27 November, 2016

On Meaningful Spending...

Like many of my friends, I LOVE a good session of retail therapy. My vices are consistently the same suspects: food, stationery, and art supplies. I believe I'm generally a reasonable spender. My rule of thumb is to usually sit on a purchase for at least a day before buying it. However, now that I'm moving, and quitting my job, I really really have to make my money count. How do I cut down to the necessities of spending but still maintain a balance of happiness? - this is my new years resolution.

I spent a lot of time inside this week, under the weather

As usual I turn to Google for guidance, and found some steps to follow.

Define your values
The most important things in my life is health, friends, and art.

For me health includes food spendings and the occasional self-maintenance sessions. I've noticed that sometimes to save money I buy vegetables on sale that I don't necessarily eat. It then rots in my fridge and I have to throw it out. In retrospect, letting food spoil is not spending money wisely. So instead of saving on that 75¢, I'm gonna spend it towards something I will eat and finish. (Regretfully I believe there are some vegetables currently suffering right now). Sometimes spending more on something you'll use and love is better than saving money and suffering(?).
I'm a big fan of prevention over intervention, so if something is wrong with my body, I will spend money on that massage for a tune up, I will spend that money to get some acupuncture done (*bias*). I realized that this is not just about money but spending the time as well. Back in spring when I found myself in very stressful situation, I realized it was important to spend that time to find my way back to better emotional health. Sometimes, it is not money but time that I am too frugal about.

Spending time with friends is invaluable. Having a chat over a meal or little café session is such a good therapy itself. 

LiLi likes to ride things: shopping cart included.

Art has been a major money suck for me... Not that it's a bad thing, but I can definitely be a little more critical about it. For controlling art supplies and stationery addiction, what really helped me was to start a bet with Karen: if I spend money on any of items on that category within the designated period of time, I have to give her 20$ (exception being if I run out of a certain item *dry laughs*). That's really helped me cut down on my spendings in this category... Two years ago, I would not walk out of an art store without having spent 60-100$. That's a problem. Now if I can control my fountain pen and stationery addiction, that would be great...

To be fair more than half the picture on the left are gifts. And the OHTO minimo mechanical pencil was my rare moment of impulse buy... it is too adorable... I'm a sucker for cute stationery.

Aside from buying supplies that I can use, I also spend money on artist merchandise as well. Most of my purchases are well loved, but something I didn't end up enjoying as much is purchasing clothing. This is due to my extreme pickiness on the quality of the print - nothing on the images themselves. So I think it's something I will stop doing next year.

Look through your spendings
I've tried many ways to track my spendings. I've tried writing it down, excel sheets, mobile apps and all that. The one thing that's working for me right now is Kanahei's Account Book App. It is SO CUTE. That's what got me into using this mobile app. I'm actually pretty horrendous at using the phone apps for tracking anything, I'm a big writer over digital typing. I think writing down my spendings just hurts a little too much for me to engage in it haha... I know a lot of people use more comprehensive apps, but the account book is enough for me.

I'm also a big fan of getting my money's worth. Something that has justified my spendings on Kipling bags and UNIQLO clothing. Though recently, this year, I've spent a considerable amount of money on one of my vices: Kipling handbags... current price hike has pushed me to resolve to break up with Kipling. It is too expensive and the advantages of it has not risen with the price. So goodbye my love... goodbye...
Reversely, I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of clothes at UNIQLO for the price it comes at. After I've KonMari'd my room this year, about half of my clothing is UNIQLO - there are days where I'm only wearing that brand. Super fan of it now!

Make adjustments (go get it energized)

Little lessons to keep in mind:
  • It's okay to spend a little more on one thing that you will like over spending a little on something you'll like less...
  • Quality over quantity is important; give it up if it's no longer worth it (bye kipling..)
  • Don't forget the importance of spending time over money for self and friends
  • Continue to sit on purchases for a day or so before spending the money
  • Tracking money is important to help keep making adjustments!
 I'm super excited to try this out after I make the Christmas purchases! :D

Look at these Christmas worthy candied apple treats...

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