Personal challenge: No Spending

Today I threw away my Manfield boots. It was the first ever pair I bought in the Netherlands, and with my own salary too, the softest, brown leather with just enough heel height to walk in it for eight hours. It served me good for nine, long winters and today I finally said goodbye to it. *sobs* I know I probably shouldn’t be sentimental about shoes, but it represent so many things about my early years living in the Netherlands.

Years went by and the shoe collection grew with my salary. Came the brands too, the Choo’s, Burberry, Lanvin, Wietzman, etc. And then the bags. It grew like an obsession under the pretense that “I couldn’t afford them when I was a poor, young girl, I’m just catching up with what I couldn’t have then.”

I recently made an inventory of the pairs I have and I kind got disappointed with myself. No, not kind of. I was disappointed with my self and embarrassed. All those hard-earned money. And I asked myself?

Why do I need two pairs of ballerina shoes, three pin-heeled stilettos (cobbled-stoned streets duh!), two high-heeled pumps, a pair of snow boots (when did it ever snow long in the Netherlands?!) and the list goes on.

To be honest, the shoes I use the most is a pair of white oxfords I bought in Germany three years ago when my feet got swollen from wearing Jimmy Choo stilettos for 5 hours. It has been to the cobbler several times, they still walk great and goes well with my clothes. I think I paid less than a hundred euros for them.

Lately I’ve been trying to be minimalist, trying to break the habit of accumulating things. This started after I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever.

My biggest take-away from that book was that we don’t really need too many things to be happy. My wardrobe is already trimmed down to bare necessities (thanks to our recent move). But it’s really hard to maintain that habit when you have easy access to things.

So in an effort to curb my bad spending habits, I’ve decided NOT TO BUY ANYTHING FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS. But there are rules:

1. Gifts are exempted. There are a few huge birthday celebrations coming in spring so I want to be able to give presents to my loved ones.

2. Lunch. I usually bring leftover food for lunch in the office but in case we don’t have time to cook, lunch under €5 is also exempted.

3. Transport. I take the public transport to go to work paid for by the company. If I need to travel somewhere and that costs more, I need to tap up my OV card.

4. Airfare. There’s also a big trip coming up somewhere in the summer so obviously, the airfare is excluded from this challenge as well.

5. Sports necessities. I’m training for another marathon soon and I think my current pair of pink Nike can still withstand a few hundred kilometers more but in case I need to buy a new pair, I think that falls in the necessity category. Running gels are also important for training so let’s exempt that as well.

6. Massages. Thai massage is my go to cure-all treatment. Tired? Thai massage. Stressed? Thai Massage. Body aches from training? Thai massage. I’d make no compromise with my Thai massage if I want to survive this challenge alive.

7. Dining out. If there’s one thing I don’t scrimp on, it’s food. We regularly dine out. But in the spirit of not spending extravagant amount for dining out, I won’t eat at any Michelin starred or restaurants where the main course is more than €25.

My No Spending challenge starts at the strike of midnight on December 31, 2017.

*In photo, my most precious pair of Jimmy Choo with mink fur. I used it less than 20 times in the three years I have it. It’s now up for sale.