I’ve heard about Minimalism about two years ago just when I had graduated university and worked a bit. Because I started to make a bit of money and the freedom to buy the things I’ve always wanted, I went a bit out of control. It all started with me searching for ‘How to stop shopping’ to ‘Do I having a shopping addiction?”. I just knew at one point, I was accumulating too much stuff, spending too much, and not putting enough money towards to my student debt.
That’s when I stumbled across Minimalism. The notion of having enough was not foreign to me, having grown up in an immigrant household, but it was suddenly having the ability to call my own shots. This newfound financial freedom spun me out of control. If I didn’t keep every receipt and manually input it into my monthly budget sheet, I probably wouldn’t have been able to see exactly how much I was spending that could have gone towards my loan. Eventually I cut back on my unnecessary expenses such as food and clothes.
After paying my loan off, I wanted to continue the same lifestyle. Watching and listening to all these people on Youtube leading a zero waste, minimalist lifestyle, as well as the Netflix movie ‘Minimalism’ made me want to be part of that community. I was going after that feeling of being immune to advertising, the need to be happy with who I was and what I have. There was so much buzz surrounding it that it was hard to not be caught up in the decluttering frenzy.
But the clutter came back. Then I would declutter again. And on it goes. The cycle of feeling enough, and then not enough kept going. Work has been stressful and sometimes you need that quick fix of instant satisfaction with a register at the counter. You can listen to all these talks about minimalism, or cyclically declutter your stuff, but if you don’t actually believe in it, then you’re bound to continue in that vicious cycle.
There’s always more to acquire and want. The real power is recognizing that you don’t need it and being able to say ‘No’. This girl ain’t hoping off the bandwagon anytime soon.
*Side note: I decided to not call this a ‘No buy’ as I am I still purchasing things. Maybe Low Buy? Yeah, that doesn’t have the same ring to it. Will update with a new title when I have a better name for it.
March has been one of the most stressful seasons I have ever encountered. I am thinking on putting a number of things I can buy in a month (excluding transportation passes) but still continue with a no clothing buy.
I’m going to try my best to decrease the number of purchases in April as I am aiming to build a good savings buffer before moving out in the summer.
What did I buy:
- Brunch with family
- Coach Chelsea boots
- Lunch x 5
- Uniqlo blouse x 2
- Salsa dance lessons
What did I not buy:
- Vince Camuto blouse ($40)
I put myself on a ‘No Buy’, for clothing or new tech, after setting a personal record in spending during the holiday season and noticed that I had spent a little over $3 000 on clothing over two years. It helped that work kept me in the office all February and out of stores.
To put it into perspective, that’s essentially two months worth of student loan payments. TWO MONTHS. I can’t even remember what I bought or how much I wore the items. Lesson here is, everything adds up and know your habits.
Clothing is my weakness. Back when I was younger, we would only have one shopping trip a year and that is because our grandfather wanted to treat us. My folks were (and still are) incredibly frugal as they came as immigrants with barely anything. So, now that I have disposable income, being able to buy clothing gives me a sense of freedom to do what I want and have what I want.
My ‘No Buy’ is not meant to deprive me of enjoying life but rather train healthy, financial habits. I like how I use to only buy clothes once a year, it made the purchasing that much more special. On the other hand, you can’t save as much money because certain items are cheaper during the end of certain seasons. In order to not pay ticket price and recreate the occasional purchasing trip, I have a list of pre-approved items:
- Black Chelsea boots with 2-inch heel (specifically the Coach BOWERY boot) – $470
- White blouse (Uniqlo) – $35
- White flowy, button-down shirt (Uniqlo) – $35
- Red dress (or any one-piece in that tone) – $100
- Black blazer – $80
- Black pair of jeans, solid, no-distressing (Levi’s) – $80
- Merino Wool crew-neck, knit, sweaters x 2 – Uniqlo ($80)
Notice that most of them have a specific store assigned already. That’s from me doing research on what exactly I am looking for and prevents me from wandering off and seeing other things. These are all officewear as I have more than enough of ‘university/lounge-wear’ and not enough professional outfits. I identified that these should be the remaining pieces to have a well-rounded office wardrobe that I can wear many times over.
Finally, I think it would be really interesting to document what I wanted to buy and what I did end up buying this month.
What I bought:
- Treated family to dinner
- Reunion dinner with high school friends
- A chicken soup because I felt sick that day
- Tea x 2
- Weekend Cottage/Snowboarding trip
- Gift for Dad’s birthday
What I wanted to buy, but didn’t:
- Gold chevron ring ($60.00)