Month in Review: May 2016

Oh, God, this month.

Household Report

On a household level, this was an expensive month for my wife and me, because--as you might have guess from my recent Apartment Tour Checklist--we put down a deposit on an apartment! That's right, as of July, we are moving out! My daydreams of selling my condo started a conversation with my wife, and we ultimately decided to pull the trigger this very summer. 

She doesn't feel the same way I do about owning--like most people, she likes the idea of owning real estate, go figure--but we'd been toying with the idea of moving out anyway for a bunch of reasons. One of which: our condo board president just sold her condo, and I'd be next in line for that thankless job, making me EXTRA responsible for all the things about home ownership I dread and fear! The upside of that news was that she sold for a good price, making us think we could do similarly well. Our roommate is moving out regardless, so it's the end of an era either way. So we decided to go for it. It will be the first place that is equally ours, hers and mine, not her moving into my condo, and I like that about it: we'll be making joint decisions about decorating and stuff from the very beginning. 

We may buy again in the future, but, I'll tell you, I am PSYCHED to not be in charge for awhile.

In July, our expenses will rise again because we'll be furnishing our new place. We're taking the opportunity to replace our bed and some other household things. Some kitchen things we never owned in the first place because they were our roommate's. We will have to try to keep shopping down in June, though, since anything we buy is just something else we have to move.

Personal Report

I know I berate myself for failing to be frugal every month, but this month is a doozy. At some point, I'm going to have to get serious about my spending, right? I mean, I claim to want to live on $40,000 a year, and the only thing that's truly in my day to day control is my personal spending, yet I don't act like a person who wants to keep their spending low. According to YNAB, which I have not been consulting before I spend but simply using to track the damage afterward, like a person who isn't even on a budget, I've spent $887 on stuff for myself this month, which is like… twice what I was aiming for? To be fair, some of this includes returns that haven't gone through yet, but to be EXTRA fair, a lot of it isn't.

Early in the month, I made what was supposed to be my one big purchase for the month: my wife and I split the cost of a superzoom camera, with which I can take picture of birds for my Instagram. Of course, I then proceeded to not upload anything to Instagram for weeks. It's the same thing with the art supplies I got in April: as soon as I bought them, I stopped doing the hobby for awhile. (I have done a bunch of art in the last few days, though--see the new illustrations on my Key Episodes blog--so the April supplies are totally being used now!) My wife has been using the camera a lot, though, so that's good, even though I now feel kind of guilty about insisting on the superzoom feature when she probably would have preferred more of an all-around good-quality camera for general use.

As you know, I was looking for the perfect purse (why I felt I had to do this RIGHT AWAY THIS MONTH I don't know). I tried to do that Zappo's shoe thing where you order a bunch of stuff, try it out at home, and then return all but one. Unfortunately, I picked a website that's really not set up for that, and each purse arrived in a separate shipment and had to be returned in a separate, individually priced shipment. I didn't even keep anything from that entire order. Should have used Zappo's!

I did end up falling in love with a purse which I found at REI. It's smaller than ideally wanted, but you don't understand, it's the PERFECT shade of sea green! It's also deeper than my previous purse, so it holds a lot more while still being small enough to be unobtrusive. At the same time, I still feel like it can't be my one-and-only purse since I'll want something that can hold a full 8.5x11 notebook for work. Why is it that whenever I buy something, I want something else?

My new purse, blatantly not holding everything I wanted to carry for travel. But look how cute!

Another purchase that might end up being largely reversed (except for return shipping) is a Sierra Trading Post order for $98 with three pairs of dark wash jeans to try. This was more "I'll try a bunch and return most of them" reasoning. $20ish per pair of jeans is really good if you find a good one, and I have, before, at Sierra. I haven't received the order yet, but shortly after making the order, I found a good pair of dark wash jeans at Goodwill for only $7.49. This was a surprise because I can never find good jeans there--they have so many and they're in no particular order. Shopping for jeans at Goodwill is usually an exercise in meticulously sorting through and trying on a lot of terrible things and then leaving in sadness. But I randomly pulled a great pair off the rack and they fit me perfectly. Who knew? Another sign that I should wait a bit before making online orders. (I also found a dark blue flannel shirt for $5, something else I'd searched high and low for on the Internet and not found a good one. I should only shop at Goodwill.)

(You'll notice I skirted around the question of "why do you need dark wash jeans all of a sudden?" Shhhhh.)

I also bought a winter hat in the Sierra order. Of course it's been 90+ degrees the last couple of days here, so it seems odd to be buying a hat now, but it's just the kind I wanted last winter and didn't have--a super warm wool one with ear flaps in a nice aqua color. I can save it for next winter. (WARNING violation of "what if your house burned down" rule WARNING. But I loooove to be prepared!)

Oh, and on the last weekend of the month, I bought a bunch of tops at a Loft Memorial Day sale. I can't excuse that in any way.

I know I've got to stop buying stuff for myself, if not because of the money, then for the same reason as I should put a moratorium on household shopping: we're about to move. At least in July, my shopping energy will be directed toward the home, meaning maybe I'll worry less about my wardrobe. But that's not super comforting reasoning…

The struggle against my own self control continues.


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