The end of the year is in my opinion a great time to look back at your expenses and learn a thing or two (or three?) about your spendings.
*This is a part of a bigger picture– of course- reflecting on everything you accomplished in the past year- for better or for worse. the thing about finances is , apart from it being a super important tool to achieve goals (early retirement anyone?) , and a means to make a living, it is an important tool to achieve personal freedom: wise monetary conduct is key to feeling secure and confident in your decision-making process as a whole. maybe someday this will not be the situation but for the meantime it most definitely is..
#Back to my list: This post does not consist of my “regular every day spendings”- such as food, gas, electricity, phone, internet and health.this will be treated separately.
I must admit I was a bit surprised to see that I wasn’t as frugal as I thought I was, but I was also glad to see the changes I had made along the year, that made a difference. a difference in $$$- but more importantly- in my state of mind.
I do not go to stores, and do not pay in cash, so tracking my expenses wasn’t difficult I checked my 2 on-line shopping places- Ebay and Amazon.
Some home items (such as glass containers, face creams – etc) were bought as part of my online supermarket shopping but I have no way of tracking these specific few items a year back- so they will be a part of my food expenses -and treated separately.
The first thing I did, was write down all of my 2018 expenses.
I looked at each and every purchase and asked myself: looking back -was it a necessary purchase? did you enjoy it? would you have bought it again?
The questions were not asked in an inquisitorial tone ( no tone at all, I asked myself those questions -not a sound was heard) but as a way of learning. sometimes we are sure the facts are known- but when checking-they are actually different-the number can’t lie- (although sometimes we wish they could).
I am glad to say that for the majority of the purchases the answer was “yes” for all 3 questions. 80% of my purchases were things I believe I needed, I believe they are a good purchase and I do not regret making them.
This alone was a good sign for me, since I believe that spending money on valuable things is not a faux pas- but simply a way to use that currency. that is, of course- if you are in a monetary situation that allows you to spend that money. if you are in debts or saving towards a goal -then the situation is different .
*I divided my expenses into categories and summed up the total yearly spending on that category:
15$ =2 white thai yoga pants I just ordered- planning on joining a yoga course and the white apparel is a requirement i cannot avoid. otherwise I wouldn’t have bought the pants-I have enough sporting apparel and see no need to purchase something new just to get my workouts going.although I admit it is super fun to get new apparel…
20$- new slippers. my old ones wore down.
20$- new swim suit. after exactly a year of weekly use- my previous swim suit was becoming transparent. (here is a bit more about my swimming- and why you should consider getting a water-resistant mp3- How Metallica stepped up my game at the pool this morning ).
1$- shoelace buckles a pack of 10. This small thing helped a family member of mine go back to walking in the park after surgery. my family member claimed that “even tying my shoelaces is a big thing for me now so don’t expect me to go out to the park for a walk!”.surely you understand that I immediately ordered those buckles -and that claim was no longer heard.
Garden supplies: 151$ total
20$ -garden spray– made my own insect repellent and sprayed infected plants.
50$ -planting bags (on Amazon- the photo is from their site- so you can be impressed like I was.)
heating mat for propagating seeds- 20$
seed propagation cells- 4$
25$- planting soil and soil nutrients
12$ propagating light bulbs
sheet- 15$-super comfy- love it!
dish washing gloves- 10$-about 4 pairs throughout the year. buying them on ebay was half the price than buying in my online supermarket so.
razor blades- 10$
Labeling stickers+zip lock bags+binder clips+correcting pen+pens+pepper grinder+metal straws+hydrogen peroxide+50 envelopes and 100 greeting cards for diy presents+car wax: 86 $.
(yes I learned how to wax my car -watching a youtube video). (yes I did watch that horrible youtube clip about the sea turtle getting strangled by the plastic straw- stopped immediately using plastic straws).
vanilla beans- 30$
French green clay– for facial masks-10$
*Foundation +primer: 168$.
Ok. now- almost 75% of these weren’t even opened– I stopped using makeup (read here why and how- Why (and how) I stopped wearing any makeup-and a frugal tip!). I gave away all of my unopened makeup- so looking back buying in bulk wasn’t such a brilliant idea- but then again- I am glad I reached the level of self-confidence that allowed me to let go of all the makeup I was using -so looking back- I am proud of myself and ***k the money!
*Body lotion– 20$- not a good purchase- bought a dominant smelling lotion online- not going to do this again!
Duffel travel bag: 20$ (great buy! spent a month traveling with it – read here why and how I did it How to “travelight” :a month in Guatemala with only a standard carry-on duffel bag??and this is how it looks after that month!)
5 travel-size jars: 4$- great buy!
Quick-dry towel- 4$- took it to Guatemala and have been using it weekly when going to the pool.
*Full disclosure- I just bought a new pan last week on Amazon because my non-stick pan is scratched and the top layer is revealing the underlayer. it wasn’t even shipped yet so I was thinking maybe I will slide this to 2019 expenses? I know this is cheating.. so anyway- I researched on-line and the Calphalon pan received the best reviews for its price. since I pay a big amount for shipping- ( yes I am aware this sounds like an excuse for buying more stuff)- I added 2 things (that have been waiting a long time on my list-here is my answer to the lame excuse accusation ) : a pizza pan (baker’s advantage- if anyone is really interested mind you I get nothing from Amazon or anyone else plus I haven’t even received the pan yet so). and a pack of 3 bamboo cutting boards.
Why was this on my list? simply because my partner and my youngest are avid pizza guys, and order pizza at least twice a month if not more. I am a very competitive person and I have strong faith in my cooking abilities ( yes! self-confidence is so important!) and I have been contemplating making a pizza better than the ordered one- to save money and save on the preservatives and additives.
About that pack of 3 bamboo cutting boards. why 3? 1 for veggies and fruit, 1 for meat-I remind you I am the only vegan in my household…….and the last one -the smallest one- for baby bear. no- for onions and garlic and other spicy food -so I don’t find myself eating a garlic-tasting apple or an onion-tasting banana…..
This morning I remembered I made a big purchase, not on either sites, and this is a new soda maker-cold water filter- boiling water boiler thing.
I did a lot of research before buying this, and the decision took me 2 weeks- but I am very glad I made the purchase.
I am a huge believer in drinking as much water as possible (read here why- and how: How I encourage myself to drink more water -and it has nothing to do with any apps! and I convinced myself that we need to drink mostly filtered clean water. we drink a lot of water- ice-cold water, herbal tea using ginger and herbs from our garden, and soda water. I also use boiling water for cooking. my experience with electric kettles involving the very harsh water we have here- wasn’t a success. we had to throw away a kettle every 4 months- a huge expense -not to talk about the pollution..
And yet- I hesitated.
This thing cost 1200$, a huge amount of money, and I needed to think this purchase over and over again- before iI decided it was the frugal decision to make under the given circumstances.
The circumstances being:
1. we drink a lot of water-and need a water filter. i will not buy bottled water!!!
2. we drink a lot of tea- and need a new kettle every few months.
3. we drink a lot of soda water- so need a soda maker. again- I shall not buy bottled soda!
4. I will not buy another device like this every year it is very expensive so this will have to last for a few years.
The one I got, has a 4 years full guarantee, the device itself is recyclable, the co2 refill bottles are recyclable too, and in my tiny kitchen- the possibility of gathering 3 devices into one- well it was a plus. adding the costs of each separate device – after reading many reviews on the companies that sell these products- I decided that for our specific needs- this was a good and frugal device- overall.
So far we have been enjoying this device -and using it multiple times a day, every day, and this is a good sign I think.
You can spend a small amount on many gadgets you end up using maybe once or twice a year- maybe even less- and if you sum the amount of money you spent on all of these devices and divide it by the number of times you used them- then compare the result to a device that cost you a lot of money but you don’t stop using and enjoying -well. I think it’s clear which device will turn out to be more frugal and minimalistic.
Think maybe you will make a full list like this too? I can tell you it has been a very interesting list to make, I learned a lot about my decision-making process this year, and as a direct result, I have many new-year’s resolutions now.
enjoy- the cooliflower.