Recently, I wrote a piece about all the things I bought in the name of “finding myself” that were wildly unnecessary. I like looking back and deciding what I did and didn’t need, just because it serves as a great reminder for what purchases I should be cutting out of my life. But I was also struck by the fact that there are a hell of a lot of things I wanted, because they looked appealing, or because all my friends had one, but refrained from buying. While that might not seem like much, refraining from impulse purchases really does help you out in the long run. Looking ahead to the holidays, I have enough savings to get everyone a little something without worrying, because I diligently transferred money to my savings account, instead of buying those second pair of suede boots. All of these purchases would be fine, if I actually had a need for them, but I didn’t, and I’m glad I realized that up-front. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday, by the way), here are 21 things I’m thankful that I didn’t spend money on:
1. Delivery. I am not above ordering out on an occasional Friday night, but as I live in LA, I blatantly refuse to order delivery. If I want takeout, I make myself go pick it up. I can definitely see why getting through a harsh New York winter without a car merits delivery (again, occasionally), but it’s not cold in LA, and I have a car, so what’s my excuse?
2. A television. I haven’t owned a TV since my freshman year of college. There are many people who value having a TV, but I grew up in a very television-limited households, so I don’t think of a TV as something I need. Depending on who I’m rooming with, sometimes I end up living in a space with a TV, and even then I rarely use it. I’m glad I didn’t buy one because it’s something I’m “supposed” to have.
3. Microsoft offices. It’s embarrassing, but I didn’t want to pay for them, so I work exclusively off Google docs.
4. Halloween costumes. Never, in my life, have I bought something for Halloween that hasn’t been from Salvation Army, or under $5.
5. An annual infinity scarf and chunky-knit sweater. When the cold season starts, I’m struck by one thought: I need new sweaters and scarves. Fall attire is my favorite kind of clothing (and I’m back on the east coast enough that I get to use my cold-weather clothes). But I talk myself out of buying yet another scarf, because the ones I bought last year, or three years before that, are still good quality, and well-kept, and don’t need to be replaced.
6. High-end concealer. I am one of those truly #blessed people who has never really had to dabble in the art of concealer. However, a few years ago, I noticed I was starting to get really dark circles under my eyes, and decided the concealer time had come. Instead of buying a fancy concealer that would get used rarely, I bought a $3 touch up stick (and I’m glad I didn’t spend too much because I forget to use it 90% of the time, and just rock my dark circles).
7. College paraphernalia on graduation day. I swear the days following and leading up to graduation are a gold mine for college book stores, because nostalgia levels are through the roof. I bought zero items, and have no regrets about it.
8. New dresses for every wedding I went to this year. I didn’t buy a single dress. I either used an old one, or borrowed from a friend. Personally, I will never be the person who spends money on a dress I only wear once.
9. New Year’s Eve. This year, my friends are going to a place in NYC with an $80+ cover. I love them, and I appreciate the invitation, but I cannot come up to NYC from Boston just for an $80 party.
10. A Eurotrip last summer. My boyfriend and I were invited on a European adventure we desperately wanted to go on. We batted the idea around for weeks, trying to figure out how we could scrimp to afford it. This year, I quit my job without the promise of another one, and he is a student. It just wasn’t the right financial time for us to fly to Italy and chill in the south of France.
11. My overly pricey apartment. I wasn’t going to buy it, but I talked myself out of resigning the lease. I loved that place, but it was out of my price range, made it hard to save, and was too much financial strain (especially when it was avoidable if I moved somewhere else).
12. Third drinks. I tend to drink alcohol really slowly, which means I’m always at least a drink or two behind everyone else. It used to bother me that I didn’t go to the bar to buy a drink when everyone else did, but I got over it, and now I generally only buy one drink out at a bar (two at most).
13. A popcorn maker. I’m obsessed with making popcorn, but I don’t have room for one, and let’s be honest, the stove top is fine.
14. A birthday present for myself. I splurged on myself for my birthday this year by going out for dinner and drinks, and having friends in town. But I typically also buy myself something, and this year, there wasn’t anything I needed (mostly thanks to wonderfully thoughtful gifts from my family). Deciding not to buy something because you don’t truly need anything is a great, and underrated, feeling.
15. A curling iron. I’ve been told by other curly haired woman that a curling iron would enhance my curls on day two, and even three. But I work from home, and honestly spend zero time enhancing my hair, so I’m glad I never bought one.
16. DVDs. I used to be insanely jealous of everyone with a massive DVD collection. But my computer doesn’t even have a disk drive anymore, and I don’t own a DVD player, so talking myself out of indulging in the $5 DVD bin at Walmart was the right choice.
17. Souvenirs. I know I’m perhaps a bad friend or family member for saying this, but I don’t like to buy souvenirs for people unless I can find something that they will actually use. If not, I’d rather send them a post card. I am not a believer in tchotchkies, unless they’re utility tchotchkies.
18. Mani-pedis. Instead of treating myself to getting my nails done this year, I bought a few good quality colors I actually like. (A tip I took from someone I interviewed for TFD.)
19. Buying shoes online. I like to browse online, but I force myself to go into the store if I actually want to buy something a) because it gives me more time to think about whether I need it, and b) because shoes I buy online never fit right, and I just end up returning them. I talk myself out of buying 80% of the time, and my checking account is better off for it.
20. Fitness apps. I want to want to use them, but I know they’ll only get used for a week and a half, so I talk myself out of downloading the ones that aren’t free.
21. Posters with no longevity. If there’s one thing I learned from college poster sales it’s if you won’t like it in a year, don’t buy it.
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