The Year of Buying Nothing

keep-calm-and-buy-nothing-32Last year turned into the Year of Buying Everything here at Casa Aloha: new tires, new washer and dryer, new computer, new phone, new clothes for school, dorm room needs, new kitchen worktable, new living room chair, and so forth. Along with all the traveling we did, it was an expensive year. We saved nothing extra.

Brett and I have decided that 2017 will be The Year of Buying Nothing. We have a goal to save as much as possible this year, so that other than buying food, toiletries, paper goods and cleaning supplies we’re putting ourselves on a spending fast for the year, with a few exceptions:

  • Necessary items for YaYu. She will require uniforms and team shirts for sports, new running shoes and socks for cross country in the fall, and a prom dress this year, although she’s thinking of renting one from Rent the Runway instead of buying.
  • Christmas and birthday gifts. Meiling’s and YaYu’s January birthday gifts were purchased before the end of last year, so WenYu is the only one of the girls to buy for this year (we have a $50 limit per girl). We’ll purchase our grandson’s birthday gift when we are in Japan, and will bring along and leave birthday gifts for our granddaughter’s first birthday next fall because the postage from here to Japan is just too outrageous now. We have a monthly allotment already set up for Christmas shopping next year, so those expenses will be covered. Brett and I don’t exchange birthday or Christmas gifts.
  • Baby gifts to take to Japan. Used items are not appreciated in Japanese culture, so we will be buying some new things for our granddaughter to take with us in March.

    Omamori for sale at a shrine in Japan
    Omamori for sale at a shrine in Japan
  • Souvenirs. Brett and I have decided that purchases in Japan will be limited to food items (KitKats!) and some omamori (amulets) for good luck and fortune from the shrines we visit.

There are thrift stores here on the island, but we’ve decided that rather than even buying used, it’s better to buy nothing at all. Looking around, we definitely don’t need anything so hopefully this will be a fairly easy challenge to stick with this year.

The more we don’t buy, the more we can save. Let the Year of Buying Nothing begin!


Collections: The Coffee Mugs

We have an awful lot of coffee mugs for a family with just two coffee drinkers. One way or another though they all get used.

More pottery . . .
More pottery . . .

Some of them are approaching 25 years old (my blue mug with the leaf pattern); others were purchased just last year when we were in Japan (the Starbucks Yokohama and Kyoto mugs). The Tokyo mugs are from Brett and my trip to Japan to meet our new grandson in 2011, and the Hawai’i mugs are from Christmas 2012, when we first came to Kaua’i and committed ourselves to moving here. The girls’ little mugs were stocking stuffers one year when they were small.

Brett was drinking from the other Hawai'i mug.
Brett was drinking from the other Hawai’i mug the day I took this.
The girls' childhood cups (and WenYu's treasured Good Mythical Morning mug)
The girls’ childhood cups (and WenYu’s treasured Good Mythical Morning mug). They still use them frequently.

None of the mugs was particularly expensive; I think the most we’ve ever spent on one is $11.95 for one of the blue & white Starbucks architecture mugs, which celebrate our favorite west coast cities. We had collected five when Starbucks stopped making them, and had to bid for the last one on eBay. The other mugs were gifts, or picked up at a market or craft exhibit, or as an inexpensive souvenir on one of our or the girls’ travels. Each one holds much more than coffee though, and there isn’t a day that I don’t reflect on the time and place we purchased or received the mug I am drinking from that day.

From the girls' trips to China
From the girls’ trips to China
The architecture mugs are BIG so we use them for soup
The architecture mugs are BIG so we use them for soup

Brett has a system for setting the mugs out every morning, so that every day of the week he and I each get a different one, with a different memory. Will we addd another one someday? I’ll never say never, although we’re getting very picky these days, needs versus wants and all that, and we really don’t have room for more. We’re very satisfied and happy with all we have now, but who knows?