March 2017 Month in Review

Much of what I bought this month was due to outdoor gear anxiety inspired by the three citizen science volunteer projects I've signed up for this spring and summer, which will all involve outdoor work. Specifically, I attended a training for the project that's the most mental and physical stretch for me. The manual had a list of things to wear or bring to the field, and although most of the items were listed as "optional" except the basics (water, snacks, map and compass, etc.), I felt I needed most of it. I particularly felt I needed the insect repellent gear, since the manual had all these things about tick-borne illness, and I've read that it's going to be a bad year for ticks.

Sun Hats - $90

I have very fair skin and, this being a year I'll actually be working outdoors, I figured it was time to get a broad-brimmed sun hat. The only problem is that I'm convinced I look bad in 99% of hats. So, I knew it might be kind of a trial to find a hat that I felt looked reasonably good on me, so I'd actually wear it, while also being practical in all the ways I wanted: broad enough to keep the sun off my face and ears, UV-blocking, lightweight enough not to make me sweat on a hot day, crushable and packable so I can easily carry it with me when I'm not wearing it, maybe even rain-resistant.

So, I did that thing where I bought like five hats at once, to try them on and keep only the best one. This Zappo's-inspired move allows me to try on a bunch of things and only pay one return fee. The downside of this move, as I learned, is that sometimes, you find two things you like! Which wouldn't have happened if I'd tried things one-at-a-time. I would have stopped after a "win." After eliminating some hats that confirmed my "I don't look good in hats" opinion, I ended up unable to decide between the shockingly good-looking hat, and the extremely practical hat that met all my other requirements and had B+ looks.

So, I ended up keeping them both and spending double my "hat budget." D'oh. Yet, I feel very well-supplied with hats. I'm honestly not sure which one will end up getting worn more - the Looks hat or the Functionality hat. I'll let you know at the end of summer!

Summer Layers On Sale But Nonetheless Pricey - $90

Immediately after my training I began browsing for bug-repellent stuff and found a permethrin-treated lightweight summer hoodie in one of My Colors on sale, so I snagged it up. I also used a coupon for an organic long-sleeved chambray shirt which I'd been eyeing. It seemed like a good way to keep the sun and bugs off my arms, while still keeping cool. As a bonus, my wife thinks I look great it, and it goes well with my new hat.

Again, I don't have much use for these yet - as I write this, it's 35 degrees, sleeting, and bug-free. But I imagine they will be useful.

Small Outdoor Things - $30

Misc. small items for my field kid: tweezers. Measuring tape. A hand lens, which never actually arrived (I'll probably end up getting refunded, but I still need to get one, I think!)

Merino Scarves - $90

In December, I bought a lightweight merino wool scarf, sort of a cross between a fashion scarf and a light functional scarf. I adored everything but the color, and ended up reluctantly giving it to my friend who looked way better in it. The website said they'd stock the new spring colors in March, so sure enough, on the first of March, I checked again and found the model I loved in an aqua and gray stripe. They also had a new, even more lightweight and chiffon-y model, in plain aqua.

This ended up being a kind of similar situation to the hats, in that I couldn't decide between the two scarves so I ended up buying them both to check out in person. I liked them both, so I didn't return either one. But, it being the beginning of the month, I felt flush and was kind of OK with that.

So far, in practice, I prefer the stripey one, but since the aqua one is lighter weight, it may come into its own in the summer. (Are you sensing a theme? I am obsessed with summer this month, probably because it's so cold and gray, and has been for such a long time. It's like I'm trying to convince myself that summer will happen.)

Free weights - $15

I had this idea that I was going to tone up my arms (FOR SUMMER, what else?) So far, it hasn't happened.

More Merino Exercise Clothes - $85

This consists of a muscle shirt (for my arm toning, obvs) and a sport bra. I know that I should just buy cheap exercise clothes, but I hate the feel of polyester and nylon and all those sports materials.

Colored pencils - $20

This was a purely "I'm here so why not" type of purchase, since I was in an art-supply store. I haven't actually used the new pencils yet.


The total comes to $420, which is less than my $500 budget, but (a) my budget should be smaller now for reasons I'll explain a later post, and (b) I either can't or haven't actually used hardly anything that I bought! (The exception is the scarves, which I wear to work.)

I need to get better at getting things I can and will use right now, not things I think I may need in the future (which has burned me in the past). I mean, I got all this stuff for a hot summer, but what if it's a cool, drizzly one? What if I don't end up going "into the field" nearly as much as I thought, or I realize once I go out once that I need totally different things that I thought?

I also need to get better at using the things I've gotten. Nothing is stopping me from putting on my merino exercise clothes and lifting weights, or drawing with my pencils. April Goals, I guess - especially now that I'm done with Stardew Valley!


  1. it sounds as if you buy a lot of outdoor gear. which is in essence like yoga pants. will last for years, usually has good quality and worn in comfort. and you can't beat a good pair of hiking pants (you mentioned in your previous post). I say give yourself kudos for staying in budget (cuz I know that is not easy to do). but make sure you are looking for coupons or promo codes when you shop. I use the Retail Me Not app and am 98% always able to save at least $5-$10 on a purchase anywhere. Nice to have found your blog.

    - The One In Debt:

    FYI: had a hard time leaving a comment on your blog due to receiving, "Your OpenID credentials could not be verified"


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