The (Don’t-Buy-Use-It-Up) Challenge


I do solemnly swear not to purchase products until what I already have is completely used. Even then, there may be a DIY on Pinterest or YouTube to make my own.  In that instance, I solemnly swear to make it myself for pennies on the dollar.

Decades ago shopping was my past time, but since then I’ve become fiscally conservative frugal.  I have taken a great interest in personal finance and how to invest money.  This has come about by a series of life events and personal patterns that I’ve learned from.  My learning how to properly invest my income is mostly due to the fact that Michael and I have high business ideals and we don’t want loans to accomplish them.  As such, I’ve come up with thousands of ways while living in this consumerist society, for there to be more money left over at the end of the month.  I do this mostly by rejecting said consumerist society.

My belief is that money isn’t “good” or “bad”, it is in fact neutral.  The meaning it takes on and the purpose that it’s used for has everything to do with it’s handler’s intentions, and not the physical money it’s self.  I think when money is used appropriately and saved even more prudently, money is fun.  It’s better to see your money active in the community by investing in and building a community center or a coffee shop of your own, rather than on cheap plastic objects that won’t last and are only collecting dust in your closet.

Since coming to this understanding, I’ve become pretty protective over my money and don’t want it wasted.  As such, I have decided to join the “Use it up challenge” that I see from time to time on the YouTubes.  I’m using up all of my body products, make-up, household products, and horse/stable keeping products before I replace them.




Make up, Hair & Body Products

All of my face, hair, and body products.  Four of which are my ride or die products, the rest I’m just trying to use up


Over the winter I wrote a post about upgrading to all natural products without going broke.  Aside from the products in that post that I have already replaced with natural ones, I’m still making my way through what I have left.  However, my hard and fast dedication to using it up doesn’t mean that I don’t get tempted from time to time to go on a binge.

The other day I was in Ulta shopping for a birthday gift when I was overwhelmed by the razzle dazzle and wanted to purchase all of it.

No.  Must use what I have.

Keeping Coco.  Like….always.


My promise to go through every last product that I currently own is multi-faceted;  First, I’m done with being wasteful.  I can’t tell you how many quarter used products I’ve tossed. It’s bad for the planet, and it’s even worse for my wallet.  Secondly, I’ve been done with consumerism for sport for years now, but find that in the near past, I bought more of something that I “needed”.  Body wash? Buy two of them because they’re on sale.  My new rule: I don’t need anything unless I have run out of it and absolutely need to replace it.


Horses & Home

My don’t purchase challenge also applies to horse & stable items.  I had a nice list all prepared for a recent tent sale at my local saddlery, BUT an inventory of my barn shows that I’m actually fine.  The only thing that I need is one light weight sheet for cooler/wet weather as Kindal’s is no longer waterproof.  However I can get it at any time thanks to a tack consignment shops and Facebook tack swamp sites.  There was no need to drive anywhere on a weekend to battle crowds in the heat.

When it comes to household products, I’m not purchasing them anymore. Once I’m out of my commercial products, I plan to DIY with vinegar, essential oils, baking soda, borax, and rubbing alcohol.  I plan to repurpose all of the spray bottles too.  The exception to this will be dust spray and toilet bowl cleaner.


For clothing, in my last post about building a designer wardrobe for $100, I showed just how set I am on clothing.  The only thing that I expect to by this year are 2 new pairs of boots.  I plan on checking out my tack store since many “fashion” boots for equestrians look good enough to wear anywhere, but are also water and weatherproof. This will give me most bang for my buck since I can just put them on and leave them on for the day.  I will however have to buy a few winter items for Dylan.


The more that you buy, the more that they produce. Why we need to slow it down & how;


The over consumption model of purchasing is making us depressed and poor. Turn on anything and it’s an instant marketing campaign to our primitive brain.  We need to be wary of these tactics and re-evaluate how we spend.  It can make us feel weird at first but let’s look at some statistics;

40% of food is thrown away while 17.5 million homes in the U.S. are food insecure.  The average American will throw away 81 pounds of clothing this year, which will equal 26 billion pounds of textiles in our landfills.  All the while, the average American household’s consumer debt has increased 11% in a decade making the average credit card debt $16,425.00. 

That should be sobering enough, but there’s more.

The average household income has increased 28% while the cost of medical care has increased 57% at the same time food and beverage cost risen 36%.  YET. The average car loan is $29,058.00.

Yes, things are in transition, and yes income stagnancy is real while cost of living increases, but you don’t have to have a $30k car note folks.  Debt does not have to be a way of life.  You can buy a $3,000 or a $15,000 car…there are plenty of them.  Shopping can be curbed, expenses can be budgeted, and all of a sudden you may have more money at the end of a pay period than you use to.  The reason why I love budgets so much is that it works for every income.


Want to give a STOP SHOP try for yourself?

If you don’t would like to join the Don’t Buy challenge but you do want to curb spending, or maybe you would like to learn how to start small in changing your spending habits, here are some thinking points before purchasing:

  1. Evaluate the “need”
  2. Use what you already have
  3. Repurpose something else
  4. Go without

If you can’t go without, then I found this nifty chart that I actually printed and keep pinned near my desk. (no lie)  This is Sarah Lazarovic over at deems  “Buyerarchy of Needs”.

This is a run on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from his 1943 paper; “A Theory of Human Motivation”


If you are joining the challenge, pack your lunches for work, make your coffee at home, and don’t wear anything that needs to be dry cleaned. But here is what you can buy:

Groceries – after you have meal planned all three daily meals & snacks for the week.  Use the weekly circular to find sales on staples and plan meals around that.

Gas – plan your trips and “batch” your stops.  Taking your kid to practice? Go the route that you can get the most done.  I aim to not drive my car one day per week and by batching my trips this is always possible.

Medication – this includes your regular prescriptions as well as any over the counter things you may need for an emergency. If none of this applies to you, then put $20 into savings right now.

1 treat under $7 – Jeez, I’m not a monster! Just pay for it in cash!

Extra Credit:  Make a list of things that you wanted to purchase along with price.  At the end of 30 days add up the prices and take that total amount that you would have spent and put it into savings.  Doesn’t it look much better in your account than under your bed all forgotten about?

In conclusion,

Going through what I have not only keeps me from wasting money and products, but it also teaches me a lesson about my past spending habits.  Buying every product on the shelf, using it once and then buying something else is not feasible.  With the internet and so many product reviewers on Amazon and YouTube, we don’t have to be stuck with crappy purchases.

Going through this challenge will remind me to continue to slow down and make good decisions as a consumer.  In addition, this gives me time to research new (vegan & chemical free) products and possibly try some samples.  Using the rule of delayed gratification, by the time I’m ready to purchase, I’ll be excited and more apt to use and take care of it.

Delayed gratification can do us all some good. 😉


Until next time,


PS: It’s ok to love money.  But love it in a way that you respect it.

One response to “The (Don’t-Buy-Use-It-Up) Challenge”

  1. […] haircut, mani and pedi.  I did a quick drugstore stop to pick up some needed products.  Since my Use it Up Challenge, I’ve started to run out of basic products.  I know that I’ve written about my wanting […]


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