Thursday, September 26, 2019

September 2019 Shopping Reflections

Since the last time I discussed my workload, things at the office have continued to become ever more hectic. Urgent international business trips are involved, though not for me at present - for which I'm grateful, because I have plenty to do here in NYC to hold down the fort for the team.

Separately, as you'll soon see, this was also a month in which I indulged in some extremely nice things for myself, continuing last month's trend. There are days when work-related stress makes me want to shop much more than I otherwise would. (On those days, I've generally been unable to find anything else I actually want to buy.) Then there are the days when I'm so mentally exhausted at the end of the day that even browsing online shops and daydreaming about pretty clothes is - quite frankly - too taxing to contemplate. (On those evenings, I mostly just watch random Youtube clips.)

The juxtaposition of these experiences has given me some food for thought regarding various lifestyle, money management, and career choices that I might make in the future. The nice things are - there's no denying it - really hecking nice. To use the KonMari parlance, they spark some joy for me. (Because I'm a bit materialistic and really enjoy having beautiful things to wear.) And I work hard to "earn" these indulgences, both in terms of hours billed and in the way I manage the rest of my finances. Among other things, I continue to make student loan payments totaling $3,950/month, every single month. (I have around 27 more months to go at that rate.) Additionally, I'm still contributing to my savings in similar proportions as last year.

But this financial state of things is fleeting. Most attorneys who start out in biglaw or biglaw-ish do not spend their entire careers there, and I'm ultimately pretty certain that I'm one of them. My own personal ambitions are such that I would very much like to be on another government pay-scale for a good long time again someday, starting sometime towards the end of the next decade or so. I hope to have children, and to prioritize saving for and spending on their education, the way my parents did for me, and K's parents for him. Both K and I also hope to always be in a position to extend some financial support to our parents - and potentially to some of our extended family - as needs arise.

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It's clear to me that, with all those financial and career-related choices that I would like to make, I won't always be able to indulge like this. Compared to all those other priorities of mine, the ability to indulge in fancy clothes, shoes, and accessories for myself does not rank all that highly. (Though I must also admit that I value the ability to shop for nice things more than most. Thus, I can probably always be expected to make more room for it in my budget than many other identically situated people would.)

Fashion - (TOTAL: $819.16)
  • Alighieri Initial Spark Necklace - $332.07* - As I mentioned in July, I'd been mulling over a few options for a new Alighieri necklace, and was particularly interested in ones with a longer chain like this Initial Spark and some versions of the Odyssey. Given that this is my fourth Alighieri piece (I also have the Jaja necklace, the La Fortuna necklace, and the Surreal earrings), I'm clearly obsessed. The artist behind the brand, Rosh Mahtani, is brilliant, and I love her organic, antique-inspired designs. This necklace is exactly what I expected, with a longer chain that works well for the size of the pendant. The only detail I find slightly distracting - and this is not the fault of the design; it's likely not avoidable with any necklace around this length - is that the pendant clinks against my desk somewhat often when I'm seated at my computer. That doesn't stop me from wearing it to the office, though! 
  • Vince Boiled Cashmere Funnel Neck Pullover, marble - $419.17* - Vince seems to bring this sweater back every year, in a slightly different set of colors. I've been interested in it for a while, ever since I noticed that my preferred size and color combinations were sold out by Black Friday last year. (This marble shade is the only lighter-colored neutral available at most retailers this year, except at Shopbop, which has it in gray.) As it's still quite warm in NYC, it's going to be a long time before I can wear this sweater outdoors. It's really soft, and I like the color. This sweater is a bit intentionally oversized around the body, but not excessively so. I got it in my usual S for more relaxed knitwear designs. Given that I have tons of nice sweaters, including from earlier this year, this should be my last new one in 2019.
  • Marc Fisher Chang Loafer, black leather - $67.92* - I grind down my spring/summer shoes remarkably quickly, and as I mentioned in July, my supply was really starting to dwindle. Since then, my M.Gemi Felize driving moccasins (similar) are now on their last leg. It'll probably only be another few wears before there's a hole in the side of one shoe. My gold glitter Sam Edelman loafers continued ripping along multiple seams, and are now done for. Because it felt like there would be several weeks before I could pull out my ankle boots, I was getting desperate to add another pair of spring/summer workplace-appropriate shoes to my wardrobe. When I saw Michelle's recent post featuring these and her comments indicating that she liked them, and then I saw a good price at Nordstrom Rack, I bought these almost immediately. They fit true to size. The design is a touch more narrow than the Sam Edelman Lior or Loraine loafers, but not enough for me to size up from my usual 7.5. Right out of the box, these were comfortable to wear for an entire day, including on my walking commute. I realize now that they didn't make it onto my Pinterest shopping list before I bought them, though other things on the list make clear that I've long been thinking about more loafers. 
* Indicates that the price includes either shipping or sales tax. 

The prices on these items, particularly the sweater and necklace, were technically all reduced by Jewel cash-back rebates (referral link: if you sign up as a new user through my link and start earning cash back, we both get a $5 bonus). Because Jewel currently offers generous cash-back rates from Vince and Matches Fashion, I got around $16 back on the sweater and $23 back on the necklace. But, as always, I don't factor cash-back rebates into my monthly shopping posts because it wouldn't be consistent with how I do my personal accounting; I don't record them in YNAB until the cash back is actually paid out, which happens some months later.

How was your shopping month? Does work-related stress make you more interested in shopping? And if it does, is there also a level of work-related stress that causes the shopping urges to go away again, maybe because there's simply not enough extra time or energy one can spare to think about it?

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