March 01, 2017

Year of Less: Check In

For the past 3 years I have made a point to choose a "theme" for my year. One word to sort of live by for the next 365 days. This year I chose the word less. Last year I read Shonda Rimes' book Year of Yes and found a few choice nuggets of wisdom sprinkled among its pages. For her, it was about putting forth an effort and actively participating in her life. For me, it's about purging and minimizing the amount of possessions I have. This isn't to say I'm going extreme minimalism, but I am focusing on buying, keeping, and having less stuff around me. To quote Michelle from Making Sense of Cents
"I used to purchase crazy amounts of clothing, random items for my home, and so on. I hoarded tons of items, hoping that one day I would find a use for them."

To keep it simple, I only set four main goals for the year. Here's a quarterly check in as to how they're going.

Read What I Own

I'm terrible when it comes to reading the books I own. For whatever reason, at some point I decided I wanted to read Book A. Then whenever it's time to pick something new to read I take Book A off the shelf, look at it, and then go to the library and pick something else. It's a vicious cycle and one I never stop doing. This year I decided that I was only allowed to read one of the 26 books that are on my shelf, regardless of how long it takes me to get through them all. If they wind up being DNF, that's fine. The point is to read them... and then get rid of them. To date I've read .... nothing. 

Spend Smarter

This one is a bit difficult to gauge right now because in January I spent just under $2 grand on furniture. Once February rolled around I started a no-spend and made mini goals to tackle my two cards that had the lowest balances. I doing a few balance transfers so so things will be paid in full soon. I also switched my transit method from taking the bus to taking the train. It was a $4 increase but for the convenience of not sitting in tunnel traffic and getting straight to Penn Station where I can get on the same train I take now, I consider this smart spending.

Eat to Live

This is one that I anticipate being a day-to-day struggle for me. I bought a new Nutribullet at the tail end of December so I have started blending again and make myself a smoothie for breakfast here and there and have been tracking what I'm eating in my mini HP.

Dress Up

As anticipated, this was one of the first things I started to slack on. I did however take Dani's advice and start picking outfits - even if it meant 2 or 3 for options - the night before. I also started hopping in the shower as soon as I get up rather than puttering around for an hour. This all saves me time in the morning because then all I need to do is put on my clothes and walk out the door. It's still a struggle because I'd rather do my own things than get ready for work {ridiculous.. I know}. 

For the most part, I think I've done ok. Small steps. I'll check back in another 3 months. Hopefully by then I'll have started reading some of the books and the other things will have turned into a habit!

Did you pick a word for 2017? If so, how's it going for you?


  1. I think the $4 bus to train increase is actually the definition of spending smarter. It doesn't need to be about spending less, but about getting more and getting what you actually need for your dollar. I fully believe that your time and convenience are worth money. I'd rather spend a few extra bucks and save myself some stress and headache than save a tiny amount and cost myself time.

    Setting out clothes the night before or even at the beginning of the week was a huge lifesaver when I worked in office, and I would even do it some nights before teaching an early class. The fewer decisions to make in the morning when brain power and energy are precious, the better.

  2. Read what I own is one I should really do. I only have 1 extra book on Kindle, but Ryan has a couple and I have access to all of our roommate's books. I'm super poor right now what with not working for that last 5 weeks, but I've been buying new books anyway. Good news is my reading time is way lower so I'm not buying all that many!