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Then It Hit Me: We Don’t Buy Stuff….

I feel like the title should be qualified with what Scott Adams calls a BOCTAOE (but of course there are obvious exceptions).

I was just looking over our receipts, budget, etc. I realized that our spending is almost entirely in the following categories: Rent, Groceries, Gas, Metro (my commute), Medicine, Internet/Cable, Giving, Debt (unfortunately, but better than than delinquent).

Not: Clothes, Books, DVDs, Gadgets….and Stuff.

In the last two months I’ve bought one item—a silly Regency romance for $5. But I used money I got from an Amazon sale. And the pizza for Valentine’s Day.

I mean, of course we do buy things now and then. But our receipts are about 97% or more staples.

How do we get our entertainment? A fair amount comes from the internet/tv. And for the rest we budget about $16/month or so for coffee ($8 each time, every two weeks) but right now we’re using some gift cards we were given. We borrow movies from the library when we feel like watching something. We’re more into borrowing tv serieses actually. We go on walks. We don’t eat out—there’s basically nowhere to eat in our area.

We’re just people who like to sit around and read and talk and write and stuff or do internet stuff, who don’t have expensive hobbies, who aren’t into fashion (those of you who know me might laugh at the idea of me being fashionable…it’s just not in my genes), etc.

We can do a better job of spending the money we do spend, I’m not saying that by not buying much we’re perfect.

This isn’t for everyone. It works for us because…well…that’s just who we are. And it makes it easier to stay on budget for us. It’s the positive side of personal finance—doing well by being who we are.

On the positive side—what are some things about who you are, what you do that predispose you to success?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky@FamilyandFinances February 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

That’s awesome, Mrs. Micah!

One character trait about me that predisposes me to success in personal finance is that I actually *enjoy* entering info into Quicken, balancing our accounts, and I really love to watch our savings grow bigger, and bigger, and bigger!

tracy ho February 18, 2008 at 9:22 am

Great post, need to save & enjoy life ,

good luck , keep it up

Tracy ho

SavingDiva February 18, 2008 at 9:36 am

I think it’s fantastic that you’ve avoided buying more stuff. Recently, my savior has been that I’ve been trying to keep my apartment clean (with my daily cleaning schedule). I get tired of picking up clutter, so now I’m trying to avoid purchasing any new clutter. I would like to acquire a few new house plants…but that’s about it!

Adam February 18, 2008 at 9:57 am

I agree with the other comments. It’s great that you manage to get by without buying ‘stuff’. Since my wife stopped working nearly 4 years ago to look after our son we’ve also, by necessity, stopped buying ‘stuff’, and I have to say, I’ve been amazed at how easy it is once you get in the right mindset. That’s not to say that we never buy ‘stuff’, but on the rare occasions we do, it’s only when we’ve got money in the bank to cover it (eg, no credit). I often wonder where all the money went when we were both working! Hindsight ehh?!

bluntmoney February 18, 2008 at 11:21 am

We’re pretty much the same way, for the most part. Unless you count food as stuff, and then we’re in trouble.

RacerX February 18, 2008 at 12:42 pm

The most important part of any budget is to make it sustainable. Living your life in this way ensures that you will always be content, and being content avaoids a lot of “me too” buying.

Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances February 18, 2008 at 1:58 pm

We’re definitely buying less stuff. And when we do buy stuff, it’s no longer junk.

The more my husband and I declutter and organize, the harder it is to bring new stuff into the house. And sure, it’s not like we have lots of money to spend on stuff anyway, but it feels better to not get something because we don’t have a good place for it than to have to tell ourselves that we’re broke. It’s also better to say now because it’s not quite perfect.

Not that we’ve ever been big into ‘cheap plastic crap’ and knick knacks, but everything that we buy has a purpose — whether it’s a brown skirt to fill a hole in my wardrobe, or a set of cheap but very nice glass votive holders that match our decor and let us light up our amethyst and quartz crystal collections.

We did buy quite a few things this weekend, but they were things we had been looking for and we managed to find them at discount stores without sacrificing quality. And we still managed to spend less than we would have a few months ago.

Mercedes February 18, 2008 at 2:08 pm

I think two things that allow me to have a good financial life is that I am very analytical. I don’t have a problem working with numbers and running scenarios. I have budgets for the next two years (just possibilities) and have a retirement model I have put together. I also don’t have a problem researching things. I don’t have a problem when my husband asks me to look for investing alternatives for our savings. I enjoy doing that. For me, knowledge is power.

Jesse February 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm

You need a “favorites” section and then put this one in it immediately…it really does all boil down to this..

Laura February 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm

If you’re happy, then congrats. It’s a great position to be in when you’re content with what you have.

Amy February 18, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Wow! You sound a lot like us, but I still need a little work in this category. Right now I am in a purging kind of mood so I am getting rid of more than we are bringing in. I am trying to reclaim lost space in our home so that has been a top priority instead of getting more junk 🙂 Great post!

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