It’s finally warm enough here to switch out my winter clothing for my spring and summer stuff. Usually, I have a habit of shoving the new seasonal items into my closet alongside the fall/winter clothing, but I want to try reducing the visual clutter of items I know I for sure won’t wear between May and September. I also have my spring/summer clothing to go through, both for the sake of decluttering, but also for adding the items to the clothing tracker (which I’ll split up bit by bit – even doing some 20 items a day is a chore). I don’t think I need to make a point of specifically aiming to wear everything throughout the month (it’s definitely not quite shorts weather yet), but I want to instead see what I’m most drawn to.
Art history still seems to be keeping my attention well enough, so I’ll keep going for it with more Taschen books. I happened to have finished the Matisse book over the weekend, and had already pulled Georgia O’Keefe to read, so I’ll just be adding Keith Haring for now. If I happen to finish both, I’ll see what I’m feeling – mythology? ancient civilisations? fashion? fiction? – and choose from there.
Using what I’ve got:
For my financial literacy courses, I have an activity planned for them this week which is focused on price comparison in the context of different groceries charging more/less for the same items. To make it more fun, I’m including the instructions of the activity in some of the cards from my stationary box that I don’t think I’d use otherwise (it won’t be all of them, but it will be a solid dent in the pile). The intention is for the cards to feel similar to an old-school dinner party invitation, with the double purpose of the design on the front of the card being how I split up the groups (i.e., everyone with a blue card will be in the same team).
If I have the time this week, I’ll have a look at stages of change & shopping habits – and if not, that will be next week’s post!
I feel like this month has flown right on by, but I’m also doing my review a bit earlier than usual. Anyhoo, let’s get into it:
I’ve managed to wear just about everything that I’ve set aside as my visual cue for not being worn yet for shirts and dresses. In keeping up with my tracking on a semi-regular basis, I’ve noticed entries for earrings and a few pairs of pants I hadn’t worn yet – which allowed me to experiment a bit more than I probably would had I only been focused on shirts and dresses. Fun bonus, two of my outfits of unworn items got compliments at work – even though both were outfits I’d been hesitant about wearing (hooray for perspectives other than my own!). The items I haven’t gotten to wear are not season appropriate – two burgundy/red dresses are much more fall/winter, and one frilly black and white dress is too late spring for the rain we’ve been having.
Finished both of them in about two weeks, and now I’m slowly getting through the Matisse book from the same series. Reading before bed has been the easier choice for now, though I suspect if I maybe put my phone down more during the day, I might be able to squeeze in some reading time, too.
For Fun Money:
Without messing up my budget, I’ve found ways to have fun – well, in the future. I booked a flight to go visit with friends from university during the summer in the US, and then take advantage of attending a Just For Laughs show while I’m in Montreal for the rest of the summer. These both factor well into my budget, and I managed to squeeze in a bit of “treat myself,” with a stop at bulk barn after going to the bank, and stocking up on some of my favourite chocolate. All in all, goal well met.
Next week, I’ll have my May goals ready for you – and depending on my workload, I just might dip my toes back into some psychology and shopping. Thanks for reading!
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.
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.
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!
With the first quarter of the year coming to a close, I thought it would be good to check in on my goal progress and see if there’s anything that needs to be adjusted.
So far, so good, I haven’t bought anything new or thrifted. There was one item that I picked up from a clothing swap – a dress for warmer weather – and two items that were in my maybe pile that got put back before I left. I’ve also decluttered some 20+ clothing items since the beginning of the year. I did have a bit of temptation when a new activewear line was released from Joe Fresh, but other than that nothing had been added to my wish-list or particularly caught my eye. I feel that the fact that I still haven’t worn everything once through is helping me to immediately reconsider making any purchases. I’ve also been lucky that nothing has needed to be replaced, so there’s been no need to browse online or in store for stuff. I haven’t brought in any new/new to me accessories either, which is great considering I still haven’t yet worn all 60+ pairs of earrings that I own (so it’s not like I’m lacking new-to-this-year things to wear). Lastly, regarding tracking my clothing, shoes, and earrings per wear, if I have the energy at the end of the day, I’ll add the tally marks right away, if not, I’ll do it every 2-3 days.
Slowly but surely, I’m making my way through my yarn and planner stickers. Pens are harder to go through as quickly, but I haven’t bought any new writing utensils. Through travelling earlier this month, I had picked up postcards and was careful not to buy more than who all I wanted to send to – so nothing has been added to a stockpile, but I haven’t used up any of my other stationary. What’s important to highlight (hehe) is that there’s nothing new in this category either.
I have drank so much tea since January, and yet somehow I’m still barely making a dent in the quantity I have. I make anywhere between 1 and 4 cups of tea a day (sometimes double-sized in my huge mug), so progress is there, but sometimes hard to see since I keep all the tea in tins. Same as above, nothing new has come in.
When I made the estimate that I wouldn’t need anything until at least the summer, I was 100% right. I’d even be willing to wager that I’m going to last a bit longer on certain items, like toothpaste and body wash (liquid and bar soap). The only “new to me” items are hotel shampoo and conditioner that my mum passed me before the second leg of my trip (she wasn’t using them and I could still get through security with them in my bag), but other than that I’ve just been chipping away at what I have.
I have a bit of a mixed review for this category: I haven’t bought anything new, but I’ve only read two of my own books this year. Making the most of my local library (physical and digital branch), I’ve read or listened to some 10 or so books since the beginning of the year. I think what’s drawn me more toward the library is the “newness” factor of content, or finding old series that I never finishes/aged out of but still wanted to know how it ends. I’m pleased that I’ve read more than double in the first quarter what I read in all of 2021, though I’m looking for ways to recapture the “wow” factor of the books still left on my shelf. I don’t know if I want to do something as extreme as flipping the books around on the shelf, or select titles through a random generator – or maybe I just need to slow down and choose what to read based on more than just the title. In fairness, packing light but wanting to read on my trip meant that I’d opt for e-books and audiobooks, and the trip wasn’t planned until later January/early February, so I couldn’t have predicted that when setting goals on January 1st.
I believe the bye-bye bin format will still work for me, as it’s been the same method I’ve been using for a few years now. Regarding empties, I find this to be rather helpful in seeing what I’m using, as well as how quickly (or how long) it takes for me to go through a given product. Lastly, for the wish-list, I still think the parameters I set are what’s best for me – there’s no reason to lower the bar just because nothing has met it yet.
I’m pleased with how experiences-focused my plans have been thus far, as well as what I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year. I feel that being more mindful and intentional with my budget (including my “for fun” money) means that I’m not opening up my banking app at the end of the month and trying to figure out where my money went after I went off the rails with impulse purchases. Additionally, I’m more inclined to answer “yes” to looking at an experience (solo or shared) of “is this event worth 10 hours of work,” while the same question geared at clothing or other no-buy categories are a resounding “no.” Other than reading my own books, I don’t think there’s much yet that I need to change about how I’ve been approaching my no-buy year – but I’ll be sure to keep you posted if that changes 🙂
This post is both to look at how I did with my March goals and to reflect on travelling within the parameters of my No Buy Year.
I ended up going with a backpack and a purse, which meant that I was able to fit in the estimated three days’ worth of clothing into my bag. Granted, I didn’t count the day of clothing for travel (I wore the same thing on each flight), but I needed the layers for some of my excursions anyhow. I was able to do laundry often enough that it wasn’t a problem, and it was still cool or rainy out that I would have been seen in a jacket and black leggings no matter what tops I was wearing. Getting through checking in and airport security, by the way, was an absolute breeze, so I’d be inclined to do this again for short trips.
Stuff versus Experiences:
The only “things” I bought were postcards, but I bought fewer this time around since I brought my gratitude journal with me (which I used to list my daily highlights instead of the postcards). Though I’d been in some stores throughout the trip (where else would I get classically tacky postcards?), I had very little inclination to browse for location-name shirts or books – especially when I thought about how many layers of shirt I’d have to wear on the flight home to fit it all into my backpack. I’m not entirely sure if I would have done the trip all that differently were I not on a No Buy, since much of it was spent on day trips and walkable outings, but it made it easier to not have half a day lost to the vortex of circling a store display to hunt for bargains. I also was able to pace myself a bit better throughout the trip, since I wasn’t trying to constantly do mental math to figure out how long we had left before the gift shop or other stores would close.
Staying on Budget:
I do my my monthly budget by pen and paper in my planner (which I didn’t bring with me), and I didn’t think to take a photo of it before leaving. Though that may sound like I’m gearing up for something negative, things actually turned out well. I ran through the numbers before setting out to write this, and the only section I was over budget on was for postcards, by $0.26 – everything else either fit into what I’d allotted to spend, or was added to my “for fun(d).” I did make sure that what I was setting out to do had a reasonable cost in the first place (museum entrance fee for $15CAD versus almost $70CAD for a suspension bridge crossing), and to not be swept up by promotions like, “buy 12 postcards for $5” when I only wanted 3 (which came out to around $2.50, but I’m fine without the other 9 postcards). I also was travelling during the off-season, which meant that there weren’t too many lines or a sense of urgency while going from place to place, which in turn meant that I could take my time to make more intentional decisions.
For the sake of not worrying about trying to account for preferred currencies of every reader, I figured I’d use percentages to make it easier to see how I did with my budgeting:
On maybe a less positive note, I noticed it was really easy for me to slip into the same treat-yo-self/guilt cycle for buying take-out/dine-in meals. One major factor was that I had lowkey forgotten that I had the $75 “for fun” money set aside, so each time I bought food while out on my own, I went for the cheapest options instead of what I necessarily wanted. For example, one of the slower days had about an hour of deliberation of how far to walk versus how much to spend versus should I just get delivery, which was made worse by my increasing hunger. The majority of the food for the trip was either home meals or split bills/someone covering for the group in turns, so this at least didn’t eat away (… ha ha) at too much of my time – but it’s indeed something to keep in mind for my next trip, whether that’s looking at restaurants in advance or choosing the number of meals out versus at home.
I finished my physical book in one day, and finished three e-books during the month. The audio book didn’t pan out, but I was completely enthralled by what I loaned as e-books, so I’d say that balances out.
About the No Buy & Travel:
To begin, doing a No Buy while staying with friends and family would look different than if I were in a hotel/accommodations without a fridge and space to cook. Everyone I stayed with or spent time with had some knowledge of what I was up to, and my goals were respected, which made it easier (and was validating). There were a few small instances of needing to say no (to the general “is there anything you need while we’re out/on the way back?”), but for the most part, discussions took place in advance to figure out what I could borrow/share while I was packing and planning.
My level of flexibility for planning what to see/do was influenced more by travelling in reduced-but-not-gone pandemic measures than the No Buy Year, since experiences are a category I hadn’t limited. I did, however, spend less time combing through any souvenir shop that caught my fancy – especially once I had a postcard per person on my list – which gave me more time to see and do things (and not have my hands or bag full while doing so). In trying to be more mindful of what and how I’m consuming, I’m also more hesitant to pick up things for others – mugs, magnets, shirts, etc. – if it wasn’t something specifically requested. I’m sure my friends and family who have young kids are silently relieved there isn’t a new toy or stuffed animal entering their home.
I don’t believe that it’s fair to compare international/non-family trips to essentially going home, so I won’t look at how I did versus my last bit of travel in 2020. I can, however, think about past trips to family versus this trip, and recognise that I didn’t even go into a mall (let alone browse small shops) on this trip, at all. I didn’t have the room in my luggage for stuff (intentionally), there’s nothing on my wish-list (still/yet), and I didn’t put myself within reach of temptation through staying busy otherwise. Or, to consider things in a positive light, I got to do what I set out to do: take a proper break from work, see my family, hang out with friends, eat delicious food, lose myself in 5 different museums, and be in nature. The memories made and the photos taken will outlast my interest in a t-shirt that might get worn twice a year, even if I got it on discount.
I will be travelling this month to visit with family and friends in another province, and this is my first major voyage since 2020, so it will be important to focus my goals on not falling into old spending habits from holidays past.
The benefit of staying with family and friends is that I can for sure do laundry and pack much lighter as a result (also free housing). Though I’ll be away about a week and a half, I want to limit myself to 3 days’ worth of clothing plus what I’m wearing on the plane – and my usual plane-friendly toiletries – to see if I can’t fit it all into my medium sized backpack. This will be helpful when navigating through security at the airports, as well as limiting how much stuff I can bring back. The last time I travelled, I did the opposite, where I left with one carry on suitcase that had almost everything in it, and then the larger checked bag was almost empty – with the intention of it being filled with goodies to bring home for myself and for family & friends. So, it’ll be interesting to see how I fare since I haven’t travelled in 2 years. Thankfully, the temperature will be a bit warmer there, so I won’t have bulky items taking up too much space.
Spending on Stuff versus Experiences
In the past, I would budget for about 1/4 of whatever I’m spending to be on stuff. Some of it would be souvenirs for myself (again, I was very “one for you, one for me”), which would include postcards (I use them as my travel diary for each day), clothing (both of the location’s name or of something specific to the region), books, and anything else specific to the area (honey from a monastery in Meteora, Greece? Sure, why not). Then there were also the souvenirs for others – I would generally focus on shirts, fridge magnets, post cards, and anything specific that was requested based on where I was going (I felt like a bootlegger coming back from Scotland). Now, I’m not about to turn stingy and refuse to get anything for anyone (capping it at postcards and requested items) – but I’m also not going to somewhere I haven’t been before, since I’m visiting family. Regarding experiences, I’m still keen on visiting at least one museum (if it’s safe), and I like to try the food of the region/stuff I can’t as easily have when I’m back home, so I have that to look forward to as well. I’m one to do my research about where I’m going and what to do while visiting somewhere (which I clarify only because I went on a group trip with someone who didn’t do any research at all before leaving, which is mind-boggling to me), but I’m being considerate of what my budget is and how I can still do what I want to do for fun without going all out.
Staying on Budget
I’ve given myself a “for fun” budget of $75 per month at the beginning of the year, or $900 for the full year. I haven’t fully finished my planning yet, but I can both see how that money can evaporate in a day or last me the whole second leg of the trip if I plan things out well enough. As mentioned above, I’m aiming for at least one museum and one lunch out. The museum I ultimately choose will be based both on price and content, and I know I’ll want to get myself 1-2 postcards of the exhibit. I brought up the for-fun money as budgeted for the year, as I don’t mind giving myself the flexibility to spend nothing in one month to build up $150 for the following month so I’m not actively withholding my ability to enjoy myself if the situation presents itself (not that I’d go ahead and spend all $900 in a day, but you get what I mean). If I under-spend, then small stuff like taking the bus versus walking somewhere can get added to the for fun/convenience budget versus come out of my travel budget (since I hope to do some travel this summer as well).
Other than Travel
I feel like I’ve reached a good stride for my No Buy that I can keep up what I’m doing on a long-term scale without it impeding my ability to enjoy spending my time with loved ones – as opposed to bargain hunting or other shopping with the people I’m there to visit. I’m stocked for groceries, I’m all good for body products, and there’s nothing major that I can predict at this time that would throw me off course. For reading, I want to have an e-book and audio book lined up for the flights, and I’ll be stopping by the library for some fun and lighthearted fiction (most of what I have here is non-fiction, and kind of heavy).
Next week I’ll be looking at the topic of selected luxuries as well as returning for the next instalment of my relationship to shopping. Thanks for reading!
To quote a song that I quietly hum to myself while hunting down the perfect read, “having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!” Today, I want to talk about both ideas from the quote – libraries and fun (… for free).
While I’m lucky enough that my local library has a curb-side pick-up option for physical books and other media, I don’t exactly want to venture out into the cold just so I can read. Assuming that you may also be in your coldest season, too, I wanted to talk about the two library apps that I’ve been using to keep up with my hunger for fiction, audiobooks, and graphic novels. Don’t have a library card? I’ve got you in mind as well, and I’ll talk about a non-library option later on.
Hoopla has a bit of everything, whether you’re looking for comics, e-books, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, music, or quick guides to popular reads. If Hoopla has it, you can borrow it. The borrow period is fairly standard (21 days, unless otherwise stated), and there’s no limit as to how many people can borrow the same piece of media at the same time. There’s a limit to how much you can borrow per month, which may vary from one library to another. Where Hoopla shines is in their audiobook selection and their quick guides. The audiobooks are sometimes the only format available for a given title (or maybe that’s just my library), but I personally like having the variety of going back and forth between what format my books are in, so it’s not too much of a trade-off. The quick guides fill in the gaps for major titles that they don’t have available to borrow as an e-book, but likely have as an audiobook. While the app doesn’t have a sample-read function, this fills that gap (but it will take up one of your allotted borrows for the month).
Pros: Audiobooks aplenty; no wait time – if you see it listed, you can borrow it Con: Selection might feel a bit limited depending on the format of media you prefer to consume
Libby functions more like a traditional library, in that you’ll have a wider variety to choose from (they also have magazines!) but you also have wait-times for popular media based on the number of copies available for a given title. Borrowing periods vary according to how new/in demand a title is, though they might have more than 2-3 copies of a title if it’s particularly famous. If a title is in the public domain, they will have unlimited copies, so feel free to go wild on some Wilde. The app itself feels a bit fancier (for lack of a better word) and offers a different reading experience as a result. They also have curated collections that pop up on your homepage – some of which are seasonal, while others are a reflection of what’s on everyone’s reading lists. Though I led with pointing out that you’d have to put a hold on titles that aren’t currently available, the app does have a section dedicated to titles that are ready to check out immediately. Lastly, this app will allow you to sample the title (I’ve only tried this with books and audiobooks), so you at least have an idea if it’s worth your time to wait weeks (…or months) to place the hold.
Pros: Wide selection, curated lists, magazines with no wait time Con: Depending on title popularity, you might have to wait a few months before you can access the title (but at least the tell you the estimated wait time)
To be clear, I use both library apps, and I use them to their respective advantages. My library has other apps and services that are available with the card, though I haven’t taken the time to explore them enough to comment on their content or qualities. For now, I have plenty to select from between the two apps and my stack of books at home.
The Gutenberg Project
Not forgetting those of you who may not have a library card (no judgement, I only got mine last September), I want to talk about the Gutenberg Project. If a title has entered the public domain, the Gutenberg Project website will have a copy of it – meaning that a bunch of classics will be available to read online or download immediately. Their selection is, understandably, older titles, but if you’ve ever wanted to read the “classics” that you Coles Notes’d your way through in high school, or just want to visit other titles from authors you’ve sampled from the same category, then this will meet your needs. I’ve read a handful of titles online through the website when seeking out specific novels, though I’m sure that perusing their expansive selection would offer more than enough. The novels and other works have been digitized, meaning that you’ll be able to read them online as text, rather than relying on scanned copies (as far as I’ve seen). Lastly, I want to point out that the works they have available are not only in English, thought the amount of e-books (and other media) will vary from one language to the next.
Pros: Immediate access to over 60 000 titles, and you can keep the download (depending on copyright laws in your country) Con: If it’s not public domain, it won’t be on the website.
What’s next for this week:
I’ll be working on using what I have from my yarn to crochet a quick something for myself, and then having a look at what products I want to focus on for empties for the next bit. Thanks for reading!
I love to read both fiction and non-fiction, and can lose a whole weekend if a book captivates me. I also enjoy shopping for books, my collection steadily growing shelf after shelf. “Collection” is an appropriate word for my personal library, as I have indeed bought many books of a series or of the same theme, without making a dent in the To Be Read (TBR) pile. A major theme throughout my TBR are topics that I didn’t study in university but still care to learn about: mythology, ancient civilizations, art history and architecture, and social/cultural topics. Mythology and ancient civilizations were less a “need to have now” purchase to complete an arbitrary list I’d set, and more a reflection of what I was interested in at the time or where I was visiting. The art history and architecture books, on the other hand, were all bought within the same year while they were on sale – which is how I ended up with 25 of them. I won’t set an arbitrary expectation that I complete all of the art books in rapid succession to read them before the year is done, as I’d much rather read them as I’m drawn to them. Much like the goal for the year is to approach what I’m doing with intention and balance, I’ll be starting off with picking two books per month: one art/architecture history, one from any other category. This may change throughout the year, but for now, this works for me.
Book 1: The Study of Language
This was a swap from a friend who studied linguistics, and I’ve had the book for almost a year. I’ve flipped through it a few times, but haven’t yet committed to reading it. I like learning languages and learning about languages, so I feel like this textbook will act as a roadmap in understanding the linguistics building blocks. If nothing else, I want to finish the book so it find its way back to its rightful owner.
Book 2: Claude Monet – Taschen
Impressionism hold a special place in my heart, having been fascinated by pointillism while in high school, and most often drawn to this art period when strolling through art museums. The art from this period tickles my brain for how you need to take in a piece as a whole to see what the artist saw, and when you stand too close, it loses the bigger-picture meaning. Granted, if you stand too close to any painting, it too will lose meaning, though a pear in a still life is going to keep looking like a pear from most distances. I’ve soaked up what I could from museums and survey-level art history books, and I think I’ll be in for a fun read to go into more detail about the leader of Impressionism.
What I’m working on this week:
I’ll be tackling my clothing inventory and flipping my hangers around for the new year, which will be written about in Thursday’s post. If you’d like to see what I’m up to in between posts, you can follow my Instagram account, @ladywithless . Thanks for reading 🙂