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I stopped buying these...


Living simply is not an easy endeavour to start. It takes quite a bit of commitment and it really needs to come from a genuine desire to live with less things for this to work. Choosing to live “zero-waste” or “simple” doesn’t work when you’re just chasing the trend. You’ll find yourself losing interest fast and quickly going back to your old habits.

However, once you do start and you’re able to see the benefits of living simpler, it’s really hard to stop. You start looking at everything you do in your daily life and how you could possibly do them in a more sustainable way that leaves a smaller footprint.

In my journey (still ongoing!) to living more with less, there are a couple of things that I just don’t buy anymore. It worked because they didn’t feel forced. I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing convenience and I still got what I NEEDED done.

1. A New Car

I’ve been driving an old 2012 Toyota Corolla for almost 10 years now and she’s still running! I’ve had so many chances to switch her, but somehow it never made any common sense. Believe me, I’ve looked into replacing her with a shinier, newer version …at least 2 or 3 times. Living far from the city definitely helped to create some financial boundaries that contributed to the decision to keep the ol’ wheels. Gas consumption was important as we used to drive over 140km per day pre-COVID. Leasing was not an option because of our high annual mileage. That meant financing or purchasing outright…Well that becomes more an investment discussion and we all know cars are the worst investments. The moment you drive it off the lot, it depreciates by about half. No thanks.

In fact, about 2 summers ago the engine was starting to give out. That was my chance! I kept telling myself it was the universe’s way of letting me get a new set of wheels! Alas, we ended up replacing the engine for $3500 (yay for Line of Credits!) and paid that off in a few months. Now she’s good to run for at least another 5 years…potentially even more now that we’re basically working from home most of the time. When I really think about it – besides the luxury & status aspects of a new car, as beat up (she definitely has a few dents here and there) as she is, the Corolla still brings me safely from point A to point B – costing less than a fraction of what it would’ve costed me had I signed a new lease or financing plan!

2. Beauty Products

Let me be clear – I still buy beauty products. I just don’t buy just to “try” or “collect”. I only buy what I will use and what I need. This doesn’t mean I don’t indulge myself once in a while – but the rule here is if I buy it, I have to use it in full otherwise it’s a refund (Yay for Sephora’s convenient access to samples & return policy).

Just take a look at the picture below (excuse the shoddy photograph skills) of when I went through my first decluttering phase. This was a box FULL of cosmetics, many of them still in their original packaging! In my early 20s I definitely got sucked into the YouTube phenomena of beauty gurus and watching their “shopping” videos. So many products purchased, so much money wasted in hindsight. In my declutter frenzy, I ended up clearing out EVERYTHING that I did not use in the last 4 months and donated it away to a makeup artist friend to repurpose.

She was ecstatic to have received a box full of almost new cosmetics, and I was happy to find some peace and extra closet space!

3. Fashion Accessories

How many of us have bought earrings or necklaces during a buy 2 for $15 promo, BOGO or whatever other sale you can think of. They’re always so cute in stores, and I can always imagine that it would look fantastic with some outfits. However, reality is not always what I imagine. I actually rarely wear accessories, mostly because I’m incredibly clumsy and they always end up catching into things or snagging my clothes. There are few accessories that I own that actually make me FEEL different when I wear them. They’re either nostalgic because I bought the item during one of my travels, or they just bring me joy and make me smile inside when I wear them. If they don’t do those things for me – to the donation box they go!

Having this newfound awareness on how accessories can help change my mood, it’s a huge decision making factor on whether I buy something new to add to my collection.

4. Seasonal Decors

This one is different for everyone. I’ve never been a big fan of decorating my home for the different seasonal holidays because I personally find them gimmicky and prefer to spend my money on an amazing homemade meal with friends than décor that no one will see (I basically live in a forest). That being said, I know lots of people who LOVE decorating for Halloween or (insert your favourite holiday) and it genuinely brings them joy. If that’s you – then all the power to you and go for it!

One trick that someone did tell me once though is to go buy the stuff you want the DAY after that particular holiday has passed and save it for the next year as your “something new” for the décor. It’ll save you lots of $$$.

If you are buying new décor every year, I would suggest that you do a declutter in there every year when you do go through all your items so you’re only holding onto the ones that make you happy when you look at them. I used to have a bunch of Christmas décor that were generic and bought on a whim. They felt almost static versus the personal and sentimental Christmas ornaments that I had – so out then went!

5. Cliché travel souvenirs

After a few independent trips, you quickly start to realize that the memories you create are a lot more meaningful than the trinket they sell next to the Eiffel Tower. I generally stopped buying travel souvenirs unless it’s something that’s local (no more Made in China souvenirs pls!) and that really love. The same rules apply to when I buy souvenirs for friends and family. People only need so many fridge magnets. I now take TONs of photographs instead. Looking at them triggers the memories so much better than an item could.

6. Single Use Kitchen supplies

Last time I bought aluminium foil and plastic shrink wrap was around 6 years ago when we were still living in a tiny 1 bedroom cramped apartment with every closet over-stuffed with STUFF. We finally finished the roll of plastic shrink wrap about 2 years ago and aluminium last year. We’ve replaced them with actual containers or silicone wraps and never looked back. Feel free to read more about other kitchen supply alternatives in this blog post.

The only thing we still buy now is butcher paper for when we smoke meat. I’m still looking for a zero-waste alternative here.



Not buying new things isn’t about limiting yourself, but rather to get to know yourself and spend that hard earned money on things that actually make you FEEL joy. I actually recently purchased some new earrings from Etsy – but I placed them in my wish list and only purchased them because I couldn’t stop thinking of them! Think about it, we all have a limited amount of time on this Earth, and we essentially trade that time for money to spend on things both to either stay alive or to fulfill some kind of desire. If A=B and B=C, then money=time. Next time you’re about to whip out your credit card for a new purchase, think would you trade your limited TIME for that item?

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