Frugal Idea #45: Minimal & Frugal Souvenirs

When I started my journey towards minimalism and a life of frugal living, I wanted to remove all items in my apartment that were officially categorized as “clutter”. Clutter to me meant items that took space in my life, but currently did not add value today nor did it add value in the past year. De-Cluttering the apartment was a fun project and when someone visited and stated, “Wow, you are a minimalist”, I couldn’t help but smile. It was working!

As I opened every drawer and every cabinet to determine what had to go, I stumbled across a challenge: gifts from others. For example, I kept every shot glass someone has given me. I probably had over 25 shot glasses. Now that I live in a small studio space in San Francisco, I can’t even imagine throwing a party that required 25 people to take a shot at the same time. It was time to let go of a few. I started with my own purchases when I traveled. I had the memories of the vacation and I no longer gave the shot glass the power over my memorable adventures. I then said farewell to shot glasses that were faded and/or chipped. I then accidently broke one (annoying, but a blessing)! I decided to keep the rest and wanted to make sure I made use of the them whenever I had friends over.

I used to put so much pressure on myself to buy the perfect gifts when I went on vacation. I felt guilty if I bought a gift for one person, but not another.  It got to the point that I was buying group gifts just so that everyone was included. I then realized that although my gesture was well received, I was guilty of potentially adding clutter to someone else’s life! My thoughts were confirmed as my Uncle from The Philippines bought me items of clothes that were too small, not to my liking, and items that I had no use for. I decided that moving forward, I needed to buy items that were not only going to be thoughtful, but would add value, not clutter to someone’s life. Since the item would be used, I no longer felt my money was wasted.

Recently, I went to Charlotte for FinCon15 where I had a life changing experience meeting fellow personal finance bloggers and the clarifying moment that I do want to take this blog and my writing to the next level. Visit my thank you Vlog:

I did have a few folks help me out as I was away such as an apartment and cat sitter. Knowing that he enjoyed food and BBQ, I thought why not purchase items that he would enjoy? I was on the hunt for North Carolina BBQ and Hot Sauces! Luckily, I was able to find them! Not only were the items affordable, but I love supporting local businesses. Once he is done using the items, it’s a simple toss of the product and I hope he is left with a loving memory of delicious food.

Publix Pic 1 Publix Pic 2 Publix Pic 3

What frugal ideas do you have for souvenirs?

I would love your support!

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14 thoughts on “Frugal Idea #45: Minimal & Frugal Souvenirs

    • That’s great! One trick that worked for me when I first started is walking around your house or apartment with one grocery bag. If you see something you haven’t used in over a year, just put it in the bag and throw it away. This is best for like old shampoo samples, multiple items like too many tweezers, expired cans in the pantry…then try it again next week after, but throw in items you donate to the Goodwill or local thrift store – this is best for your clothes, shoes, etc. Good luck!

      • Neville I found your blog on LinkedIn I had no idea! This is wonderful!!! I decided to go minimal a few years ago also downsizing to a small space and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Nothing is better than getting rid of “stuff” and possibly gifting it to others who could put it to better use or those that are less fortunate. I am so happy about your blog congrats to you! This is definitely inspo for me to start mine in 2016 =) keep up the good work! ~ J.J. aka Jocelyn

  1. Yes on souvenirs! I have so much clutter in my house, probably because I have a hard time letting go of “memories”. Funny enough, I also have shot glasses from states that I visited… (not as a gift, but I bought them!). I don’t have 25 😉 (maybe 5?). Anyway, I started looking through some of my clothes and I was able to donate a bag full of unused clothes! Some even had tags on, but do not fit me anymore. I am sure someone else will put them to good use.

  2. My husband never goes wrong with chocolate or sweets. Chocolate can get expensive at times but it doesn’t add to the clutter. Any gift that can be consumed should be a good option: candles, toiletries (not toothpaste – more like Lush products for example), etc.

  3. Though I love the thoughtful gesture in giving and receiving gifts, it is often just “stuff” to add to the clutter. I love the idea of local food for souvenirs; it gives the people you care about a “taste” of what your travels were like. It will be consumed and then not take up any wasted space in their homes. I love food for gifts. Nice post.

  4. I’m struggling with gift giving nowadays, too. I really strive to make sure that each gift has a real, practical use instead of JUST another pretty item that’ll end up collecting dust on a shelf.

  5. When I decided to become a minimalist I decided to stop buying gifts and started giving my time instead. It’s been met with rave reviews. People make themselves so busy these days that making time for friends and family seems to be an enormous gift. Great thinking on the BBQ sauce!

  6. Neville I found your blog on LinkedIn I had no idea! This is wonderful!!! I decided to go minimal a few years ago also downsizing to a small space and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Nothing is better than getting rid of “stuff” and possibly gifting it to others who could put it to better use or those that are less fortunate. I am so happy about your blog congrats to you! This is definitely inspo for me to start mine in 2016 =) keep up the good work! ~ J.J. aka Jocelyn

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