Use More, Spend Less Challenge Instructions 2021

As you might be aware, at the beginning of 2020 I embarked on a journey to try and spend less on beauty products. My spending was truly getting out of control and thought that by keeping track of everything, I would end up spending less. I was right. The fact that I made the whole experiment a bit more interesting by overcomplicating the calculations and everything definitely played a role in the success that was last year. Yes, I still consider it a success despite what the numbers say.

Based on what I did and learnt from last year, I want to share my rules once again as some things have changed. I am going to complicate the whole experiment even further as that is what helps me stay on track (ha!), okay what helps me to keep going and not give up, however feel free to simplify it and create a version that works for you. It goes without saying, I highly encourage you to undertake such an experiment as well. There is a lot to be learnt about your shopping habits but also to become a more conscious consumer and buyer.

How much can you spend?

The point is to maintain a positive “balance” which means to use more items than you purchase. To deplete your stash slowly, but surely. You can do this by using the number of products, but I prefer to do this in terms of money spent. To make things more interesting, I only get half the value of the products I use.

I will not include essentials such as cotton pads or you know, mouthwash, toilet paper, toothpaste. Okay, as long as these are not some super expensive, extra items.

For example. Let’s say that I used up a serum that was worth £20. This means that I get £10 that goes towards my sending allowance.

This spending allowance is basically what I am entitled to spend on new products. However, as you will see below, I am adding some exceptions and extra rules because thing do not usually go according to plan.

Maximum spending allowed

This is something I have not done last time, however I found that adding a maximum spend limit is essential. Without such a rule, there is no one to stop me from going crazy and buying more stuff than I will ever use. Given 2020’s results, the plan is to spend no more than £3500 in 2021 on beauty, regardless of the allowance I managed to obtain. So even if for some unknown reasons I can manage an allowance of £5000, I cannot spend it.

Negative Balance

Having a negative balance happens. It happened to me almost every single month last year. However, something I want to add to this year’s rules is that the overall negative balance cannot go below -£2,500 at any point with the exception of the month of January. The number I choose is based on last year’s spending and closing balance. I want to have some wiggle room in case I really want something such as a GWP. Only for January though! If you have not gone through such an experiment before, you can set your own limit and remove the exception.

Gifts with Purchase

If the overall balance is positive, the purchase of a GWP offer will turn it into ‘0’, unless the allowance for that month would have covered the cost of the gift with purchase.

For example. Let’s say that my balance is £300 (this would most likely cover the cost of the gift, but it does not matter).

  • If my allowance from empties (only empties) is £90 and does not cover the cost of the gift, then the overall balance turns to ‘0’.
  • If my allowance from empties for that month is £250 which would cover the cost then the overall balance remains £300 even if there is extra allowance left from empties. Any positive difference between the allowance from empties and the cost of the gift will not be added to the overall balance.

If the overall balance is negative, I cannot make the purchase if the purchase of the offer + any allowance and everything from that month would lead to an overall negative balance larger than -£2,500. I just have to skip it. No exceptions. Applicable from February onward.

Review and Social Media

For bloggers or micro-bloggers and everyone in between, I decided to add this extra bit which increases allowance, but also motivates content creation. The number of reviews and content posted on social media definitely saw an increase due to having such a rule in place.

  • IG post, photos only – £1
  • IG post, photos + video or just video – £3
  • IG reel – £3
  • IG IGTV – £5
  • YouTube Video, single product review – £10
  • YouTube Video, multiple product reviews – £5
  • TikTok video – £3
  • Blog Post (reviews only) – £5

I will not count IG stories or anything that is not more permanent in nature. I will also not include Tweets or Pinterest.

Preliminary plan for following year

If at the end of the year my allowance is positive, then I only get to keep 25% of the allowance going into the new year, up to a maximum of £500. I know this is super early, but I wanted to have something in place in the case I find myself in this situation. There is nothing to stop you from spending the remaining allowance in December though *wink. Think of it as a Christmas present and an even bigger present if you manage not to overdo it.

These are all the rules I could think of. I loved doing this experiment last year and I look forward to trying it again. As mentioned above, I highly recommend it for various reasons. Not only is it designed to stop you from over consuming, but it helps you keep track of the stuff you own, stops you buying stuff you do not need and makes you overall more aware of your consumption and purchase behaviour as well as the underlying reasons for making said purchases. I truly learnt quite a bit about myself and plan on using that knowledge to improve. However, remember that failure is okay. It is absolutely normal and it happens to everyone. It happened to me countless of times, I mean, why do you think I am starting this new year with a negative balance?! The idea is to keep going and trying to achieve your gaols.

Who is in? I do not expect any of you to undertake this uber complicated version of a “pan project”, but I do hope you will embark on a similar journey. If you do, share your version below.

Also, spreadsheets are incredibly helpful for this experiment.

What are your plans for 2021 in terms of emptying your beauty stash?

*This article is not sponsored. This article contains affiliate links which means that Blush Suede might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make any purchases by clicking the links included in this article. Thank you for your support. It is you that keep us going.


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