10 Things I No Longer Buy

Letting go of the non-essentials to save money and increase inner peace.

apartment-chair-contemporary-509922I’m not going to claim to be a minimalist but I have been deeply curious about minimalism for a few years and each year, I crawl a little further into the rabbit hole of less is more. I like the description of this movement given by two of the world’s most famous proponents for this ideal. The Minimalists cite that minimalism is a tool to be used in finding freedom. Doesn’t that sound liberating?

When it comes to trends, I’m probably the worst! Don’t judge me now but I haven’t watched a minute passed Episode 2 of Season 1 of Game of Thrones (nor do I ever plan to, sorry world) – most probably because the global hype deters me. However, there was something about the minimalism trend that really caught my attention. In light of this, a few years back I streamed a podcast by our friends, The Minimalists, and I was literally compelled to start parting with my belongings half way into the show. That day I filled 3 refuse bags with items to be given or thrown away and I felt AMAZING. Never did I imagine how GOOD someone could feel with having LESS in their house. Ever since that realization, my shopping addiction improved dramatically (I used to visit drug stores least twice a week, returning each time with an ever-so-subtly different shade of neutral matte-brown lipstick that I felt I would have been incomplete without, naturally).

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Fast forward to now and I hardly buy anything apart from home essentials, online courses and waffles (yes I am still addicted to waffles, but I am working on it!). In essence, I now ask myself three questions when it comes to buying things:

  1. Will it bring me immense joy?
  2. Will I use it at least 3 times per week?
  3. Will it make my life easier?

If the answer is no to all three criteria, I don’t buy it. With that in mind, here is a list of things I’ve stopped buying that has not only saved me a lot of money, but a lot of space in this grey mass between my ears. This enables me to focus on things other than the perpetual consumerist plague of searching for something outside of ourselves in order fill the whole within us.

Here goes…

I’ve stopped buying:

1. Anything over R500 ($35*), on impulse

Since discovering the liberation of having less, I started to really scrutinize what I purchased. I figured that if I did buy something that didn’t meet the above 3 criteria and it wasn’t exactly ‘loose change’ to buy, it just made me feel worse! So now I don’t buy anything over R500 that I haven’t thought about for at least 48 hours prior to purchasing. Most of the time if I see something eye-catching on the internet (thanks Google for knowing me better than I know myself), I sleep on it for at least two days before purchasing and if I still want it (and it fits into my budget for the month), I’ll buy it. This is simple measure that has saved a lot of money and energy in the long run.

2. Fancy clothing

Okay I confess that I have an unfair advantage here because my mother is roughly the same size as me and gives me many of her unwanted clothes so I don’t really HAVE to buy anything but if I will buy something, it will be a closet basic like a black t-shirt or a pair of jeans. I have 5 or 6 formal outfits that I use for work on the odd occasion where I need to look posh but in general, dressing up just isn’t me and most of the time fancy dresses stay cooped up in the closet so I sold my fancy dresses and moved on. If an event comes about in which I need to step up the game in terms of adornments, I will hire a dress or ask a friend if I can borrow one of theirs.

3. Bulk purchases of home products

I used to LOVE buying the 10 pack of toothpaste because of the incredible savings that one could exploit but I have since stopped falling for this trickery. Not only does it screw up my budgeting because I get paid monthly and thus purchasing beyond what is required for the month overextends my monthly allocations, but it just is so unnecessary. Besides, I like changing up my toothpaste from time to time. I just do not buy bulk anymore. This has helped me detour from those attractive sales that seem irresistible at the time but leave you with way, way too many rolls of toilet paper and now you have to find somewhere to store 50 rolls of the stuff. No thanks.

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4. Cards/gift boxes for presents

A few years ago my family decided that from then on, a WhatsApp message will suffice as a card. What a great decision this was, well done dad! I mean I do sort of understand the joy of reading a card but seldom are cards ever looked at again and most of the time they’re just damn expensive and the same goes for gift boxes and wrapping. In our family we reuse the same gift boxes throughout the year for all occasions. Not one time has anyone batted an eyelid at the packaging – almost everyone cares about what’s inside (surely).

5. Trinkets

One thing I don’t buy is an item that looks nice but will serve no purpose other than accumulating dust in my home. This is such a relief because now when I walk past a cute beaded tortoise, I can remind myself that a) it will not bring me prolonged joy, b) I will not use it 3 times per week and c) unless the tortoise contains a ‘therapy mode’, it isn’t going to make my life easier either.

6. Body, hair and face products (until the previous ones have been used up)

Before I was addicted to waffles, I was addicted to shopping at drugstores.

All of the products.

All of possibilities.

I used to have up to 4 different sets of shampoo and conditioner taking up space in my shower because I claimed to have been searching for the ‘right product for me’. Now I use coconut oil for basically everything.

7. Vitamins and supplements

I can’t tell you how many half bottles of supplements I’ve accumulated over the years. Walking through the supplement aisle, I always seemed to spot a product that will change my life – based on the description on the bottle, of course. After many failed attempts to change my life with pharmaceuticals, I am here to tell you that the magic pill does not exist. Eat well, exercise sufficiently and rather go and see a doctor to find out what specifically you are lacking. Don’t self-medicate unnecessarily and put a strain on your kidneys who are already working overtime to keep you in good shape.

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8. Diamonds

Okay let’s be serious, I couldn’t afford to buy diamonds even before I decided to not buy them. However, I like jewellery for style and not for pecuniary value. I also don’t like the thought of people literally risking their lives in order me to adorn carbon. Future husband if you’re reading this, please rather purchase me a ring made from this tower. The tower designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde turns smog into carbon blocks that are then formed into bespoke pieces. That is my idea of romance.

9. Textbooks

This may be a bit controversial because learning should be a high priority for everyone but I have one word for you (well two): the internet. I don’t bulk up my cupboards or spend lots of money on books – I can access the information from wherever and whenever I want to using the world wide web.

10. Alcohol

As part of my new year’s resolutions I decided to stop drinking alcohol for the year (at this point I don’t feel like I will ever go back to my alcohol-consuming days but I’ll leave room for changing my mind). I definitely won’t be drinking for the rest of 2019 though and that means no expenditure on alcohol at all. This has done wonders for my wallet and my physical and mental health.

So there are 10 things that I have stopped buying in order to save money and live more freely. So far, I am not looking back!

And with that I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” —Vernon Howard

What have you stopped buying recently?

Wishing a fulfilling life to all!