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No spend holidays are great.
Can you do a no spend holiday? It’s pretty easy for us. We have reached a point where we have pretty much everything we need at my house. In fact, we have significantly more than we need, leaving me feeling a bit like a hoarder sometimes.
More doesn’t bring more happiness
There are always more things that you can want. But I’ve reached the point that things I might want do not really bring any extra happiness (check out MMM post on hedonic adaptation).
Actually, at this point, more stuff is actually more stressful. I’m (rather unsuccessfully) trying to get rid of things, not take on more stuff.
Things I think I want, better tech: televisions, stereo equipment, cameras etc. But, most of what we have functions pretty well as it is. It’s not like I use these items less because they might not work quite as well or have some of the fancy features that new versions might.
Honestly, do I want to spend more time watching television? Nope. Do I plan to become an amateur photographer? Nope. I’ve already got hobbies that can keep me busy as well as a toddler to attend to. I don’t really need to find more things to keep me busy at this point, which is all upgrades on tech equipment would really do (plus be a money suck).
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing I would buy
Ok, there are a few tech things I should get and have been putting off. For example, I do need a new external hard drive or two to reorganize years of photos and music now that I finally upgraded from my 2006 Macbook two years ago. This is a daunting task that I know I’m not going to get to right away with the toddler trying to assist in all my computer activities. So I am going to wait until I know I will have the time to devote to the project at which time I should be able to buy better tech and for less cash.
There are some big ticket items, like a finished ceramics studio, or the large hoop house we are going to buy to further our cool climate gardening/self sufficiency exploits that are in the long term planning, and occasionally we find something used that we grab at a big discount to save for these projects.
But, for the most part, there just isn’t that much that we need or want in the grand scheme of things.
Consequently, holidays are pretty simple at my house.
This year for Mother’s Day, I pulled my Mom rank
I made husband and toddler come out with my to the opening day of a local farmers market. I’m trying to work on building some traditions (that don’t have to mean spending money) and this fits the bill. Plus, being a small town, we might run into some people we haven’t seen all winter. I consider it a potential social activity and a good thing for exposing my child to the world and meeting people.
Since it is early in the season here there’s not much to buy. Now that we have our own eggs, we rarely find anything to buy until late summer when tomatoes start coming in. We walked around and I did buy a bag of spring mix lettuce. We only bought that because we happened to be out at home and aren’t planning the 50 mile round trip to the big box grocery for at least a week.
I decided I was going to buy a good chai spiced tea from the local coffee shop. It’s the closest I have found to what we got in India, and they make their own tea and spice blends. My husband begrudgingly agreed to walk there with the toddler in tow (it’s always hot inside and he has no interest in going). It looked significantly busier than usual walking through town, and indeed, when we got there the line was out the door.
As is often the case in our ultimate decision to make a purchase, I stood inside for a few minutes, looked at the line, and decided I didn’t really need a $5.00 tea. So we left.
My gift was a handmade handprint “card” from the toddler (with the help of Dad). I will keep it along with the others and enjoy it a lot when I’m older. Much more than I would have chocolate or a candle.
Regina is That Frugal Pharmacist. She’s a PharmD, mother to a son with cancer, breadwinning wife, personal finance enthusiast, artist, writer, and entrepreneur. Regina’s single-income household has been debt-free, including her home, since she was 28 years old.
Her money approach is “holistic financial health.” She encourages mindful spending, awareness of the non-monetary costs of choices, and aligning personal values with money habits. Regina sees a frugal lifestyle and mindset as an important part of environmental stewardship. As such she’s interested in ongoing efforts towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.