The No Buy Challenge Expectation Vs. Reality

Grit like resolve. Determination. Desperation. Perseverance. Accountability. These are just a few words that come to mind when I think of people who take on a No Buy Challenge, such as the Spending Fast.

Before we get too far, let’s cover the basics.

No Buy Challenge AKA’s

No Buy Challenges/Spending Fasts have a lot of AKA’s. Here are some hashtags you can search on social media to find people doing No Buy Challenges: #SpendingFast, #SpendingFreeze, #NoSpend, #NoShopping, #ShoppingBan #NoBuy, #NoBuyChallenge, and #YearOfLess. (Did I forget any?! Tell me in the comments below)

What is a No Buy Challenge?  

In a nutshell, No Buy/Spending Fast Challenges are where you spend money on just the essentials.

Why a No Buy Challenge?

I’ve found that No Buy/Spending Fast Challenges are typically born when people are fed up with the financial situations they’ve got themselves in. They’re sick of hiding, sick of the shame, and sick of pretending all is good when things are anything but “good”.

Through all my years of helping people get out of debt super fast through the Spending Fast method I’ve found that these No Buy Challenges are the most effective when a “bottom” of some sort has been hit. When other things like budgeting and cutting back have already been attempted and have been unsuccessful.

The Effectiveness of No Buy Challenges/Spending Fasts

I, for one, can relate to those that wish to embark on a No Buy Challenge in a bid to get out of debt. Knee deep in debt in 2010, I decided to go on a Spending Fast. In the short period of 15 months, I was able to dig myself out $23,605.10 worth of debt by doing a Spending Fast. This site,, was also born at the time to document my path out of debt! (Go to Page 1 of this blog to read from the very beginning.)

In an effort to help others that were in the same position I was in, and to share how I successfully got myself out of debt (that I was convinced I’d die with) I wrote my book: The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get From Broke to Badass in Record Time.

In just the amount of time I’ve been tracking it (a couple of years), our debt free community has paid off OVER 5 MILLION in debt! That’s just mind-blowing and SO COOL!

I love that because of my experience and the experience of others sharing this No Buy Challenge idea that it’s been able to help that many more people get out of debt and realize that they truly DO have a choice when it comes to money and debt. In a way, because I did my Spending Fast/No Buy Challenge so many years ago, I feel kind of like the Fairy Godmother/Fairy Grandmother of Spending Fasts. Lol. I’m looking over them all and rooting for everyone to get out of debt ASAP.   

All Ships Rise When the Tide is High

There has never been a better time to get out of debt in record time — to challenge yourself to conquer something that previously felt super draining, overwhelming and horrible.

With the No Buy Challenge/Spending Fast YOU get to be empowered. YOU get to decide that you’re going to change your relationship with money. YOU get to flip the script on not only your future but on your present-day existence. Now, that is amazing!

Just the other day, Buzzfeed wrote about recent “No Buy” Challenger, Katy Goodman. Who has posted about her challenge on Instagram and her resolution to not buy anything in 2019. Other than spending her money on essentials such as groceries, paying bills, toiletries and rent, Goodman plans to cut down on her spending budget.

One of the items she has cut out as part of her superfluous expenditure is clothes. Come the end of January 2019 and Goodman had managed to spend less than $20. Those that have followed her example are either starting out small, one month at a time or running with it to see how long they can attempt it.

In 2018, Hannah Louise Poston, YouTuber embarked on her own journey of not buying anything for the entire year. Her motivation was to curb her bad spending habit and regain control over her finances.

No Spend Challengers Who Have Documented Their Experience Include:

Am I missing anyone that needs to be included on the list? Tell me in the comments below

Some people choose to go on a year-long shopping ban in order to save more money, while others do it to help curb their shopping addiction, and others do a spending freeze just to see if they can do it!

Whatever the reason, going on a shopping ban for ANY amount of time is helpful and beneficial in re-evaluating your spending habits. New York-based psychologist Jordana Jacobs claims that going on a Spending Fast is also beneficial for our mental health. This is especially true if you are a compulsive shopper. If you’re looking for ways on how to get out of debt fast, going on a shopping fast is a very effective method.

If you are thinking of jumping onto the bandwagon and saving your money, there are few things you need to know.

Below we take a look at some of the Expectation Vs. The Realities of the No Buy Challenge:

1) The No Buy Challenge EXPECTATION: It’s Difficult THE ENTIRE YEAR

REALITY: It’s the Most Difficult at Week 3

Going on a Spending Fast IS difficult but I found that it’s not hard for the entire year. The most difficult time I personally encountered was at the 3 week mark.

In the very beginning your habits are getting changed and you’re getting used to this new way of life. There’s also the novelty and excitement about trying this new Challenge and of and telling everyone about it.

After the novelty of the No Buy Challenge wears off you might start re-thinking what — and why — you even decided to do this in the 1st place. You might start looking for loopholes and you might start looking for ways to get out of the Challenge you set for yourself. I’d like to urge you to stay strong and stay committed to the process.

There’s no doubt that the Spending Fast/No Buy Challenge is hard but it is SO worth it. All these years later I’m STILL benefiting from the sacrifices that I made during my year-long Spending Fast. You’ve got this! (And, you’re not alone, at all! Come join our supportive and kind Spending Fasters Community for support! We want to cheer you on!)

2) The No Buy Challenge EXPECTATION: You’ll Suffer the Entire Time and Won’t Have What You Need

REALITY: You’ll Up Your DIY Game and Will Get Uber Creative

The No Buy Challenge means that you only spend money on the things that you really need. This applies to clothes as well. Many individuals that have gone a shopping ban have ended up acquiring and “upping” their DIY skills. If their clothes get torn or develop holes, they repair them.

Adopt the motto of “How Can I Do What I Want for Free or Super Cheap?” and you’ll be surprised and how creative you get in the process.

3) The No Buy Challenge EXPECTATION: You Have to be Superhuman Willpower to Succeed

REALITY: You Have to Have a Clear Wants and Needs List

The No Buy Challenge seems like it’d  be an exercise in self-will and discipline but I’ve found that it’s not (at least in my experience.) I decided to make my No Buy Challenge super easy by crafting a Wants and Needs List. (Exactly how to do this is explained in my book, The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living. How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get From Broke to Badass in Record Time)

By doing this, you take ALL the struggle and willpower issues out of the Spending Fast. You are essentially saying, I’ll spend on the Needs side of the list only. By making the one decision to do a Spending Fast you’ve, in effect, made a million other tiny decisions which therefore makes your life SO MUCH EASIER and SIMPLER because you’re not spending all that time debating with yourself on if you “should” or “shouldn’t” buy something. You’ve already decided. Boom. No willpower needed.

In conclusion, as difficult as the No Shopping Challenge can *sound*, it’s truly been a complete game-changer for me and so many others. The Spending Fast allows you to be able to identify financial leaks, save more money and gain financial freedom. It is, in fact, one of the most effective methods on how to get out of debt fast.

Fellow No Spend Challengers, did we leave off any other Expectations vs. Realities that you’ve found to be true for you? If so, I’d love to hear ‘em! Tell us below!

Want support in your Spending Fast? Join us HERE. Ready to start your No Buy Challenge? Join us in the Spending Fast Bootcamp  

If this helped you, we’d love for you to comment below and share the post with your friends!

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!


7 thoughts on “The No Buy Challenge Expectation Vs. Reality

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Angela Vincent

    I would add that under expectation 1, another crunch time comes when the seasons change (well, we have seasonal change over here in the UK!). It’s about this time I get out my summer clothes and, as well as welcoming all the lovely things I’ve forgotten about, I start to notice holes in the wardrobe, summer shoes that I don’t have cos last year’s fell apart, stuff that has super-stain in it that somehow wasn’t there before but now won’t come out. I guess I shift replacing those things to the ‘need’ list, after thinking about whether I really needed them anyway……

  2. Net Worth Bound

    I’m also doing a No Spend Challenge :) For me, it’s not just about reigning in my finances but also beating an addiction to spending money; I’ve gone “cold turkey” on my shopaholicism and am documenting the journey.
    I should add I’m on month 8 and there are peaks and valleys. Some days I think I am over the pangs, other days I drool over everything I’m itching to buy online. Reading the experience of others is extremely helpful, so thank you for providing this list!

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      I’m so glad you find it helpful. Thank you for sharing your experience, 8 month is quite an accomplishment.
      I would love to have you on our Facebook community.

  3. Antoinette

    I have started a no- buy challenge on December 2, 2019. For one year, I will not buy clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, skin care products, bath and body products, jewelry, or housewares. I will allow myself to buy gifts for my loved ones and friends, health and safety products like vitamins for myself and my doggy companion, vet care for my doggy companion and vitamins for my doggy companion, health care and health insurance, vet care and vet insurance, and other essentials. I have unsubscribed from all my online shopping sites and stores. I am documenting my triggers such as anxiety, feelings of loneliness, fear, anger, and sadness. As a breast cancer survivor and a colorectal survivor I am staying away from Facebook groups because hearing people talking about cancer recurrence sends me into a shopping panic. My rationalization has been that “life is too short to keep from buying beautiful things” or “I pay my credit card debt in full every month and for sure by the end of each year so I’m not doing that bad.” My goal is to save a minimum of $450 dollars per month which is the average of what I was spending on non-essential items and especially clothes and shoes. i hope to have a least an extra $5,000 in savings by this time next year. I want to focus on True Gratitude.

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Thank you for sharing this experience, Antoinette. You’ve made a plan for the future with a lot of insight and personal reflexion! Keep going…YOU GOT THIS!!❤️
      Are you in our Spending Fasters Facebook group?! We would love to have you there!! Here’s the link:

  4. Bess

    Ironic that you are listing books about people who have gone on a no-buy year but the links are to Amazon, where you have to buy something!

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Thank you for the feedback, Bess. I get your point. But the goal is to learn how to have a healthy relationship with our finances. There are exercises like Spending Fast, but ultimately we have to buy things.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *