Thursday, January 9, 2014

Spend Less, Enjoy More....(Two years later)

Some of you may remember I vowed to change my spending habit at my old blog about two years ago. My goal were to significantly scale down unnecessary/impulse purchases on clothes, skincare products and items for home and to become a minimalist. One year later, I am very proud to say I have successfully accomplish my goals.

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Several years ago, I bought everything in sight that I liked with little or no thought whatsoever. I even bought stuff without a true need for it simply because it went on sale. I would spontaneously purchased many different makeup/skincare products at once. Didn't even bother waiting to completely use one product at a time. Not to mention handbags, shoes and accessories.  Then came that year (2011) when I became interested in high end designer bags. That year alone I spent $4,000+ on brand new: mini Chanel flap, Chanel earrings, Dior tote and Hermes scarf in a span of 2 months. Yet I wanted more but so glad didnt pull a trigger. I felt guilty spending that much money instead of saving for the whole family to enjoy although my husband totally supported my once in a lifetime splurges. It was quite a year of learning.

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One day a reality hit. My house looked like crap, clutter everywhere. I had more clothes/shoes/accessories than I could wear. They were literally everywhere. How much money I had thrown away I asked. It was ridiculous. Since then I determined to change. It was not an easy transition but something had to be done. I am a mother with a child in daycare and we dont make six figured income per person so I have to think more carefully. Since then I immediately implemented some changes. Of course it took awhile to get used to not buying and you had to fight the temptation which was quite a challenge. Sometimes you fail,  next time you win but you have to keep trying.

There are some tips that work great for me personally:

1) Avoid temptation: when you look, you tend to buy so you need to stop that. That said ditching some of your favorite blogs that tempt you to buy what they wear/use/review. It is just a temporary,  when your mind is strong enough you wont even have an urge to buy. But for now, say bye bye. Then you will need to unsubscribe from mailing list/sale alert/promotion from your favorite store.

2) Look what you have most. If you mostly buy clothes then that's your weak spot. Try to go through what you currently have and make the best out of them without buying more. This can be difficult but it will be easier with time. I have been buying clothes about 3 times a year or less (total of about 500 per year) in the past two years and wait when they go on sale up to 50% off (I always buy pants from Express for work and they go on sale after Thanksgiving. Who would pay full price of $70 for work pants, not moi).

3) Find a new hobby or simply clean your house/closet: this will help distract you from wanting to shop. With the convenience of online shopping, it is so easy to spill money even in your own home.

4) Shopping ban may not be a good solution: try to analyze each purchase instead. You should try to add more steps into your thought process when buying. Sounds like a pain but it helps. Ask these question and be honest with your answers: what am I going to use it for? How often? How practical and versatile? Do I have enough cash to pay now? Do I have space to store it? Will it clutter my home more? Practice on even the smallest purchase.

5) Keep track of your spending and set a limit: A simple spreadsheet is a lifesaver. You wont realize how much money you have spent unless you put them there. Credit card statement doesnt tell much. I sort my purchases in different categories, I have one for home budget which entails monthly bills, gas, grocery, personal, home/car maintenance,  gift, medical fees and miscellaneous.  You can start out with a more simpler spreadsheet (no special knowledge of Excel, just basic function) and adjust as you go.

Since 2011, I still have the two same handbags and one of them has exceeded cost per wear since I have used it every single day. I haven't bought any (even an inexpensive one). My husband couldn't believe it, I am quite amazed at myself too. However I do believe in splurging once in awhile on things you love as long as everything else is taken care of. Life is about balance and the same goes to spending and saving.


  1. Good for you Nelah! Since I've rediscovered shopping in my own closet, I've been shopping alot less. I agree with you on the occasional splurge because if you really love it, you'll probably use it to death anyway. In the end, it's all just stuff and if we really need stuff to make us happy, then we're in trouble.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  2. this is a really great post! we have a monthly budget for our family and we do meal plans and that has done wonders in not going overboard when grocery shopping. in the past i would buy literally everything and not eat it and most of it would go bad. with items and clothes, i too am more conscious. if i want something, i usually put it on my wish list and then check back in several weeks. half of those things i wanted i don't want anymore, or i know i don't need. other items if i still really want them and still have interest for them, i make sure that i have money in my budget to buy. when i was younger i was so careless in what i bought... half of those things i threw out or gave away!

  3. This is a good post. I think that at first having a shopping limit will be difficult but after a while you might even get bored of shopping. (: It happened with me.

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  4. Awwh! Have to say that this tips are so into me!! xx

  5. I'm so glad that you managed to abidy by the resolution you set with regard to spending. It's perfectly fine to splurge on yourself once in a blue moon. As for the rest of the temptations, do keep them in and probably after a few months, you would realise you don't feel the urge to own them anymore. However, if you're still itching for that item, go and buy it! That's when you know that 90% of the time, you wouldn't regret it!

  6. How lovely for you to share your tips and story! I am proud of your success :D

  7. Nelah, I remember when you did this and I'm so proud of you. I started minimizing things in my closet about three years ago. I couldn't believe I purchased so much stuff. Now I really ask myself if I need something or not and my expenses have gone way down. These are excellent tips! Now I hardly buy and just love to do reviews mainly on what companies spend. I'm going to pair down on my beauty products. Again, so proud of you doll. ((HUG))

  8. I need to cut down on my spending too. It's really ridiculous how much stuff I have. Great tips, next time if I feel to need to shop, I'll just clean the house instead! Hope it works for me xx

  9. I'm totally proud of you for your achievement. It truly is not an easy thing to do especially when it comes to temptation. It's everywhere! Marketers are definitely selling things in your face in every corner. I hope my blog didn't contribute in terms of temptation towards you =D You're right about setting the priorities right. It's very important. Self awareness is the best. Keep up the good work babe =)


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