April Goals

With the first quarter done and the sun’s warmth returning (kinda), I feel as though I’ve gotten a seasonal boost of motivation and I’m ready to get back into what I was working on before March’s hiatus.

Clothing:

The average temperature through to the end of the month is supposed to be around 12C, so I don’t think I’ll be pulling my sun dresses out just yet. With this being the last month before I do the seasonal swap out, I’ll mirror my February challenge of finding things I’ve not worn yet – but with a focus on unflipped hangers, rather than remixing combinations. It’s mainly tops and dresses that fall into this category, which shouldn’t be too difficult to pair with the rotation I have for trousers and skits for work. What I’ve done so far is separate the unworn from the worn items and placed them at the middle of my closet so they’re easier to see – and with the 20 or so items, I should be able to wear each one at least once by the end of the month, especially if I plan what to wear either the night before or at the beginning of the week.

Books:

I’m going back to picking my own books now that I’ve finished reading the last of my library loans (digital and physical). I’m going to read at least two art history books, one about Friday Kahlo and the other about Marc Chagall. I know a bit about both, and I’ve seen Chagall’s works in person, so I think it would be easier for me to get invested in their stories. The books are also visually pleasing and roughly 110 pages each, so it should be easy enough to get into.

Using What I’ve Got:

With the prospect of travel back on the docket, I’ll focus more finishing up my bottled body care products that wouldn’t be allowed through security – as opposed to alternating between bottle and bar soap. For planner stickers, I will finish working on doing a memory spread in my planner of my two weeks away in March, especially since I have pages of stickers dedicated to travel, dinners, and other fun plans. I haven’t got anything specific in mind for yarn, nor for writing and stationery supplies, but I’m keeping an open mind if something crosses my path.

For Fun Money:

I want to be more intentional about treating myself for my efforts or if I feel like it, especially with there being a handful of new places to eat having popped up in town in time for spring. If the weather is nice and I just so happen to walk by the mom & pop smoothie shop, then why not support the local economy? But on a more earnest note, having felt guilty and hesitant about spending the for fun money while traveling because I forgot about it isn’t a feeling I want to carry forward. I need to get in the habit of being aware that this line in my budget exists and shouldn’t only be spent at the end of the year because I held out for 11 months. I don’t so much have a negative relationship with money (I’m quite fond of spending it, actually), but I don’t want to develop any miserly habits and miss out on little blips of fun for food and experiences in between the bigger stuff.

Later this week I’m dropping a spicy opinion storage bins, and then on Monday, I’ll be back at another instalment of psychology and shopping. Thanks for reading!

February Goals

February has been a slump-ish month for me in the past: the shiny wow-factor of the new year is gone, the sky and slush are the same dreary grey, and the next holiday feels as far away as the sun – and when I was still a student, it usually meant that midterms were ripe to pop up. However, I want to go into this month with the mindset that I’m going to choose to make it fun, rather than let the shortest month of the year drag on (especially after a January that felt like being trapped behind someone standing on the walking side of a long escalator). The overall vibe I’m going for will be “fun and flexible” since I can’t predict what the month ahead holds, but I can choose how I want to approach it.

Clothing:

I found that in January, I would reach for outfits that I’ve worn before – or combinations that I’ve tried in the past, but this time with a different colourway. I want to challenge myself creatively to switch it up a bit with what I’m wearing. I work in person, so I’m not going to throw together something that I’d feel uncomfortable wearing, like a tartan blazer, striped shirt, and a polka dot skirt (I don’t think even the Emily in Paris wardrobe team could make that work). More so what I want to focus on is to not just wear the same outfits on rotation each week, and try to flip more hangers throughout the month. I’m not setting a specific number of specific pieces to be worn, but I want to try to do about once a week either something that hasn’t been worn yet this year, or not yet together. We’ll see, this is for the fun of it, after all.

Books:

So life got busy and I’m still only half done the linguistics book, though I will soon need a new bedside table read. I’m taking a second go at reading the Monet book for the month, but I think I’ll keep that more for day-time reading – since part of what takes me so long is that I just run out of energy at the end of a my busiest days and fall right asleep. Also, as fascinating as any topic is, reading nonfiction before bed feels far more like cramming for a test than reading for fun, so I’m much less motivated to reach for it. If all goes well, I should be able to line up finishing reading Monet in time for my hold on “Do You Really Need It?” by Pierre-Yves McSween becomes available. I found this ebook while browsing through the personal finance section of Libby. The humorous tone and straight forward approach (from what I’ve read in the sample) will offer a look through categories I struggle with, as well as categories I may not have even considered. Which I think is important – seeing another perspective about how to approach spending/what’s worth bringing into my home will be something to reflect on as I go through it.

Using what I’ve Got:

I’m starting the month with a new tube of toothpaste and bar of soap (side note: had you told me even two years ago that I would think the previous sentence was content worthy of sharing on the internet, I would have cackled and continued scrolling through the Old Navy sale page). I will start a second lip balm before finishing the small tin, but that’s because I’ve found it incredibly annoying to fetch it from my work things each time I want to use it while I’m home, and possibly forget it for work the next day. For yarn, I’m going to be making a few things for family when I visit in March, but beyond that, nothing else is on my radar yet. Finally, for planner stickers, I’m entertaining myself so far with seeing just how many stickers I can use on a monthly spread page, and still make it look like a cohesive theme. I’m not at all taking this seriously, and it’s more of a “funny because I’m doing it ironically” thing – as opposed to last-year me painstakingly lifting stickers off the page because I set it down at an 80-degree angle instead of 90.

I’m focusing on smaller, more bite-sized goals for the month with the plan to turn that into regular habits, rather than carrying too much throughout the month – which my guilt goblin thrives on (the name I’ve given to the second loudest critical voice rattling around in my brain).

Coming Up Next Week:

Saturday will be the next set of printables, which focus on productivity; Monday will have part two of my relationship to shopping, and Thursday will go into more detail about small changes and sustainable goals. Thanks for reading!

Empties & The Rest of the Inventory

What I’m currently finishing up of consumables:

As much as I love dinosaurs, I don’t like my skin to be scaley. Winter in Canada is rough on the skin normally, so that majority of the products I use from November to April are all about keeping my skin from painfully chapping or my lips cracking and bleeding. First, I’m focused on finishing off the lipsmackers lip balm that I’ve been working on for most of 2021 – that I got in winter 2018/2019, as a stocking stuffer – which I genuinely thought there was none left, but then opened it today to take photos, and somehow a usable amount has emerged. I do have a second lip balm on the go (also from the same year), which seems to be unending, as I’ve been using it regularly and I still have a few months’ worth of use in it. For hand cream, I’m 2-3 uses away from done with the shea squeeze tube, and likely about a month from done with the body butter. The hand cream is better for warmer months (i.e., when the “Feels Like -37” line is long gone from my weather app), and the body butter is my best friend for now.

What my other categories are:

As I’d mentioned in my No Buy rules post, I have many categories that need to be used up before I bring in more. I wanted to switch it up for the remaining categories and give you visuals instead of numbers this time around, so you can see just how much I’m working with. I just talked about how much yarn I have left, so I’ll continue with the craft supplies theme:

Pens and other writing utensils:

I’ve whittled this collection down over the years, but this is what I have in my stock pile – meaning what’s not currently in my pencil case for planning or what I use at work. I do have a mix of artsy-er pens as well as a fountain pen mixed in with dollar store highlighters (some of which have been in the pencil case since I bought it, in 2012), so some of these will take longer to use. That’s my issue, though, is that I like to have something to use, but then if it’s too nice, I won’t.

Planner stickers:

I’ve kept every agenda or planner that I’ve had since grade 6/2006, since they tend to function more like a memory book than just a to do list for me (and I’ve never been much of a diary writer). Over time, I figured out highly detailed colour-coding and highlighting systems that I would use to stay on track of my academics, work/volunteering, and personal stuff in between through to the end of my undergrad thesis. Once I was off the shoestring student budget, I was drawn to planner stickers (I also liked stickers as a kid) to bring my weekly planner spreads to life. A lot were bought, and I limited myself to the size of a photobox from Michael’s of how many booklets I could have. I have decluttered a few booklets as well as pulled out sheets that I wouldn’t use at all (the quote-heavy ones, mainly) – and the irony of having three separate sticker books about budgeting is not lost on me.

Greeting cards:

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise with how much effort I put into other “pen and paper” stuff, but I have over 120 blank greeting cards. Some were gifts, but most were a mix of restocking what I’d used, sales while at the mall, and impulse buys from Michael’s (I’m sensing a pattern here). I used to write to friends and family for the fun of it after moving to a different province for work, but that has slowed down significantly with moving more to video calls for the sake of being able to see each other. I do have some ideas of what I can use these for, but that’s in some time from now.

Tea:

I got into DavidsTea in 2013, and the amount of money I’ve spent could have paid for a trip to Iceland. The amount of tea that I have now is less than half of what I had at my peak around 2016, and the stock pile of specific blends has to do with not wanting to order frequently (reducing emissions from transportation) and not buying outside of the semi-annual sale. Note that the tins aren’t all full – most are half full or less – but I’m not switching the contents of a tin until it’s fully empty and been washed. Also worth noting, about 1/6th of this is from gifts.

Body products:

Some of these have been on my shelf, unopened, for longer than others – most notably, the Maui shampoo, conditioner and mask sets, which were purchased in January 2020 (on sale). I haven’t been able to finish them yet since I cut off about half of my hair (it was to the small of my back, and now just over my shoulders), so I don’t go through shampoo and conditioner half as quickly as I used to, and the fact that I had another four sets of shampoo and conditioner – bottles and soap bars – to get through before reaching these. Some other stockpiles – the toothpaste, deodorant (medium tins), and body butters – are based on what I know I use regularly and need to have at a moment’s notice when I run out. I do have a pharmacy in walking distance, but I prefer to reduce my number of trips out of the house as much as possible (and I don’t have a car). The bar soaps that are all the same were bought in 2021, and I liked the scent because it smelt like one of my toy sets from my early childhood. Nostalgia as a driving force for consumption? Never heard of that before! I say that jokingly, however, as that wasn’t the intent behind the scent blend that the shop owner made. The rest of it? They’re remnants of gifts kits, sales, or shop displays doing their job. If nothing else has highlighted the excess of the body products stock pile, know that I bought a 3-shelf organiser from Ikea to store all of it.

Later this week, I’ll be talking about what my shopping habits have been like (which will definitely be a series unto itself), and today’s post works as a snapshot of where I’m at right now. Thanks for reading!