Creating a 30 Day Buy List

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest


The jeans I bought almost a year ago have holes in the them.

This shouldn’t surprise me.

They are my only jeans and I wear them 3-5 days a week. They’re a lighter weight material so have probably worn out a bit sooner than a heavier weight jean might. I can now hold them up to a light and see right through the crotch. A bit concerning because I’m fairly modest and don’t want to show off my underwear.

I’m mulling over getting them patched up a bit at a place that repaired two of my sweaters. It will extend the wear a bit and hopefully not be too noticeable.

I’m also thinking about buying a new pair of jeans.

So I put it on my list.

And now I wait.

Delayed gratification was never my strong suit as a shopper. Similarly, saving was never my strong suit as captain of my own finances.

But I’m learning.

If you’re looking for techniques to curb buying things you don’t really need, if you’re looking for a way to avoid those quick supposed to be one thing IKEA trips that turn into ‘we need the handcart and will this fit on the roof of our car’, if you’re looking to be thoughtful, patient and less impulsive with your buying, I recommend starting a Buy List.

Thirty days is an arbitrary number but it’s good to give yourself a limit to work with. If you’re an impulsive spender you may need to start with a shorter limit, like a week, and increase it as you curb the urge. Most of the things we end up buying were discussed once or twice, added to a list and purchased a few months later. We also make purchases work within our monthly reverse budget. This means that if we put six things on a list we have to patiently tick them off over a few months. Chris bought new jeans and work shoes one month. The next month I bought a rain slicker. Those items had been on our list for a few months before they were purchased.

Pinterest has become my new go to for making lists or boards as they call them. My vision board  lists some short and long term goals and plans and my 30 Day Buy board shows the things I am thinking about purchasing. I’m finding it exceedingly helpful to gather my thoughts in a visual way. I’ve also added boards for minimalist styled rooms and fashion. I’m going to spend more time populating those boards during this long, dark and cozy Isle of Man winter.

Much like Twitter, Pinterest is a way to share information and have a conversation. You can get great ideas and links from others on Pinterest and share your pins with them.

You can also, like me, get completely obsessed with something from seeing it on Pinterest. The other week someone pinned a Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe. I could not stop thinking about having a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Brits aren’t into the canned pumpkin so I couldn’t find any in stores and real pumpkins weren’t out yet. I ended up ordering canned pumpkin online and, while it cost double what it would in North America for the cans, the lattes I’ve made with it have been really, really good. I think they may have even taken the edge off my first bout of homesickness.

How do you decide when and what to purchase outside of your consumables? Do you keep a list or purchase as soon as items are needed?


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  • I would buy the mooncup/divacup now. It saves money immediately and I think there is a money back thing if it doesn’t suit you so it’s a win win situation.

    • At the beginning of the year I e-mailed about 20 friends and asked them to email friends as well. In the e-mail, I asked them to try the “Period Challenge” where we thought about how much wastes we caused with our periods, researched alternative solutions, and then tried them out and reported back. The Diva Cup was everyone’s favorite. Not everyone stuck with it, but even a few people making a change is great, right?

      • This probably won’t be the solution for everyone but I recommend the Mirena IUD. Little to no period, and you get it replaced once every 4-5 years. You can take back-to-back birth control pills and reduce the number of periods but this has been a great solution for me. Plus, the hormone uptake is minimal as you don’t ingest it. No PMS.

        From what I’ve read, there isn’t a huge biological need for us to menstruate. From what I’ve experienced; this saves on underwear and other sundries. I’m a huge fan and think more women should consider it over birth control pills. It isn’t for everyone but there is a lot of outdated information out there on IUDs.

    • Have you tried using natural sea sponge? You only need two or three pieces and they last for more than a year before they need replacing. They’re inexpensive, sustainable and easy to use. All you have to do is rinse with water and re-use. After each period you sterilize them in boiling water for five minutes and let them dry completely.

      You can find them at most natural food/product stores, either as makeup sponges or bath sponges. A bath sponge can be cut into smaller pieces, and is usually the cheapest option.

      • I haven’t tried them but I’m intrigued. Sounds so simple and inexpensive. I could also try this without ordering anything online. We have a health food store here. Not great but I know they have sponges.

        Thanks, C. :)

        • Id be personally scared of leaks. I want to try the diva cups but have felt uncomfortable using the disposable ring cup things and tampons .do sponges leak?

  • Hi-hi, this is like my wish list in Windows Paint.:)

    What I find is that looking at a desired item on my wishlist makes me think more of what exactly I want (ie French Conncetion or Diesel jeans) and /or if I need that thing at all.
    Re your whishlist: I have a Kenwood KM265 Prospero food processor (from ARGOS) and love its versatility and practicality. No need for separate blender, meat mincer, vegetable chopper etc.

    • I find the same thing. My list fluctuates and not everything that goes on stays on or is bought.
      Thanks for the food processor recommend. That is what I am looking for: one machine to do blending, whipping and processing.

      • You might want to consider a VitaMix. I have had one for 7-8 years now. I love it and couldn’t live without it. I made all of my kids babyfood in it and use it almost daily for smoothies, making fresh peanut butter and almond butter as well as my kids rice milk and almond milk. You can get a refurbished one (my sister did after introducing her to mine). They are a work horse of a blender. I bought one because I was having smoothies everyday and making babyfood etc and literally burned out 3 in a year! At that point I decied to invest and haven’t looked back. Like I said I can’t live without it!

        • I’ve got my sights set on a Vitamix for my birthday in a couple of weeks. My blender gave up the ghost a few months ago and recently my mini cuisinart fizzled out. I’ve been selling a few things on craigslist and asking for birthday donations from my family. Now I’m looking forward to the Vitamix more than ever!

          • We bought our Vitamix a year ago and I’m pretty sure I use it 3x a day. I was also making baby food with it every day, smoothies, our own almond milk and pretty much anything you can think of. I don’t normally join in on conversations promoting products but for us (we follow a whole-foods, plant-based diet) the Vitamix has been a great tool.

  • I LOVE this! I’ve been doing this myself, although I hadn’t attached a timeline to it (which would probably help with budgeting). I like keeping track with the amazon wishlist myself because you can add it to your wishlist from any website, not just amazon. Once it’s on my list I actually get some gratification, like I already bought it, because it’s there ready to go when I’m ready. I’ve decided to reserve pinterest for beautiful things I will likely never buy and titled the board “Distracted by the Shiny”. It’s there and beautiful but not to buy! BTW – another great post!

  • Firstly I hope the home-sickness subsides swiftly! As for the pumpkin spiced lattes – think I’m going to give those ago – I’ve never had one and as pumpkin season is upon us…
    As you say 30 days is an arbitrary number (but a good one!) – the key is not to make the purchase initially. It’s important to get into the habit of never impulse buying and learning to wait a while before hitting online shops. I never buy anything that’s not on a list – that’s the rule, be it grocery shopping or anything else (ok I’m only human so occasionally some extra chocolate gets picked up!). Whenever I think ‘oh the kids need snow boots, or some more vests or whatever’ I write it down and then I wait… it definitely works in reducing spend, needless purchases and clutter.

  • Another great use for Pinterest!!! “Pause on shopping board” Love it… I always say I will ask my husband… by the time I do ask him my “desperate need” isn’t anymore!!! And if I do actually get around to asking he almost always says:”Yes”… I also have a board for things I love but will never really buy… There is no harm in looking and enjoying something nice, it’s the “gotta have nows” that make things a little interesting!!!

  • I almost never buy anything unless its not on sale. The only exception is food. At the moment I also need new jeans, but no new clothes for a year and january 1st is when I can buy more clothes. And I can tell you that I only wear a few of the shirts I have and a few of the hoodies/sweaters. But, I have worn them out and am looking for some quality clothing!! Currenntly, I am looking for winter boots that will keep my feet warm and dry in very cold weather. I live in Wisconsin, and don’t see me getting boots for cheap at this time of the year. I have been looking for several months, but am getting dangerously close to having to NEED them. It really has been liberating not shopping for clothes. I hate clothes shopping!! We had a funeral we had to attend this past month, and I thought that I would have to go and buy something to wear. Well, I didn’t have time, and I did find something to wear for the few hours that I needed to, however I wasn’t the most comfortable. I think when my self imposed buying hiatus is over, I should think about having at least one dress outfit that I can wear and feel comfortable in. Hopefully I won’t NEED one before I can find one at a good price. Enjoyed the post and alway come here for motivitation!

  • Interesting how you always seem to post something when I need to hear it!!
    I am currently looking to go back to work and need to buy a suit! In the past I would have bought the first one that I thought worked well, but now I have a list of criteria that this so called suit must meet, and am having a hard time spending a lot of money on anything that does not meet everything on that list. I am not on a 30 day wait, but am prepared to wait until I find the perfect fit.

    • I have blogging ESP. :) Haven’t been in the work place for two years now (!! wow – didn’t expect to ever write that) but I agree with your goal of finding a great suit. A good suit should be fairly timeless and of good quality so it can be repaired or altered as needed. It’s a challenge. At one point I had a suit one of my sisters gave me as a hand me down and it was good quality. It was lined, the pants were four paneled with well finished seems and the jacket was well constructed. It was actually a Zara suit but it would probably be 8-10 years old now. I’ve found that Zara’s quality has slowly eroded. Good luck in your search.

  • We don’t have a direct policy in our house, but more that we discuss it with each other. We put aside money for different things every month, and if it stays within that, it’s okay. Things we have bought lately, for example, is my husband needed new arrows and broadheads for his crossbow. This isn’t just a hobby, he fills our freezer with meat using this. So while he did go over his budget of $50 for it, it truly wasn’t possible to stay within, as he bought the most inexpensive–without buying crap.

    Another example is my husband inadvertnatly wrecked my nice fleece jacket! I immediately said to him, well, guess you gotta buy me a new one! Over the next day or so, I started thinking, that really, I hadn’t noticed that he’d wrecked it a few weeks ago, and had been wearing a different lightweight jacket, so I obviously didn’t need a new one!

    As I read this, I was steaming pumpkin on the stove for making bread with! I canned pumpkin last night, and had a bit leftover that I”m using immediately. I love pumpkin!

    • Hunting with a crossbow? This could be the coolest thing I have read today.

      I love pumpkin too. They finally arrived here on the Isle of Man and I have one to carve with Henry. Later I will cut it up to use in a curry or stew. Yum!

  • I love the 30 day wait list! Usually 7 days is enough for me to figure out whether I really want something or not.

    I personally use a food processor and it can whip, chop and blend. The only downside is the hassle of cleaning it… That stops me from using it sometimes, but if I do use it, I love it! Gave away my blender to a friend.

    • I have a food processor that we have stored in Canada. It is a great machine but I didn’t use it much in the last few years. I am slowly changing our diet here (removing dairy, grains, processed food) and it would be very helpful to have one now. All this talk about the VitaMix has me scouring eBay. It sounds like it could do everything!!

  • I like the idea of a 30-day wish list. I do this in stores, too. I’ll grab stuff and put it in my cart and walk around for a bit. By the time I’m ready to go, I leave with nothing or just what I came for.

    I just patched one of my two pairs of jeans. It got a massive rip in the back, right by my pocket. I sewed on a cute fabric patch. I love them even more now.

  • Yes to the Diva Cup — don’t hesitate. Last year I made myself a big batch of cloth pantyliners and started using the cup, and I can only rave about them. If you don’t want to sew but are interested in reusable pads, try Etsy or Moonpads. Something for your next 30-day list….

  • I have never shopped like crazy for clothes… some episodes happened after quitting our business where we had to wear uniforms everyday. I also went 2 years without jeans, now I have about 5 or 6 and only wear two of tem regularly – the others are a size smaller… I used to buy things only because I liked them and was saying that I will wear them in the future or for an occasion etc… My hubby once said: only buy them, if you will wear them the next day (or within a week if it is for a special day). I keep to this advice most of the time plus I only go shopping if I really need something. The waiting game works for me for household items (e.g. crepes can be made in a regular pan too…)

  • I love pinterest and love this idea of a 30-day-think-it-over pin board. Since I started my journey to become debt free, I definitely have stopped almost all impulse buying. There are several kitchen things I’d really like (never cooked much before I started watching my money) but now I just can’t bring myself to spend the money. Several of them will be on my Christmas list. I may get a food processor or tortilla press in January if I don’t get one then. Or I may not. Unless I’m actually chopping a ton of veggies for a specific meal or trying to roll out the tortillas, the money is much nicer to have.

  • This is the best tip ever. If I’m out shopping and decide I can’t live without something, I take a picture of it with my phone. Stuff I don’t need loses its appeal with a cooling off period. Stuff I actually need is usually still available (if not on sale) in a few weeks. Sorry you’re feeling a wee bit homesick. Hang in there!

  • I have the Vitamix and love it! We got it about 6 months ago and at the time it seemed like a lot of money for a blender. But we too are changing our diet, have cut both meat and dairy and are trying hard to eat mostly whole foods, so the vitamix has come in handy. I also love it for the kids, as it is a good way to get them to eat more fruits and veggies by making smoothies. Once they grow out of baby food and move to solids, it can be hard for them to eat the raw veggies and even fruit sometimes. The vitamix is an easy way for me to blend up some fruit and throw in a little spinach and the kids don’t know the difference. Just wanted to throw in my two cents on loving the Vitamix! And also, as another tall girl, 5’10” just wanted to let you know about a favorite spot to find jeans. If you are ever back in the lower mainland if you head down south to Nordstrom rack, (there are a couple in the Seattle area) you can often find designer jeans for 50-80% off. I find designer jeans to be really great quality and fit, last forever, and also come in really long inseams, but I hate to pay the full price! So just wanted to let you know about my shopping secret from one tall girl to another. It can be hit and miss sometimes as all “rack” stores are, but I have had really great luck so far. Really enjoy your blog and am inspired by everything you are doing as a family in your quest for a more minimalist life. Thanks for sharing:)

    • So many great reviews of the Vitamix and feedback that it has become a cornerstone of meal preparation. I think I am going to lurk eBay to see what a used UK Vitamix would run me.

      • I’m another tall gal of 5’9″ .I find Iif your going to invest in jeans that arizona jean co has some nice long inseams as well as the bongo brand .sometimes target has longer inseams now too .love the 30 day want list! I might have to try it !

  • When it comes to things that need replacing I usually wait and see if I can go without it. However, since I already have pared down to the bare essentials it usually turns out I have to buy a new one right away. For clothes, I can go a long time on very little though this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, one needs to buy something for the sake of propriety even if you can live without it.

    • So true. I feel like I am teetering on the edge of not enough clothing. The other wrench in things is that with one pair of jeans, and hanging everything to dry, I can be without a pair of jeans for two days. Making me think about buying two pairs.

  • I love the idea of a 30-day waitlist! Although, I’m finding that my wants are decreasing dramatically in relation to the fact that my wardrobe is only 33 items and I’m not shopping or buying anything more for my kids. But yes, great idea and Pinterest is such a fun way to “window-shop” without any of the financial detriment. :)

    ps. If you have time, I would love that Pumpkin Spice latte recipe (or point me in the right direction!) Sounds so yum.

  • I love this idea!

    I’ve always been a huge impulse shopper and once I get something I really want into my head, I can’t get it back out. Half the time it ends up being something that I didn’t really need and I hate myself for spending so much money.

    I have, obviously, been trying to move away from this habit. I’ve been kind of doing a “wait list” in my head for items that we need (e.g. Peanut needs new some boots before it starts snowing) and I just let it simmer. It’s a bit more difficult for small things though. Lately though, it’s mostly the lack of money helps me not spend so impulsively. 😛

    • Writing it down or Pinning things as they come up as wants or needs has really helped my husband and I plan for expenses. Yes to ‘simmering’ or ‘noodling’ for a while too. I will probably end up taking somethings off my list without buying them after thinking about it for a while.

  • I stay away from stores unless I need to go for a specific reason. I’ve started browsing online to find exactly what I want. This helps me to figure out what I really need, why that item fits my need, save for it if needed and compare with other brands or similar items. I then figure out if I have a store in my area that carries it or the comparable version, if so, I go and buy it. If not, I buy it online.

    BTW, I just found your 13 items for 31 days wardrobe. I really love this! Most of my clothes are at the end of their lives. This will come in very handy, soon.

  • My problem comes with deciding. I always have a general wish/want list around. I’m one who researches almost every item we buy…but with that comes too much information that it’s hard to make a decision. I have such a tight grip on our money that I want to ensure it will go to the “right” product lol.

  • What a great idea. I’m not much of an impluse shopper but lately I find that I do need to buy some new things for my wardrobe (after 2 babies and only buying nursing clothes for a couple years). I actually kind of hate shopping so having a buy-later list might help because it will make me think about what I really need.

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