Create A ‘Do Not Buy’ List

Create A ‘Do Not Buy’ List
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I’ve long had a “to buy” list that I’ll add items to throughout the year, pruning and updating as needed. Right now it’s relatively short, including a water purifier, art for my apartment, and wireless headphones to use while running.

Image: Pixabay

But if I’m going to hit my money goals for the year, what I really need is the opposite: A Do Not Buy list. It’s similar to the no-spend month, but broader and more flexible. These are things you’ve purchased in the past that you know you shouldn’t waste money on again, inspired by The Financial Diet.

The goal is obvious: Identify what you don’t need, so that when you’re tempted in the future you can, hopefully, take a step back and think about where your priorities are.

Here’s mine for the next few months:

  • Fast fashion – I’m never happy with anything I buy from stores such as H&M and Forever 21 and usually end up donating it a few months later (and the Salvation Army doesn’t need any more black synthetic tops or ill-fitting, unlined skirts).
  • Most makeup – Whenever the season changes I think it’s a good idea to try something “fresh” and “trendy” with my makeup. But I am terrible at applying anything beyond the most basic look and also lazy, and I never use any of the products I buy (save lipstick and mascara). So, no orange eye shadow or blush sticks for me.
  • Random books from the Strand – When I’m stressed at work or have extra time during lunch, I sometimes head over to the Strand book store, which is close to the office, and pick up a book or two, some I’ve heard of, others I’m seeing for the first time. Often I don’t end up liking the book. This adds up!
  • Apartment knick knacks – I just moved so I’ve been buying a lot of stuff for my apartment. And while some things, such as a couch, make sense, others just aren’t a priority. Such as random “decorative” items or cheap wall prints. I’d rather save up and buy meaningful art.

So, what’s on your Do Not Buy list for the winter?


  • I bought books from the Strand when I visited New York in 1988 and still haven’t gotten around to reading all of them.

  • I’ve been doing this for music for awhile now. I still buy CDs (yeah I’m a dinosaur) and I hate getting one that sucks* so I have a listen to as much of the CD as I can before purchase. If I like it I buy it at some point, if I don’t I add it to a list I keep in a spreadsheet of music I don’t like. There is a lot of death metal on the list.

    * Sometimes it’s CDs that have one great single that’s totally different stylistically from the rest of the album. Sometimes it’s a group I’ve been told is amazing (by friends, sales assistants, amazon…) but really doesn’t float my boat. Sometimes it’s an artist who has done a solo CD or guested with another act and it’s just completely different style wise. Sometimes it’s a CD that has great eye-catching artwork but the music sucks 🙂

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