Jan 15 2011

no retail shopping cost analysis [day 233]

Several people have asked me to compile this information, so here it is to the best of my knowledge.  I did not start this challenge to save money, although it’s been a nice benefit.  Here’s a few of the details, and I will be tracking this more going forward.

My bank records don’t go back to the start of the challenge in May, but I was able to grab the last six months.  I rarely pay cash for anything, I mostly use my debit card, so this is a pretty accurate picture of my retail shopping.  The retail amount spent during the challenge is at thrift stores or retail places that carry used merchandise, such as Half Price Books or Plato’s Closet.  Here’s some interesting data.

Savings: $1,767

Again, this was not by purpose, but it’s a nice benefit.  My finances feel better, as I’m not always broke and I feel like I’m living within my means.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve made sacrifices either.  I’m buying less, but making better choices.  What does that mean in layman’s terms?  I like and appreciate the smaller amount of stuff I do get, and less sits around collecting dust.

Thrift store shopping up 70%

Before the challenge, I shopped at thrift stores for 3.4% of my purchases.  Now it’s 73.8%.  What does this mean?  It means I’m getting things for a fraction of the retail price, and in the process, supporting local charities while keeping stuff out of landfills.

Behind the scenes

Looking at my expenditures was a little scary.  I spend way too much money on eating out and in fast food places.  My craigslist purchases are not reflected in the chart, as these are cash transactions.  I made 2 major purchases for about the same amount.  The first was before the challenge, my living room leather furniture for $700 (retail $3500) and the other, during the challenge, the hot tub that I blogged a week ago.

There’s a lot more data and things to report in this area, so stay tuned.  Anything you want to know about the challenge that I’ve not posted?


Jan 15 2011

build it and they will come… [day 232]

Yesterday I had to shop for work again.  I’m designing an interactive wall that unfortunately need some new supplies.  I was mentioning the fact that I had to go to the store in front of someone that just heard about my no retail challenge.  He asked, “So, if you shop for work, isn’t that against your challenge?  Doesn’t that give you the getting-new-stuff satisfaction?”  Okay, so I’m not sure if those were his exact words, but you get the point.  Here’s the answer to that question.

Let me start by saying that shopping is extremely frustrating and a root canal might have been a better way to spend my time.  Here’s why.

Ikea. This store is a giant maze.  I only needed one thing from there, a couple sets of Dioder multi colored lights.  I go in the exit there because I can look in the “as is” section first, and it’s the quickest way to the spot where the lights should be.  After making my way through the cold warehouse part into the marketplace, I find the display.  Sold out.  After asking about the next shipment, I find out these lights are discontinued and they’ll be replaced with a new design.  The problem?  The new sets are not available yet.  I start looking for my bread crumbs and make my way back to civilization.

Walmart. Not much to report here, just another giant superstore that takes forever to get into.  They didn’t have what I needed, which was inexpensive, decent quality, modern digital photo frames.  I needed 5 that look exactly alike.  They had some cheap, low quality ones, so on to the next store.

Lowe’s. Now, I’m all about a hardware store, if I have to shop.  I decided to take a look for LED lights, similar to Ikea’s.  Low and behold, they had them, and for the same price.  These are actually a little better, as one controller will hold more daisy chained lights.  They had just gotten these in a week prior.  Continue reading