💵 Low-buy check-in #7: Saving money, cheap eats, and another wardrobe declutter

Hi friends! 👋 Here with another update on my low-buy year. Thinking about the term “low-buy”, I’m wondering what that even means anymore in this global pandemic. Sure, I’m not spending a lot of money on stuff, and I have been able to save a lot of money, but maybe I could be cutting a few costs when it comes to necessities? Let’s see.

Saving money

Last month I mentioned that I would like to be able to save $2000 in August. I did one better and saved $2100! I probably could have saved a couple hundred more, but I left some aside just in case.

Attempting to prepare for using direct debit

A few weeks ago I actually had the idea that I should try and pay direct debit instead of using my credit card, especially for regular stuff like food, so that I would be a little more aware of my spending and also have a smaller credit card bill by the time the bill issued. That was part of the reason why I left a few hundred dollars aside instead of putting it into savings. But I sort of forgot about what I decided – my muscle memory kicked in and I found myself using my credit card to pay for everything. I’m not sure if I’ll give that another attempt yet.

Biggest purchases so far

One notable large purchase was stocking up on protein powder and other supplements. 😆 Nick and I did a big order and I (foolishly) put the delivery address as my work address so we had to go and pick it up after hours. Thankfully one of the chefs at my company was in the office at the time.

What really irritates me is that we spend over $400 combined, and just two days later Nutrition Warehouse had a 20% off everything sale for their birthday. Bloody hell. 😂 That hurt a little, especially after I waited for the credit card bill to issue before making a purchase. At the same time, I also just didn’t give a shit? It was like, well, I was going to buy the supplements anyway…

I had to get an ultrasound the other day to check up on some benign lumps. It has been some time since I last got an ultrasound to check up on them. Medicare didn’t cover the total cost for the particular imaging centre I went to, so I ended up having to pay $70. But paying for health-related stuff is kind of a necessity. 😅

I ended up spending about $90 on some face masks on Etsy. I already had one my mum gave to me, but even though we are not required to wear them in Sydney, I still thought it would be good to have some more on hand. I actually spent a lot of time looking for the four masks I bought, and one of them ended up not working out well because it was too big for my face and I didn’t message the seller to check the sizing. This has been my main gripe so far – many manufacturers, even those of small businesses, create masks in only one size because they don’t have the capacity to make them custom. Other sellers’ smallest sizes, mentioned as being women’s sizes, are still too big for my small face. There aren’t a lot of people creating children’s masks (which are better suited to my face size), and the ones that do have some juvenile designs that I would rather not wear. I think the most fun part about looking for masks was to find some that had patterns I liked.

A woman with dark hair wearing a blue scarf and a white mask with green leaves printed on it
I got this mask from ElephantNecklaces on Etsy 💚

Supermarket salads and other eats

I don’t want to be embarrassed to talk about this, but I’m willing to bet some people will judge me. Anyway. Recently I’ve been trying to clean up my diet and do a little more cardio so that I can lose some body fat. I think that for anyone, improving your diet is something that can help you feel more positive, and I’m definitely working on feeling better about myself. I’m still maintaining strength and lifting heavy, and I’m not making a drastic change to what I’m doing, but I decided to buy salads from the supermarket instead of buying sushi and noodles. The sushi and noodles I buy isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but I enjoy a good salad, and with a bunch of leafy greens, they contain more nutritious food in (usually) a smaller amount of calories. They are also a fair bit cheaper. My lunch ends up being around $6–8 instead of $10–20. Over the course of a week, that adds up to a pretty decent saving.

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On the other hand, Nick and I have paid for a bunch of Uber Eats deliveries, especially when we feel exhausted of the food options in our area and aren’t super keen on making our way somewhere too far just to get food. The cost of Uber Eats delivery can really add up so I’m going to try and be wary of how often I choose that option.

I am well aware that I can make my own salad and it be much cheaper than purchasing one, but I know that I am paying for convenience here. 😅 I think that some of what we’ve had to adapt to has been an exercise in learning gratitude.

Nick and I ate at a Japanese restaurant in the next suburb over; it had been an incredibly long while since we had authentic Japanese food and we had a good (small) splurge. We also had dinner at an Italian place near our apartment. I don’t know how you’re doing with food in the pandemic, but sometimes we just crave something different from what is nearby. 😩

Decluttering my belongings and selling more clothes

I did a declutter of all my belongings and posted my progress on my Instagram Story. I’ve found that a lot of my friends and followers enjoy watching me go through that process, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. It does take a lot of time but I was happy to do it! 😆 Not only did I clean my desk, toiletries, and clothes, but I was able to get rid of anything I was not using or that had expired.

I got really ruthless with some of my clothes and started selling and giving away clothes I didn’t want anymore. There is a lot there that I made mistakes about, and that I eventually realised didn’t suit me or my lifestyle. I tried very hard not to get attached to them because they are just clothes. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t want new clothes – I am very much still looking to update my personal style, and this does involve buying a couple new pieces. I have tried to be very careful and take my time with it, though.

In the next couple of months I am expecting to buy a couple of new pieces for my wardrobe, but am using second-hand marketplaces like eBay as my first port of call. There is a lot of unwanted clothing out there that needs new owners. 💕

I know I made a budgeting spreadsheet for new clothes for my wardrobe, but that might honestly need a revisit. 😳 I think the total amount I had left – which was about $1100 – is still the maximum amount I would like to spend on new clothes this year, but the way I categorised and set aside that amount will need to be reworked. I put aside a lot for pants and sweaters, but have since decided I don’t need or want too many more pants, and that I might have almost enough sweaters. So I’ll aim to revisit that some time before my next update.

September plans – a new phone?

There will likely be a new announcement from Apple about a new iPhone, and since I got my iPhone in 2016 – making it four years old – I am due for an upgrade, so can expect to spend some money on that. Nick gave me an Apple gift card for my birthday this year that can go to some of that purchase. I have held onto my phone for so long, and even debated several times against upgrading it within the past year. 😆

I’ll see how much money I can save in the next month. I’m going to hazard a guess and say it won’t be as much as $2000. I won’t be going wild, but I do have those plans to buy a few pieces of clothing, and I am tempted to buy another new set of gym gear. 😰 I don’t really need it, I know, but I’m not in love with my current seamless fabric sets, and I’m trying to sell some of my gym gear and replace those pieces.

So I guess I’ll adjust my budgeting spreadsheet somewhat, continue to list and sell clothes online (I haven’t had a chance to list all of them!), and push on forward. I’ve almost reached my savings goal for the year but I am even thinking of increasing it a little bit. We will see.

Are you doing a low-buy 2020? How are things going for you? What plans do you have for the next month?

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