Aug 21, 2019
For the last several years, Evan and I have slowly been making choices in our lives to spend less money on things to create more room in our lives for experiences and relationships. We have not regretted this choice one bit and feel like our lives have been enriched as a result! However, it’s not practical to assume we can live our entire lives with absolutely zero possessions (unfortunately LOL). And as much as I wish I could walk around naked all the time, I just don’t think it would be socially appropriate, among other reasons. Also, as much as our friends probs think we are super frugal (or straight up STINGY) about anything and everything, there actually are certain things that we do splurge on. So, today, I want to share more about our spending philosophy when it comes to buying “things” and even what some of those things are!
You’re going to notice that each of the items on my list have the word “favorites” in them. This is because we very much stick to this guideline of buying: if it’s not my favorite, I don’t need to buy it. Obviously this isn’t true for every category of life (spinach is def not my favorite but I buy it because it’s good for me…sigh), but it definitely helps when we are buying things that we want to be in our life long-term. We just don’t see the point in wasting money on things we don’t absolutely love, especially because we live in a 950 sq ft. apartment and there ain’t much room for tons and tons of crap that we only half-like. Because our attitude is “only buy the favs,” this means we’re able to save a lot of money over time and are able to splurge a little more on the best of the best. Sometimes, this means being patient. We once went for 3 months without a sofa because we were waiting and saving for the right one. I also once went with no pants for a full month (but this had more to do with working from home then waiting for the right pants tbh). The point is that we like to love our stuff, and the best way to do that is patience and self-control when it comes to buying stuff!
Before I share my list, I want to point out that this list that I’m sharing might not necessarily be what works for you. Every individual and/or couple has to decide for themselves what makes sense for their life and budget. The things we splurge on are a result of some of our core values as a couple and what we think will be the best investment long-term. They are also things that work with our budget and lifestyle. *Let’s do this thang!*
Our favorite basics. I’m starting out with one of those obvious categories that a lot of people think of when they think of minimalism: clothing. My wardrobe was the first thing I started to minimize when I began my journey to become a minimalist. I knew I had way too much clothing. I wanted to pair down everything and stop spending so much money on clothes! Over time, I realized that I kept coming back to the same few pieces that I absolutely loved. These were the ones that always made the cut when I would do a clothing purge, and these were also the pieces that were entirely worn out! By making a decision stop shopping for an extended period of time, I really learned a lot about myself and my style. This is so helpful now, as I’ve started to build back up a solid, minimal wardrobe.
Now when I shop, I spend a lot of time finding really high-quality pieces that are exactly what I want – regardless of whether or not they’re on sale. My general process is to start by researching online a bit to get an idea of what’s out there at my go-to stores (LINK). I make an effort to only shop at stores who are transparent about their sourcing and provide information about their manufacturers.
Next, if the items I’m looking for are at a brick-and-mortar shop, I go in to try on the piece in different sizes and see other similar styles. I definitely prefer to go in-store if possible! If the item I’m shopping for is online, I’ll order, try on and make a decision.
I used to go into stores and make a beeline for the sale rack with no specific item in mind. I ended up with a wardrobe full of compromises and “good enoughs” that I never loved and only wore a few times. Now, I go shopping with a goal and am totally willing to pay full price for the perfect fit!
Here’s the quick list of my must-haves:
Black Jumpsuit (no link, but it’s Madwell)
Some people might argue that food shouldn’t be on here because it’s not a permanent item to keep. Well I’ll have you know that we’ve had the same bottle of ketchup in our fridge since we got married (jk we threw it out last month) but for real, food fuels LIFE and we are slowly becoming more and more particular about the groceries we buy! Food is a category where sales DO matter and we often rotate the ways we treat ourselves based on deals at Giant and Safeway! We still do careful research and buy different items at different stores (Trader Joe’s has some specifics that we love!) BUT given that this is a post about splurging, I’m going to share our non-negotiable food splurges.
I’d like to make a couple notes about this category. First, most of food splurges are not daily or even weekly. Second, this is specific to groceries and doesn’t include restaurant purchases! With that being said, here it is!
Coffee – we buy specialty coffees and the brand varies, but our favorite is Lavazza
Artisanal Cheeses – my brother Phill once said, “cheese is cheese. If you don’t like cheese, you’re a fool.” We couldn’t agree more. Ev and I both respect a good cheese. When a recipe or meal calls for a specific cheese ingredient, we like to buy a high-quality option that fits the recipe best, rather than a close-but-not-perfect cheaper option.
Red meat – red meat is always a special occasion in our house, as we do not buy it regularly and it is usually reserved for when we’re having guests. But when we do have steak, burgers or other red meat deliciousness, we buy the good stuff.
Pyrex – it’s more durable that plastic and also better for our home and environment.
Wine – we drink enough wine thatsplurging isn’t always what we do. However, we don’t ever go in and just buy the cheapest stuff on the shelf. Ev and I both have our favorites (from the grocery store, at least!) and we usually will go for these and even buy an extra if the store is having a sale! Granted, neither of us have $50 favorites, but my pick is usually at least double the cheapest bottle available.
Bread – we are not daily sandwich/bread eaters in the Bjorndal home. Usually, we eat bread when we go out. So when we do have bread at home, we do it big, baby. Not really, but we do like to get specialty breads from TJs or even our local bakery/farmer’s market when the situation arises!
Home Furnishings & Decor
This category comes with a lot of additional advice . . . so I’m sorry/you’re welcome in advance.
I am a very slow and intentional buyer, if that isn’t abundantly clear already. So furnishing our home most certainly did not happen overnight. In fact, we lived in our first home together for thrice years, and while in that home, we had the general attitude of “BUY NOTHING” when it came to home furnishings. We knew we’d probably be moving from that place and didn’t want to buy expensive pieces that wouldn’t fit in our new home. We also had a ton of great hand-me-down furnishings that worked great for the short term. Buttttt when we bought our first place, we knew the time had come to invest in some quality furniture! We even saved a little extra on top of the down payment for said furnishings so that we didn’t over-spend our limits.
When buying furniture and decor, we were very selective about what to splurge on. Specifically, we thought about the things that would regularly bring us joy and (literal) comfort. For example, we have a sunroom, and we knew we’d want to spend a lot of time out there, so we were willing to pay more for the perfect pieces for that room. Likewise, we spent a pretty penny on three large framed prints from our travels, which I had been dreaming of doing since we lived in our old place!
When it came to shopping at certain stores or with certain brands, we researched them all. We relied heavily on customer reviews and our own in-store observations. I was so sick of shopping by the end of it, tbh. But it was all worth it, because we absolutely love our comfy, home-y apartment and have no regrets on any of our purchases!
Here are the favorites that we splurged on:
Ikea Daybed (they stopped making it! It’s in our sunroom)
Sofa with chaise (we have a different color!)
Personal Care Items
Ew I really hate the phrase “personal care” and now I hate myself for using it but IT IS WHAT IT IS. Particularly for my lady readers out there, I think investing in excellent personal care products (makeup, face wash, shampoo etc.) is one of the best things you can do for yourself. This category is actually still a work in progress for me, as I am slowly switching over to chemical-free makeup and higher quality shampoo.
So, instead of telling you the exact items I splurge on, I’m going to tell you the categories that I PLAN to splurge on, and then I want you to share your favorite clean, all-natural products with me below! Sound good? Let’s do this.
Eye Shadow Palette (currently: Bare Minerals)
Face wash (currently: Rodan & Fields and Simple)
Tinted Moisturizer (currently: Laura Mercier)
Shampoo & Conditioner (currently: TRESemme . . . y’all I’m a simple girl)
Ok, so that’s our current splurge list! What others am I missing that you think are worth the splurge? Share below!