money, reading, shopping

Spending with Calypso

In his latest book Calypso, David Sedaris has a quote that stuck with me.

Disclaimer: David Sedaris is probably my favorite author. Top three if not number one. So much of Calypso made me laugh, and think, and compare to my own life. He is humorous, but he is also very thoughtful and reflective.

The quote that got me isn’t really funny, and it has probably been said by countless other people, but I had never heard it and it struck a chord with me.

“I’m not just a vehicle for my wallet!”

He says this in a short piece about how people, especially retail clerks, airline workers, hotel staff, etc, ask the same generic questions to everyone all day long, and don’t really listen to the answer.

Of course this is necessary – you want to seem friendly to your customers but you do it all day every day and can’t push yourself to get to know someone, nor do you have time to have more than a limited interaction. But Sedaris talks about the random questions he asks to start a conversation, and how they usually fall flat with these people.

He is quite quirky.

This quote made me think about buying things in person. You can still be upsold online, with ads like “Based on your viewing history, you might like:” or “People who bought what you just bought also bought:”. But it’s impersonal online anyway. In a store, especially drugstores, clerks try to sell you whatever little trinket they have next to the cash register, or ask you to donate to the charity of the week. (Not knocking charities, but I like to donate directly to them and don’t like being guilted about being stingy with my dollar at the drugstore.) Bigger stores ask you to sign up for their membership card or buy a warranty. Whether you do or not is your business, but the Sedaris quote made me think of all that differently. Honestly, I’m still thinking about it… I know spending your money is a way to “vote” so to speak, and that idea really tangles with this quote in my mind. I like it.

(All that being said, this was shortly after a piece where Sedaris describes buying countless ill-fitting, ugly, overpriced clothes just because he likes going shopping and buying things, so I guess we can take the quote with a grain of salt! I just like pulling it out to think over on its own.)

fun, home life, money, shopping

Tax Refund!

Before we even did our taxes, my husband asked what I wanted to spend our tax refund on. He wanted a new grill, and probably some other things. I, of course, wanted to put it into savings. And probably still will. But it made me daydream about…

An upgraded camera body

A macro lens

A home studio setup

New books to read

A trip to somewhere relax

A camping trip

New tattoos

A fancy, delicious dinner out

A fun evening bowling, snacking, drinking, eating


Did you get a tax refund this year?

money, shopping

Online Shopping

I will admit it – I am addicted to online shopping.

I know this space is all about saving money and not having things, so that’s a weird thing to admit. Except I don’t mean that I overspend or indulge when I shop online. I am just addicted to the convenience.

I use Amazon Subscribe and Save for almost all of my household goods. I get toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner delivered every few months. I get toilet paper delivered every month. I get bags of coffee beans and cleaning supplies. Subscribing means I get a small discount on each purchase, which probably makes it a good deal, but I’m sold on the fact that it comes to my door on (or around) the same date each month, and I don’t have to think about it. To me, it’s like having your bills set on autopay – you know it’s going to get done, so you can put it out of your mind.

Every so often I get online and look at my subscriptions to change the frequency or get rid of one altogether. I only get what we need, and it’s easier for me than getting it all from a store – and probably a bit cheaper, especially with Prime shipping.

I need to research the shipping aspect, though. How much am I damaging the environment by having a big box of supplies shipped to me via plane or truck every month? Is it better than driving my car to the store every month, and possibly driving back for what I forgot? I’m not sure, but right now, with everything on my mind, it’s worth knowing these necessities are taken care of without any effort. I still go to the grocery store every two weeks for our food, and can pick up anything extra there, but it’s less of a hassle.

Do you do Subscribe and Save, or order most of your stuff online? Do you think you spend more or save more this way?

home life, money, shopping

Canvas Bags

I couldn’t do yesterday’s post and NOT make today about Canvas Bags! They’re famous!

I keep several canvas bags and reusable grocery bags in my trunk. Sometimes I even remember to take them into the store with me.

I most often use them to haul my library books around, but I’m trying to be more conscious about taking them in to the grocery store with me.

My favorite canvas bag.

I’m so glad stores here have started putting bins for plastic bags in the entry. I’ve always used those as trash bags in my small kitchen and bathroom trash cans, but I know it’s still not great to use them at all since they never really biodegrade.

Do you have canvas bags? Do you use canvas bags? Are you currently singing “Canvas Bags”?

I am.

home life, money


I used to wear jeans all the time, and carried a bi-fold wallet in my back pocket. No bags unless I was going to class and carried my backpack. I actually loved that, but it was a time before cell phones (I feel so old!), so now I prefer wristlets with a little pouch for my phone and keys. But really… I don’t need a purse. If I’m carrying a lot of things, it’s because I’m going somewhere to work, and my notebook or laptop wouldn’t fit in a purse anyway, so why not carry my messenger bag?

But I love purses. I always have, even though I’ve never been a girly girl, and didn’t carry a purse in middle or high school, or even college.

Why do I love something I hardly use? The designs. The straps. The pockets. The closures. The lining.

I love unique purses, not designer purses. I have bought purses from Target and Walmart and thrift stores. I don’t care who made it or where it’s from, if there’s something unique about it, I want to carry it.

I used to have boxes of bags. That sounds funny to say, but sadly it was true. Like moving boxes full of bags. Multiples of the same style of bags, too – 3 or 4 messenger bags (some that fit a laptop, some that don’t), countless cross-body purses (some that fit a book, some that don’t), several wristlets (some that fit a cell phone, some that don’t). And don’t even get me started on the assorted wallets to go in these bags.

The bag I’m currently carrying.

Pointless. But I sat down with all of it and looked through them thoughtfully. Let’s keep one nice purse for dressy occasions. Two cross-bodies that I’ve always loved. An adorable bag my mom gave me for my birthday. A wristlet that actually fits my cards and phone. My favorite messenger bag. Two different styles of backpack. Two luggage bags.

All of it fits inside my trusty luggage backpack on the top shelf of my closet, so if I ever need to switch out a bag, I can get to it quickly, but it’s out of the way. Honestly, this is probably as “minimal” as I will ever get with bags. But it’s a big cut-down, and I really love all of the ones I’ve kept.

BONUS: I don’t get tempted to look at bags at stores anymore. Or, ok, if I get tempted, I don’t buy. I used to always convince myself I needed a “treat” since most the bags I love are less than $30. But now I can push that desire aside easily, so I think the change of mind is worth what I’ve kept!