I was looking at my annual budget progress today, and paused to think about how much money I spent on “stuff.” That is, objects which will live for months or years in my home, car or office. Most of my budget is spent on consumables and intangibles: groceries, vacations, haircuts, insurance, property tax, heating. I thought I was getting away from buying “stuff” and spending more on experiences. Clearly that is not the case.
In less than 10 months this year, I have spent almost $5500 on things. Are they durable? Are they making my life better? Let’s have a look.
First, there is household stuff totaling $3297. It’s easy to say it’s all necessary for running the household, and not discretionary, but that would be a lie.
- Materials for new deck $2411 – adds to home value and will last 20+ years, but still a “recreational” purchase. One could just put in stairs and go out to the yard!
Home – Hardware, Maintenance, Yard, Garden ($447)
- Lawn mower battery (replacement) $230 – to replace the one I left out in the rain 😦
- BBQ cover (replacement) 63 – previous one was ripped apart by the wind; this one is tough
- River rocks (decorative stone for a border) 55
- 2 mats supposed to trap cat litter 25 – not helpful
- Painting supplies 24 – reusable
- Screwdriver (replacement) 22
- Perennial plant 23
- Plant stakes 5
Home – Kitchen & Bath ($124)
- Shower head (replacement) 52 – rain type
- Electric kettle (replacement) 23
- Floor cleaner (Vileda ProMist) 34 – mopping is not good for laminate floors so Rom wanted to try this; it’s good
- 2 cloth napkins 8 – I still use a set from 1990!
- Mason jar pour lid 5 – I use a Mason jar to bring milk to work for my coffee; the pour-through lid is less messy
- Popsicle mold 2 – I used it twice this summer and will save it for next summer
Home Décor ($315) – all completely optional
- Mirror 103
- Headboard 207
- Dresser tray 5
The home category felt like it didn’t cost me anything since it’s all part of the household budget (including a line for small maintenance and miscellaneous items).
Here is the personal category, clocking in at $2199.
Clothes ($1249) – I will do a year-end post on my purchases.
- 27 items (jackets, tops, pants, shoes, workout wear, backpack)
- 9 small stuff (underwear, socks, tights, gloves)
- 3 swimwear (all replacements – 2 are no longer usable)
- Wireless headphones (replacement) 93 – previous ones conked out after 22 months
- External hard drive / backup drive (replacement) 92
- Hard drive (replacement) 92 – computer is not quite 4 years old
- Fitbit (replacement) 92
- Cell phone ring grip 8
- Cell phone stand 6
Jewellery ($343) – I have a thing for watches. A post is scheduled.
- Watch 136
- 3 watch straps 111
- 7 pairs earrings 28
- 8 pins 41
- 3 Fitbit bands 11
- 2 Fitbit accessories 16
- 2 DVD 34 – I am only buying Studio Ghibli DVDs now to complete my collection
- 1 LP 46 – a White Stripes record not available in any other format
- 1 CD 18 – special edition of Wings: Band on the Run!
- 4 – two paperbacks and 2 hardback rock music photography books
- Day book 12 – my last one. “Had to have” this in January, but rarely used. Fully switched to digital recording.
- Pocket folders 5
- 2 pencil sharpeners 7 – first one was no longer sharp after 2 or 3 pencils!
- Stickers 3
- Mirror compact 14
- Coin purse 9
- Makeup bag 4
- Key chain 2
To keep things in perspective, the bolded items are the ones I would have bought even on the tightest budget, and I could have economized on some of those.
If you are trying to declutter, how are you doing with bringing new (or new to you) things in?