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
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
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
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.