On money diaries (& being nosy)

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This week I discovered, became obsessed with and practically devoured the Money Diaries at Refinery29. I’m such a nosy person, and I love geeking about budgets, so this was really the best thing ever to read!

Apart from being generally super nosy, I really enjoyed seeing where money tended to be spent throughout the day. Surprisingly the overall (non-fixed) spending habits were more similar across the board, despite the very different incomes levels. I really could relate when unexpected expenses popped up! I can track every cent of mine (an OCD characteristic since the days when my pocket money was $1, no kidding) and already do so in writing, so I don’t think I would discover anything new if I did a money diary. I may still be interested in doing one though, because who knows, I could learn something. Or it would just be incredibly boring.

Thanks to an unexpected and incredibly generous gift from a relative, I’ve managed to surpass this year’s savings/extra house repayments goal before the halfway mark of the year! Nonetheless I have decided to put that to the side (mentally not literally) and continue working with my current budget and goals. I still think I can reach the savings goal and even surpass it by myself! (Please be kind to me, tax time!) I’ve definitely reined in and tightened my spending habits even more in the last two months, and am feeling quite content to just very VERY slowly save and plan for the things I want/need to spend on. Unexpected expenses are hurting me though.

I’m suddenly reminded that there are a lot of things I have been continually too lazy to list up on eBay though, which I should definitely get to…

[EDIT] I have since posted my 2 weeks in Melbourne money diary!

Money: Shopping habits and goals for this year

Since moving out, the majority of my pay has been going to the bank (mortgage repayments) and towards living expenses. I’ve also set myself an aggressive savings plan with the remainder of the money, so I have even less to spend on myself than a year ago.

I don’t think I’m too spendy. I would love to be, but in reality I’ve always had aggressive savings plans. I consider most purchases for a long time, I buy beauty products when there are promotions or sales, and I can think of less than five fashion items I’ve ever purchased full price. Most would be purchased after at least two sales markdowns. Nonetheless I often get overexcited about a bargain and end up with unnecessary or poorly thought out purchases. This year I hope to change that.

I have been thinking about what my wardrobe lacks. I don’t buy seasonal or fast fashion to be thrown away as the season changes. I rarely get rid of items because they are too old, but because I never wear them anymore. I’m really bad at clearing my closet out. Usually old clothing that gets donated is several years or even over a decade old. I need to be better about clearing stuff out that I don’t wear. I occasionally pull out purchases I regret that are barely worn (or still new!) to be sold. While this “culling” process is fine and should be more brutal, I know that most likely less than half my wardrobe is in regular rotation and this signals to me that I’m not thinking hard enough about my purchases and there is wastage going on.

I’m not keen on fast fashion so that’s not the culprit. I often browses my favourite stores so that when there are sales and extra markdowns I already have an idea what I like. Unfortunately I still fall victim to finding sales bargains on other items and snatching them up as well or instead! Usually they aren’t terrible pieces but I’d like to make an effort to stick to well thought out purchases. If I’ve thought about it long enough and am confident it will be a great addition to the wardrobe, then I should make myself worry less about the sales reduction. I’ve heard people go on about “quality over quantity” and “pieces to last years and years and years” but it tends to come across as justification more than a good shopping habit. My poor shopping habit is buying a lot of pieces that I now realise are not great staple pieces. I also tend to buy things like tops and skirts because the fit is easier to work with (and I’m more excited about the print). What I lack are good quality pants, blazers/jackets and jumpers that pair well. I think I can attribute that to being frustrated with and having more difficulty finding those items, so I tend to avoid shopping them altogether. Even skirts and tops, I think I lack staples that pair well.

This year my shopping goal is to write down the clothing and shoes I’d like to add to my wardrobe, browse these items online/in store and try them on if possible. I’d like to take time to decide if each will be a good purchase by considering the fit, if it’s a staple piece, whether it pairs well, its quality and the wash and maintenance. If it’s one of those “it’s okay but it’s not great, so maybe only if it’s reduced really heavily…”, I will NOT buy it if it later becomes heavily reduced. If I am aiming for a pricier item (like a coat), I will shop around to find the one, then work towards it instead of being fearful of biting the bullet and just buying five smaller things instead. And never give up! If I don’t find something perfect this year, the hunt will continue.

My goal is not minimalism or having a capsule wardrobe, but working towards better shopping habits that will translate to a more practical and ultimately better wardrobe. This, in term, should translate to less consumption wastage.

In terms of makeup and beauty products, I don’t feel like I need to change my habits in this department. I have one/two of any product open at a given time and almost always use it up before moving on (unfortunately things don’t always work out but that’s not unexpected). These products don’t go on seasonal or end of line sale like fashion, but I buy (or stock up on things I’m faithful to) when there are promotions or during the rare sale.