No-Spend November: Final Update

November was one busy and difficult month for me. I had so many responsibilities at work that I wasn’t surprised that sometimes I forgot about I wasn’t buying anything in November on some days. I wish that we had some sort of a winter break here in Turkey, but even New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday. Here is a handwritten report on how November was:

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So, I made 5 purchases in total:

1. an iPhone 6S. I wasn’t sure about it, but it turns out I like my new iPhone a lot, but I have to agree I miss BlackBerry Hub and the awesome BlackBerry keyboard. I’m still not on good terms with iOS keyboard and autocorrect, especially when I  write half-Turkish half-English and don’t check what I wrote before posting. I did send some meaningless texts!

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2. A red block note for my mother-in-law. She loved it and was looking for a way to make it a permanent notebook by writing quotes or verses in it.

3. Teacher’s day gift for my teacher trainer: A journal and a nice pen in a box.

4. Rhodia pad (A6 size): I am so happy with this small notebook. The paper is the stuff dreams are made of!

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5. and finally, some cartridges for my Platinum Preppy.  (and in the photo you’ll see my beautiful Christmas plant that decided to blossom a month before Christmas)

When I set out, I had 5 criteria for things I won’t be buying this month and yeah, stationery was one of them. Apparently I spend much more money on stationery in a regular month, but although I was mindfully trying to keep out, I couldn’t. Even the two gifts I bought this month are notebooks and pens. I knew I liked paper and pen and ink all right, but this challenge helped me see that this is my weak spot.

Awareness is the key, after all.

No Spend November Update

photo-1444760134166-9b8f7d0fc038.jpgIt is mid-November, so I thought I might share my no-spend experiences with you.

In my original post, I especially wanted to avoid online shopping and shopping for clothes, so I completely managed that. It was no big deal because on weekdays, I get almost no stimulants about shopping. My typical day is driving from home to work, work to home.

I live in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, which has no tourist attractions other than malls. Little shops are about to be history, so it is quite usual for some people to go to a mall every day. Although I hate malls, sometimes I just have to, so I went to the mall twice so far this month. In the first trip last week, I had almost forgotten that I was on no-spend because actually, I hadn’t spent any money on something other than food. So I ended up impulse-buying a gift for my mother-in-law. She loves notebooks and she loves small checks. She also loves the red color. When I saw this notebook which has all of them, I could not resist buying! Only after I got home, I realized I was on a no-spend challenge. If I’d remembered in the shop, I wouldn’t have gotten it. In my second trip to the mall, I was completely aware so I just went to the market for grocery shopping.

To be honest, the small notebook was nothing compared to my (well, my husband’s but we share the same budget) next purchase, an Iphone! I was getting really frustrated with my BlackBerry, which I loved but lately the news that the new BB phones will run on Android, and not BB10 really disappointed me. This also means that there will no longer be app designers for BlackBerry, and no updates, also recently they decided not to work with Whatsapp as of 2017. Not to mention they don’t run Facebook, WordPress or Instagram apps either, and the maps are terrible lately. Then what is the use of a smartphone, I thought. OK, it is a reliable phone, never crashes, and Hub is awesome but the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages.

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My husband, traveling to Dubai every month, offered to sell my BlackBerry Z30 and get me an Iphone there (which is much cheaper than in Turkey). Luckily, we sold my phone pretty quickly, and now I have a brand new 6S. I really resisted for years not to get a pricey phone, but I hate Android, BB10 is dead, and I had two options: Either go for a no-brain cellphone like Nokia 3310, or go for Apple. I hope I won’t be disappointed by my choice.

So that’s it. My one small and  one big purchase other than food, bills and gas. I hope I will keep it this way until the end of November. And yes, Black Friday is also a thing now in Turkey, but I have no plans in participating! 🙂

Experience over things: the case of museums and malls

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Yesterday I went to the natural history museum in Ankara. I live in Ankara for eight years-on and off- but never really thought natural history museum was worth a visit. It’s funny because I love biology, paleoanthropolgy and most definitely I love geology and stones (I have a small collection of semi-precious stones and have some glass animals, just looking at them gives me joy).

The museum had everything I love and more. I really enjoyed the experience. Surely, I enjoyed myself because I had a limited time to look at them, and they weren’t mine. If they were mine, if I had all the stone collection there, would it make me happy? Certainly not. And I don’t know why, it made me think of a shopping mall. If I had all the shopping mall, it would definitely not make me happy. So maybe approaching the mall as a museum of sorts is a good idea. Watching and studying stuff but treating them as a collectible that I can’t and won’t have. And cherish the experience, even if it means making fun of /maybe feeling sorry for fashion and human nature.

My German teacher once told me that he and his wife always did window shopping. They would do window shopping for the whole year. Then, they would do actual shopping once a year, knowing what they want and need. No room for impulsive shopping or regrets. You have to have massive will power for this, but why not? It sounds very logical and also freeing. Some people, including me in the past, feel the urge that they need to buy something once they go out of the house. It must be freeing not having to buy anything.