It’s Been 35 Days Since I Last Spent Any Money On Junk

Alrighty, thank goodness it’s October!  After declaring September to be frugality month (“Samurai September”), I’m finally free to splurge on as much junk as I want!  Was it painful for a recovering spendaholic to not buy anything other than food for a whole month?  Damn straight it was!

Here are some things I learned along the way:

1) By writing out a promise whether it is on a piece of paper stuck to your refrigerator, or on a world-famous website, your goals become REAL.  Writing out my goals really motivates me to stick to them.  It’s just like when you have your To Do List on a notepad.  If there’s one thing that’s not crossed out, you do your darndest to execute .  Focus on the mission soldier!

2) When your goal is to not spend money, you start revisiting things you already have and enjoy them again.  I went through my 1950’s baseball card collection that I had stashed away in the closet and had a fantastic time reading all the stats of great players such as: Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax rookie, Roberto Clemente, Yogie Berra, and Al Kaline.  I picked up my dusty Martin acoustic guitar and learned how to play: “This Is The First Day of My Life,” by Bright Eyes, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison, and “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney pretty well.  Finally, my old Klein mountain bike sure got plenty of good use as well.

3) Once I got in the habit of appreciating all that I have, I started not wanting to buy new stuff.  My five year old G4 iBook is a great example of making due with less.  In fact, I wanted to start selling stuff and getting rid of clutter.  There’s no sacrifice in my mind anymore about not buying new things out of desire.  The only things I need to buy now are things out of necessity, such as replacing my loafers given they have holes in them.

4) Time really goes by quickly. I still remember very clearly when I wrote my declaration, and now it’s over.  But, what remains is a nice chunk of change in my savings account because I didn’t splurge on stuff I didn’t need.

5) It’s more fun doing things together! I joined a club of like-minded individuals who want to be millionaires eventually.  I discovered a guy who works three jobs to make ends meet (Brian at My Next Buck).  Brian then introduced me to another fella who was $101,000 into debt and decided to deliver pizza to pay it off  (follow Jeff on Twitter @DeliverAwayDebt.  Jeff is freaking hilarious, and makes me want to go work at In N’ Out Burger for kicks!).  I then was able to call into Blogtalk Radio and speak to Baker at Man vs. Debt and Jim at Bargaineering about their views on using cash and credit cards.  It’s just FUN to speak to, and trade e-mails with random folks, all with the same purpose of becoming financially independent.

 

Patek 5396R Annual Calendar

Patek 5396R Annual Calendar

ALMOST BOUGHT, BUT DIDN’T!

Here’s a list of stuff I contemplated buying in September, but held strong:

Apple Macbook Pro: $1,450 (Typing to you on a 5 year old iBook G4 13″ laptop hand-me-down with a 10 minute battery life and speed as fast as old pokey the donkey isn’t the greatest.)

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 Watch: $23,000! (My jeweler said it’s a collectors item and impossible to get.  Yes, impossible to get because it costs $23,000 bucks! WTF!)

Tod’s Loafers: $400 (I have a hole in each shoe, but nobody knows because they are in the soles.  I just can’t find any normal looking, super comfy loafers except for these.)

Babolat Aero Pro Drive Tennis Racquet: $180 (I accidentally smashed the racquet on the court while doing a “thunderous” overhead, and I need a backup racquet since playoffs start end of the month!  Despite a sore shoulder, and achy knees, I ended up 10-3 in my 8.5 & 9.5 combo league!  Club pro is seeing if he can hook me up with a replacement, and has given me a loaner in the meantime.)

Definitive Tech Sub-woofer: $1,000 (Started making an annoying non-stop squealing sound after 3 years of ownership.  Thank goodness Def Tech has a 5 year warranty and I’m waiting for it get repaired.  Need that thunderous base for a complete home theater movie experience!)

In a sense, maybe I actually saved $26,000, because a penny not spent is a penny saved right?  I’d love to get the opinion of readers.  It’s interesting to note that I didn’t write “laptop, watch, shoes, tennis racquet”, but instead detailed out exactly what I want.  I think if one can narrow down their exact desires, it then becomes easier to focus on getting the best deals.

CONCLUSION

So what now for October you ask?  First of all, September held up quite well in the stock markets, which unfortunately gives me less confidence the markets will do well in October.  Hence, I’m staying defensive and only putting extra money back in when we get at least a 5% pull back.  We’re ripping again in the stock market, and I think it’s wonderful for all of us.

With regards to my spending habits, I think I’ll give it a go for another frugal October!  Although “Samurai October” doesn’t have as nice a ring as “Samurai September,” we’re still far enough away from the holidays where marketers won’t be in full blitz mode yet!  I really need to get some new loafers, but after that it’s just about savings.  Anybody know how to play “I’m Yours” by Jason Miraz?

Readers, if you have the money, but end up not spending it on stuff you’ve been desiring, does that count as savings in the bank?  Can I add $23,000 to my “Freedom Fund” or does that not count?

Freedom Fund Update: Added $6,000 from salary and investments for October to now $80,000.

Related Posts:

“Controlling The Urge to Splurge”

“Mea Culpa – I Just Spent $1450 On A Macbook”

“Laptop Returned, Money Saved, Computer Optimized!”

Keigu,

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great job making it so long with out spending. Samurai September does have a wonderful ring to it. Maybe I’ll make it Deliveraway December this year :)

    I completely agree with detailing out your WANTS. The more detailed you are the better you can find the deals without settling for an item that is sub-par (wasting money).

    One very strange thing I’ve noticed in my spending habits is the way I look at purchases now. I don’t just look for a deal and then buy what I need. I look at all my purchases in the form a deliveries. If I want buy a magazine that would equal one or two deliveries. If I want to take my wife out to dinner ($40) that would be 8 to 10 deliveries. Thinking like this has all but stop any impulse spending.

    As long as you were really going to spend the money, I think you can count it. You are very wise for not buying that watch. Who the heck buys a $23,000 watch anyway? Ok maybe an NFL player, but I hear they go broke very quickly after retirement.

    Best of luck in the “Hunt for the Samurai October”

  2. says

    @Jeff Good hearing from you man. You hit it spot on regarding not wanting to spend as much now that you are hustling to do all those deliveries. Hope the wife doesn’t mind you don’t take her out to Morton’s as often though! :)

    The watch in the picture actually is a rose gold Calatrava version with a retail price of $42,000! That’s one of my dream watches, but clearly it is a ridiculous sum of money.

    Keep up the good work Jeff! Really awesome what you are doing and tweeting. I thoroughly enjoy it.

    FS

  3. econobiker says

    Unless the $23,000 watch et al were meant as joking comment…most people probably could get items to do the same as you listed for about $2k total.

  4. says

    @econobiker You bring up a good point. From my jewelers perspective, it is absolutely not a joke. She wanted to sell me a $23,000 watch b/c admittedly, I’ve purchase several expensive watches from her in the past.

    But, now you bring up a question of what is good enough. People can all drive a $2,000 beater, but some drive in $100,000 Porsches. Same thing with watches. A $100 Casio, or a $50,000 Patek… we don’t need anything more, we just want more. We’ll have to debate how much is enough in another post. Yes, all those things I listed were things that I was contemplating buying.

    If you buy a $23,000 watch which can’t be procured, and is worth $27,000 on the secondary market, is that not a good buy?

  5. BG says

    Heh, who wears watches anymore? Once I got a cellphone 10-years ago, I haven’t worn a watch since. Cellphones are much more accurate too.

    Way to go on not spending in September, but are you going to negate that by spending double in October? Best bet is to create a written monthly budget, and just stick to it. It’s important to have a line-item for “blow money” to keep your sanity.

    October has already gotten off to a bad start for me though: $950 in car repairs, and wife’s $750 in dental work…ugh — cashflow-wise this is not a big deal (emergency fund), but it delays other stuff when these big-ticket items show up.

  6. says

    @BG Yeah, a watch is a big waste of money. It’s essentially “Man Jewelry” for those who have money, or don’t have money to waste! Even a man desires some bling bling too right?

    As I wrote towards the end, I’m declaring October frugality month as well, and will not now spend double to make up for Sept. I do need to buy a new pair of loafers though, so hopefully that’ll be reasonably priced at $100-200, and not $400 for the Tod’s!

    Hope the rest of your cash spending for October goes ok!

  7. says

    Well done!

    I declared all of August one big ‘NSD’ or No Spend Day. I achieved it as well. 29 of September’s days were also NSDs. October is going the right way as well. I don’t need *stuff*. I am suffering from enoughism at the moment, and it’s GREAT. I spend less, which means earlier debt payoff. If I keep up my ‘illness’ into positive net worth, then my savings will grow quicker.

    Congratulations on re-evaluating your connection to consumerism. :)

  8. says

    It is more fun to do things together man! This community is awesome and one person can turn you on to 5 others in no time. I appreciate the mention, and its great to make more connections. BTW, the Personal Finance Hour is such an awesome show. Its great that the big guys (JD and Jim) are so accessible and approachable.

    Look forward to following you more closely through October!

  9. says

    Min – That’s a good idea, but I can’t remember all 10 things I promised myself so I have to refer to it online or in a print out :)

    Lee – Good stuff man. NSD, I like it. NSM I guess is more like it now! It’s amazing how much junk we accumulate. We lived happily in a 2bedroom condo, and now we have 140% more space and the house is filled up to the max!! Got to sell stuff and declutter.

    Brian – I’m bummed I forgot this past Monday’s PFH. I’ll put it in my calendar for next Mon.

    I’m on the road traveling now and it’s been super busy recently. I guess that’s what happens when the economy rebounds!

    FS

  10. says

    This is a good post.

    Point #3, is on point!

    It’s all about mindset. Once you stop spending money on “stuff”, you stop wanting to spend it because you realize that you don’t NEED it. The rulers of the consumerism matrix want to make you feel like you NEED to have all of their things so they can drain you.

    Once you get adjusted to being frugal, everything changes. And now when you wee other people spending their Hard Earned cash frivolously you start to think THEY are crazy.

  11. says

    @Matt @ Self Improvement Resources
    Hey Matt, good hearing from you man. I don’t think many of us need a lot of stuff, we just want a lot of stuff.

    There is something to be said though for wanting something, waiting for a while, and then getting it… just like when we were kids. That was fun. Ironically, now that I have money to buy whatever I want, it’s not as fun, and I actually don’t really want any of it.

    thnx for stopping by! FS

  12. Lovingkind says

    If you had bought the watch and planned to sell it, you could have added $2,000 to your Freedom Fund, not $23,000 because you would have only a 50-50% chance to sell it at a higher price than what you paid for ($23,000) and at a lower price than what it cost ($27,000) in the secondary market. My opinion is – you can’t add $23,000 to your FF because a $23,000 watch is not a necessity. But other things that you didn’t buy, you can add the total amount to your FF, also in my opinion.

    Indeed, this is a great community! I was like many of your readers, wondering why I needed so many things, after having moved for the N’s time! I have since been frugal. I still get compliments once in a while when I wear my very very old clothes. I was able to give many household items and clothes that I don’t need to Goodwill. It feels good to live in a clean and less cluttered place. I get to use some of my retirement pension for good causes. Life becomes more meaningful when I spend more time pursuing my spiritul need!

  13. Lulu says

    Hey you budget and you deserve some fun in there somewhere. I think people believe that being frugal means you can’t have fun and once you start to save you are no longer allowed to spend.

    I bought a Fossil watch because I really WANTED it. Yes I budget and use coupons…but when I wanted to splurge on the watch I went ahead and did it because the money was in my fun money account.Personal finance is about managing YOUR money…and while I would not spend $23K on a watch (at my current income) if I made more money and there was a Fossil watch that I wanted I would consider it if I had the budget. :-)

    • says

      Hey Lulu! Good to hear from you. True, I should probably budget for some fun stufff, and I think I do. The fun stuff to me are not material things, they are experiences such as this past weekend’s President’s Cup Golf Tournament! The tickets were actually free from a friend, but I would have spent up to $50 each. I had so much fun.

      I remember getting a cool Fossil watch about 15 years ago when I lived overseas. Very cool, good value watch!

      I’m always excited to discover new pf blogs, so I’ll be hopping over to your site shortly :)

      Financial Samurai

  14. says

    I’ve found that the best way to not spend money is to not have any. ;)

    I work a job that pays me just enough to pay my half of the rent/food/etc expenses that my boyfriend and I share. I have about $50 a month of discretionary money, and I find that I actually rarely spend it. Because I have so little to spend, it makes me think long and hard about each potential purchase, and just like that bottle of fine wine some folks never drink because they’re waiting for the right night to do so, I end up not spending the money at all because I can’t find anything “worthy” to spend it on.

    Now, granted, I’m about to be starting a second job (as a waitress in the evenings – I’m currently a dog walker during the day), but all but about $200/mo of that money is going directly into a separate account that I will be using to fund a project I’m going to be doing next year in Mongolia. I’ll have the money, but not *really*, so I am assuming that my purchasing habits will likely remain largely the same.

    Also – thanks for commenting on my blog the other day! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
    .-= Kelsey´s last blog ..More Proof the TSA are Morons… =-.

    • says

      Hi Kelsey – Good to hear from you! I share your same sentiment regarding not having money, hence not spending it. I wrote a post about it called “Going Broke To Win Big” where the concept is to flush every last dollar out of my bank account, so I have no temptation to spend.

      Have fun in Mongolia! Sounds exciting!

  15. says

    Yeah, I saw that post. Once I start this second job, I’m going to be getting a second bank account that is just a savings account, that I can dump most of my money into. My boyfriend and I have a joint bank account already that we use for our mutual expenses (rent, food, etc), and my plan is to only have a couple hundred dollars in my checking account at any given time – the rest will either be in our joint account or in the savings account.

    The Mongolian thing is going to launch at the end of January, and it’s going to be a very, very big project. But, it’s something I’m really passionate about and something I’m determined to see through to the end, so I’m optimistic that it will succeed. I’ll let you know about it when it launches, if you want.
    .-= Kelsey´s last blog ..More Proof the TSA are Morons… =-.

    • says

      Kelsey – Great job to open a second bank account just for savings. I’m telling ya, if you continue to dump money in it, over time, you’re going to wake up and be like WOW, you gotta lot of money! With a seperate bank account, you avoid the temptation of just transfering it back to checking and spend it.

      I’m excited to see your pictures from Mongolia. Pls do let me know when it launches!

      ps sorry it took you so many tries. Akismet, the spam system basically keeps all relatively new commenters in a quarantine until I approve them. After several approvals, the system “learns” and starts automatically accepting comments.

      Best, Sam

  16. says

    In the past one of my major errors has been that my checking and savings are one and the same – thus, it’s hard to see my savings as anything other than available money, and I’ve occasionally had to resort to literally stashing away cash to save up for stuff. So, hopefully, the second account will be a big help.

    The Mongolian project will be launching at the end of January, but won’t be taking place until sometime in 2011. So, sadly, no photos until then, as I can’t have photos to show until I’ve actually gone! It’s going to be an interesting exercise at figuring out the wonderful world of fundraising and crowdsourcing.

    • says

      Kelsey – Ah, IC. OK, well then we’ll just have to wait until then! I went to Inner Mongolia once, and rode on some donkey’s and ate some bean soup in the late 90’s. It was a fun adventure. It’s amazing to see the sun swept faces of the Mongolian people. Their features are quite distinct!

      The sooner you set up a go broke bank, the sooner you will be on your way to saving that nut!

  17. says

    I think you can only add the $23,000 if that is part of your normal spending habits each month {like I spend X amount on groceries, but this month I only spend X, which is less than I usually spend –> then that is savings}. You don’t spend $23,000 each month do you?
    You might be able to find solice with Jacob. Even though Extreme Retirement Early, he believes in buying quality items that will last for years and has a great resale value.
    You have a “jeweler” really? *envious* or *jealous* Can’t decide. ;)
    .-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Early Retirement Extreme 21-Day Makeover =-.

    • says

      Really good point about the “normalized level of spending.” $23-26K/month wouldn’t be normal at all. However, I’d like to think that if I really was going to spend that money, which I really was, I did save that money in a sense.

      Yes, I have a jeweler believe it or not. But so can you if you want. I just developed a relationship with a woman who can procure hard to find items. That’s a valuable relationship to have!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..An Extra Seven Hours A Week =-.

  18. says

    Wow you are post number 96 on Jeff’s awesome Yakezie tips post (http://deliverawaydebt.com/yakezie/the-mega-money-tip-list-600-money-saving-tips/)….. Finally got through all of em!

    Quite an achievement here…. how is it going now? I would say I almost avoid it most months but I often splash oit on eating at restaurants which is kind of wasted money when I can cook pretty well myself!!! But I love food.
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..Is Minimalism a worthwhile form of activism? =-.

  19. says

    Good habit to write put goals on a list, Sam!

    In the last year, since I have a real job, I am trying to live frugally and to spend 20% of my salary – oddly enough, I don’t find it hard at all! OK, it may be an advantage that I live with my folks, but nevertheless, it’s fun to save and grow your wealth.

    Learning to save also inspired me to learn how money works and eventually, I appreciate money more than ever before.

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