Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Budget: January and February

We're two months in to 2017 and fresh in to the $250 budget, so it's time for me to check my records and see how I've been doing! I think I've been making great strides, but February is a short month and limited work has made my funds tighter than usual. We'll see if I'm feeling as positive as spring rolls around!

What happened in January and February?

One of the most important things I did at the beginning of the year was break myself of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) as much as possible. Instead of panicking when I saw a really great sample I wanted, I forced myself to say, "Okay, I really want that sample...but is it worth buying a full-sized product just to get a sample?" And I always answered that question with "no." This happened with a deluxe sample of Drunk Elephant's new Sukari Baby Facial that made the skincare section of Instagram go nuts. Yes, it seems like the sort of product I'd love! ...but am I really going to place a Sephora order for things I don't need just to get a deluxe sample that I could maybe get two uses out of? Nah. I'm now at the point where I have to have at least two full-sized products I want to buy before I'll place an order, and then I'll wait to buy them until the retailer also has appealing samples and coupons. I feel like I get more for my money that way.

I'm also making great use of my "new product" box; just yesterday, I took out the Perfekt Beauty Brow Perfection Gel, and because I'm still testing it, I have no desire to try more stuff. A few weeks before that, I removed two Milk Makeup cheek products so I could test and review them. "Why did you pull out two products?" you may ask. "I thought you were only supposed to grab one a week!" Well, interestingly, I've had several weeks where I had no desire to grab something out of the box! I was too busy with other hobbies, or too engrossed in whatever I'd picked last week.

Lastly, Jacquelyn Lovene (one of my favorite "moderate stash"-type YouTubers) produced a video that challenged people to "just not buy shit" in February. I thought this seemed like an easy challenge, partially because I was tapped out from my purchases in January (more on that in a moment) and partially because February is a shorter month. I technically bought something at the start of the month, but it doesn't count as "buying shit" for me--again, more on that in just a moment.

Overall, I'm feeling wonderful about this whole challenge! I still have two gift cards sitting around, one for Sephora and one for Dermstore, and I have no desire to use them on anything. I think the ease will continue through March and April (my birthday month), but I get the feeling the real challenges will come in fall.

What did I buy?

As of February 26th, I have made seven cash purchases, two credit/gift card and cash mixed purchases, and one purchase with just PayPal funds. Three of those cash purchases were just for staple products: my night time lip balm (Nuxe Reve de Miel), my current face spray of choice (Clinique Moisture Surge), and a small assortment of boring "but I gotta repurchase it" products: shaving cream, conditioner, hair ties, and dry shampoo. One item, the La Roche Posay Toleriane Fluide, was returned because it broke me out badly. Also, I purchased two foundation sample sets, one from Milk and one from Koh Gen Do. The January 17th purchase might be a bit confusing, so let me explain: I had a $30 gift card and the order was $40.23, but the $15 It Cosmetics product was something my mom wanted me to pick up for her and she paid me back, so I just considered it a wash.

Here are the totals so far (although fair warning, I suck at math):

cash spent total -- $128.49
cash spent on staples -- $75.81
cash spent on new products -- $52.68
 products returned -- 1
return value -- $23.84 credit at Dermstore
new products (excluding returns) -- 8
total out of budget -- $47.83

I actually began to sweat when I noticed just how many purchases I made in January. Then I realized that it was, again, for two sets of samples, and for several products I'd been waiting to be released or be available on the cheap, namely the Charlotte Tilbury foundation and the Deciem Ordinary Marula Oil. By the time February rolled around and I was working on Jacquelyn's challenge, there was nothing new I really wanted.

I'm still nervous, though, because I've already used up almost $50. When your budget is $250, that constitutes a fifth of the year's total. Again, my birthday is coming up, and I'm often given a gift card or two. And I still have a couple of gift cards waiting for me. Also, my partner will be visiting in summer, and that's a definite deterrent to beauty purchases for me. But by the time fall rolls around, I'll be partner-and-birthday-less.

How are my other goals going?

A post shared by Renee (@reneesanatomy) on

The "casual year-long quest to finish as many deluxe samples and foil packets as I can" is off to a running start. As of this post, I have finished seven full-sized products, eight deluxe samples, and a whopping twenty-three foils. I thought I'd slow down on the foils because of my obsession with patch testing, but it turns out that for every couple sunscreen or moisturizer packets I have, there's a perfume towlette or lip balm I get get through in one or two uses.

The full size products will be slower going and will probably consist mostly of staples, which I know isn't that fun for anybody. That said, I'm finishing my candles faster than I thought I would, and it's crazy to realize just how much I spend on candles. (I love them and I think they're worth it, but still! $30 every time you finish one!)

Interestingly, I'm finding that deluxe samples are the toughest things to go through so far. I think it's because I pull a lot of my deluxe samples out of the "new products" box, test them, don't care for them, and pass them on instead of forcing myself to finish them. Hopefully, I'll get lucky and find a few that I actually want to use up. Also, I'm making definite dents in a lot of my perfume splits and samples, so there should always be progress of a kind to inspire me!

Again, if you want regular updates on my use-it-up project, please consider following me on Instagram. I sometimes post about it on Snapchat, too. My username on both platforms is ReneesAnatomy.

My "be less wasteful" goal is going smashingly. I'm loving my mini Makeup Erasers, the glass straws I got haven't cracked a bit despite being tossed around on the daily, and it's been easy to make the switch from plastic bags to Tupperware for my packed lunches.

The one goal that isn't really advancing is the "save up for a trip" goal. Unfortunately, I wasn't given much work this semester, so my funds are very limited. This means that, after my monthly bills are paid, I have very little to put in to the envelope I set aside for a trip. That "extra" $20 instead goes to some of the weird foods I eat, or more cat litter, or a new toothbrush. It's still early in the year, so I'm hoping I get contract work this summer that can help me pad the envelope. If that doesn't happen, I think my partner and I can focus on cheaper local trips versus one bigger vacation.

How are you doing with your 2017 goals?


  1. I've definitely spent more than I planned in January and February - though still have a healthy amount of money in my budget. To keep myself in check, I'm going on a no-buy till spring (so...end of April when it might actually BE spring).

    1. Yeah, I'm kind of thinking of "just not buying shit" in March, too, so I can save up all of my gift cards and free gifts for April. There's usually a Sephora sale around that time, too, so it should be the perfect time for me to settle in and buy shit. :D