Dollars and Scents

Customs Collage

Back at the beginning of the year I indicated that owing to an overabundance of stuff and an underabundance of life, I was going to attempt to curb my spending in an effort to not only stem the seemingly endless tide of scented wax (and other treatsie-type items) slowly overtaking my home, but to also put those “found” funds towards another far-more-important-to-me experience, namely another end-of-year trip to Disney World.

People call these cut-er-off regimes “no buys” or “low buys.”  I’m not particularly fond of the no buy approach – most tend to come at them as they would a diet (“I’ll start on Monday!”) and along with that comes a nearly identical rate of failure.  It’s hard to turn off years of poor shopping and hoarding behaviour all at once – if it was easy, you probably wouldn’t have to institute a no buy in the first place, and you definitely wouldn’t be in danger of being buried alive by your candle collection.

Low buys are a far more reasonable approach to financial management and stuff assessment, as they really allow you to examine your shopping habits on a bit of a forensic level.  Absent that so-tempting-to-walk-right-across-it no buy line in the sand, is this really how you want to spend your budgeted mad money for the month?  Don’t you already have this exact candle, plus three backups in the closet?  Do you even have room to store this stuff?  And even if the answer to all of those questions is yes, yes and no, I ran out of room two years ago, at least you’re giving a bit of thought to your purchases and where they fit into the scheme of both your life and your budget.  I just find it easier to operate within the confines of a reasonable framework than to cut myself off completely – the raze-the-earth approach rarely works in the long-term, often setting off an avalanche of “zero hour” purchases that badly undermine your efforts before you’ve even begun.

All that to say I’ve been on an unofficial low buy since the beginning of the year.  And when it comes to scented wax, one of my favourite treat-myself things, I haven’t placed any orders since November of last year.  So there’s nothing coming in, although there’s plenty going out – the flip side of the low buy coin is use-up-what-you-did-buy.  I’ve been diligently melting through my wax every day, and I wager I have enough there to keep me going for the next eight or nine months.

But I’ve been doing so well (correction: we have been doing so well; Mr. Finger Candy and I are prioritizing the crap out of this trip!) that I thought it might be of some benefit to share my progress on a monthly basis.  Perhaps you’ll draw some inspiration from my attempts to whittle down my wax and be a bit more mindful of my spending in the first place.  Also, this will hold me accountable to my low buy; there’s no slacking when the blogiverse is watching!

Without getting into specific numbers, I did very, very well this January, purchasing absolutely nothing of a discretionary nature.  Seriously, not a thing.  That’s ever so slightly less impressive when you remember that I am coming off a rather pricey Christmastime trip to Disney where I treated myself just fine, but all the same, I avoided FOUR pre-orders from favourite wax vendors, as well as about a half dozen movies I’d like to purchase and some DLC updates to favourite video games.  I estimate that my husband and I spent just $50 this month between the two of us on the non-essentials of life, a trend I’d like to continue for as long as it possibly can.  Building up a bit of momentum in the early stages of anything is key, let alone when you’re trying to correct years of cruddy financial behaviour, and marking off those huge initial strides is super motivating.

I also like that the other side of the low buy (the “use it already!” buy) forces you to actually use the things you’ve already bought.  So much of this fragrance and beauty and home decor stuff is limited edition, and the urge to stock up on and hoard the things you know you’ll never be able to buy again can be quite overwhelming.  But there’s really something to be said for actually using the things you bought, and deriving every bit of enjoyment from them while they’re in your possession.  Somewhere Tyler Durden has a bullshit, machismo-laden take on the things you own owning you, but who needs that walking set of abs anyways? 😉

This will also provide me with a great opportunity to share with you any beauty hits or scent slam dunks I discover over the course of the month – you just never know what gems might be languishing in storage.  Gems such as this custom loaf and half-and-half pie I nabbed from Sniff My Tarts during a quickie Thanksgiving sale.  All three are AWESOME – I may just be getting the hang of this custom blending thing. 🙂

Apple Cider Latte/Ice Cream Scoop Bread/Vanilla Waffle Cone

Apple Cider Latte Custom

I was super pleased with all three of these scents when I received them a la carte in one of last year’s customs orders.  Apple Cider Latte is the absolute ideal of an apple fragrance – crisp, juicy, tart, sweet and lightly, slightly spiced.  Coffeephobes need not turn up their noses at this wonderful fragrance either – that latte note is a deceptive one, hovering lightly in the background, providing just the barest hint of bitter to support all that sweet.  In combination with Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone (a favourite “base blend” of mine that I like to pair with juicy fruits such as blackberries) it’s a total slam dunk – I think it smells EXACTLY like a warm, cakey apple fritter.  And now I want an apple fritter!

Mango Sorbet/Coconut Cream Pie/Vanilla Waffle Cone

Mango Sorbet Custom Pie

Vanilla Waffle Cone makes another appearance in this fantastic, sunny blend, which I created during my first customs order last year or maybe even the year before.  I’m very nearly finished that gorgeous decorated sheet cake, so it was time to re-up my stores of a fabulously fragranced favourite.  A scrumptious, fruity, creamy treat.  Holy gosh, is this blend ever yummy!  The only scent in my years of custom blending that I’ve seen fit to duplicate.

Starbucks Vanilla Latte/Vanilla Butter Fudge

Coffee Custom Loaf

And finally, one for Mr. Finger Candy, who loves coffee in all its varied forms (we stood in line for half an hour on Christmas Day at the Main Street Starbucks in the Magic Kingdom so he could get a keg-sized mega cold brew, the same keg-sized, apparently open-topped mega cold brew that later denied us entry to the People Mover after we had waited in line for half an hour for it as well.  WHAT THE HELL, MAN?!)  Hmm, I’m suddenly wondering if my husband even deserves such an adorable little loaf! 😉 I’m not totally sold on coffee scents, but this is a nice one.  SMT’s Starbucks Vanilla Latte fragrance is seriously decent, bearing none of the acidic bitterness common to coffee blends.  Nor does it smell like one of those appallingly powdery Swiss Miss concoctions – nothing here but a lovely creamed coffee scent, not too sharp, nor too milky.  And now I want a latte.

And with that, I close out January.  I’m proud of myself for sticking to my spending guns (again, proud of us) in the face of so much post-holiday temptation.  But I’ve got my eye on a much larger, hopefully more fulfilling, prize, the mere thought of which takes a lot of the sting out of abstaining from my favourite things.  Please join me again at the end of next month, when I hopefully have continued good news for you on the low buy front.  Until then, let us all go out and use the things that bring us happiness, and enjoy them for no more complicated a reason than simply because we can.

19 thoughts on “Dollars and Scents

  1. Girl, I loved this post!!! I also must congratulate you as well. (wow, why did I feel like Mrs. Molly Weasly saying, “Not to worry dear, It’s Ron’s first year as well.” or however she says it.
    Any who, I was going to say something in a recent post that it does feel like the year that almost everyone at the moment is saying they are on a “no buy, low buy”. I myself am currently trying to be good and do a low buy though I started like you last year. Of course you are doing far better than me because I have placed an order this month. Small but it still counts. I love how you are enjoying what you have, that is kind of what I am working on with one of my post that I am getting ready to post.
    These blends sound AHHHHmazing. I’ve kind of just given up hope with SMT but these blends,colors and shapes almost lure me back in. Especially the vanilla butter fudge coffee.. *swoon*

    • Why, thank you, I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 But like you said, it turns out we’re all sort of on the same wavelength when it comes to the no buy/low buy thing – I think Julie and Jay are both abstaining where they can, as are we. Can’t be the only four! I bet there are a lot of people who are trying to curb their spending after the holidays.

      But ugh, what a drag, particularly when there are customs orders to be had! Which I stayed well clear of; the SMT one hurt, though. 😦 These blends really did turn out so well (why didn’t I know you’re a coffee person? There are so few of us!) and they would have been pretty awesome in decorated sheet cakes. Ah well, next time, in four or so months or whenever they next open for customs again.

  2. You are truly scents-ible;)
    The thing about Tyler Durden is, he makes some succinct observations. (even when they’re creepy and also your own subconscious talking. He’s so woke). I’ll give him this point, especially pertaining to wax. I feel like it does own me sometimes, all reason tends to go out the window when it’s a vendor or scent that I want. You know I’m also on the low/no whatever you call it, but I’m learning the best method is relative to the person. No-buys, or bans work better for me because I move the ‘low’ threshold at will. Reading Julie’s post on the same topic this week made me chuckle, her soft start at a low-buy is the max amount I’ve ever bought; further proof of the relativity of it all. We all know when too much is too much for us and what to do about it, if only committing was as easy. I’ve enlisted my husband and he’s watching our joint Paypal for any wayward transactions, but I’ve drawn the line and I tend to not tiptoe over it once etched out.
    At least you have a fab end goal to keep in sight. All my efforts are to stop the bleeding of my financial hits from Dec/Jan, but I’m also keenly anticipating cleaning out my wax stores, some of it is so old, I’m sure I’ll be surprised by what I find. Good luck to us all!

    • See, it’s all a matter of perspective (and here of course I’m talking about whether you think Tyler Durden or the narrator is the one “in control” and not your approach to the no buy/low buy thing.) 😉 Whatever gets it done, says I.

      I was just saying to Jessica that we’re all on the same wavelength when it comes to cutting back in the new year – everybody’s trying to rein it in. That’s probably for the best – that way we can all replenish our stores, and it’ll be nice to maybe see some melted posts or what have you, see this stuff in action, as it were.

      I need to shut up about Disney already, I know, but I can’t! It’s the thing that’s keeping me going. And apparently also keeping me from shopping.

      • Perhaps, I should read the book, but I get the impression the narrator isn’t in control until he wrests it away from his alter ego by blowing him out of his head.
        I seem to lack the control when it comes to wax orders, but my new manifesto reads-NO MORE!!!
        That’s as strong-willed as I get w/myself. It’s freakin tough rn though, TBG is releasing some circus collection which I passed on last year. I’ll just keep puttin it out there in the universe that I’m on a ban and maybe I’ll adhere to it.

        Yes, you and Disney are in a lovefest at the moment, I rarely think of Disney w/o thinking, Finger Candy, and vice versa:) But if it makes you joyful then I’m with ya.

      • Oh, aargh, I received the notification about the Circus Collection. That’s the one that hooked me last year. I initially started making up this giant list of scents for wax, and then I realized that I don’t actually care for TBG’s wax all that much. It’s gorgeous, but the scents never really accord with (for?) me. So I thought about the body care, but then after perusing the list, realized there was only one item I was interested in, which makes it pretty not worth it.

        TL;DR – That’s how I talked myself out of a Bathing Garden Circus Collection order!

        I promise I’ll shut up about Disney at some point in the near future. It can’t go on at this fever pitch forever. I think. 🙂

  3. I know what you’re saying, TBG can be best or worst scent-wise for me, but I adore TBG’s lavender and the lil sampler of Rasp/lemon curd Poppet’s? so I’m eyeing those, also, I’m out of TBG scrubs…still debating w/myself.
    You’ve got serious Disney fever, my current mood w/HP, don’t want to leave it.

    • So you’d pretty much just lose your mind right about now if you were to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, right? Still have not been myself. Universal is close enough to Disney, but once you get into the Disney loop, it’s hard to get out of it (clearly.)

      • A Harry Potter obsessed friend recently went, and when she went into Diagon Alley for the first time, her husband scampered ahead so he could record her reaction. It was predictably – and adorably – MIND. BLOWN.

  4. Girl. You had met at “low-buy.” My mindset is very much like yours in that regard. I am not a fan of not giving myself some grace or wiggle room. I have never been on a No-Buy but I am navigating a low-buy. January saw 4 purchases of wax, February will see 3 and March will see 2. After that I will re-evaluate how things are going. 🙂 Cheering you on my beautiful friend!

    • Sending those positive vibes right back at you, Julie! Seems everybody is on some sort of cut-back plan at the moment; I guess we’ve all reached our limit. I like your approach, whittling it down a bit every month – takes a little of the sting out of sitting out or holding back.

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