No I haven’t quite fallen on the low spend wagon. Although if I’m going to be brutally honest with you dear reader I will confess that I’m glad its a low spend and not a no spend.

I am going to recommit myself to both the blog and the low spend.

It is timely now for other reasons. I have a “move date window” of the end of April. I also fortuitously have a home to live in, that is finished and save a clean is ready to live in.

Other practical matters are also actually coming good. After what has also seemed like a long wait my new electric wheelchair is being delivered next Wednesday. The 2023 model of the same chair I am currently in, so in theory the learning curve will be a shallow one.

Short and sweet but that’s all for today folks


No. This is not a reference to Prince Harry.

It’s been an interesting journey so far. There have been a few slip ups; ( a lovely skirt that I will get use out of I think, but was a guilt purchase), a food subscription service which might make sense once I move but not now (went with it again out of a sense of duty; one explicit stress purchase, a “I thought they were taking my credit card for future purchases” membership purchase for a franchise that doesn’t exist close by; a new handbag, after I was attacked by a stranger while carrying my one bag, and exactly two boredom takeaways. Not great I guess. But at least I’m conscious right?

I have learnt a few things so far;

  • I need to check the balcony and other storage before getting more of anything. I though I was down to 6 rolls of paper so bought another 12 thinking that depending on the move date that might see me through. Same with toilet cleaner and gloves for my carers. Then I went out on to the balcony only to discover two more boxes of gloves, three things of toilet cleaner and 48 rolls of paper spare on the balcony, and more of different spares in various spots inside (out of my line of sight).
  • Like most women of a certain age or upbringing I know, I need to get better at saying no. Just no. The skirt and yes even the subscription are products of an unwillingness to leave without purchase. I don’t want to disappoint. After the attack whilst I was enquiring at the food subscriptions stand, I felt obliged in a sense to sign up. In fact whether I was still going to sign up was the sales manager’s second question after checking the safety of his staff. I wasn’t obligated. But I felt it. Even in much less dramatic circumstances I tend to feel obliged to buy, as payment for browsing.
  • I get a real buzz out of finishing things. Not so much toilet paper, but a sheet or bottle of tablets or a packet of face wipes, or a tube of toothpaste or face cream I am loving the feeling of emptying something without losing it or losing interest in it first. I think I’ve been guilty of restocking when I was close to the end of something and then starting on the new. I get a real “sparks joy” type feeling.
  • I don’t use as much makeup per application as I think. Nor do I wear it as often as I think I do, or maybe should. When I do wear it I’ve got a lighter touch than others who do my makeup do.

When one is lost…..

It’s time for an update, probably well past time. To be honest, the last few days have been a tough time on the minimalism front.

It felt a little like a tease but within a few days of the new year starting I managed to lose two significant items; my primary fountain pen, a rose gold Lamy which had been a kind of last gift from one of best people I’ve ever known, who has now passed, and my only pair of non prescription sunglasses.

I have a collection of pens both fountain and ink tip, but this pen was the “ride or die” pen that went with me anywhere; because it was sentimentally important, but also because it was distinctively mine (complete with a ding or two at the top where I had run over it, (Sorry James). It was easily the nicest easy pen to write with.

I write better with fountain pens but they can be less portable. Non cartridge pens tend to leak in handbags. I had not lost that pen in years and it may yet show up…. But in the meantime I have felt guilt and shame over my carelessness but also a bit lost as to what to do when things get lost.

I had said no new pens because I have a collection of unipin pens that must not expand this year! And a mild passion for fountain pens, lovely but highly impractical for one-handed everyday out of the house use. The unipin pens are making do, but after 10 mins my arm aches and the writing becomes almost illegible even to me.

Then there are the sunglasses. I lost them at the same sort of time, perhaps together. I do have prescription reading glasses for dealing with glare from windows whilst working but its not safe to drive the chair with these on, and it’s unsafe to operate the chair in a hot summer in Australia without sunglasses. I had one pair of good petite frame glasses that were not astronomically expensive but were not cheap supermarket ones either, which never seem to sit steady on my face.

My pen and my glasses might show up again. I just had a vision of them hiding out together under a bed or such and laughing at me agonising over finding them, lost while staying with an acquaintance (so harder to turn the place upside down, or nag for that to happen). When is it safe, in my new system, to declare something as lost? As I said, I could replace things that were broken or used up that would continue to be used. This wasn’t that.

In the end, operating in the glare was causing headaches and unsafe wheelchair driving so I replaced them with a new pair of the same glasses I loved a decade ago. I also put a supermarket pair in a friends glove box so I can leave the “good” ones safely at home when I know I’m less likely to be able to exert as much control over my possessions and their movement.

That’s what I mean by my having enough but not too much seems like it might be different because of my impairment. Items almost need to be counted according to situations, not on their own. But if you can manage to get overlapping situations so much the better.

As to the pen, yes I have ordered a replacement for that too. The exact same. So it will still be distinctively mine. I know it will work well for me. It will still remind me of my late dear friend and his lovely wife, my “sister of choice”. He would be glad it worked so well and he did want it to be useful . If it shows up again I will call it the dingbat pen, in recognition of the dings on the pen that will distinguish it, and the silliness of the woman who lost it.

I think he would get a giggle out of that.

Cognitive dissidence and the clearing the email monster

So I’ve kind of made a commitment now. Like my “old” blogging friend Tony I decided that subscribing for a year might incentivise me further to keep updating. I have always had high standards for what constitutes wasting my own money on my own stuff. Also, on a blog about not shopping, it gave me severe cognitive dissidence to then have advertising scattered around. I was curious to see what advertising would be served on a blog about minimalism but not interested enough to watch it happen.

I spent yesterday clearing out my inbox (wait it’s not quite as impressive as it might sound). Even with a pre sorting algorithm working in the background that was supposed to be filtering the “bacon” emails to a sub folder I had 500 unread emails in that folder, much of it advertising that had not been filtered into the bacon(advertising) folders. I systematically unsubscribed from all the overt advertising. That was the easy bit but yes there was a lot of them; 50 would be my conservative guess. Everything from my dr booking app with deals on gym membership to every shopping centre I’ve ever logged into the wifi of, to clothing brands I ordered from as a gift to others, to stationery and optical to language learning or meditation apps I tried for “three minutes” years ago. These were easy. Even from my favourite brands I had no problem unsubscribing: my logic being that if and when I need anything I will remember where to go. I then just did a select all-delete move on the sub folder that was intended to collect all the advertising emails.

The next category of emails to weed were the various content creator types. Some of them have good actual content in the email itself, (these along with essay type subscriptions I sent to @read) but many are just advertising copy with a tease and a call to action. These are harder to unsubscribe from for me because these are for the most part small business owners trying to (presumable) make a living selling courses or things designed to assist me to improve myself or to be more efficient. Bit sad lest I be letting them down. But while education is still on the list of allowed activity: self development is not, beyond the internet and what I already have and know.

So yes I’m now inbox zero!! I’ve engaged in meaningful emails as a direct result; become aware of one opportunity I missed out on as a direct result of the email getting buried (cautionary tale) and have a “healthy” stack of reading to work through slowly

Low spend year 23

I have no real idea where I left this blog when I last well …er left it. But I am thinking of documenting a proper no-spend year with simple living. Rather that reviewing the old post and subsequently getting tied up (possibly, but likely I think ) in guilt and regret, I’m going to just sit here and start from here. I’ve had an off and on relationship with minimalism, but I want to try it again. Starting in the new year. The next few days will be the working out of the rules.

It probably won’t be a no spend year even with rules. I know I will be moving and that will be a spending event. I am also moving from a one bedroom apartment with a single long but nookless living space to a two bed with study nook in a different state. I know that in theory I could be a creative purchaser and thrift or footpath “buy” *and I might*, and have friends move me.

But I won’t and here’s why. The disability and the uncertainty that that and the NDIS adds to my life is sufficiently challenging. Plus I’m 45 not in my 20’s so I just want the process to happen.

So it will be a low spend / conscious living year. I will also look to throw out/gift things I am not interested in keeping.

Here are the rules I think will apply so far for the year January 1 2023-31 December 2023.

  • I will use up stationary and lipsticks and the like before buying more/variation, including pens
  • I will sell, regift or donate any decent clothing/accessories
  • I will write down all non essential purchases in one of three lists – minimum wait time on any non essential purchases is 30 mins.
  • My seperate allowed purchases list can change throughout the year.
  • Gifts are ok to those on my “family” list. Preference to be given to one gift giving event, or gift plus fancy dining which can be seperate or combined with the gift. The giftee can choose the date they want to be celebrated with the gift.
  • Dining out, travel and coffee are ok if high value including if only on the Personal ROI scale.
  • Disability takeaway is allowed, boredom takeaway is not.
  • I will use up first wherever possible.
  • Books are allowed if for work or education but books are for reading not ornaments.
  • I will buy/keep for the Real Me not the Aspirational Me.
  • I will focus on having enough without having too much, rather than strictly minimal including taking into account disability.
  • I will look after my hair and face and try and stretch out services.
  • I will strive to be a mindful consumer.
  • When I move home I will do so efficiently but mindfully.
  • I will write down my progress and stay accountable. I might pay for online hosting again, but I want to wait and ensure the accountability piece sticks

Those feel like principles more than rules. Here is what I’m allowed to buy/pay for:

  • Housing costs
  • Actual medications
  • Groceries/consumable
  • One phone line plus iPad data
  • Current subscriptions, but any more need to be on a 1 in/1 out basis
  • Items on the approved items list
  • Items for work or study- but must be reimbursable/tax deductions
  • Repairs
  • Replacements for breakages/ damaged/worn out if the item is thrown out and actually needed.
  • Replacements for used up items that will continue to be used, including alcohol collection.
  • Gifts for “family” see above
  • Dining out, travel and coffee are ok if high value including if only on the Personal ROI scale.
  • 2 donations per month