Do you need NO November?

Budget better for end-of-year expenses! Fight holiday creep! Save your time, money, and sanity! Sound good? Then try NO November this year!

So it’s days from Halloween last week, and I’m dashing out to bulk up our candy supplies for trick-or-treating.

Just one problem, though: I had a hard time finding the Halloween candy, thanks to all the Christmas displays already out in full force.

Funny, I had the same problem when finishing back-to-school shopping – in AUGUST. Where I live, the last gasps of sweltering summer days are totally at odds with December decorations that prominently feature snow. But that didn’t stop our local warehouse club from devoting floor space to them in the weeks before the kiddos were back to school.

And for the first time this year, I was bombarded with postcards and emails in OCTOBER, urging me to get something “just for me” before the holiday shopping rush begins. With a steep discount code attached, in case I had any hesitation.


It seems as if seasonal creep in the retail world becomes more pronounced each year. But a recent phone chat with my dear friend Maraiah inspired me to try something new this November: just say no. Her NO November is the answer to a lot of seasonal challenges I’m facing, and maybe you are too.

What is NO November?

As Raiah explained it to me, NO November is simple: NO November means “saying NO to buying more stuff we don’t need:

  • I already have clothes; I don’t need to buy myself more clothes.
  • We already have plenty of books; so even if we don’t have THAT book, we don’t need to buy it.
  • We don’t need to buy any more pasta, unless we are completely out.
  • We don’t need to buy more crackers when we’ve got several open, half-eaten boxes in the cupboard.”

But NO November means more than just no spend November. Not only does Raiah’s NO November   cover excess purchases, it also helps with another weak spot she and I have been noticing: As the days get shorter and the darkness grows, we’ve both found ourselves sneaking in extra carb- and sugar-filled snacks, instead of sneaking in extra opportunities to exercise. Just-say-NO can cover excess snacking as well as excess spending.

How can NO November help you?

The way I see it, NO November can help with all sorts of year-end challenges:

  • It’s an antidote to end-of-year season creep, and a way to resist buying stuff we don’t really need (a good lesson for any time of the year!). Money spent is money spent, whether you got something for 80% off or not.
  • It’s a subtle way to start clearing the decks before the holidays. By cleaning out the cupboards and not acquiring more excess “stuff” to put away before December comes, I figure we’ve already got a head start on storing the extra food and supplies we’ll need for Christmas, when both sides of the family will move in for the week. Plus, this “less is more” mentality meshes well with my own efforts last year to live a pared-down December.
  • It’s a super way to keep spending in check before the holiday shopping season begins. I usually try to line up Christmas gifts throughout the year, whenever something’s on sale or I’m visiting someplace out-of-the-ordinary. But if you’re someone who packs all their holiday purchasing into the sale weeks at year’s end, this can help to make sure you don’t already start your shopping with a big hole in your budget, or a big balance on your credit cards.
  • If you can be mindful of the “no” spirit even on those long, dark, dreary days when cookies and crackers seem like your best friends, NO November can also help to ensure that you don’t blow your holiday calorie budget before December arrives.

What do you think?

I admit, one week into November and I’m still struggling with the “just say NO” mindset when it comes to those extra calorie-rich snacks I find myself craving. Moreover, those sale coupons I’ve already received are awfully tempting.

But I love the idea of taking this one positive step to counteract some of the challenges I face at year’s end.

And best of all, it gives me a head start on “less is more” December, which I’m already looking forward to celebrating again this year.

What about you? What are your favorite strategies for making it through November, when there’s not enough daylight and too much Halloween candy lying around?

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41 thoughts on “Do you need NO November?”

    1. Glad you thought so, Monica – it sure has made a difference for me, these past few holiday seasons, to do some extra “stop and think”-ing before those impulse purchases start to add up!

  1. I love this idea so much. I’m going to give it a try. As honestly, I don’t need anything extra. I will stick to buying only the things I need that I’ve run out of and save my funds for all the holiday gifts I want to buy.

    1. My thought exactly! I just spent the day at my church’s Christmas fair, where we have lots of outside vendors come in to sell their wares – so many LOVELY things, but in the end I realized most of what caught my eye counted as “gifts for me,” so I only bought a few hand-carved wooden tops for my girls. 🙂

  2. This sounds like a great idea. I feel like this entire year we have just keep spending because of a move into a new home. This month we should focus on what we already have and get situated in our new home instead of adding more.

    1. Ooh, yes, a new home is ALWAYS such a temptation in this regard! There is one thing to be said for purging before a move (and more purging after as you settle in), getting things updated and up/running/functional in a new space, etc. – but then it can be so seductive to KEEP ON BUYING when you get into the habit! So I’m glad this post can maybe give you a good stopping point 😉 …

  3. I love the idea of this campaign. There are plenty of things that my husband and I need to tell ourselves no over. ALthough, I don’t know if you can ever have too many books.

  4. I feel like I say no a lot through out the year. LOL I am always telling my family to use what we’ve got before we buy more, or pairing down what we have to just what we need. For me, life is just simpler when I don’t have so much stuff to manage.

    1. Then you and yours are already way ahead of us! I need to learn to practice this lesson more year-round, not just when I make a conscious effort every November (and then again every January with New Year’s decluttering 🙂 …)

  5. I definitely need no-november but I am not sure I am capable :p I have a lot of birthdays in november and I am prepping for Christmas in november! so it never works out that way :p

    1. Well, then cut yourself some slack for all the gifts for others you have on your to-purchase list – just good luck in resisting the other temptations to excess! (which is more my own personal struggle this time of year, esp. with “treats” for myself…)

  6. I love the idea of a NO November. But, its when I start my christmas shopping and when I tend to have the most money coming in so its when I shop the most sadly. Such a great idea!

    1. Well, for me the trick is not so much to avoid Christmas shopping, as much as to avoid the seductive new marketing lure of buying (a lot of) something(s) FOR MYSELF at the same time, “just because you deserve a treat while you’re working so hard on everyone else’s merry Christmas!”…

  7. I very much struggle with the no mentality but I have a list and I ensure that I stick to it and that makes things easier. I also have the policy that if I buy a new clothing item, I’ve got to throw away an old one. That helps. Christmas decorations are hard though because we lost all ours two years ago and now I have to restock. I want to buy everything but I want the things I buy to have meaning not just a cheap price tag.

    1. I know what you mean, Angela. (I’m sorry you lost all yours a few years ago, though!) I don’t know if this would help at all – not everyone has “nice” thrift and secondhand stores near them (we have an abundance where I live now, most junky but a few nice ones) – perhaps, if you had a source of nice secondhand ones, you might be able to find some nice treasures while also avoiding the excpenditure and overall-planetary-resources-use of buying new? (And/or there’s always stocking up at post-holiday sales…) Kudos to you for making a list and sticking to it, though!

    1. Aww, thanks, AnnMarie! It really has made a huge difference for us at this time of year, and the overall feeling is quite liberating! 🙂

  8. I rarely buy Christmas decorations. If I do it’s just to replace broken ones or to just add a little more. I think this No November is an awesome way to save money and not spend on things we DO NOT need.

    1. I know exactly what you mean! We have so many Christmas decorations, we don’t NEED any more – we just get a plain fresh wreath for the door each year, and a tree on the years we are in town for Christmas. I’m so glad you like this idea too, Karen – it has been a huge help to us! 🙂

  9. I think this is a wonderful idea. We truly have so much that we really don’t NEED anything, but it can be so tempting to use those big discount codes. I will probably start Christmas shopping here soon, but I am really budgeting this year.

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Jessica! It’s SO tempting to heed those “why not get a little something special for yourself, too?” calls…

  10. I love this idea! I’m fully on board with the no shopping for clothing idea (I do capsule wardrobes), but I’ve been thinking lately that a shopping fast in general would be a good idea. And doing it in November is perfect because it forces you to think about the things you already have and be thankful for them.

    1. Ooh, if you do capsule wardrobes, then you’re already several steps ahead of me! And you’re right, many of us already have SO MUCH that we can be thankful for, and realize we don’t constantly need “more”…

  11. I absolutely love the idea of a NOvember !!!! I already splurged at the dollar tree today LOL but for the rest of the mo th I’m going to try this!!

    1. Ooh, the Dollar Tree can be seductive, I agree…but I’m so glad you’re willing to jump on board for the rest of the month! 🙂

    1. Then you are already totally on board with this idea, Lori! You are so right about lack of clutter bringing inner peace 🙂 …

  12. I’m unintentionally participating in NO November already. I spent this week officially deciding to participate in— and prepping for— our community yard sale tomorrow. Buh bye, stuff!

    1. Oh, what a FABULOUS time for a community yard sale! Ours is always in May at the end of the school year, and it’s just too busy then around our house for me to take part. 🙁 Good luck with your sale and purging!

  13. This is such a great idea! it is a good mindset to have. I usually do this before the holidays because I am desperately trying to save and be thrifty. I try to buy as little food as possible and work my way through the pantry.

    1. I know what you mean – even the grocery store is full of “buy, buy, buy!” traps at this time of the year! I also try to eat out of the pantry as much as possible, and also the freezer, so I then have room to make/freeze ahead for meals when our relatives visit around Christmastime.

  14. I didn’t know that I needed this, but I definitely did. Lol. I never thought of NO November before but I think I need to implement some of the things mentioned above.

    1. That’s exactly how I felt when Maraiah first mentioned it to me, and I am SO grateful she did because every year I return to this idea!!!

  15. What a great idea! We have been trying to cut back. We moved from the Weat Coast to Texas and while unloading all of our stuff, I realized Im done with STUFF! Thanks for confirming my thoughts, and what a great idea!

    1. Ooh, there’s nothing like a big move to help you pare down your “stuff”! It took me 5 years after our last move to unpack some of my “stuff,” but when I did, I realized that 95% of what was in those boxes was stuff I’d lived without just fine, and could continue to live without – out the door it went! 🙂

  16. This is such an excellent post. My husband and I were just talking about how hard it can be to buy gifts for people this time of year because everyone rushes to buy things for themselves whenever they want them. Really, if we could delay that gratification for a couple of months, it would make gift giving easier and we might decide it was something we didn’t need to begin with.

    1. I LOVE your take on this, Mary Leigh! You’re so right about how it would make gift-giving easier. If I’m tempted to buy something for myself (say, a piece of clothing), I will instead shoot my mother-in-law an email, along with whatever promo code I got in the mail – win-win! That way she has some gift ideas, and I can NOT buy whatever it was.

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