True to her seemingly tireless nature, and owing sadly to her mania, in addition to everything else she did, my sister Amanda was also a (self-)published author of several books. The Young Physician’s Guide to Money and Life stands apart from her other publications as the only one with a co-author (the endlessly wonderful Dave Denniston of Freedom Formula for Physicians Podcast) as well as the only one published posthumously. In fact she essentially abandoned the then unfinished book to Dave.
Besides furnishing his own writings, Dave braved organizing the chapters, finalizing editing, coordinating design, and generally seeing this arduous project to completion. He approached me to write a preface, and was incredibly respectful and supportive. It greatly comforts me to know Amanda spent time working with someone like him at the end.
When I drafted my preface, I found that though I wanted to address potential readers, I also had a lot I wished I could say to Amanda. So I ended up writing two different versions. Dave wisely chose the version intended for the book’s readers to include. And here below is what I wrote to Amanda then.
Here are a list of things I don’t need to buy, and the reasons why:
Black leather booties: I already have black leather booties. But these look like they have better traction, past me protests. When I need traction, such as when the ground is wet, I probably shouldn’t be wearing leather anyway. Oh yeah, and these are leather, rude to cows. Next!
“I read that the formula was not clumpy but still satisfyingly thick”– past me. And? Me Today? “No thanks, I never wear makeup.”
I already have a Rhodia notebook I enjoy, which still has 3/4+ crisp, pristine pages to go. And no I don’t need to periodically check if it goes on sale so I can snag a spare. I can spend my time better than that.
Great, another puzzle. “Honestly if nearly half of all your 30th birthday presents you received were puzzles, you probably have a problem. At the very least, you know you don’t have any business buying yourself anymore puzzles.”– Me Today.
February 1 — $52.35, Saks.com — Remember in January when I bought a bunch of stuff on sale from NM? Two days later, I received an email stating that an items was unavailable. I didn’t need it, but I spent time tracking it down and bought it again, with real money, as I didn’t have points this time.
February 2 — $22.96, ralphlauren.com — My purchases from NM and Saks were mostly bottoms. I also couldn’t take out the stains on a RL top I liked, so I ended up here. Except, the same top was no longer available, and instead of accepting that, I bought random stuff. In addition to $22.96 in money, I also applied gift cards to my purchase total.
February 3 — $156, amourvert.com — I wasn’t particularly happy with the selection of tops from RL, so decided to pay my favorite ethical fashion shop a visit. There exists no justification for what seemed natural and reasonable then. When not in the habit of pausing to consider buying something, I had no filter to prevent me from making unnecessary purchases.
February 6 — $8.47, Amazon.com — I bought some Hard as Hoof nail strengthening cream. While this isn’t a lot of money, it was MOS DEF still unnecessary. I read that this product was good for easily damaged, flaky nails such as mine, and didn’t think twice before ordering online. I know I have seen this product in person, as I remember thinking to myself that I should buy it because the fact that I’ve also seen it in physical stores means that it’s not some online-only scam. If I kept thinking longer, I would have chosen to buy it in person instead of wastefully having it shipped.
February 6 — $8.43, Amazon.com — I bought a velvet trim to cover up the raw hem of a cardigan. I’m glad I’m mending and preserving a garment, but I live pretty close to shops where I could have bought the trim, sans packaging and shipping. How easy it is to buy something on Amazon lulls me into equating that ease with a sense of efficiency. I’ll have to be especially vigilant on Amazon in the future.
February 19 — $21.20, Amazon.com — I bought two BAGGU bags, my favorite reusable bags. They are durable, foldable and lightweight. While they have no physical store save for three far from me, I could’ve found other similar bags in person. Often I’ll remember something that works well for me, and seek out the brand again when in need. This can make buying inefficient. I just need to remember most like items are roughly equal.
Overall though, February was a vast improvement over January. I made 5 online shopping “trips” spending $269.41, down from 8 excursions (a 37.5% decrease) totaling $1400.05 (an 80.75% decrease!). I’m excited to get to work on March. Toodles!
I used to shop without discipline, and my most chaotic buying happened in the beauty and skin care departments. Chelsea from The Financial Diet frequently talks (and I keep talking about her! I know, I knowww) about evaluating how much we will use a thing if we’re being completely honest with ourselves. Advertisements do not sell products; advertisements sell versions of people consumers want to see (attractive, pleasant, successful) and be, then present a product that purportedly will transform us into that gleaming picture of perfection or superiority.
Past me have bought things for the person I wished (as taught by ads) I was, while suppressing the knowledge that buying X and becoming Person Who Uses X, required that I (at least to some degree) change who I already am. When I started my (s)low buy, one of my goals was to use what I already have more. I’ve since realized that only owning what I use really helps me use what I have. Building routines out of what you own, or, more likely, cutting out extras until you arrive at your core routine, is key to both 1) only using what you have, and 2) only buying what you use.
I’m a busy and lazy woman. My face routine is 1) cleanser, 2) toner and 3) moisturizer (with SPF for daytime). Sometimes I’ll use a mask. I have just two: an aloe one that calms and hydrates, and a clay mask that removes buildup. When I don’t have time for the clay mask, I apply a BHA exfoliant instead.
On days when I wet my hair, I’ll wash with just water, conditioner, or, rarely, shampoo and leave-in conditioner. I don’t have a schedule for when to use what; it depends on how my hair and scalp feel. I used to think routine meant designated days for specific products– but it didn’t make sense, because I’m not always exposed to the same amount of grease or grime, and my oil production and sweating are always in flux too. Now I think of routine as in I have routine products, and use them as directed by my body. This shift lets me not waste product and my time.
I try to change my manicure weekly and pedicure monthly. I’m not great about this, and often leave my nails bare. I have too many bottles of nail polish for how infrequently I use them. Past me amassed a huge hoard by always thinking 1) “I only have this one family of colors, I need to branch out!” and 2) “these outlandish colors don’t look good on me, I need to stick to my preferred basics!” Even though I cull annually, I still have more than I’ll ever need. Last year I started tracking what I use. My goal is to decrease my total number of bottles, adding none except when a (statistically proven) go-to needs replacement.
Make-up ain’t me so I have no make-up routine. I have, however, bought a lot of beauty products I never use. So much so that I should add a category called “WMS No Buys” for everything I won’t buy again (sorta like my own anti-haul, eh? Eh?). That’s been my new direction anyway. Besides, even at the very different beginning, well, I’ve made similar mistakes.
Stay tuned, kids, next time I’ll bring y’all the WMS Beauty Routine Hall of Shame i.e. some farcical failed forays into products galore!