Avoiding temptation

As a seasoned minimalist I still make mistakes with ill advised purchases from time to time.

This page is to serve as a reminder to myself of those times I was pennies wise and pounds foolish or plain old hasty and blindsided by imagined need.


Dumb stuff I bought…

  • a cheap bedsheet – without a dryer I cannot get away with the one bedsheet in this house. I bought one on eBay that promised to be a quality item. You can see through it. Of course I was originally trying to be good by only buying one Egyptian cotton sheet at the store when they were on sale, but if I had thought clearly about the circumstances of my new dwelling I could have avoided the later penny pinching mistake.
  • Rollei action camera – a cheap GoPro imitation but not as cheap as the SJ4000 which frankly would have been as good. I thought I would use this on my travels but rarely did. The quality is poor, it steamed up, and I really have little interest in shooting or editing video that looks crap… I’d rather get on with the experiences.
  • an owl pendant necklace – I am not one for gifts but I saw a great owl necklace that I knew Deirdre would love. When I went in to buy it, I saw another one that was quite cool also. I was undecided, and was suckered by the astute sales staff with a discount if I got both. I intended to hold one back for another time but realised it just wasn’t as good and not her style… just another thing to list on eBay.
  • pair of DC shoes – the one pair of normal shoes I brought to Bali disintegrated. I was fine with flip-flops until I had to visit Ireland and Japan. Most shoes are poor quality or cheap fakes. The DC shop was one of the only choices. They are well made and looked nice, but with no heel cup it wasn’t long before I started to have problems (I have rather pointy heels that rub through many shoes). I’m not sure these were a dumb purchase as they served a purpose and it was fairly unavoidable unless I immediately went shoe shopping when I visited Ireland, but I still regret it… I probably could have waited to go shoe shopping in Ireland.
  • Lezyne multi-tool – I left my pump and multi-tool in Bali for Deirdre to use with her bike so needed to replace them when I returned home. On paper this seemed like a good multi-tool but the tools are short and the unit is wide and unwieldy. Unfortunately my minimalist approach to packaging is more finely tuned than my purchasing discretion so I must sell-on rather than claim a full refund. A slight loss of money, time and attention…perhaps a gain in learning.


Things I resisted buying…


  • Oakley sunglasses – I admit being tempted by the style, clarity and protection of the optics but I resisted. I already have two pairs of sunglasses that perform as I need. My Rohan sunglasses have the clarity and protection similar to Oakley (plus polarisation) and were less than half the cost. They aren’t perfect style wise, but they are going strong. Repeat repeat, “I do not need…and I have better things to spend the money on”!
  • Ikea chair – I spend most of my time in my small room due to my current living arrangements. I do not like sitting on the edge of the bed all the time, and my expedition chest is a little on the other extreme of the soft-firm continuum. I imagined a nice reading chair in the corner, but resisted temptation. As these things often work themselves out, this decision was doubly justified today when I met my friend. He was junking some stuff, including an old director’s chair that I gave him before I left. I reclaimed it and now have a suitable perch that folds away and cost nothing. We also stopped by Ikea for another of his messages and I noted the chair I had considered would have been far too big for my available space.
  • Sportful cycle jersey – no sooner had I started back working in the bike shop than I noted some very good quality jerseys on sale for unheard-of prices. The thought of pouncing on this opportunity flashed through my mind until I remembered I have sufficient jerseys of good quality. Sense prevailed.
  • Lightwave tent – another fabulous bargain spotted when I called in to see a friend at Jackson Sports… top end Lightwave tents on clearance at half price. I will have need of a quality 2-person tent so the thought of saving £250 on such a purchase gripped my mind. The model that would have most fitted my needs was sold out, and I figured I would not be using the tent for at least 2 years. I remembered that the Minimalists say sale price is fool price. In 2 years my needs could change, tents could get better… or cheaper. My money has plenty of more immediate priorities. A costly mistake avoided.
  • Fuji camera lenses – this will be a continuing battle. I love my Fuji XE-1 camera and currently have a single 27mm (40mm equiv.) lens. I would like the 18mm (27mm equiv.) and 60mm macro (90mm equiv.) lenses to expand my creative potential. I know I am limited… but I am resisting for quite a few reasons: adding more lenses means I have more to carry around, and I then have to decide which lens to use at which moment and switch them on the camera; I have achieved plenty of great shots with the lens I have; the 2 lenses I am considering are in Fuji’s sights for improvement. I think I can make do for now.


Things I did buy, that did add value…


  • Printed photographs – to brighten up my wee room I decided to print a dozen or so photos of Deirdre and myself to remind me of our fun times. I haven’t printed in years and was surprised at the new life my images took when they popped out of the machine in Snappy Snaps. They came out rather well, and have really transformed my living space! I get incredible value and joy from seeing them every day.
  • Argos twin stools – I purchased two 60cm tall stools for my room. One is an excellent bedside table for my lamp and I am fashioning two shelves from thick cardboard to hold my chargers and a book. The other is a laptop table – either on the floor if I am sitting down, or placed on my expedition chest for standing-desk action. Cheap, space-saving, functional and a little bit of a hack, which provides pleasure in and of itself.