Top 10 favorite items I bought in 2023

This list was made possible thanks to a crazy habit of mine which involves recording everything I buy on a spreadsheet. I started keeping expense lists for vacations to remember how much things cost but the habit stuck with me even after I moved back to NYC.

Friends and family know that I’m a huge fan of the “Buy Nothing” (BN) movement. When I told my sister that I was unwrapping a Christmas gift I bought myself, her reaction was: You actually bought something?

I’ve been wanting to blog more and after seeing Matt’s post about the items in his bag, I decided to write this post to share a list of all the things I bought this year – a total of 48 purchases.* I don’t have unrealistic future goals of never buying anything, but I do hope that every purchase is mindful and serves a good purpose.

* List below omits food and daily necessities. I only included elective purchases. Main image above features my Top 10 fave purchases of 2023 (bolded items. Edit: turns out I miscounted and there are 11). All prices shown below are in USD and reflect what I paid at time of purchase.

Tech Stuff: $3,214.36

  1. Bose Headphones QuietComfort45, Tokyo, $209.12
    It’s top on my list because I am absolutely in love. Can’t believe I waited this long before splurging on headphones. I bought these in Tokyo tax-free. Lightweight, comfy and so quiet. I can’t ever go back to cheap headsets.
  2. Bluetooth earbuds, $34.22
    The one thing I regret most buying this year. I was in the famous electronics Golden Building in HK and decided to bite the bullet and give wireless earbuds a try. No wonder Apple charges an arm for theirs. These were total shit. They’re uncomfortable, don’t cancel any noise, and no one can hear me on any calls. To make me feel even shittier, a week after I returned from my trip, a BN member offered a large box full of the same quality earbuds for free!
  3. Apple M3 laptop, $2,728.53
  4. Samsung T9 2tb SSD external hard drive, $117.57
  5. Samsung T9 2tb SSD external hard drive, $124.92
    Same hard drives bought at different times (received discount from credit card company). I’ve only used these for a month, but so far, I’m impressed by the speed. I transferred hundreds of GBs in less than 10min.

Miscellaneous, $44.96

  1. Vintage horse hair brushes, mercari, $21.76
    For a hot minute, I was in a phase of refurbishing leather and bought this set. Haven’t used it at all. Truly don’t know why I bought this. At least it was second-hand.
  2. Angelus Leather Paint, $3.59. See above… still unopened.
  3. Ear bud silicone tips anti-slip, $3.91
    I bought these in an attempt to make the cheap earbuds more comfortable. They worked for about a week, and then they stretched. Nothing can fix a shitty product.
  4. Cassette replacement belt, ebay, $3.09
    If you have a cassette player that doesn’t work, chances are the belts have melted inside. I successfully fixed my vintage cassette player with these.
  5. Thermopro digital thermometer / humidity gauge, $4.99
    My apartment is insufferable in the winter – my landlord rarely turns on the heat. I held back on purchasing this until I couldn’t take it anymore and just had to know exactly how cold it was. The day I decided to buy this, the merchant offered a $10 discount. No regrets, a Top 10 fave purchase of this list.
  6. Door mat from Target, $7.62
    The crazy NYC rainstorm in early Fall was the first time my living room flooded. Times like these remind me that our climate is changing.

Souvenirs, $81.04

  1. 4x Japanese postcards collage, Kyoto, $23.81
    Probably the most money I’ve ever spent on postcards, but they are a work of art. I ended up receiving white frames from a BN neighbor to frame these up.
  2. Earrings, cdmx, $12.24
  3. Silver flower necklace charm, cdmx, $19.49
  4. Mexcian handbag, cdmx, $7.23
    Another moment of weakness. I almost want to blame my sister who kept gushing about these bags. It’s been buried in my closet and I can’t see myself ever using it.
  5. Metal lime squeezer, cmdx $4.45
    My mom loves this kitchen gadget. I smile every time I see her using it.
  6. Metal small whisk, cdmx, $1.95
  7. Mini grater, cdmx, $1.11
    Completely useless but just too cute. Currently collecting dust on my shelf.
  8. Muerte Maria (handmade figurine), cdmx, $3.38
  9. Acadia national park pin, $7.37

Useful Accessories, $87.38

  1. Topologie phone lanyard, Kyoto, $19.18
    If there was anything on this list that has made an impact on reducing friction in my daily life, it would be this phone strap. Whenever I Citibike, I no longer have to rummage through pockets or bags for my phone. Greatly improves safety when I need to navigate with my phone. Instantly eliminated the nuisance of wearing outfits without pockets.
  2. Phone case “tether tab” attachment, Tokyo, $5.01
    When I bought the lanyard above, I had no way of attaching it to my phone case. I hated the idea of having to buy another case because the one I have still works. While in Tokyo and inside the wonderful playground of Donqui, I discovered this phone patch that fits perfectly through the holes of my phone case. It came with two and I’ve been using the same one for 6 months. I like this one because there are two points of attachment. Tried to link something similar, but I can only find patches with one tab.
  3. Decathlon Forclaz 15L 2in1 backpack, Hong Kong, $25.38
    Another Top10 purchase. I love this bag. No joke – someone stopped me in the middle of the street to ask me where I bought it. Lightweight and can convert from tote to backpack. Too bad it is not available in the US.
  4. Microbead convertible travel pillow, Don Quijote/Tokyo, $9.26
    My favorite travel pillow from Eagle Creek lost 1/3 of its microbeads and is no longer manufactured. This pillow from DonQui is a close comparison (the fabric is not as nice). It converts from a U-shape pillow to a rectangular one which is perfect for camping or road trips.
  5. Grande card wallet, $17.41
    I’d been using the same Keith Haring x Coach card wallet with 3 slots on both sides since 2018. When the interior disintegrated to the point where I knew I needed to replace it, I had trouble finding the same style with 3 slots. By chance, I found this slim wallet on Amazon and I gotta give it to them. Top10 purchase

Clothing, $201.08

  1. 4x non-slip slipper socks, target, $17.00
  2. White T-shirt, target, $5.60
  3. L train vintage, thrifted: Levis jeans, $15.00
  4. L train vintage, thrifted: Jeans, $8.00
    All the jeans in my closet are the no longer fashionable skinny ones. This was my first time thrift-shopping in NYC and I’m proud that I spent less than $30 on two pairs. Back in the days, even Jnco’s cost more than that for a pair!
  5. L train vintage, thrifted: rain jacket, $15.00
  6. Vans white sneakers 👟, DSW, $55.99
  7. CDMX shoes, $21.71
  8. Miniso 2x socks, CDMX, $7.22
    I’m super picky with socks. A select few of the cotton style no-show socks here are seamless. (They don’t have that uncomfortable seam that rubs on your toes.)
  9. KBF artsy fartsy overalls, Kyoto, $47.21
    Other than the tshirt, this is the only NEW piece of actual clothing I bought all year. Major accomplishment – super proud of myself.
  10. 3 pairs of undies 8rmb each!!, China, $3.35
    Gap Body used to be my go-to for all intimates but they got rid of all the lines I love. I’ve been on the hunt to find good undies and bought 3 different styles from a lingerie shop in Shenzhen. Oh, how I wish I could go back and buy 10 more.
  11. 1 pair Auden cotton undies, Target, $5.00
    Super cheap especially for cotton. But still hard to ignore the price difference between the above 3 pairs in China vs 1 pair in the US.

Art / design related, $25.48

  1. Watercolor notebook, cdmx, $4.13
  2. Faux wood contact paper, amazon, $5.87
    If you ever need to photograph products in your home and want a cheap backdrop, contact paper is great!
  3. Pilot Hitech pen (22 pen refills), Tokyo, $15.48
    This is my all-time favorite pen. Whenever I’m in Japan, I stock up like crazy. If only there was a way to ship the plastic parts back to them to reduce waste.

Ceramic related, $286.97

  1. Dremel accessories, ebay, $54.94
    I love second-hand marketplaces. I bought this whole lot for a fraction of what it would cost at retail.
  2. Brushes local handmade, Kyoto, $25.40
  3. Paintbrushes (art store), Kyoto, $18.25
  4. Second-hand ceramic tools, FB marketplace, $100.00
    An absolute steal! Included in this lot were full sets of Japanese brushes, carving tools and the biggest Shimpo banding wheel which retails ~$150. No picture bc most of the tools are in the studio.
  5. Shimpo banding wheel 8 ¾” Dia., ebay, $56.22
    I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I saw this pristine banding wheel on ebay.
  6. 6 piece spade drill bit, amazon, $13.81
  7. Porcelaine 150 gold paint, amazon, $10.88
    Food-safe gold paint that you can use on ceramics and cure in your home oven. Not as shiny as true luster gold, but a good cheaper alternative.
  8. 2x D batteries, target, $4.13
  9. Miniso makeup sponges, cdmx, $3.34
    Good for smoothing clay but they don’t last as long as I’d hoped.

If you purchase select items via links above, I may earn a small commission which I will put toward laundry money. Win-win, right?

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