“I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.” 
― Jackie Mason

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I am scared of no challenge! So when the Happy Philosopher asked if anyone wanted to participate in the buy-nothing-for-a-year challenge, I decided to accept it. Without considering my current wardrobe situation. Wise decision? Not so sure. Hard-to-follow decision? For sure!

I first decided to do a buy no clothes challenge. But then realized that it would not be so hard anyway, I wouldn’t really feel the pain. After all, clothes are not my weakness.

I am not saying that it will be easy. Any other year, it would have been way easier. Like I said earlier, I lost 30 lbs in 2017. And I am planning to lose more this year. Since I had plans to lose more weight, my current wardrobe is really a bare minimum. This is what I own:

  • 4 dresses (because I like dresses a lot),
  • 5-6 shirts/blouses,
  • 3 not-so-good t shirts,
  • 2 pairs of jeans,
  • 4 track pants (I wear that at night instead of pyjamas),
  • 8 tshirts for home,
  • 3 pairs of shorts,
  • 3 pairs of gym clothes,
  • 2 pairs of sneakers (1 of the pairs almost ruined),
  • 7 pairs of other footwear(although I hardly wear anything but sneakers)
  • 4 coats (varying lengths, thickness, and even sizes),
  • 16 pairs of socks.

I do have 3 shirts and two pairs of jeans in a size smaller than I am, so I will have some “good” clothes to wear even if I lose weight. If I need more, I will either have to wear loose ones or alter them myself. I think that being able to alter clothes will be a good skill to have 🙂

Like I said, hard. But not really painful. I will probably just use that as an excuse to dress shabbier than I do. I work from home thrice a week, so I don’t need a lot of good clothes.

To call it a challenge, I have to make it harder. If you analyze all the discretionary spending that I do, the ones that are truly a waste of money will be stationery. I love office supplies. I love pens and pencils, coloring supplies like paint and even crayons. I own a cricut and spend money on vinyl to design my own tshirts. All of that has to stop.

If you look at the Happy Philosophers blog post he has a huge set of rules describing what is allowed and what is not. I decided to come up with a set of rules myself.

First, anything for BusyDad and GBoy are allowed. I cannot ask them to participate. BusyDad just did more than a year of no spending on clothes just because he was just too lazy to shop. All his clothes are in a pretty bad shape. GBoy hits a growth spurt every now and then, and I don’t want to restrict buying clothes for him either. As to the other things, both of them are not big spenders, I cannot ask them to not buy anything just because I want to take the challenge. We won’t even save a lot of money because most of our expenses come from items other than buying stuff.

Let me also make this clear. I am going to buy groceries, we are going to eat out. If something is broken, we will replace it. If something is consumed, we will get replacements. I am also going to spend money on experiences, even if that involves buying flight tickets, etc to get to wherever it is.

This challenge will be about me not buying stuff that I don’t need that badly. For instance, I have a phone, a Kindle, an iPad and a Chromebook. I will replace it if my phone or Chromebook breaks. However if my iPad or Kindle breaks, I won’t. I can use the other devices to do whatever I do with it.

I will buy gifts for others. I do not want to cut that out.

Most gifts I get are from BusyDad and GBoy. I have told them not to get me anything. However, if someone else gets me a gift, I am going to accept it.

I am going to buy myself e-books and movies. I don’t usually spend my money on them – The only time I buy myself books or movies is when I have free money available by picking no rush shipping from Amazon, or through Google rewards program. I will refrain from using the Google rewards, since it doesn’t have an expiry date. Amazon promotional credit however has expiry dates, and I am not going to let them waste. So I will buy that for myself.

I get myself Brazilian Blowouts about twice a year. That makes my life very easy, I am not going to cut that out.

I do maintain scrapbooks. I will refrain from buying anything to decorate it, but will have to buy the ink and paper to print the photos out. I use this photo printer and these supplies. I will continue buying those. I don’t think of that as my expense, it is for the whole family. We never look at old pictures unless they are printed out.

I know that I can’t think of all the circumstances right now, and a few months down the line when I am tired of the whole thing, I am going to try and find loopholes in all my rules.

When I buy something for me, I am going to come back to you and tell you what I did.

It is going to be hard. I walk a lot, and on an average, my sneakers last three to four months. I have one pair, breathing it’s last. I was trying to get it to last a couple more weeks so that I could take it on one last trip and leave it there. That is what I regularly do. All the things that are falling apart, I take it when I am traveling. And I leave it in the trash just before I fly back. That way, packing is a breeze on the flight back.

I will have to plan my sneakers usage now. May be I should wear it only when I go on walks and to the gym. Not always like I do now. I am glad that I have already bought a new pair. Because the current ones won’t last more than a month or two no matter what I do. I think it is a good idea, though. People will get to see me in footwear other than sneakers 🙂

Do I expect to save a lot of money? Probably not. If you look at our budget for 2018, all these expenses fit into the $10,000 per year “everything else” category, along with all the other things that I haven’t itemized.  If they were significant enough, I would have a category for it.

Honestly, I have no clue why I am doing this. Except for the vague feeling that I shouldn’t have so much to give away every time I “declutter”.

 So far, joining me on this challenge are:

If you want to join us, let me know and I will add you to that list.

What do you think? Am I just giving you a chance to give me a hard time, or will I actually stick to it?

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Tagged declutter, frugal, no spend

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Tuesday, Mar 28, 2023