I am Trying to Save Money and It is Hard

Spending Fast | Whisper  Howl  #spendingfast #saving #whisperandhowl #bujo #bulletjournal

In the last couple of years, I’ve realized the utter necessity of saving money. I have kept up a budget for nearly 2 years; have maintained an Emergency Savings fund at around $1000; and I’ve finally got an IRA. These things are all very empowering and have definitely reduced some money-stress. A good witch should be in control of her finances! However, I have not  been able to increase my general savings or save up for any items or experiences I crave, such as an overseas trip or a harmonium. Since my position (and hours, and pay) was reduced to part time in October, I’ve been trying to earn a few extra bucks here and there while searching for full time work in my field. I’ve also been using my credit card much more often than I’d like–I’d love to never use it at all–and utilizing my Emergency Savings fund for Important Things like rent and utilities, when needed.

In December it occurred to me that I should cut way down on my spending, which to be fair was already moderate, and work on building my savings and setting money aside for goals like travel. To that end, I’ve been attempting a Spending Fast. I say attempting because so far, I’m not great at it. Actually, I’m not doing a Spending Fast so much as I am trying to live within my significantly reduced means.

Enter the Spending Fast, created by Anna from And Then We Saved, which as you can imagine is a blog about saving money. She used the system to pay off debt. I just need to get through. I do think, though, that it’s easier to save with a plan (saying “I’m on a Spending Fast!” feels nicer than “I’m broke.”) and that if I can do this then I actually could pay off this new credit card debt and possibly (gasp!) save some money.

The system is simple:

Don’t spend money on anything that you don’t categorize as a Need. If you look at her list, you can see that she used fantastic resolve in eliminating “wants.” My list, however, includes such “needs” as sewing classes, which I love more than anything and refuse to give up (plus I’d lose my spot, which I waited to get for a whole year!) and Netflix (justifiable since it saves me money on going out, I SWEAR). I’m also not giving up acupuncture. Nope.

See why I’m not great at this?

Some things are harder to give up than others. “Specialty food items” could be like, half my grocery budget if you consider my dietary restrictions and my penchant for expensive pickles. Fortunately, I developed a taste for kitchari last summer and lentils are cheap. It’s tough for me to avoid buying art supplies and fabric, but I stocked up on fabrics in advance and people have been giving me their old stashes (thank you!).

I’m basically coming in at the exact amount I’m making without adding anything to my normal budget categories such as “Mad Money” (for miscellaneous things), “Entertainment” and “Miscellaneous Personal” (for cosmetics, toiletries, candles, etc). I’m trying really hard not to buy “Books and Magazines” and to make all my “Gifts” from materials I already have (like that fabric stash). I am really interested, though, in trying to keep to this very low budget once I do find that elusive full time job, or more part time work. When my resources increase, can I apply that extra cash to my debt and savings?

I did an okay job of Fasting in December, but January was harder. I did not do well. I spent a lot of money on eating out and going to bars, which I don’t usually do. I got a new job (!) and bought myself some presents to celebrate (oops). For February, I should make a little more money because of my tax return and some extra babysitting gigs, but I also have a work trip to NYC and I went ahead and budgeted for dining out, which is inevitable, and added a little money to my Entertainment and Mad Money categories. I’d rather be realistic than pretend I’m Fasting and end up way over budget.

My plan now is to really, truly start paying off my credit card debt and building my savings from March 1st onward. I set some goals, which will help. It seems like my astrological forecast for this year has a lot to do with money and resources, too. I’m excited to finally save some money (and maybe take a big trip!). I’m going to buckle down, I swear. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Winter Capsule Wardrobe!

I’m back! I took an unintentionally long break from writing and I have returned to my desk with lots of ideas, my new Bullet Journal, some photos and a cup of Emergen-C (grown-up Koolaid). I intend on posting regularly from now on, starting with my WINTER CAPSULE!

Winter Capsule Wardrobe! on Whisper & Howl #whisper& howl #winter #capsule #wardrobe #fashion

I did the process a little differently this time. I did not fill out the Un-Fancy Wardrobe Planner. I did a little bit of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect, mostly pinning inspirational photos. Actually, I did sort of a hybrid of these 2 tools, which I will develop into a helpful guide for future use. Mostly, though, I just went through my closet and sorted out my cold-weather clothes and pushed the warmer-weather clothes to the back of the closet. There were several dresses in there that I had forgotten about and have worked into my wardrobe. I also have extensive sewing plans, which will add several very wearable pieces. Here’s a list of what I’ve got:

Finally, my Winter Capsule Wardrobe! on Whisper & Howl #whisper&howl #capsule #wardrobe #winter #fashion

This wardrobe developed organically from what I already own. I added 6 sweaters: a long dark green cardigan, a cozy red sweater, a yellow one (my favorite accent color), all new; 2 oversized men’s sweaters from the local thrift store, and a fisherman’s sweater than I bought for my Dad in Ireland years ago and have claimed as my own. I also bought 2 pairs of flannel-lined leggings which I am counting as tights/underwear rather than wardrobe items, but which are really wonderful and snuggly, and some new socks. The socks are Kirkland Signature from Costco, which the internet tells me are made by Wigwam and are an amazing deal.

For silhouettes, I am into skinny jeans with big sweaters, ankle boots and warm socks; shift dresses or fitted skirts with over-sized sweaters, leggings or tights, socks and ankle boots; and circle skirts or fit-and-flare dresses with cropped sweaters or jackets, tights/leggings, socks and ankle boots. I’ve been wearing the same GAP ankle boots every day and they are definitely going to fall apart this year. I will be replacing them with a nicer model in the Fall. I have 2 cropped sweatshirts on my sewing list, which I will talk more about in another post.

Obsessed with my ankle boots | Winter Capsule Wardrobe on Whisper & Howl #winter #capsule #wardrobe #fashion #ankle #boots

I’ll collect some outfit photos as the Winter wears on. I may have to deviate from capsule wardrobe “rules” of only buying items once a season, in order to snag some Bean or duck boots if I can find a good pair on eBay. It’s going to be a wet winter and if I’m going to keep up my ankle boot streak, I will need something sturdier.

So, that’s it! For Spring, I’ll share more of my process. I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying anything, since I got so much new stuff last Spring and since sewing is way more fun than shopping.

Have you started a capsule yet? What are your Winter go-to pieces?