5 Items to Put On Your ‘No Buy’ List for 2023

Two women were shopping for clothes in a local store.

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Saying “no” can open up a whole world of possibilities.

Important point

  • Some of the best items for a no-buy list are those that you already have a lot of, but for some reason keep buying, such as entertainment, clothing, or even media.
  • Deciding to put something on the no-buy list is only the first part of the process.
  • You should take the time to reassess — and make good use of — everything you already have.

Some of us like to get a little messy. Others can’t stand it — but it also seems to gather. This is understandable, given the Buy-Buy-Buy world we live in.

But what if you — you didn’t? Buy, that is.

That’s the idea behind the “don’t buy” list. It’s a tool to identify all the things you want to stop buying more of, often because you already have too much of the same thing that you just don’t use. A good no-buy list is not only good for your money, but it can also be a boon for your storage space!

Looking for a little inspiration for your own do-not-buy list for 2023? Here are a few confusing categories to consider.

1. Recreational equipment

My own messy kryptonite. I have all kinds of hobby supplies in closets and cabinets, from paint brushes to looms to literal rock buckets. But despite the stockpiles matching the local craft store, I can still find – and almost compulsively buy – hobby supplies I don’t yet own.

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This year, entertainment supplies are at the top of the no-buy list. Maybe if I actually put some of these tools to good use, I could eliminate a few hobbies (and their associated piles of junk).

2. Clothes and shoes

The fast fashion industry has spent decades convincing us that we need to buy new clothes, shoes and accessories, well, most of the time. They even made everything thinner and more flexible to encourage us to rip it out and replace it. Very thoughtful!

Stop the cycle. Get rid of last year’s coat, dust off those shoes you’ve only worn twice, and just say “no” to buying more clothes that may not be the same as what’s already in your closet.

3. Food you can’t cook

Most of us have that food we buy — just to throw away. You have the best intentions. But even then, it always destroys you before you get to it. However, you diligently add it to your grocery list out of a sense of duty.

For me, it’s milk. Growing up I was instilled with the feeling that there should be milk in the fridge. But I can’t remember the last time I finished a bottle of milk. Even switching to smaller bottles – which cost more per ounce – still creates a lot of waste. In 2023, I give myself permission not to buy milk.

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Food waste can be a particular problem if you are a bulk buyer. If you don’t have a large family (or just… really love mayonnaise) it can be difficult to go through all this. If you regularly throw food — and therefore money — in the trash, it might be time to add them to your no-buy list. At least help them with no part buy list.

I love books. But sometimes it seems like I like it buy books more than my favorite, you know, read the them. Video games and movies often cause similar problems. How many games are you halfway through — or haven’t you grown yet? How many forgotten rolling videos are in your watch list?

Whether you love a physical media tower or stocking up on digital downloads, just say “no” to buying more in 2023. Instead, spend some time reading through your collection backwards. While buying them is great, reading/listening/playing them will be even better.

Pro tip: Your local library may have a large collection of media that you can borrow, from books to movies to music. And it’s all free!

5. Renewal

It often seems like there is a new version of every high tech toy every week. What was a smartphone one minute is suddenly new yesterday — with last year’s software.

As much hype and flash as these things are, however, technological innovation is rarely truly worth the price. You might not get much more than a better screen or a slightly more advanced camera (and you might lose things like a headphone jack and SD card slots).

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If you don’t have a professional motivation to keep up with the latest hardware, you can skip this year’s update.

Take what you already have

Humans love new things. The novelty gives us all the chemically induced sensations… for about 10 seconds. Then the novelty goes away and only one thing will be preserved.

Meanwhile, your closets and cabinets are already full of things that used to be new — and likely still in like-new condition.

That’s the real joy of a no-buy list. You are sure to save money. But just as, if not more, important is that you get back all the big items from your old purchases. You’ll never know what you’ll find!

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