I am beginning to realize I started this Year of Buying Nothing challenge during a particularly socially active month for us.
Two weddings this month, our niece’s birthday, and other events. It certainly sounds like we’re out on the town all the time throwing money around, but I assure you this is quite an unusual month for us. I’ve only ever used a ride-sharing service once in my life before this challenge and now I’ve used one twice in few weeks!
Having unsubscribed from most of the emails I get, the lack of email is noticeable. Believe it or not, it might be starting to get to me just a little. I am trying to get past checking email as a habit. I’m sure I will soon, as there is rarely any email coming in anymore. More and more often there is still no email when I check it.
We have missed out on experiences in the past due to a lack of money, and I am determined not to let that happen anymore. We are headed to Los Angeles for a vacation this year and are hoping to go to Europe in 2018 or 2019. Minimalism is the way to make that happen. Spending our money wisely and not accumulating “stuff” so that we can have those experiences instead is the way to go. Research shows that’s what makes people happy.
WHAT, IF ANYTHING, DID I SPEND MONEY ON THIS WEEK?
In addition to less spam email, I want less junk snail mail. At the recommendation of The Minimalists, I signed up for DMAChoice a service that allows you to opt out and drastically reduce your junk mail. It cost $2 and the opt-out lasts for 10 years. We’ll see if it’s worth it. I think $2 is certainly reasonable for less junk mail for the next 10 years. Think of all the time I will save not going through useless mail and the paper and ink that won’t be wasted printing it!
We spent money on going to a whiskey tasting and an Uber ride to and from the event. (Our ride there was free because it was my first ride, but the ride back cost a few dollars). My husband is a huge fan of whiskey and really enjoyed the event when he went a few years ago, so we decided to go. We spent money on dinner out downtown after the event. We so rarely go downtown, it was nice to be able to make an evening of it. Had we spent our money on “stuff,” it would be hard to justify spending the money on this experience.
I also went to afternoon tea at a fancy tea room with a friend. If I had spent all that money on “stuff” I wanted last week, going to the tea room with my friend would have been financially very difficult. I might have missed out on a great experience because I “couldn’t afford it,” not realizing the reason I couldn’t afford it was because of the stuff I mindlessly accumulated instead.
I did have to spend money on a watch battery. A watch I have had since around 2012 stopped and needed a new battery. I spent $10 to get it replaced. The value this adds to my life should be obvious.
After months of dividing my files between multiple storage services (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google, etc.) to keep each under the threshold for free service, I finally decided to bite the bullet and upgrade so that I can keep all of the files in one place. It was $20/year and totally worth the money to keep all of my files together.
Our niece’s birthday present was purchased before the Year of Buying Nothing began, and even if it wasn’t, buying toys for children wasn’t part of the buying ban. Buying presents for the children in our lives brings me (and them) joy and the goal is to resist spending money on tangible “things” that clutter up my house and spend money in ways that represent my values. (Nobody said anything about cluttering up my sister-in-law’s house. Lawyered!)
It has certainly occurred to me how the little amounts of money I am spending lately are on things that are calculated to improve my life. These weekly updates are actually pretty insightful for me to write because it forces me to confront my habits, good and bad.
WHAT ELSE WOULD I HAVE BOUGHT?
The minimalist mindset is finally beginning to settle in a little. There was only one thing this week I really, seriously considered buying.
1. Leather headphone organizer/cord keeper–I saw this and immediately thought about the headphones I keep in my tote bag. While I wrap them up nicely and they do not usually get tangled up, it would be nice to have this to keep them organized. As with all of the things I’ve wanted to buy since beginning this year of buying nothing, I’ll be just fine without it.