No Spend Tips for Makers

I recently resolved to have a complete ban on spending on craft items and clothes until my birthday, which is nearly six months away! As soon as I had posted this on Instagram, I was hit with the usual barrage of enticing sale and new product posts on Instagram stories, and had to remind myself of my new resolution! I asked people what they do to help them stick to a no-buy policy and everyone gave such useful answers that I thought it would be helpful to share them all in a post here too.

Interestingly, I remembered that I had previously written something about this topic before, and I found my post which you can read here, and is actually very sensible! I did reduce my yarn buying significantly since I wrote that, although two visits to Edinburgh Yarn Festival meant that I did buy more than I really needed again. I did thoroughly enjoy my trips to Edinburgh so I don’t have any regrets about that especially as it was cancelled in 2020 (and of course there’s the small matter of an ongoing global pandemic..). Another resource I have found really helpful is The Craft Sessions Stash Less series, which really unpicks the reasons why we stash and how to build better habits.

  1. Remove temptation

Unfollowing fabric shops (or whatever your weakness is) or muting them on Instagram can really help. Unsubscribe from email lists, you can always find your favourites again when you want them. Aside from shops, you might even want to mute some of your favourite Instagram accounts, if you find they make you want to impulse buy everything they have!

2. Remind yourself of your intention

You can do this by simply reminding yourself that you don’t need anything, and remember your reasons for not buying. You might have run out of space, reduce your consumption or want to save for something special, or even work your way out of debt. There are many good reasons for not spending, and regularly reminding ourselves will help. You could even write them as a mantra or affirmation in a notebook or diary and review them regularly whenever you feel like buying. Reading books or articles related to the lifestyle you want can also be very motivating, some suggestions below) (affiliate links):

3. Put barriers in your way

Don’t make it so easy to buy impulsively. Having all your passwords and credit card details stored (and Apple Pay!) makes it too easy for us to spend money when we spot something beautiful online. You can also think about avoiding going to events such as festivals where you know you will end up buying, or if you don’t want to lose out on those experiences, you can set no spend rules until you go there.

4. Add to a wishlist and review later

I have a wishlist on Pinterest, and for the time being everything I want is going on that list! You may prefer to write a list in a notebook. Going back to your list in a month or two can help to clarify if you really do want it or not.

5. Review your stash

Make an inventory list of what you already have and what you want to make with it. You could also dedicate a specific amount of space to your stash and have a shopping ban when these are full, or have a rule such as no more than 3 coat fabrics in your stash at one time. Having this on display or stored neatly where you can see it easily can be a good way of preventing yourself from building up a big stash which becomes overwhelming. It also helps to think about each piece of fabric or skein of yarn in terms of the hours it will take to use them. If you’re adding six skeins to your stash, but it will take you three months to knit them, will you realistically ever get to them or neglect something else in your stash that you love?

6. . Make your intention public and find a supportive community

For a long time, I’d make no spend rules but not declare them publically as I knew I’d end up breaking them! By actually making myself accountable to others , I do feel I have to stick to my ban. There is quite a lot of banter in craft communities about stashing, yarn/fabric addiction and SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy!), so its also helpful to find craft buddies who have a similar intention so you stick to your plans.

I’ve made a free printable PDF with some no spend affirmations for makers! You can use this to remind yourself of the reasons why you have decided to stop buying, and refocus your intentions. You can download it below and either print or copy the ones you find most applicable to your goals:

Of course, everyone’s goals will differ and you may not want to set rigid rules for yourself, especially if they will negatively affect your mental health. Some people may benefit from making their goals ‘low spend’ rather than having a complete ban. Do what works for you, but if like me, you need to be strict with yourself, I hope this does help you to resist temptation and in time end up with a more manageable stash!

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