Review – No Buy July

Back in June, before we left on our trip to Northern CA, I decided to try a “No Buy July” upon our return. I felt like I was getting a little spend-y on some things, particularly the ease of purchasing from Amazon, stopping to get coffees at Starbucks, and it felt like we started to eat out a lot. I’ve always found going cold turkey works best for me, so I wanted to try this as a way to reset.

The general rules for the month:

  1. Essentials only. Food & toiletries were ok, just about everything else was off limits.
  2. Home-brew coffee only. No purchases at Starbucks (or equivalent coffee shops, like Picasso’s for example).
  3. Limit dining out to when we didn’t have time to cook. “I don’t feel like cooking” wasn’t an acceptable excuse.

So, How’d I do?

Amazon/Buying Non-Essentials

I only slipped up once, buying a new Callaway golf hat on Prime Day. I had been looking at this exact hat for awhile and it dropped to nearly half price, so I snagged it for $15.

The only other non-essential I bought all month was a new Leuchtturm 1917 journal, that I am now using as my official Travel Journal. I had forgotten my previous travel journal got soaked during our trip to Colorado last year and was ruined. This replaces that one. I think of journaling as an important personal development tool, so I don’t think this was really a violation.


This one was harder. It is so easy, on a slow (boring) day at work, to take a break and run out for a quick pick-me-up.

In the end, I made 4 trips to Starbucks during July. Two of those were on “date nights” with Stef, which I am giving myself a pass on. A, because we don’t get the chance to go out all that much and B, $10 at Starbucks is a relatively cheap date.

So that leaves 2 slips, one on Friday the 13th and one on the last Monday of the month, the 30th. So close!

In the end, not too bad, but not a success either.

Dining Out

Before writing this, I assumed this would be the one I failed hardest at. Upon review I actually did pretty well. In total, we ate out 15 times during July. By my unscientific count, 5 of those were not me. For example, it could be Stef taking the kids out while they were on summer break.

That leaves 10 times, which may sound like a lot but doing a quick overview I think only 2 or 3 were “I don’t feel like cooking” meals. The rest were either planned, like dinner with my parents to celebrate my Mom’s birthday, date nights (2 more!) or a couple nice(r) family dinners out – Sugarfire and Qdoba.

Overall, the month wasn’t terrible. A few observations:

  • It helped that we were out of town for a few days toward the middle of the month on our family trip to Arkansas.
  • I also planned ahead and defaulted to eating peanut butter sandwiches when I didn’t have something prepared (or leftovers) to bring for lunch. Usually, days like these I would have caved and just went out for lunch.
  • Limiting Amazon/non-essential purchases is the big win here. Those type of purchases can really add up, so I am happy with myself that I only “cheated” once, but on something I was going to buy at some point anyway AND ended up saving 50% of the usual price.

It’ll be interesting to see if this holds up through August. [Putting a note on my calendar to check in when the month is over…]

Review – No Buy July