Shitters! I did not wake up today planning to write to you, but a couple things happened that made this email ESSENTIAL. First, it’s International Women’s Day. I am a woman, and my preferred method of being respected is being compensated well for my work, but if you are not affiliated with places that can do that, I will settle for you reading my newsletter. Second, the commodification of International Women’s Day. Our society’s unparalleled ability to commodify absolutely everything is… a lot things. Gross. Impressive. Concerning. And for those of us living in a reality of being constantly bombarded by sales while living within the constraints of a BUDGET, stressful! But, my discerning Shitters, this does not mean that we cannot take advantage of a good sale to fulfill our existing needs at a slight to major discount.
While scrolling through Instagram stories (for the first time of the day at noon! Huge for me!), I saw that APL—my absolute favorite athletic shoe brand—is having a 25% off sale for International Women’s Day (code is IWD). HUGE. I’ve wanted to write about APLs for a while, but they’re stupid expensive, so I wanted to time it to a sale. Lucky for the ladies (and men who observe—apparently they’ll give a discount to anyone around here…), they decided to go big.
I’ve had this pair of White Techloom Breezes since Black Friday 2018, and they’ve been my go-to closed toe shoes ever since. They’re super lightweight (I’ve tried Adidas Ultraboosts in the time since, and had a pair of Asics before, and both are considerably heavier), slip-on (laces are not required, plus you can wear with or without socks), FULLY MACHINE WASHABLE (a big deal for a white shoe, though they do come in other colors), and are one of those shoes with a great low profile that don’t look stupid to wear when you’re running decidedly non-athletic errands.
While 2018 was not long ago in terms of many things (the realization that racism and white supremacy are bad and wrong included, Chris Harrison!!!!!), it is in terms of owning an athletic shoe. I tried to get a new pair on Cyber Monday BUT my mom liked them so much that I let her have the pair I got myself then, along with the running shoes she picked for herself. It was a more expensive gesture than I’d normally be able to make, but I was living at her home at the time and saving a considerable amount on groceries/keeping myself alive, AND I considered it a very critical expense in Operation “Get My Parents to Stop Wearing Merrells In Public.” Well worth it, I’d say.
This time around, I opted for another white on white—the Techloom Wave (apologies to my sister who is definitely gonna yell at me for copying her even though we live 3000 miles apart AND I SHOWED HER THE BRAND). On the heels of a discussion I had on Hysteria about money and spending last week/some requests that followed, I wanted to give you a little insight into how I made this purchase budget-wise.
I’ve experimented a bit with explicit budgeting in the past, but I’ve always been a little lax on my approach to it, and as a result, never had the most concrete idea of how much money I could comfortably spend. In the past, this has led me to spend a bit more than I should have in some cases, and to feel VERY anxious about purchases I could’ve made completely comfortably in others. IMO, not the best way to live unless you are raking in loads of cash and/or are frugal by nature (I am N/A on both of the above).
Mint, the most well-known of the budgeting apps, wasn’t really flexible enough for me, so this time around I went the Google sheet route. My approach is a bit involved, but so far I’ve been really into it. Full disclosure: This approach lends itself more easily to people in steady work situations, and is a bit labor-intensive. As someone who is trying to be more intentional in my spending/budgeting, and is willing to spend the time keeping track of it by hand, it works for me, but it definitely won’t be for everyone.
Here goes: First, in a blank Google sheet, I break down the amount I can expect to bring home monthly via my salary + other income (hi guys, that’s because of you!). I split this into necessary expenses (think rent + utilities/ groceries/ car + gas/ any loans or amount you owe monthly, etc.), what I should save (people throw around different percentages here, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make it work exactly with a “standard amount”), and, finally, what I can spend (I break this into categories like restaurants/entertainment, fitness, personal care, shopping, and gifts/donations). This is the outline of my budget, and I take it a (very-involved) step further by listing out all my purchases for the month on credit/debit accounts and categorizing them based on where they fall into the budget.
I’ve wanted to replace my old APLs for some time, and discounts like this are hard to come by, so this sale was a definite yes for me, but they ate a big portion of my “shopping” budget. I could transfer some from “personal care” or “fitness” to make it work if I need to. When the month’s over, I’ll duplicate the sheet into another tab, clear out the purchase log, and start all over.
This might sound a little insane to you. Honestly, it might BE a little insane. If you have a tips/recs for budgeting and would like to share, I’m all ears. There’s no “right” way to do stuff like this, and different things will work for different people, but I think we can learn from each other on this one.
As for the APL sale, it’s a today-only thing, so hop on it if that speaks to you, and let me know your best budgeting tips if you have ‘em!