do you do in your free time without spending money?

No Buy Year 2020

It’s happening. No Buy Year – 2020

wooden bench and stools in a cozy room
Photo by Catherine Augustin on

I’m joining the ranks of many others (see a few of them below) to do a No-Buy Year.  Yes, you read that right.  YEAR.  {So not to be confused, this is an updated spending challenge from what I wrote here.}


1.  SAVINGS.  In four years, my husband and I would like to retire.  For him to feel secure in doing so, however, he wants to have a large amount of cash in a savings account (in addition to our retirement accounts).  In order to a save this specific amount of money, we will have to stop spending money on crap that we don’t need. (Just to be clear, it’s ME who spends money, and my husband spends literally nothing.  Seriously.)

2.  SUSTAINABLE LIVING/MINIMALISM.  I’m also interested in pursing minimalism and sustainable living.  There’s been so much waste (on my part) with buying then decluttering, that it’s time to just say NO.

I don’t consider this challenge a punishment in any way.  I do believe in continuing to have experiences and education.  However, not spending money on ‘things’ will be an opportunity to get what I really want.  More time with my husband.

Here are my rules:

What I’m allowed to spend money on:

  • Bills, medical expenses
  • Food, Eating out (within reason)
  • Gifts
  • Charitable Giving
  • Replacements of household, beauty items I already have
  • Haircuts/coloring
  • Travel
  • Continuing education classes
  • Quality clothing (as replacements only)

And that’s it.  NO books, magazines, purses, wallets, pens, notebooks, home decor (with ONE exception: LR curtains), travel trinkets, fast fashion clothes and accessories, jewelry, movies, make up (unless it’s a replacement of what I use regularly),  travel items, accessories, manicures, pedicures, apps or new technology, paper napkins, subscription boxes/services.  There may be more items I’m not thinking of right now, but those too!

I’ll be tracking my experience with a No Buy in this space at the beginning of every month.  You are more than welcome to follow along, and if you are doing this too, please let me know!

Some sources of inspiration:

The Personal Philosophy Project

Style Apotheca

Use Less

Lara Joanna Jarvis



Worry. A true life suck.

background balance beach boulder
Photo by Pixabay on

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

–St. Francis de Sales

It seems that the world has gone absolutely mad, and there is no longer a place that we can be completely safe.  After the events that transpired in Pensacola at the Navy base, I was beside myself, as my own son is about to commission as an officer in the Navy and will be going to train in January.  Three young men, who wanted to serve this country … gone.

Today, I received an email in the “just one yes” campaign from The Arlington Diocese (one which I signed up to receive).  In it was the quote above.  Was it perfect timing or an answer to the never ending questions I had for God all weekend?  I believe it was the latter.   I’m grateful to receive it.

Worry can suck the life out of you.  However, faith will allow you to realize that someone else really is in charge.  You can be vigiliant, of course, and you must be.  But worry won’t change what will be.  A lesson I will need to remember.



I’m grateful for….(Thanksgiving edition)

photo of pumpkins
Photo by Pixabay on

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha

I’m grateful for:

  • My soon-to-be Navy Ensign son being home for a whole week.
  • A warm bed to crawl into at night.
  • A warm husband to sleep next to.
  • A hot cup of brewed coffee to wake me up.
  • The ability to walk 4 miles every day.
  • Spaghetti. With Meatballs. And Cheese.
  • A clean home.
  • Thanksgiving cooked by my husband!!
  • Grandbaby laughs.
  • Money left over from a Christmas budget. 😉

Your turn.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Christmas, Minimalism; decluttering, Spending

7 Ways to make this Christmas bright.


paper bags near wall
Photo by on

Ah Christmas.  The season of love and joy.

Or is it?

I’ll be honest.  I’m not a fan of the season.  I don’t like all the shopping, spending and decorating.   (Nor do I like the shorter days and cold weather.)  However, over the years, I’ve learned how to re-create the holiday for myself — making it truly a season of love and joy.  I thought I would share the ways I’ve changed it up for myself, and perhaps they may inspire you as well.

7 ways (I’m making) the Christmas truly a season of joy and love.

1.  STICK to a budget. I used to spend more money than I had on Christmas that debt was always inevitable in January, February & March.  My love for my kids was enormous, and so was my spending.  However, spending more money than you have is never a good plan, as the pain of the bills in the following year can attest.

2.  STAY out of storesOnline shopping and wish lists actually help me stick to a dollar amount.  I’m not swayed by all the goodies that line the aisles in stores this time of year.  And there are plenty.  I’m not like my husband who can just walk by them.  I see them, and suddenly I believe someone on my list needs them.  I’ve already done 90% of my shopping online, and I’m UNDER budget.  Woot!!

3. USE up what I already have.  This one should be a no brainer for me, but every year I buy more wrapping supplies. Why would I want to store so much Christmas wrapping paper when it only comes once a year? Wrapping paper can fade over the years, and then it is unusable.  Yesterday I pulled out everything I have and it appears I have enough to use for the next two years.  No purchasing of new wrapping supplies this year. 🙂

4. DECORATE simply. Clutter causes anxiety for me.  I like clean surfaces and non-cluttered spaces.  I used to decorate every nook and cranny of my house. I spent more money than I would like to admit on garlands, wreaths, lights.  By December 26th I was at my wits end, and needed to get it all down.  It was that stressful for me.  I used to think it was Christmas itself that caused the anxiety, but it was actually all the stuff.   I now decorate using the KonMarie method.  Does the decoration spark joy? If yes = Keep. If No = Get rid of.  My decorations consist of one artificial pencil tree with all of my special ornaments, one decorated mantle with Christmas Vacation houses and characters, three wreaths, a tall snowman and a Nativity display.  It’s the perfect amount for me.

5.  CREATE traditions. We have several traditions that we keep alive and well every Christmas season.  The one I love the most is Christmas Eve, where we all gather for a delicious meal, (pasta, shrimp and scallops, cannolis), and open one gift.  Of course, there have been others when my kids were young, such as baking cookies, driving through a Festival of Lights display, watching Christmas Vacation and hunting for the perfect Christmas tree.  Traditions, more so than gifts, are what makes Christmas so very special.

6. MANAGE expectations.   I created my kids’ expectations for LOTS of gifts on Christmas morning.  And honestly, they didn’t expect or ask for it.  It was all ME.   BUT the reality was that I couldn’t afford it.  Those were high expectations, and ones I couldn’t sustain.  Sometime in the middle of their childhood, when I was slowly changing the way I ‘did’ Christmas,  I changed it up to giving each kid just 5 gifts:  1.  Something you want, 2.  something you need, 3.  something wear and 4. something to read. PLUS, a Santa gift.  They LOVED it.  And for the first time, I stayed within my budget. Who knew it could be that easy?


“Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.” – Tony Robbins

Which brings me to my last way, and perhaps the most important.

7. CULTIVATE daily gratitudeRemembering the reason for the season is very helpful in getting me through it with love and grace.  Being grateful for everything I already have, will leave room in my heart for a peaceful, joyful holiday.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Melody Beattie

If you are overwhelmed with the season, I hope these ideas helped you.  If you have any other ways you like to celebrate, please share!