Tuesday, 7 May 2013

One month stuff

In the previous post, I promised a photo journal of all the stuff we have purchased over the month of April, and finally it is complete. Sorry that it has taken me so long to post this. I didn’t start at the beginning of April and had to do some head-scratching to work out what we had already bought. Even when I thought I was on the ball, items kept slipping past me unrecorded.  
It is a long list for just 1 month and is the total for 5 people including gifts and services, but excluding food, toiletries and business purchases. I like data in tables, but my blog doesn’t, so you may need to click on the link if you want to read the descriptions.


I was pretty surprised to see the amount of stuff we have accumulated in just one month. Total spend on stuff for the month was £442 ($684), grouped into 30 photos, but actually closer to 50 individual items. Let me know what you think – does it seem excessive or meagre? I can definitely see some areas where I can reduce on stuff, but 90% less is going to be a tough target. I will do some analysis in the next post.


  1. Your purchases seem very similar to mine - ditto gardening gloves, bags of compost and manure, seeds, children's clothes and vet care! I also bought a couple of second hand books, and some Lego and local craft as gifts.
    Are you continuing your list over a year and beyond? It would be interesting to see if documenting your spending makes you change your spending patterns. Maybe you could classify it as need/want, and new/secondhand as well, as you are a statistics nerd ;) which would give another interesting insight. I can't really see you giving up going to the vet or buying school shoes for the children..
    Have you read Not Buying It by Judith Levine? It's an interesting journey from consumer to citizen as one couple chooses not to spend on non-essentials for a year.
    About the laundry basket - my great-aunt gave us a sturdy wicker one for our engagement 21 years ago, and I am still using it!

    1. I have not read 'Not Buying It', but as it is available second hand, then maybe that won't count as more stuff!
      I would like to continue tracking my stuff, but it is quite time consuming. Maybe I will continue keeping a list without the photos, and note when things are re-used or ethical. Have you tried this Jo?

  2. I am a budget nerd, and could tell you to the cent what we have spent on everything in a month... but it would drive me nuts to photograph everything! Also, I am not very technical, and would have trouble whipping up spreadsheets, but it would be such an interesting exercise to do what you are doing, and list purchases by where they came from.. of course, I don't list 'free' stuff that gets handed along from friends and family.
    I guess the intention is to reduce waste, too, so sometimes buying 'stuff' may lead to less waste. I bought three lunch thermos's for the girls this month, which were quite expensive, but hopefully they will reduce a lot of plastic wrap/plastic lunchbox waste over a number of years. Same could be said of your seed tray..