What I Spent on Clothing During the First Fourteen Months of Travel

Lately I have been quite entertained reading lots of blog posts about New Year’s resolutions, decluttering, no spend months, resolutions to not buy new clothing for a month/year, the Uber Frugal Month Challenge, etc.

I don’t know why I am so interested in all of it because the husband and I have had the FIRE mentality for quite a while, the husband already tracks our daily expenses to make sure we stay on budget, and since I am living out of a backpack I can only have so much clutter or do so much buying.

But it did make me wonder how much I have spent on clothing during the first part of our trip.  I haven’t kept any really detailed info, but I have been keeping loose track of how much I have spent on clothing and purses since those are my weaknesses, so I decided to add it up.

So here are the totals for amount spent in each country from the time we left in July, 2015 to the time we stopped off in the U.S. to visit family in September, 2016:


Taiwan: $0.00 spent

Philippines: $ 1.00 spent

1 t-shirt =  $1.00

Malaysia: $29.16 spent

2 purses = $10.88

2 t-shirts = $2.92

2 dresses = $9.36

1 sweater = $6.00

Indonesia:  $19.01 spent

1 sarong = $2.99

4 dresses =  $11.48

3 blouses = $4.54

Thailand:  $38.91 spent 

4 dresses =  $21.44

7 blouses/tanks =  $9.03

2 t-shirts: =  $5.64

1 purse = $2.80

Myanmar:  $20.61 spent 

1 t-shirt = $2.76

5 purses = $17.85

Laos:  $3.08 spent

 1 t-shirt = $3.08

South Korea:  $21.88 spent

4 dresses = $21.88

Hong Kong:  $2.58

1 t-shirt = 2.58

China:  $33.24

8 dresses = $33.24



22 dresses

10 blouses

8 t-shirts

8 purses

1 sweater

1 sarong

TOTAL SPENT ON VINTAGE CLOTHING (6 vintage dresses): $33.10

sam_1946sam_1501sam_9333-1sam_8481sam_6222sam_8988-1sam_2419sam_2163When we started out on our trip in July, 2015 I had a 45 liter backpack and a goal of not buying anything unless I was replacing something else (the backpack was already bursting).

My backpack (on the right) next to the husband’s backpack.  A true minimalist I am not.

That’s why I started out strong but a few months in I weakened.  Back when I had a house and closet my souvenirs from trips would be t-shirts – something I could use but were also a good memory of a trip, so I did break down and start buying a few of those, then my buying kind of spiraled out of control.  What can I say, I missed shopping.

sam_6675-1sam_6678sam_3655The purses, blouses and dresses I just liked, and it was nice to have some new dresses to mix into the rotation every now and then.  A few times I actually needed a new purse, blouse or dress, and I lost my sweater at one point so needed to replace that as well, so some things were a “need” and not just a “want.”  Although I have to admit, when in China I got a little out of control because I knew we were flying to see the in-laws next and I could store a few things there.

Obviously my backpack couldn’t hold all of these purchases so over time I sent three small boxes to my sister to hold to for me (and I am very grateful to her for that).  I know that one box sent from Thailand cost about $20 USD to send back, but I can’t remember for sure how much the other two cost.

Is it any surprise that the backpack burst?  Now I have a 60 liter backpack and that also doesn’t seem big enough.  However it’s really, really heavy and that’s why I don’t go even bigger .

The husband thinks sending stuff (low quality junk in his eyes) to my sister was stupid and a waste of money, but when we settle down again I think it will be fun to sit down and see what I have.  I love having unique items of clothing and it seems a shame to me to not buy some of these cool things I see that I know I would never be able to find in the U.S.  Plus they were really cheap.

Overall I guess I am a little surprised at how much I spent because it didn’t seem like I was  buying that much, but in the grand scheme it’s only a small portion of what I would have spent if I was living in the U.S. hitting thrift stores every week and constantly scanning eBay and Etsy.

sam_3651sam_6671The one thing that surprised me the most was the fact I did not buy any shoes the entire time.  Gasp, the horror!  In fact, I even lost one of my hiking shoes in Myanmar and never replaced them until we landed back in the U.S. (they were a little sporty for my tastes anyway).  I really do miss shoe shopping and I have shoe envy all the time.  One problem with shoes is that they take up a lot of space in the backpack and are heavy, so the odds of me buying a lot of shoes while traveling are zero.  Plus in southeast Asia my feet are too big and they never seem to have my size, sigh.

My hiking shoes were strapped onto my backpack and my laces were tied around the strap as well, yet somehow on a travel day (involving several modes of transportation) one went missing.

The one purchase that I got\am getting the most use out of is the sarong.  We visit a lot of temples and most require that your shoulders and knees be covered.  It is usually really warm and I dread the idea of wearing pants, so instead will just tie the sarong over my shorts when we get to a temple, thus covering the knees but not being confined to wearing pants all day.

SAM_4200.JPGNow time for the disclaimer.  I have to admit that these stats aren’t all that exact.  I didn’t keep track of any undergarments I purchased since they were only done so out of necessity.  Another issue is that I only noted the cost of the items in the local currency, so exchange rates were most likely a little different at the time of purchase.  There’s also the problem that I probably forgot to note a few things. For example, I know I bought a dress at a second-hand shop in Thailand but didn’t see that noted anywhere and now I have no idea how much that cost. Finally, I am also aware that purses aren’t actually clothing, but I do consider them to be one of my weaknesses so that’s why I kept track of what I spent on them.

Whew, somehow writing this post was a lot more work and took a lot longer than I expected.  Now that I am done I almost want to celebrate by going shopping……lol!

Until next time……




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