This should be my penultimate buy nothing month review. Instead, I am making it my ultimate review. Why my last review? Well, the year is almost done and quite frankly I have not been successful in my endeavor to not buying anything. In fact, at the end of November, I went a bit overboard with buying clothes. Plus, the purpose of the experiment has been completed.
My goal all along was to change my relationship with buying. This has happened. I do not itch to spend money on stuff. I dislike walking around stores to window shop or imagine what I can buy. It is not for me.
Buy Nothing New- November
November was mainly spent in New Zealand. We were fortunate and able to travel on points but still managed to spend approximately $9,000 after our initial airfare on things like food, lodging, and other transportation (car rentals, train rides, etc.). What we did not spend much money on were attractions. The most expensive attraction we went to was Hobbiton. We had no plans on visiting, but then had a free day to enjoy and were only 30 minutes away from Hobbiton. We decided it would be fun for our 3.5-year-old son to visit and we were right.
Otherwise, we did not buy any knickknacks for ourselves. My son received 2 books and that was it. Not bad for buying nothing.
Back to the States
Making it back to the States on Thanksgiving Day, I had plans to buy some clothes before my move back home. Currently, after losing all of our stuff in the Tubb’s Fire last October I had purchased 5 dress shirts, 2 sets of khakis, 2 pairs of dress pants, and a suit. Not much of a closet. I had decided to donate 3 of the shirts and both pairs of khakis and also improve the quality of my wardrobe. So I went to the store the Monday after Thanksgiving to take advantage of the sells.
There were great sales and one benefit of going on a work day was that there was no one in the stores. It was quite empty and peaceful. Within 30 minutes I had hit up 2 stores and purchased 3 suits, a sports coat, 4 dress shirts, 2 dress pants, dress shoes, some socks, and 2 sweaters. This was a big purchase and likely will be my entire clothing purchase for the year. Still, it makes my work closet/clothes complete.
Why so many suits? My total is now up to 4 suits and 1 sports coat. I like to wear suits on days I am in the clinic as I believe it shows respect to my patients. I figure if a waiter can get dressed up at a nice restaurant, then a doctor should also be able to dress up a little. Plus, my new job is 1 mile from my home and I plan on walking.
By having multiple coats, I can leave 1 or 2 at work and have 1 or 2 at home. Additionally, with my brown shoes, I can leave 1 at work in case I am walking in the rain. Then when I arrive at work switch from my rain boots to the dress shoes. Thus, the clothes serve a purpose, simplifying my commute (I won’t have to drag a bunch of things with me when walking) and allow me to continue to improve my health by walking instead of driving (an in all weather which is my plan).
So there you have it. I bought a lot of clothes. My closet still is not that full. I think I have 5 sweaters, 1 coat, 4 suits, 1 sports coat, 6 dress shirts, and 4 pairs of dress pants. Still much less than most Americans.
So what have I learned in this process? I would like to say it was Earth shattering or mind-blowing, but it was not. Much like low spend months, the lessons learned were learned long ago.
Once you train yourself not to spend or want everything, spending and wanting everything becomes a thing of the past.
Don’t get me wrong, I still spend money on food, time-saving things, and things that improve life enjoyment. If my phone was cracked and not working, I would definitely buy a new one instead of struggling along. I wanted more of a wardrobe to simplify my life and commute, so I went and bought more clothes.
By buying less, I am more apt to use the library and look to borrow tools from friends.
This was a big benefit. In the past, I would buy a circular saw if I needed one. I would use it for my project and it would sit in the closet or garage for 2-3 more years before I needed again. It would stare me in the face each time I went into the garage showing me how poor my decisions were. Now I will work to rent or borrow a big item that I may not need for many years. This decreases clutter and improves my happiness.I
I am still happy with my purchases and am thinking about what comes in.
Back to the clothes, I made active decisions on what to buy and not reflex decisions. Same with books, I don’t buy many books anymore.
That’s pretty much it. I do think it is worth trying this exercise of not buying anything for a few months. It is helpful, but carrying it out for a year seems less necessary. Thoughts?
- Buy nothing for 1 year: That’s the plan
- January 2018
- February 2018
- March 2018
- April 2018
- May 2018
- June 2018
- July 2018
- August 2018
- September 2018
- October 2018
Running list of material things I have bought in 2018
- Hair clipper (personal hygiene)
- Retainer for my teeth (health related)
- Free t-shirt’s x 2
- Microphone for a podcast (business)
- Picture frame hangers (should have used nails but the frame is quite heavy and we live in earthquake country)
- Ant baits (home maintenance)
- Yoga mat (health related)
- Fancy shoe inserts for my flat feet (health related)
- Bromine tablets for the hot tub (home maintenance) and lavender smelling stuff (frivolous)
- Fancy cooler (frivolous but useful)
- Hubcap x 1 (frivolous but makes me feel good)
- Suits- his and his….(mine was for future business and my son’s was frivolous/experience)
- Hot tub calcium hardener (home maintenance)
- A tent (planned)
- Luggage and a backpack (needed for all the traveling we do but sold later since we weren’t using it.)
- A child carrier (frivolous and fell for the sale)
- Walking shoes (for my health or unnecessary? You decide.)
- Plastic water pipe cover (home maintenance)
- Camping great including air mattress, tarp, cooking and eating supplies (wife purchase but both of us use this stuff). Also 3 chairs, a sleeping bag, an inflatable mattress for me, and 2 headlamps.
- Khaki shorts (personal)
- Pair of jeans and workout shorts (personal)
- Pickle Monster Truck (frivolous but worth the smile on my son’s face).
- Hairpin, bracelet, necklace, and earrings (gifts for my wife! Happy Mother’s Day)
- A screwdriver.
- Another screwdriver, a socket wrench, and a step stool (tools, but used to build memories with my brother-in-law)
- A stove and propane tank, roasting sticks, pocket knife, and sleeping bag (more camping gear but we should be complete now! Why all the camping gear? Well we have at least 3 summer trips planned and maybe adding more to the schedule. Ah Northern California!).
- An ax, 2 chairs, 10 tent stakes, and a fishing rod (The camping spree is done).
- Pliers (tools)
- An alarm clock (trying to get out of looking at my phone, so arguably health)
- Thumb Brace (health)
- A book for pleasure (mistake purchase)
- Two 3 ring binders (organization)
- Pair of gym shorts (health?)
- Activity books for my son (entertainment or parental sanity…and thus health?)
- Shorts (erroneously did not know I already had 2 perfectly fine pairs of shorts)
- Emergency Binder with binders and hole punch (peace of mind and emergency prep)
- Two books for me to review (fun and for the blog)
- A pocket knife (no good reason for this purchase. It is sitting in my drawer)
- An SUV protective shirt (arguably for health)
- A banjo, strap, picks and a case (why wait until retirement, better to learn now)
- Sandals and insoles (definitely health)
- A drum and tambourine
- A passport carrying case
- 2 books in New Zealand
- 3 suits, a sports coat, 4 dress shirts, 2 dress pants, dress shoes, some socks, and 2 sweaters
Also published on Medium.