(which I think you should think about too)
I have a theory that New Year’s resolutions happen not because of the idea of a fresh start, but rather because many people get time off around this time of year and so actually have half a second to reflect and decide where their lives need a readjustment (usually in that few days between Christmas and New Years where you’re not even sure what year it actually is any more). I’m someone who frequently freely admits her life is looking rather like a Picasso painting. The difference is that mine isn’t so much artful creativity/a masterpiece as it is just a mess of things happening at once. In saying that, this year has involved a lot of careful thinking and restructuring. This has been out of necessity rather than want, but it has given me some ideas about the coming year and which areas of my life need retuning. A lot of these affect the content I’m going to be bringing to you for 2019, so with that in mind I hope you’ll join me on a deep dive into the attitudes I’m planning to readjust in the coming year.
Quality not Quantity in Clothing (and everything)
I have a lot of clothes. This is inevitably what happens when you insist on keeping your arse on the fast track to rapidly expanding every year. My forever increasing dress size notwithstanding, I have a lot of clothes anyway. I never actually mastered the whole capsule wardrobe thing and I have a tendency to buy stuff I like on whims. Very, very rarely do I go out with the distinct intention to buy a specific item of clothing. What I do buy is often an “of the minute” trend which isn’t going to last season after season. As an example, in a fit of insanity I bought at least two crop tops in the last year. Both of these crop tops have the charming feature of being widest at my thinnest point (my waist) and consequently making my hips look even more disproportionately huge than they actually are. Apparently I momentarily thought I was a trendy teenager instead of an overweight late twenty-something. Lesson learned.
The thing is, most of this stuff either dates itself into irrelevancy quickly, or is cheap quality and breaks, fades or generally looks worse for wear within a twelvemonth timeframe. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as trends can be fun, but it’s a bad thing when literally your whole wardrobe consists of this fast fashion despite you being a working professional who’s meant to dress in corporate attire.
By comparison, when I was twenty years old, I was in an outlet store in New York. The Australian dollar was close to parity with the US (oh how I miss those days!) and I stumbled across a $300 Marc by Marc Jacobs deep red trench coat. At that time, $300 was an unimaginable sum of money but I loved it so I caved. I wore that thing for six years and six seasons straight. It was beautiful quality, timeless and well made. Truthfully, I wish I’d never gotten rid of it as I now know I could’ve gotten more use out of it if I’d had a better idea of how to care for the material and restore it. The perils of youth I suppose.
Now I’m not saying all designer goods are better than fast fashion or that you should cough up hundreds to thousands of dollars on clothing. What I am saying is that you should buy clothing consciously. Don’t buy something just because it’s on-trend this season. Buy it because it makes you feel like a badass. And when it comes to work wear and anything that’s going to bear the brunt of the outside world (which items that is will depend on your climate, but generally: coats, shoes, handbags), make sure you’re buying something that will stand the test of time. That $300 coat probably ended up being the cheapest cost-per-wear item I’ve ever owned, despite being the most expensive at the time of purchase.
Spending to Your Values
While we’re on the topic of fast fashion, it’s also important to think about how your spending reflects your values. There’s a lot of discussion going around about ethical fashion as opposed to fast fashion, in the same way there’s always been long debates about cruelty free makeup and what actually constitutes a truly cruelty free brand. Now, I don’t necessarily think it’s possible to turn all your spending ethical within a short timeframe. But I do think it’s something worth considering and trying to make small changes in. Thinking about this brought me to a relatively simple change I can make that will both better reflect my values as well as allow me to redirect my money to things I better believe it should be going to, and probably help that whole expanding-arse scenario as well.
In short, I’ve decided I’m cutting out UberEats and all similar apps from my life. The reasons why they don’t particularly align with my values are complex and have to do not only with the working conditions they provide, but also with the general idea of eating out no longer being something that is a treat and an occasion. I’m also keenly aware that such apps have been a huge drain on my health and my finances, so it’s time for me to kick them to the curb. There are probably similar small choices you can make for the coming year too to help align your spending more with what you personally value.
Consume the Consumption First
I have traditionally been someone who ends up with a phenomenal amount of samples scattered around my house. In fact, I frequently have brought literal bags full of the things to work for the ladies I work with to be able to make use of as I simply can’t get through them all. However, I also am in the habit of having “back ups” of my favourite products before I run out of them. This is fine for things I consume quickly, like moisturiser or face wash, but often it’s been for things like bronzer, a lip balm, a mascara or something else I could easily just swap out with another one I had lying around in the interim and so the “back up” has lived rotting in a drawer for months. My goal in 2019 is to actually use the various samples I keep ending up with. If you’re thinking “but Steph! So many of those samples are for skin care and you should keep consistent with your skin care routine!”, never fear. Skin care samples that aren’t samples of products I actually use (although it’s surprising just how many of them are things I do, or one use products I change often like masks anyway) I plan to use up by using on my neck and body instead. Basically, I want to make sure I’m using all these things up rather than delegating them to somebody else or else having them end up in landfill.
Investing While Saving
One of the reasons I’ve never really invested is because I was always taught that you should first build up a savings account in case of emergencies. I was also taught that the savings account should contain three months worth of your salary in it. Want to know how many years it would take me to save that at my current rate of saving? Actually, not that many. About two and a half. But the idea is always deeply un-motivating and un-exciting to me as savings don’t show the long-term potential growth that investing does. Saving for my first house was comparatively easy, in fact, because I saw the end goal as rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, financial security should be a reward unto itself, but frankly I’m not going to pretend I’m wired that way. Spreadsheets don’t make me giddy with excitement (though I confess to a slight frisson of excitement when I discovered a compound interest calculator – be still my beating heart). As a result, I usually frittered the money away on something before I’d ever actually achieved the goal, which meant there was no money left to invest OR put towards emergencies. This time around I’m going to do it a little differently. I have debts to pay off so those will inevitably have to go first, but I know I can pay them off and I know when by. The rest, I’m going to divide between investments and savings for emergencies. In doing this, I’ll build up both funds slower, but I also feel like I’ll be getting better return on my money since the average rate of return on investment is significantly higher than what even the highest interest savings account can offer me. It’s a win-win and I get to feel victorious at the end of it.
These changes are going to reflect in my blog because I’m planning on doing a whole lot less consuming. I love makeup, I always will, but no longer is my account going to be the place to see a bunch of new releases. Instead I’m going to focus on highlighting and enjoying what I already have and using it in new ways, as well as focusing on the life and experiences I’m going to be building instead. I’d already started the change partway through this year, so I hope you’ll stick with me in the coming year ahead!
What about you? What are some changes you want to make in 2019?