Looking back on the past year, I definitely spent more than I saved. It was a year of travel, putting money back into my business and of course, buying lots of art. (FYI: reducing your alcohol intake doesn’t save money if you channel it all into a growing art addiction.)
As I mentioned in my last post, frugality is something I’m embracing this year. But man, it’s hard – especially when you’ve got really bougie taste like I do and are a self-identified yo-yo budgeter. I can be very frugal for months at a time, but then once the floodgates open, my spending becomes the financial equivalent of pouring an entire sleeve of Oreos down my gullet in one sweep. My spending habits aren’t great, but I’m trying to get better.
A few months ago, I saw a piece on Refinery29 where editors recapped their purchases for the year: what they bought and what they regret buying. It was fascinating – especially the purchases that people regretted and the reasoning behind them. So, I thought I’d do a list of my own.
To kick things off on a positive note…
What I’m glad I splurged on in 2016.
Daily disposable contacts.
I upgraded my bi-weekly disposable contacts to dailies and it’s changed my life. I no longer have to spend inordinate amounts of time in the bathroom trying to clean my contacts and/or deal with gummed up, uncomfortable lenses because now I can put in a fresh pair everyday. My sanity has benefited and my eyes feel amazing.
A membership to a gym I adore.
I’ve always shied away from fancy gyms, preferring instead to go to the YMCA or no-frills style places where I can access the equipment on the cheap. Then, I found my gym and fell in love. The space is beautiful (chandeliers! reclaimed wood furniture! sheepskin throws!), the classes are awesome and there’s always citrus infused water that you can help yourself to before, during and after class (served in mason jars of course). It’s the definition of bougie, but I love it. Also, since it’s mostly women there are no creepy muscle-dude-bros to contend with.
I had a handful of high end denim that I never wore because the length or fit wasn’t right. The lesson here: if you know you like a skinny ankle jean, don’t buy a full length straight leg pant thinking you’ll “get used to it.” Thank god for tailors. I took three pairs to a tailor and had them altered slightly. For $45 I now I have three pairs of pants I adore and wear all the time.
Lingerie drawer overhaul.
I’ve barely bought any new underwear in the past five years because I receive so much of it for free through the blog. Consequently, a lot of my lingerie looks like it came from an adult store (because it did!) and isn’t all that comfortable or practical. So, in November I purged my lingerie drawer, donated the unworn stuff to a women’s shelter and invested in some new high-quality underwear I actually like. I splurged on brands like BTempted by Wacoal & Cosabella and discovered THE MOST COMFORTABLE THONG UNDERWEAR EVER (they make briefs too.) Now that I know that I can be extremely comfortable and feel sexy, I can’t go back to the scratchy thongs of yore.
I took an excellent course from Writers.com and hired a professional editor to edit my manuscript & book proposal – both things I don’t regret in the slightest.
Shoes that fit my lifestyle.
My black platform espadrilles and black Nike Airmax Thea seemed like huge splurges at the time, but they’ve turned out to be the most practical shoes I purchased this year. Depending on the weather, I’ve worn one or the other almost everyday. They’re both ridiculously comfortable & unlike my closet full of heels & stilettos, they work with my lifestyle.
What I regret spending money on in 2016.
There’s nothing wrong with drugstore makeup, but I got into a bad habit of impulse buying new colours whenever I needed a pick-me-up. The thinking was, “oh well, it’s only $10. It will make me feel better!” but then I’d get home and realize I already had a colour really similar and/or something I liked more. If I add up all of those $10 purchases up I could have bought one lipstick that I was totally, completely in love with or replaced an old standby like my beloved NARS Red Lizard.
I rarely ever take selfies. Why the hell did I think I needed a selfie stick and/or tripod? This is sitting in my desk drawer, unopened in it’s original packaging. It’s basically this situation all over again:
Things that could have been avoided if I’d been better organized.
Like cabs and convenience foods when I was running late and/or lazy. Along with not being able to resist the sheen & sparkle of instant gratification, this is an on-going theme when it comes to my regrettable spending.
Hiring a PR firm.
I’ve enjoyed doing quite a few media spots in the past 5-6 years (radio interviews, print interviews, podcasts) so I decided to hire a PR firm to help me get more of these kinds of opportunities. However, once the opportunities started to roll in, I found that I was once again being asked to talk about all the things I no longer really am excited to talk about. The problem wasn’t my PR firm, it was that I hired them without having a crystal clear idea of what I wanted out of the experience. The work they sent my way reflected this lack of clarity.
A website for my book proposal.
I invested time & money into a website to accompany my book proposal, but since I’ve changed the format & title of the book it’s no longer relevant. Like the PR firm, this was another example of putting the cart before the horse.
I bought a pair of flared, high-waisted jeans because I thought they’d look cool & boho (like they do on some of my fave fashion bloggers) but when I put them on I just felt like I was stepping back into my wardrobe from the early 2000’s. I never wore them out of the house & ended up donating them because when I tried to consign them, it turns out no one else wants to wear flared jeans either. Nope. Nope. Nope.
What I wish I’d bought in 2016.
This print by George Byrne, which is now sold out. I saw it in LA, but didn’t buy it was because I thought it would be “financially irresponsible” to spend more money on art. The irony isn’t lost on me.