January is a month both hopeful and dreary. It’s a time of taking stock and starting fresh, but it also brings bitter cold and “bomb cyclones”, at least in my ‘hood.
There are a few resolutions I have in mind for 2018 – the first and more exciting of the group is to post on this blog at least once a week. I’ve planned out my calendar and I am going to STICK TO IT DANG IT.
The second is a resolution of a more practical, yet decidedly less entertaining nature. My goal, starting with January, is to cut my monthly credit card bill in half from what it was averaging in 2017. I won’t go into details, but in reviewing my statements these last few months I’ve been a bit gobsmacked by the seemingly “small” purchases that have really added up; a sweater here, a new lipstick there, and suddenly it becomes a snowball of expense hurtling towards that payment due date. And though I thankfully have never been in the position where I couldn’t pay my bill in full and on time, it’s been more than I am comfortable with spending on things that at the end of the day, I really didn’t need.
The light at the end of the savings tunnel is that I intend to use my additional cash to pay for interior design classes and hopefully a vacation. Though I won’t have a ton of new clothes or be dining out as often, I’ll feel better knowing that my hard earned cash will be going towards something I am passionate about and will help propel my career forward.
Here are my strategies to cut back on my spending this year:
Limit my spending on clothing and wear what I have
By far, the majority of my needless spending goes towards clothing and accessories. I’d been trying to shop more consciously, but when my favorite retailers (looking at you Madewell) would send an email shouting NEW ARRIVALS I would cave. I’m starting this year with buying nothing new for the month of January, then taking it month by month from there.
If I need something, shop second hand first
If/when I find myself truly in need of something, I’ll head to my favorite second hand retailers. I live a few blocks away from Buffalo Exchange, which is great for inexpensive high street finds, and Consignment Brooklyn, which sells designer brands (think Loeffler Randall and A.P.C) at a fraction of the cost. I also love online shop ThredUp, which has literally thousands of second hand clothing items for a steal. The goal here is to only buy what I truly need, not to shop just because I’m bored.
Fill up my time with free activities
Since I’ll be spending less time shopping, I’ll be filling up the hours with things that cost little to no money. These include checking out books from the library, taking walks / bike rides through the neighborhood, indulging in some at-home spa treatments, and of course, working on this blog.
I’m already pretty good about cooking at home for the majority of my meals and bringing my lunch to work, but there is definitely room for improvement. On my walks to work, I am going to do my best to avoid veering into my favorite bakery for a cup of tea, when I can easily brew my own at home to pack in a travel mug. I’m also going to try to get more creative with leftovers and what’s already in my fridge, rather than just ordering in when I feel like I have nothing to make.
Wish me luck! This shopaholic will need it. What are your resolutions this year?
Photo by Emily Barbeau