15 May 2013

What I Could Have Bought (But I Didn't)

I am not a shopping kind of person. My mother never instilled in me the craving for shopping (thanks, Mom) and I often find myself one topic short when I converse with ladies.

Nevertheless, I too have my moments of wanting, contemplating, considering and deliberating between needs and wants.

I try not to buy the thing I like straight away. I prefer thinking about it first and the simpler my lifestyle becomes, the more I deliberate. I am aiming for a moment when there will be less thinking of buying. Then I will know in my heart that I have truly simplified my life.

Until then, I have decided to show you objects that have been tickling  my fancy but yet I have decided I could live without them.

Living in the forest was easy. I didn't have many shops around and so deciding whether I needed those red flats was absolutely off the list.

But the challenge of simple living cannot be confronted while  hiding in the wilds where there is no temptation.

True simplification can be achieved right in the midst of the shopping center, in front of the sixty-first pair of shoes you crave, next to the lady who just bought that ridiculously expensive clutch...

So, back to civilized life.

From the forest I found myself in a walking distance to the largest shopping center in Scandinavia. I don't like its 190 shops. But it's there. I avoid it because I hate the artificial air along its almost 1 mile of corridors and 8 floors. The amount of people is unbearable and yet, simply because of its proximity I happen to walk in it from time to time.

And so today, here is what I could have bought but I didn't.

NB. This is not a shopping fast. I am not even challenging you to buy nothing for a month or a year. I am simply sharing with you the way I live and my thoughts, hoping that I might encourage you to think twice before you spend your money next time on something that will never be used.

extra travel bag from Lucky Duck
The first thing I saw today is that extra travel bag from Lucky Duck I can easily slide on the handle of my suitcase. It looks so lovely and it's orange (my favorite color), plus I am traveling in less than 10 days. Why not travel in style!

Do I really need it? Actually no. I have enough bags and rucksacks to fit all my hand luggage for the flight.

women shoes from ECCO
Well, the shoes. Touchy topic. ECCO is an outstanding Scandinavian company that produces some of the most comfortable shoes ever. They are also actively reducing their environmental impact and are employing the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling in their production process.

I've had an eye on exactly 3 pairs on this table for a very. long. time. I look at them every time I pass by the shop, just like today. But I still haven't bought a pair. The price confirms my belief that the shoes I have on my feet are good enough. At least for now.

healthy fiber rich bread
Healthy bread rich in fibers. It is on offer but the plastic bag spoils the health effect for me. Blatant juxtaposition. Plus, all the E additives and colorings listed on the back destroy the effect of the spelt sourdough, rye flour, flax seed, oat bran, sunflower seeds. Not really healthy, if you ask me.

California cherries in Norway
Finally, cherries! My favorite fruit. I can eat nothing but pounds of cherries the whole summer. These particular ones come all the way from Fresno, California. The number on the front of the plastic bag tells me that at least they are not GMO. Numbers on fruits starting with 4 means they are conventionally grown, i.e. sprayed with weed killers and chemical pesticides.

The amount of cherries in this plastic baggie would cost me about  $10. I'd rather wait for the season of Norwegian fjord cherries. They will be cheaper and I will know for sure where they come from and how they were raised.

Did I just save $191.60? You could certainly say so. But I don't view it from that perspective. I don't beat myself for wanting things either. I try to be objective and weigh my opportunities and decide how to spend my money so that it makes me feel best. Sometimes it takes a lot of deliberating.

How about you? What are your shopping habits? How often do you stop yourself from buying on a fling?


  1. I promise I'm not shopping for shoes! ;) But are Ecco shoes good for people with high arches? I'm always on the mental lookout for comfortable flats, but my feet often cannot find anything that doesn't hurt them. I have a comfortable pair now, but I like supporting good companies, so in the future I will look at Ecco!

    Also, it is funny to me to see Californian cherries in Norway. I just never think about how our produce makes it out of the country just as other product makes it in. (I have been seeing a lot of Chilean blueberries lately.)

  2. We're trying to do this very same thing! We have to agree for every major purchase, and then when we're just strolling around together, one of us always says, "But do we NEED that?" It makes a big difference. :-)

  3. I used to like shopping, and buying things, but not anymore for the most part. Over the years I've gotten wiser and come to realize what is important to me, and shopping and buying things are not something I enjoy anymore. I do have to buy things I need, but I try to keep it to a minimum though. I stick to a list, use coupons as much as possible, and I don't make shopping an activity like I used to do. If I'm going to shop for an activity, it'll probably be at garage/yard sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, and the like. And I'm not even that fond of thrift store, garage sale, and etc shopping either. I think about if I had the money for shopping, there still really isn't much that I'd want to buy. I'm trying to pay off debt, so most things that are a want, are all on the back burner until maybe I can afford them. Most of the shopping I do is limited to necessities like toiletries, pet food, etc. I've also tried to get rid of a lot of stuff that is just sort of being stored, and not getting used. One old saying I love, and guides me a lot is, "use up, wear out, make do, or do without". I know someone said it, but I can't remember who, and it probably came around during the Great Depression I believe. I have lots of friends who barter/trade, and I would like to do more of that as well.

  4. I love this! I too try to simplify while shopping. It drives my husband crazy. I on the other hand, place the items in my cart, and the think about them while I am walking around. I could have a full cart in the begining, and then by the end, only purchase one thing. Crazy, but walking around with the item helps me to process if I really need it or not.
    Thanks for sharing

  5. I notice, that the older I get, the less I like to shop. I still like to get myself a little something for my wardrobe. But what I appreciate more now, are things like a bottle of good olive oil, a piece of chocolate that is not from the supermarket, but from a local shop or fresh flowers. When I want to buy something more expensive, I try to wait for a week and see if it's still something I want.

  6. Love this! I definitely need to get back to simple living. Thanks for writing down what is in all our heads haha

    New follower from etsy :)


  7. Love this post. The only time I shop now is when I need something. I recently bought a new pair of walking shoes because the old ones were on their last legs. I did my research and bought a great pair at a fair price that adhere to my beliefs about being kind to the earth. It feels good to shop this way for what I do need.

    I love the farmer's market -- I know the person who grown my greens and tomatoes. Can't wait for strawberry season -- you can smell them a block away! :) I prefer quality over quantity.

  8. This is an enlightening post! When I think of all the stuff that I bought, that I never used, or just didn't even need because something else would do the job just fine, I know how much money I've lost!

    I think it would be easier for me to restrain, it's my other half that has the bigger shopping bug than me! He just buys anything that he wants.

  9. When I was in the corporate world bringing in a well paying salary, I wasn't an extravagant spender, but I was definitely an active one, especially the unwritten pressure to keep current with clothing, shoes & accessories while working in the fashion industry. Now that I am self-employed, and our lifestyle is scaled back, I am a much more mindful spender. I try my best to support local & small business, to reuse & repurpose, & I've been learning/refreshing skills such as sewing, so I can become more of a DIY'er & save money in the process.

    Wow, your comment about the cherries reminded me to appreciate our easy access to them here in California! There are orchards about 45 minutes away, & freshly picked, juicy cherries are abundant at our farmers markets this time of year. I wish I could share some with you, Sonya!