I’m trying not make anymore impulse buys.
It doesn’t always work—sometimes I get I’m-going-to-faint-soon hungry on my journey to the office and need breakfast now—but I’m trying. To save money, to save resources, and to save myself time down the line, when I inevitably need to sort through my belongings and take a bag to the charity shop.
What’s helped is making a list of things I don’t need, rather than the things I do. I was inspired by this non-haul by Lo at Capsule Closet, in which she shares her opt-out list. This list was born out of Lo’s wish to stop buying items she’d seen her slow-fashion peers wear but didn’t work with her own style, and so were never really worn.
The great thing about a non-haul is that it’s entirely personal. Lo mentions that she doesn’t buy earrings because she never got her ears re-pierced when the original holes closed up, whereas I wear earrings almost every day and it wouldn’t make sense for me to stop buying them.
After reading her post, I started thinking—what would be on my own list?
I loved bath bombs when I first started using them. The scents, the swirls in the water, the little extras like rose petals, left behind to make you feel like a princess (just me?) However, over time I’ve noticed that bath bombs don’t make my skin feel that great—Butterbear from Lush is the exception because of all the cocoa butter, but otherwise they just dry it out.
We’re also not allowed to use the bath in my current house share, although there’s a lovely bath at my parents’ house. I’d rather spend a bit more money on a product that lasts for more than one use and does my skin some good, such as Bloomtown’s Salt Soak (v), which comes in six different scents and is packaged in a reusable glass bottle, or their multi-purpose Bath & Body Oil (v).
I’ve been obsessed with magazines for as long as I can remember. CBBC magazine, Girl Talk, Make It Groovy, Mizz, Sugar, Bliss, CosmoGirl, Glamour, InStyle… and now Veggie and Simply Vegan. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t read a magazine of some kind. There’s something comforting about them (to the point where I can’t board a plane without carrying at least one trashy gossip magazine). Now I’m a working adult, it’s a luxury when I have the time to sit down and read one, uninterrupted.
However, I did go through a phase in my uni days when I bought almost every single glossy under the sun, spending a ridiculous amount of money per month and stashing them all on my bookshelves and bedside table. Ironically, I nearly always skipped the fashion shoots and headed straight for the interviews instead, which is why these magazines had to go. I’m too set in my jeans-and-jumper ways for it to be worth the cost.
Random costume jewellery
The story was always the same: I’d go into Topshop/H&M/Primark/insert high street store here. I’d spot a ring/necklace/pair of earrings and buy them. I’d wear the ring/necklace/pair of earrings for one solid week, then it would discolour and be relegated to storage, never to see daylight again. So I’ve just stopped looking.
I very rarely buy jewellery now, but when I do, I look for pieces that are good quality but not ridiculously expensive. Oh My Clumsy Heart is a favourite of mine for everyday classics, and I’ve also got my eye on a ring from Catbird NYC (which is more of an investment piece, albeit one that’s possible to save for). On special occasions I’ll wear the rings or earrings I inherited from my grandmothers.
You know how they say some people are snackers and some people require three distinct meals per day? I fit into both of those categories. I’m known in my friendship group for carrying snacks with me to ward off any hangry moods, but I can’t just nibble all day—oh no. I also need breakfast, lunch and dinner in order to function.
Graze boxes seemed like a great idea, and they were, for several years; the snack pots are handy to throw in your bag, just in case. Eventually I started craving something different, and I also became more concerned about the amount of plastic I’d recycle every week. Graze had to go.
Food delivery boxes
It can be tricky cooking for one person. Everything is made for pairs or for families, and unless you’re very careful it’s all too easy to end up throwing food away. I thought a meal delivery service like Gousto or Hello Fresh might help. (I’ve tried them both—Gousto has better vegetarian recipes and more of them to choose from.)
And yes, for the few weeks I got the boxes, I wasn’t throwing anything away unless it was onion skin or the like. But I was putting a lot more plastic in my recycling bin, and it just didn’t sit comfortably with me. They’d also send little packets of herbs and spices I already had in the cupboard, plus it was expensive to buy my breakfast ingredients on top of paying for a non-discounted box. And I missed throwing my own recipes together.
I can see why Gousto or Hello Fresh would be useful for someone who’s too busy to think about meal planning and food shopping. But I enjoy that part of my routine, and since I’m able to drive to the supermarket and take everything away in canvas bags, I feel like I should be doing my bit to cut down on waste, not adding to it.
So that’s my non-haul list. Everyone’s different, so I’m curious to find out what would be on yours. Is there anything you’ve started making a conscious effort not to buy? Or maybe you think I’ve got my priorities twisted if I’m not buying bath bombs anymore? Either way, let me know in the comments.
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about cruelty-free beauty, vegan & veggie food, and trying to lead a less wasteful life. I throw the odd think piece in there, too.