It’s a random Wednesday morning. I am sitting in the concierge lounge of a Marriott Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. On this morning I had a random thought … spend less.
To be honest it’s not so random. Before I left Atlanta, mygarage looked like a warehouse (from all the shipments I have received this week). So much so that hubby had to “organize” all the boxes. Additionally, I analyzed my last Amex statement by category (by hand) last night to see where my money went and how many times I made purchases in each category. As an example, I have two (2) charges for gas, totaling $76.93 (not so bad). By stark contrast, I had thirty one (yes, 31) charges at Target totaling $1,771.37 with $428.11 in returns, bringing the total to $1,343,26. Yes, I know that when you order stuff online they sometimes will charge you multiple times for a single order (depending on where your items are shipping from). Also, most of those expenses are Christmas Decorating (mostly one-time in a new house); but, in my humble opinion that’s still WAAAYYYtoo much! 🤦🏽♀️
Side note: Not to go off of a tangent; but, I do use my American Express card for everything. I also pay it off every month so interest is not a concern.
So my general goal is to spend less. PeriodT! It’s way too easy for me to click a button and order something from Amazon and Target. That will stop. If I can just get a couple of categories under control my monthly financial analysis (that I often do not do) would look so much different! I have three (3) goals:
Limit Target/Amazon purchases to one time a week (maximum). Ideally I should be able to get by with one or two times a month; but, baby steps… Fridays are the only day I will shop in Target. I am ditching Amazon for a while. I also deleted both apps from my phone.
Spend $0 on paper and planning supplies. I have enough paper. I don’t need anymore.
Actually pay attention to what I am being charged at the checkout counter (in any store) and review my bill! I cannot tell you how many times I walk out of a store with a basket full of goodies and have no idea what I paid. #smh
We Don’t Buy Things with Money, We Buy Them with Hours from our Life. read this
So that’s it for me! When is the last time you analyzed your spending? For me, it’s super easy because I put all my charges on one card. As we go into the holiday/shopping season (when I tend to view so many buying guides online), I highly encourage you to do a similar exercise on your most used account (if you have more than one). When you do so, set realistic goals for yourself. Your eyes will truly be opened for the better and your wallet/bank account will thank you!
Meet the perfect carry-on. Unbreakable, thoughtfully designed, and guaranteed for life WITH a built in USB charger. This is not a “new’ item; but, if you’re in the market for a new carry on, this is IT! Choose from two (2) sizes and many colors. Shop here or check out more images on Aways’s Instagram page.
Most bloggers share this kind of information on YouTube. I’ve watched many videos and I’m completely #over watching people take things in and out of bags. 😕
Over the past five (5) years I’ve taken at least fifteen (15) international trips and have had many more domestic excursions. Over time I have PERFECTED MY TRAVEL TECHNIQUE. It’s actually a fun experience for me! So I thought I would share all the fabulous items I take with me on trips (or on holiday as our European friends would say 😘). Before we start, let’s get one thing out of the way: I NEVER CHECK BAGS no matter where I’m going or for how long. I’ve made a carry-on suitcase and a tote/backpack work for two-week trips to Europe so I know you can do it for a weekend getaway or even a week-long trip (with a little a lot of planning).
Travel mantra: Organize! Everything has a place and every place has a thing.
This is my PERSONAL ITEM (something that will fit underneath the seat). I am currently using the Henri Bendel Jetsetter Backpack. I absolutely ❤️ it and it holds SO MUCH! How much? Everything you see in the picture above! (click the image to zoom in)
On one side I pack all of my clothes. Mostly solid/plain pieces that I can mix and match. For every 1 pair of pants I will take 2 shirts (remember to count the bottoms you are wearing!) The trip I’m currently packing for is only 3 days (Saturday – Monday) so I packed 1 additional pair of pants besides the jeans I wore on the plane, 2 shirts and 1 jean shirt. See below for the 3 outfits I made from this combination. (see also Meaningful Holidays)
Side 1 of my suitcase was pretty easy. Side 2? Not so much! 😩 This is where my mantra REALLY comes into play (O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-E❗️). Take a look at side 2 below. This is where I pack everything else:
Looks nice and neat right? That’s because it is! ORGANIZE. ORGANIZE. ORGANIZE! On the left hand side:
Finally, there’s a sleep mask from J. Crew 🙂 This one is sold out but here’s another good option from Slip Beauty that’s also on my wish list.
On the right hand side is:
Get ready for this super travel tip: my Gucci Soho Disco Handbag serves as storage for all of my underwear, socks, comb, hair bonnet and my prescription glasses! (GREAT way to help the bag keep it’s shape while on the go!)
The Anya Hindmarch In Flight Case has all of my liquids: makeup, skin care, etc. ❤️❤️❤️ this bag and the contents EVEN MORE! This case has two sides: Take Off (deepest) and Touch Down (more shallow). I ALWAYS buy smaller sizes of the products I use everyday to take with me. #justsayno to those clear plastic containers that can all contain what can appear to be mystery liquid. #nobueno 👎🏽 I absolutely love all of my things and I want to see them in as close to their original form as possible!!! 😍
Finally, I have a Tory Burch umbrella (no longer available ☹️).
Did you notice there’s no jewelry mentioned? That’s because I don’t wear much. I usually take 1-2 bracelets and it’s on me at all times: a dainty necklace, my pandora thumb ring, michael kors watch, some form of studs for earrings and my wedding ring – that’s it!
Today’s post is really a #repost from one of my favorite Podcasts, The Minimalists. I’ve talked about minimalism before, the theme being, “To Live a Meaningful Life of Less“. Or the intentional use of your resources (time, talent, attention), being deliberate with it. You decide what “less” means, for you. Your less looks different from my less. In this particular episode, Joshua & Ryan (the authors) talk about creating a meaningful holiday season. What does a meaningful holiday season look like for you??! I encourage you think about, then CREATE that!
12/15 update: Minimalism documentary is now available on Netflix!
As I listened, I answered the questions discussed in the podcast (in gray).
How do you get into the holiday spirit with all the everyday challenges of life, as well as the constant bombardment of holiday advertising? Getting into the holidays has never been a challenge for me. This is my FAVORITE time of year, mostly because I like the sparkle of the season. I’m that girl that wants to put her tree up super early. When it comes to advertising, I usually ignore it – that’s a skill. Not just during the holidays but in everyday life. Learn to ignore things that are a waste of your time or provide no value to you. Now, typically, if I see something I think I like/want, I always watch reviews on YouTube or read a blog post – it’s free advice! Or you can buy from Nordstrom and feel confident that you can return it if you change your mind.
How do you avoid succumbing to the overconsumption of alcohol amid all the pressures of the holiday season?Again, never really an issue; but, find something you can do to avoid putting yourself in this situation. Don’t hang around people who you tend to drink around or worry around or think bad thoughts around. For the most part, you control your environment. Pick a new one. Looked at in another way, what do you overconsume? Lately my nmesis has been shopping for beauty products. I live it, breathe it, watch videos about it, read more reviews, etc. all day. Unless I find an alternative “thing to do.” I got out of this expensive rut by starting a new series on Netflix, Narcos. It’s sssooo very good and takes my mind off of my current short-term obsession with beauty products and skin care. So, the answer for me was to find something else to do that’s just as fun!
How do you discuss with your family that you want to replace holiday traditions that no longer add value to your family’s holiday season?This one is golden because this year my family is doing just that! I/We have been talking about taking a trip during the holidays instead of giving gifts for YEARS (so there was a very LONG warming up period). This year I decided to reduce one of the barriers for my family and also suggested we only buy gifts for kids (no adults). We discussed, they semi-bought in and then I began to build excitement around the alternative. Once your family buys in, then YOU can do the work to CREATE the experience that provides more value.
I encourage you to listen to the episode and answer these questions for yourself as well. Really think about what a #meaningfulholiday looks like for you and what adds value to your life. Own it and go after it. #HappyHoildays
I can be “extreme”. Just last week I got rid of 50%+ of my clothes. All donated to The Goodwill, of course. I do this periodically. Some people think it’s strange. #shrug I’m not sure if I did it because I’m a semi-minimalist or if it’s because I like to buy fancy new things. Actually, I hate clutter and whenever I “feel myself accumulating too much stuff” I like to purge, or pare down as The Minimalists would say. In my head, I want my closet to look like the picture on the left – no more. There’s actually a game for this called The 30-Day Minimalism Game.
Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.
A few days ago I mentioned how I was getting into podcasts. Well, I found a new one that makes me feel less strange about my periodic paring down episodes! One day it’s clothes, the next day it may be jewelry, shoes, books, whatever I feel at the moment. The name of the podcast is The Minimalists, hosted by 2 guys: Joshua and Ryan. Their podcast/movement is extremely popular and The Chicago Tribune recently wrote a piece where they encourage everyone to Pare Down.
The best way to understand “The Minimalists” is to watch their most popular TED talk, A Rich Life with Less Stuff or listen to their latest podcast. The duo also has a documentary that debuts next week! Of course I bought tickets for me and my husband (blank stare… he has tendencies, ok?) and I am super excited to see the film, right here in Atlantic Station next Wednesday! You can find Minimalism in a theater near you here. Make your own definition of Minimalism in whatever space best suits you! #youarenotalone #purge #paredown #befree #minimalism