My husband and I have explored a number of new lifestyle changes in the last year, including frugality, veganism, and minimalism/low-waste.
As a result, I’ve become more picky about what I am willing to spend our hard-earned money on. When deciding whether or not to make a purchase, here are some of the questions I ask myself:
- Will this enhance, enrich, or optimize my life?
- Will this purchase exploit others (either animals or human workers who create the product)?
- Will this product lead to unnecessary waste or harm to the environment?
- Do I truly find value in this…or am I being convinced I want this by subliminal messages and outside sources?
- Is my desire driven by a deeper emotional need that cannot be satisfied through the purchase?
- Do I have a specific need or purpose for this?
- Will this purchase improve my life (relationships, health, etc.)?
- Is this something I could borrow, make, or buy secondhand instead?
- Will I want to hide this purchase from my husband?
- Does this purchase reflect my values?
You might be thinking wow, thats a lot of criteria, Kelsee… But these questions aren’t meant to be restrictive. Asking these has actually been quite life-giving to me because it has saved me from un-necessary spending, clutter, and waste.
I’m not perfect at asking these questions though… and my purchases don’t always line up with every single piece of criteria. But pausing to ask some key questions has enabled me to get more value out of the items I choose to buy.
With all that in mind… I did want to share some of my favorite purchases I’ve made this year that I have zero regrets about and would even recommend to you! Here are my 4 favorite purchases of the last year:
1. Silicone Wedding Ring
At the time of purchasing my silicone ring, I was rock climbing 2-3 times a week and working part-time on the truck team at a clothing store. I didn’t like taking my original wedding rings off at the rock gym and leaving them in my bag, but didn’t want to destroy them while climbing either. Similarly, at the clothing store, I was lifting heavy boxes and moving equipment, and didn’t want to risk banging up my wedding rings.
I looked into several brands, but ultimately went with Enso because of their size and style options. I have tiny fingers, and Enso was one of the few brands that carried dainty styles and sizes that would fit me.
My specific ring is the Braided Stackable Silicon Ring in the color Pink Sand, pictured below. I paid about $8 for it because it was on sale, and I used a 10% discount code by signing up for emails (and then unsubscribing immediately of course).
I absolutely LOVE my Enso ring. Although I’m not climbing as much in this current season of life, and I don’t work at the retail store anymore, I still wear my ring all the time. I wear it when I’m cleaning or cooking, and some days I simply wear it because I really do think it’s cute. It is especially nice in the winter when my fingers shrink up and my expensive rings fit looser, and I’m wearing mittens and sweaters all the time.
As much as I love my beautiful diamond wedding ring, I don’t believe a fancy piece of jewelry should be a defining status symbol. So sometimes I wear this silicone one just to push the envelope a little bit and spread a different message. And my hubby is totally on board with that mindset.
In fact, Quinn has a silicone ring (but a different brand that he found on Amazon) and he loves it too! Quinn bought his for similar reasons after he saw how much I loved mine. Additionally, he has huge knuckles that made his tungsten wedding band fit annoyingly loose, so a silicone ring was a much better option for him. This could be a great, inexpensive gift with a lot of practical value for any person in your life- especially those who work with their hands!
2. Vitamix Blender
While my last purchase was rather inexpensive, this was more of a pricey item. A high powered blender is a huge asset for those who eat a Whole Food, Plant-Based diet like us. We had our eyes on the highly reviewed Vitamix blenders for a while, but were waiting to find a good deal on a refurbished one.
One day, a fellow member of a frugal Facebook group posted that she had found a new Vitamix at a department store nearby marked down extremely low. This was a newer model, brand new, for a fraction of the price of the older, refurbished model we had our eyes on. I told Quinn of the insane deal, and within minutes rushed to make the purchase.
This blender has been the best addition to our kitchen. Somedays it gets used 3 or 4 times between the two of us. It is extremely fast and easy to clean, and I have yet to be disappointed by it.
Some of our favorite ways to use our blender include making smoothies, oat-flour banana pancakes (every Saturday), soups, and as we call it- Noocho Cheese (a vegan nacho cheese alternative).
I honestly prefer to use my food processor for thicker items like hummus, pesto, doughs, and nut butters, for the ease of scraping them out of something more shallow, but this blender can still do all of those things. I think it is perfect for making anything thin and runny.
We have the A2300 Ascent Series, which usually runs for over $450. But thanks to my frugal Facebook friend, I snagged this one for $224. I later learned that the store was going through a remodel, and just didn’t have room for them on the shelves. But I’m determined that this blender was meant for us. It was smoothie fate.
3. Reusable Feminine Products
In an effort to produce less waste, and take better care of my body, I wanted to stop using conventional tampons and pads. Additionally, those items are expensive and I wanted a better economic option.
I replaced these products with a Diva Cup and Luna Pads, pictured below. I’ll be sharing a full-length post about my experience switching to these products soon. But in short, there has been a learning curve with using these products. However now that I’m accustomed to using them, I’m never looking back to single-use feminine care products. I feel so much better about how I am caring for my body and the earth, while also saving money.
4. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
After living in Indianapolis for almost 3 years now, it was time for a new winter jacket. I was still using my thick, puffy winter coat that I had used to trek across the IU Bloomington campus in the snow. Every time I got into my car with that canvas coat on, I felt suffocated and bulky, yet not warm at all.
I knew I wanted a Patagonia brand jacket because of the company’s commitment to ethical practices, giving back to preserve nature, and the quality of their products. Because I am vegan, I appreciated that the down in the jacket is synthetic and no animals would be harmed.
I chose the Nano Puff Jacket because I would have the ability to layer over it for extra warmth. I like how light-weight it is, yet how it’s by far the warmest jacket I’ve ever owned. I am very cold-natured, so when I say that I am warm, I truly mean it! I chose the pesto color because I am a sucker for a pretty shade of green.
There you have it! Those were my 4 favorite purchases from the last year. Each of these items passed my pre-buy questioning, and I’ve gotten so much value and enjoyment out of them.
Do you own any of the same items? What was one of your favorite recent purchases?
With Love & Freedom,