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5 THINGS I DON'T BUY | minimalism & money saving

I was at a coffee shop last weekend, working on the patio outside as I enjoyed the last few days of summer. I was sipping on my coffee when I couldn't help but overhear a conversation two girls were having (they looked around my age?). The chatty one out of the two was talking about her spending habits and while she earned $200 to $250 per day, she would without a second thought, drop $150 on a spontaneous trip to Aritizia couple times a month. Whenever there is a new party or event to go to, she would claim she has nothing to wear and make a habit of going shopping for new pieces. She had also mentioned she needed to start taking saving seriously because she didn't have a few $1000 to her name!

This got me thinking how I manage to keep spending relatively low. It's not because I can't afford nice things, it's because I choose to prioritize saving money through a minimalist lifestyle. I won't say that I'm an extreme minimalist, as I still value comfort and sentimental things - but I try to only buy things I will use frequently and not buy things in excess or to impress others.

So today, I wanted to talk about 5 things that I don't buy or refuse to spend my money on excessively.

#1 Expensive Skincare & Makeup

I remember when I was in my early twenties, I made a habit of going to Sephora to spend $100 on a lotion or $60 on a foundation. A trip to Sephora can easily add up to a few hundreds of dollars. Looking back, I don't even know if the expensive skincare products were really that effective or if people would know if I'm wearing a $60 lipstick vs. a $10 lipstick.

Now, I value natural beauty and focus on having healthy skin. Even with skincare, I find more inexpensive products, such as those from the Ordinary brand to be just as effective as expensive skincare, if not more! Focusing on brands that provide quality ingredients without the inflated price tag delivers the same results and is easier on the pocket.

I also moved away from wearing makeup and only have one of each mascara, eyeshadow pallet, highlighter, blush. Most days, I would just put on some concealer and tinted lipbalm and call it a day!

#2 Designer Brands

I've never been the type to buy designer brands. Rather, I got a good kick out of buying pieces that looked expensive and were higher quality but were affordable. I also focused on buying more timeless pieces with neutral colours that can mix and match easily to create endless outfits!

As much as Designer brands look nice and you get that adrenaline rush when you go shopping for big ticket items, I decided to focus on buying clothes that showcase my unique style. This means that if you want to have a chic style, you don't need to buy designer things - you can easily find a nice blouse and nice-fitting trousers at Zara or Banana Republic. I personally like to shop for bags or clothes at boutique stores that have one-of-a-kind style.

Of course, if I'm at a stage in my life where I can comfortably afford designer items without any financial constraints, I would be happy to do so. However, I'm also content with how I'm able to portray myself through the clothes I have and not break the bank. Especially if your focus in not on impressing others, but impressing yourself, I question whether buying Designer brands are justified.

#3 Eating out

Another expense that creeps up on you without you even knowing are costs related to food. Yes I know, food is essential to our well being so how can we stop spending money on food?? I'm talking about the excessive costs in additional to your basic grocery bills. Eating out and/or ordering in takeout a couple times a week adds up pretty fast. The extra costs on top of the marked up food cost, such as tip, taxes, delivery charge, etc. are easily one of the expenses that many people have without them even noticing! We were talking about buying designer items and shopping at Sephora - but eating out costs can easily add up to the equivalent of buying these things.

I personally don't enjoy eating out (since I have a difficult time digesting all that MSG) and prefer to cooking something simple and healthy at home. Not only is this better for your health, but sooo much easier on that budget. Don't get me wrong, I like to treat myself to a nice restaurant with the family or friends - but I like to limit such outings to maybe two times a month? I believe balance is key and have eating out as a treat so you can genuinely appreciate the experience and the food!

#4 Gym Pass

I had always refused to pay for expensive gym memberships. Before the pandemic, I used to work out at the free gym at the office. I had also occasionally paid for Steve Nash basic membership for $35 a month. Since the pandemic however, I started working out at home (no excuses!) and realized I didn't need to spend any money to be fit. In fact, I think I'm in better shape than before the Pandemic and I attribute it to developing good habits that force me to workout on a consistent basis (rather than going to a gym with fancy equipment).

In this day and age, we have so many resources at our fingertips in that if you have just started working out, you can easily learn from Youtube and other free resources such as FitOn. If you want to have a more tailored workout, I personally enjoy using the Sweat App, which is $20 per month or even cheaper if you get a quarterly or annual pass. If you absolutely need/want to go to a gym, going to a gym at your nearest community center is probably a lot cheaper than going to a fancy gym like Equinox. I believe health shouldn't be expensive but more about your mindset and commitment!

#5 Car

Probably the most costly expense out of this list? I also refuse to buy a car since I know that the moment it drives out of the dealership, the value of the vehicle drops 30% (maybe I made up that number). But nevertheless, cars are one of those assets that depreciate over time and main purpose is to get you from Point A to Point B. Don't get me wrong, cars are definitely convenient and some people may require a car because they live in suburban areas that don't have a good transit system. As for me, I prefer to live in the city and in convenient locations that don't require a car. I prefer to walk (free exercise) or commute for longer distances. If need be, I will take a Ubber (but not more than 2x a month).

Unless you can really justify the cost of a car, I prefer not to have one and save $100s per month relating to leasing or financing the car, as well as insurance, maintenance, gas, and parking. I personally prefer to piece of mind that I don't need to worry about any of these costs, or the hassle of driving a car in city, such as the stress of finding parking and then remembering to pay for parking to avoid fines.


This minimalist mindset shift over the last few years has really transformed my relationship with money and helped me see more clearly what I value in life. The extra savings resulting from not spending my money on the above 5 things as allowed me to not be stressed about my finances because I know I have a healthy emergency fund. Also, I have instead spent my money buying assets, such as real estate and stocks that appreciate in value over time.

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