How did we do?
If you happened to read our post last year on Amazon spending (here if interested), you know that we were out of control. Our annual spending at Amazon had grown to unsustainable levels. Most was spent on junk that we didn’t even need. Since coming to terms with that spending, we’ve been much more conscious about driving the amount we are spending at Amazon down. We have worked on being more intentional about only spending money on things we really need.
Last year we improved considerably, and after our first month of 2019, we are in great shape to continue the trend. Here’s a breakdown of our Amazon spending in 2018, which items were worth buying, and some of the items that were completely wasted impulse buys. But before I get to that, maybe you’re wondering “Why? What’s the point?” The reason is simple. I want to understand as much as I can about my spending habits and tendencies, so I can constantly improve and be a more conscientious consumer.
Amazon Spending in 2018
That’s some great progress! Our spending is down ~28% from last year, and down ~63% from 2016. Our items ordered are also down ~41% from last year, and ~52% from 2016.
We have a lot of momentum to drive down our spending to levels we haven’t seen in 5-7 years. And, as you’ll see, there is a lot of room to improve while still understanding that the amount we spend will never reach $0 – even it we wanted it to (and we don’t).
Stuff We Won’t Be Buying in 2019 (that we bought in 2018)
Home Gym StuffAffiliate Link
We spent $622.62 on stuff to set up our home gym last year ($373.05 on the puzzle floor tiles alone). I don’t expect we will spend that much again on our gym/basement. Although I am looking at buying a short power rack that will fit in our low ceiling (7ft) basement. It will cost $300, but it will help us be safe when we are lifting heavy with the barbell. Since the gym became usable at the end of December, it has been used nearly every day by either my wife and/or myself. At some point I’ll calculate the total cost of the home gym, and the number of months it will take to pay for itself, both in gym membership, fuel costs, and personal time. (Shameless self plug, if you haven’t read my post about how much your personal time is worth, you should check it out!)
Not that books are bad. I just have a stack of 5 books on my nightstand and need to read those before I should consider buying any more. Last year we spent $131.94 on books, and if you’ve been following the net worth updates, you know I haven’t finished a book in a while.
I’m a sucker for collectibles. I love paying a few extra dollars to own special Steel Book editions of movies I like or support. In 2019, I plan on keeping my physical movie purchases to a minimum. Last year we spent $117.65 on physical copies of movies… and we only watched one of those movies, once… ouch.
One-off Necessary Purchases
These items were necessary for us to buy last year but aren’t purchases that we should be making again this year. Things like 2 storage racks for the basement for organization. A toddler bed and mattress (although we’ll probably buy another one in 2020).Affiliate Link
Diaper Genies – I bought 2 by accident, but it was a good accident. These things really are all they are cracked up to be. Having 1 on each floor is really convenient. But, I won’t accidentally be buying any more this year.
2018 Wasted Purchases
Surprisingly, not too much spent in 2018 on regrettable purchases (good indication that we are becoming more conscientious consumers. There were a few though:
Yeast Flakes. I bought a pound of this stuff assuming I would start using it and it would have meaningful impact on my food. In the 6 months we’ve owned it, I used it a few times in the beginning, but not at all in the previous 5 months – $9.21.Affiliate Link
Activated Charcoal Powder. I was excited to try out this natural way to whiten my teeth and even took a before picture, used it for a few days, and decided it wasn’t worth the mess it was prone to make. I still believe that this product works (it seemed to after a few uses) but I couldn’t take the mess I made with it. Maybe I’ll try again at using it, maybe restrict my usage of it to the shower so cleanup is easy. If not, it was $26.28 down the drain.
Daily Journal. I bought this with high hopes of always having it by my side, available to take notes, keep track of work tasks and things going on at home. What I came to realize, was I already had one available to me this whole time, my iPhone. I stopped using this journal after a couple of months and started using my phone instead ($31.95)
2019 Amazon Spending Goal
I think we should be able to get our spending down to $1,500/year, which is a more reasonable amount for us to spend each year with Amazon. That leaves plenty to spend on gifts and other items that we will use or that will bring value to our home and family. Even if we spend more than $1,500, as long as we are being conscientious consumers, we will be in better control of our money, and that’s the major goal anyway. With a $1,500 goal, our average monthly spend would be $125, which is a nice, clean number to budget for in 2019.
1 Month into 2019
As you can see, January 2019 was a great month! We bought the shelving last January (~$360) which is why spending was so high January 2018. Without it, the spending and items falls into a nicer curve from January 2016. I’ll be keeping up with how we are doing and update every so often.
If you are curious, our 3 January purchases (with affiliate links) were protein powder, measuring tape (to estimate body fat), and AAA batteries for my wireless mouse when I travel for work (which is too often).
Wrapping It All Up
We’ve got 4,165 days to go before we hit our $1,000,000 retirement account goal, and if we stick to our goal of $1,500 spending per year with Amazon, we’ll shell out $17,375 to them during that time. If we allowed our spending to stay at 2016 levels, we would spend over $75,330 in that same period. A difference of $57,955 or ~$417 per month. Investing that money instead of spending it could yield $88,237 by the time our retirement account hit $1,000,000.
An extra $88,000? We’ll take it. Think of all the collectible Steel Books I could buy!