+
upworthy
Education

PhD student shares her plan for a 'no buy year' that could save her thousands

Small tweaks like this could help almost anyone get closer to their financial goals.

no buy year, how to do a no buy year, no buy year list, how to save money

Many people find a no-buy year to be extremely helpful for their financial goals.

Everyone wants to save money. But with continuously rising costs, virtually no one knows how to make those lofty “10K in savings by 2025!” aspirations really happen.

One thing’s for sure—without some kind of plan, they most assuredly won’t happen. Which is why PhD student Mae Westrap created a detailed list of actions to make 2024 a “no-buy year."

For those who don’t know, a “no-buy year” is a self-imposed set of rules when it comes to extraneous spending. Though everyone’s “no-buy year” might look a little different, the general rule of thumb is to avoid unnecessary items or impulse purchases. That extra money can then go towards debt, savings, a larger, a more meaningful purchase, whatehaveyou.

Determined to stop “living paycheck-to-paycheck,” Westrap began taking a hard look at her finances and realizing that she wasn’t spending on “experiences or anything special,” leaving her to blame her situation on “pure laziness.”

And thus, her “no-buy” plan was born. And to hold herself accountable, she

's shared her journey on TikTok.

First up on the agenda: consolidating books and entertainment.

no buy year, finances, how to save money

If you haven't perused your local library lately, do yourself a favor.

@miawestrap /TikTok

Westrap admitted that she spends way too much on books, and will often put down a book she has already purchased because the next new release has caught her eye (relatable). So to combat this, she purchased a library card, which she was amazed to discover how much her library card had in terms of new releases and even audio books, which made her able to also cancel her Audible subscription.

In addition, Westrap created a list of books she already had that she’s excited to read to keep her motivated to use what was already available. Plus, she went through and canceled streaming subscriptions she wasn’t using like Disney + and Paramount +.

Westrap's next goal might be a tad controversial: cutting out caffeine.

debt, no buy year, no buy month

Pepsi is a "big no-no" for Westrap this year.

@miawestrap /TikTok

Westrap shared that she would be weaning herself off of her beloved Pepsi Max, which she currently bought 500-milliliter bottles of everyday that set her back about “a grand a year.”

“That’s like the big no-no of 2024,” Westrap said in her video.

And while this might trigger some coffee lovers out there, with cafes costing anywhere from $1 to upwards of $5+ a cup—depending how fancy you take your joe—it’s a habit worth looking at to see where costs could be cut.

Lastly, Westrap made a list that put items in one of three categories. Green (for items she could buy without question like groceries) Yellow (for items that could be bought if she has extra cash, like face cleanser) and a red list (for things she absolutely cannot buy, like Pepsi Max, books, clothes, etc.).

@miawestrap 2024 is the year of no cherry pepsi max. Not sure why I said I “bought” a library card, they’re free!!! #nobuyyear #nobuy2024 #nobuychallenge #lowbuyyear #budgeting ♬ original sound - Mia Westrap

While your no-buy list doesn’t have to look like Westrap’s, her template makes it easy to replicate in a way that does make a no-buy year work for you, especially as you figure out your own red, green and yellow categories.

Yes, a no-buy year does take some planning, but in addition to extra cash flow, you can also have peace of mind, a chance to declutter, more time and energy to spend on something more meaningful to you. Plus less consumption means less waste, meaning less damage to the environment.

It’s also good to note that you can commit to a no-buy month, rather than a full year. Or a no buy year for one item. Again, this should probably be a personal approach that’s challenging, but it doesn’t have to be extreme. And even if you “fail” in your no-buy attempts, you have still changed your relationship to shopping, which is a big win.

Bottom line: any goal, certainly a financial one, needs to be broken down into small actions that feel doable. A no-buy year is just one example of how to enact that principle.

To follow along on Westrap’s no-buy journey, find her on TikTok.

Where is the third dog in this photo?

Optical illusions are wild. The way our brains perceive what our eyes see can be way off base, even when we're sure about what we're seeing.

Plenty of famous optical illusions have been created purposefully, from the Ames window that appears to be moving back and forth when it's actually rotating 360 degrees to the spiral image that makes Van Gogh's "Starry Night" look like it's moving.

But sometimes optical illusions happen by accident. Those ones are even more fun because we know they aren't a result of someone trying to trick our brains. Our brains do the tricking all by themselves.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.

As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

Keep ReadingShow less

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

A 6-year-old asks ​Neil DeGrasse Tyson an adorable question. He gives her an awesome answer.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." — Albert Einstein

Neil DeGrasse Tyson at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

I recently spent some time with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. He's known not only for breaking down stereotypes about what kinds of people go into science, but he has actively stood up and spoken against those who would close its doors, especially to young women.

So when Neil was asked this question by a little girl during a public speech, he gave one of the best answers I've ever heard. It may drive some parents crazy, but it also might just help change the world.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.


Kara Coley, a bartender at Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, got an unusual phone call on the job last week.

"Good evening," Coley answered. "Thank you for calling Sipps!"

A woman on the other end of the line asked, "Is this a gay bar?"

Sipps welcomes everyone, Coley explained to her, but indeed attracts a mostly LGBTQ crowd.



Keep ReadingShow less

An avocado tree farmer explains the science of Hass avocados

Have you ever seen anyone put an avocado pit in water to grow an avocado tree? I've seen lots of people try, but only a few succeed. My mom has a tiny avocado tree growing in her living room that she managed to grow from the pit of a Hass avocado she ate. It's small but thriving, and I've often wondered if it will ever grow actual avocados.

As it turns out, it could—but they won't be Hass avocados.

Wait, huh?

Keep ReadingShow less