Fast Fashion Fast Slowed

I was bad. While I didn’t give my business to some of the more notorious fast fashion brands (Zara, Forever 21), I didn’t participate in ethical fashion either.

I needed more wicking capris for work. I need to walk half a mile to the metro and I get overheated easily. I’m sweating like crazy by the time I get to the station and the mediocre temperature controls aren’t great there either. Basically, if I wear it out, it’s going in the laundry. I don’t have in-unit laundry so I’m at the mercy of my floor on when I can do laundry. Usually it’s not a problem but I don’t like my wardrobe decisions being at the mercy of strangers.

I checked Poshmark but they didn’t have what I needed so I caved and went to Kohl’s website. I got some wicking clothes there for Firefly so I knew what brands I preferred and what sizes I needed. I got a couple of capri leggings, one wicking shirt, and a new sports bra.

I wasn’t happy but I’m fat and have a limited budget. Meeting those needs is not that easy so I tried to just keep it simple. It should have ended there. But it didn’t.

I picked up my order from a local Kohl’s because the shipping was free. I got trapped in the store by an unexpected deluge and started surfing the web. I found Torrid’s new Harry Potter line for the summer.

This kimono will be mailed to a local store for me to pick up (again, free shipping). I could argue that it was on sale and I used ebates and those are totally my colors but those are justifications. I didn’t need it; I just wanted it. Whether Torrid is fast fashion or not is a debate for another post but it’s definitely not ideal.

Either way, I participated in the consumerist machine and am here for atone for my sins. I started this for a reason and I need to remember that reason. I need to change my habits to stop hurting our planet and my bank account.

The Wonders of Coconut Oil

You read that right. I am a huge fan of coconut oil. I’ve only used the kind with a texture like petroleum jelly but I know there is an oil-y form as well.

Moisturizer
I had major issues with dry skin in winter. I wound up using petroleum jelly because it was the only thing that worked but it still left me feeling greasy. Coconut oil goes on lighter, does the same work, but doesn’t feel nearly as greasy. I’ve even used it sparingly on my cheeks and it works great.

Shaving Gel
I’ve been using it to dry shave instead of shaving with soap in the shower. I’m never going back. I can jump in the shower when I’m done and I can wear my glasses and see what I’m doing the entire time. It moisturizers while you shave too.

Conditioner
There are two ways to do this, use a little bit applied directly to hair or use it as a setting treatment and washing it out. I tried the first one. It did the job but it made my hair feel a tiny bit greasy. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. It will do in a pinch but I think I’ll stick with my current product.

Digestive Help
My little tub of organic coconut oil came with nutritional information. Yes, folks it’s entirely edible. It’s supposed to have a variety of other health benefits so I’m going to try to incorporate it into my morning smoothies.

Makeup Remover?
I have no tried this but I use another kind of oil now. When that runs out, I may see how it measures up.

Cooking?
I think this is meant more for the oil consistency but it’s supposed to be great for things like stir fry.

I’m sure there’s a variety of things but these are the things I can either verify or want to verify. I’m told it can also be used as an organic diaper cream or as part of an organic bug repellent. There are so many good things it can do, you should look into what coconut oil can do to improve your life.

Low to No: Bringing Money In

Since this month isn’t as packed as last month, I’ll hopefully have some time to bring in some extra cash. Here’s some strategies to help pay down my debt.

-Selling old board games: I own a ton of board games and went through them all to decide what goes and what stays. Some are very expensive new and all of them have their original pieces so I’ll be selling what I can of them and donating/giving away the rest.

-Update Poshmark listings: I’ll finally have the time and day light to photograph several items I have to sell. This includes thrift store finds as well as cosmetic bundles.

-Up my app game: I use Perk and Receipt Hog but I’ll have to up my game on using those and adding Ibotta into the mix. Since I’ll have some time, I’ll start ordering some things for the wedding centerpieces and use the extra time to get that going and use Ebates while doing it.

-Sell my books: Part of why I want to read my shelves a lot this month is to clean them out. I already have a big stack of books I want to offer Powell’s. Store credit is better than no credit.

-Advertise my dog sitting: I’ve dog sat for two people in my building and am on the radar for a third. I plan on creating a couple of flyers and posting them in my building to advertise my services to watch people’s pets Friday evening through Sunday.

Low to No: Stop Money from Going Out

One of the main points of a low to no spend time is to stop money from going out and instead keeping it in the bank. Here are some of strategies to stop the cash flow going out.

-During the work week, I’m going to block all retail websites I’ve been known to poke around. If I’m on a retail website, it’s because I’m adding something to wedding registry (which is almost done).

-I can only go to the (work) grocery store on Mondays and Thursdays. I can pick up meds when they’re ready but other pharmacy purchases must have a coupon.

-Any store trips will require a list. I am not allowed to deviate from the list.

-Since I’ll have some time, I need to start focusing on getting some wedding prep done. At this point, that’s a no-spend time suck.

Low to No Spend Month

I have been very bad with excess spending. I bought too many things at Awesome Con, had a $1200 car repair, bought new glasses (including the eye exam) without vision insurance, participated in reddit’s Arbitrary Day gift exchange, fell victim to Elhoffer’s latest design, and finally supplemented my non-disposable period collection.

To add to that, in August, I’ll be missing a week of work for FHub’s family vacation. I can get some things done while I’m there but not a full week’s worth of hours. September is when the wedding spending will be increasing dramatically. I’ll have to finish paying for various vendors, do trial runs, and finally get decorations.

I have done too much damage to my current credit card and need to build up my savings. I am trying to make July my month of low to no spending. No clothes, makeup, extra toiletries, music, books or other frivolities.

Basic groceries, medications, public transit, and putting gas in the car one time are all a reasonable addition to our budget. I shouldn’t need any toiletries but if I can get a good deal on something, I’ll consider splurging.

One thing that will help is that the only convention I’m going to is one I’m working at. Two other days will be spent at a festival (low spend for food) and playing D&D (low spend to bring food). One Sunday will be spent having dinner with my future ILs so that will be another low key day (probably a no spend). I might actually be able to pull this off.

Minimalism for Most of Us

The Financial Diet post a blog about trying minimalism without getting rid of everything. I really liked it because it highlights key points of minimalism but reframes them for most people.

A great point the author made is that minimalism offers a lot of ‘one size fits all’ recommendations. But with so many different people in the world, with different needs, the same things can’t work for everyone.

My friend had/has acne from hell including pitting. She needs major face coverage to feel comfortable being out in the world every day. She keeps her eyes and lips simple. I own a fraction of the face products she has because I don’t need them and routinely sweat them off. However, I love bold eye shadows and lipsticks. Our versions of minimizing our makeup would look totally different.

Know what you like and what you need. I don’t need the white button down every capsule wardrobe blogger says you do. You may not need the comfy sneakers or little black dress. Figure out what applies to you and if you like the overall message. Customize a ‘one size fits all’ message and tailor it for your life.

“I think it is important to just make sure you have a place for all of your stuff”
Yaaass! I have a bunch of plushies that I don’t like having out in the open. I was brainstorming ideas for how to put them away. We figured out that a hollow bench I liked might not work with the furniture we have now. Instead, we’ll move a bookshelf and get me a proper nightstand. The plushies will go in a basket on the bookshelf. We’ll create a place for the stuff we have and not have to get rid of anything.

Other times you must get rid of your bridesmaid/prom dress to make room for a good winter coat. Or avoid bringing anything in if you can say exactly where you’d put it. Part of taking care of your things is to have a place to put them.

Get rid of trash is a very crucial point so many people forget. I have a couple of boxes of loose junk, old mail, etc. that I need to go through. I just got rid of some shopping bags out of the bedroom and it feels like our floor space increased dramatically. Our countertops are a disaster but it’s mostly junk mail. Before you decide to gut your closet again, see if you just don’t need to get rid of actual rubbish.

I will second the author on “you’re not going to find God because you cleaned your closet” if you’re a normal person. However, living in a tidy space and buying intentionally can improve your quality of life. It can make you more aware of what you really want for your home, your money, and even your life. You need to do some introspection to have lasting change to stop impulse shopping or ignoring the pile of junk even though it’s bringing you stress.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a true minimalist like the folks who make a living off of it but I aspire to minimize and declutter my life. The folks who have gone to the extreme have valuable knowledge and insight on how to declutter your life. Even if you don’t go whole hog, you should still see how you can apply certain pieces to your life.

Closet Declutter

Despite trying the KonMari method, I seem to work best when I mull over what I really need in my life. Since there’s a major change on the horizon, I won’t need as many office clothes as before.

Skirts – I don’t have many skirts by American standards. An asymmetric black mini skirt (with pockets), a reversible purple and orange silk skirt, a hi-lo skirt with classic movie monsters, and I’m waiting on a gorgeous rainbow cloud skirt from Elhoffer Designs. I’m waiting on a red skirt from Gaia Conceptions for my Velma costume.

I had two knee length full skirts from ModCloth, a navy one with pastel sharks and a blue one with a bright octopus. I love the shark skirt because sharks are one of my favorite animals. The octopus skirt has a big waist that my chubby belly likes to squish down. I realized that I will never wear them to go out and be social and if I’m leaving my office life behind, there is no reason to keep them. I listed them on Poshmark and they sold in about 2 hours.

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Camis – I have a lot of tanks from Jordan Dene and sleeveless rayon tops. One of the main reasons I wore camis was because they worked so well with all of my skirts. All of them also show a sliver of bra in the back so I’m getting rid of all of my camis except my black one.

Leggings – I don’t need to look office appropriate as much so I’m gravitation more toward my bold leggings. This means that I can phase out at least one pair of my plain colored leggings.

Cardigans – I know I’m not going to wear a lot of my cardigans to hang out or go out so I can narrow this down by quite a bit. Some of the snaps on by Eddie Bauer 7 Ways cardigan don’t hold well and I’m accepting I’m probably more Slytherin than Gryffindor. I also got a cute black and white cardigan from ModCloth hoping it would be a great basic and I just don’t love it.

I like my 4th Doctor cardigan but I don’t wear it very much so I’m on the fence about it. I have a purple bolero sweater with half sleeves I’m also on the fence about. I’d use it with anything with thin straps for the office but I also have it in cream. I’m not sure if I still have a use for it but I’m not sure if I should get rid of it yet.

Tops – I have a plain tank top from ModCloth and I reach for one of my graphic tanks every time so it doesn’t make sense to keep it.

Unfortunately, selling these clothes is more of an exercise in minimizing and contrbuting to my side hustle since I had to replace a part on my car that the mechanic called “the most expensive part to replace.” I got this news just after I found out a doggy daycare near me might be hiring. Looks like I’ll have to put off my career change for a little while longer.