Why you should consider making January a ‘no buy’ month

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January 1st is an opportunity for a clean slate, and for most people that means the traditional New Year’s resolution to eat less, exercise more and get organized. 

But if you’re a Clark Howard fan, your resolutions likely lean towards a financial theme such as ‘save more and spend less’ — as Clark’s famous motto begins.

However, for a growing number of Americans, this vague goal is simply not enough. Enter the wildly popular No Buy January, which is sweeping across the blogosphere.

No Buy January resolutions go by a number of different names such as Uber Frugal Month, Fiscal Fast or January Money Diet, but the idea is the same. Spend the month of January buying just the absolute essentials.

Yes, you can buy food, medication and pay your bills, but gone are restaurant meals, recreational shopping and all those pick-me-up lattés. You’re also encouraged to take a look at what you consider ‘essential’ and trim that down as well.

Read more: A monthly New Year’s plan to declutter your home

A look at No Buy January

The popular Frugalwoods.com blog has signed up thousands of readers for their Uber Frugal Month, which challenges readers to:

  1. Examine all of your spending.
  2. Categorize mandatory vs. discretionary expenses.
  3. Identify areas where you can reduce or eliminate spending  – and then do it!
  4. Go as frugal as you possibly can for one whole entire month.
  5. At the end of the month, identify what level of frugality is feasible for YOU to embrace for the long haul.

FrugalBeautiful.com adds in to ‘declutter, donate and repurpose,’ which brings in all those who resolve to organize their way through 2017.

When asked if they were participating in a no-spend January challenge, members of The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group answered in the affirmative.

  • ‘YES! My second year. This year I am focusing on eating food already in the house, and no clothes, accessories, or etc. And I am not stocking up in advance — just drawing down overstocks and not extras’
  • ‘I am keeping it to using what we have in our pantry and deep freezer. I will need to get staples like milk, bread, eggs but I have a grocery gift card I can use. Will use time to declutter and sell some unneeded things. I also plan to catch up on reading some library books, go on long walks with hubby, watch library-rented movies, make cookies with frozen dough, or play board games with kids.’
  • ‘Packing lunches, no coffee out, only going to free activities if near. Game nights and movie nights at home with popcorn and fudge instead of going out. No clothes or anything else bought except for necessities, but I think I will have everything bought in this last grocery trip to cover what we will need for the month.’

Despite any and all best intentions, December is a challenging month to stay on budget, which is why devoting January to extreme frugality holds such timely appeal. A detox from gluttonous holiday overspending in the name of financial stability.


Want to join the No Buy January movement but don’t know where to start? You can always sign up for The Frugalwood’s Uber Frugal Month email a day for ideas and inspiration.

Read more: 11 things to do in January to get your money on track

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