MMXX: Martius.

March was a very long and anxious month, and now we’re living in a different plague-riddled world. It seems ridiculous to post this wrap-up, especially ten days late, as so many of my personal ambitions have been sidelined for the moment. Routine can be a comfort in the face of uncertainty, however, so I’m going ahead with it.

MMXX: THREE

MONTHLY GOALS

Send one real letter.
Not in March.

Sew at least one garment.
I finished a Seamwork Oslo sweater early in the month.

Send newsletter at least once.
I did! (Believe it or not.)

Make one “green” improvement.
I cut up several old t-shirts to make kitchen cloths to use in place of paper towels. This action wasn’t prompted by my better, greener nature, though — it was a necessity due to ubiquitous paper product shortages. (We have bought our toilet paper in bulk for years, and had a good supply already in hand when the crisis hit, thank goodness.) I haven’t needed to open a new roll since I started this, but I do need to do a load of towels every two to three days now, which is its own environmental concern and a lot of labor.

Make one apartment improvement.
I was too anxious to even think about this.

Go on one outing with Lennox.
We made time to watch a silly movie together at home, which is probably a quarantine equivalent.

Read one physical book I already own.
I finally finished The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees and will keep it for future reference. The method of wardrobe analysis presented in the book is useful, though I would use it mostly to plan sewing projects instead of using it as a guide for shopping. In fact, many of its shopping strategies are downright laughable for a plus-sized person, so I ignored them. There’s plenty of workable advice in it, though. I recommend it for anyone with an analytical bent who is looking to streamline their wardrobe.

ONGOING PROJECTS

Combine websites, transfer blog, forward other domains, and install SSL certificate.
I made no progress on this last month.

Tidy and declutter all storage areas.
Dude, I barely cleaned the house in March — so no progress here, either.

WRITING

I wrote a couple of blog posts and cleaned up an older flash fiction piece and posted it. I worked just a bit on my serial, too — until my anxiety reached a point that I could no longer concentrate.

MONEY MATTERS

Track personal spending on books, sewing, and clothing.
I had budgeted more for sewing and clothing in March as I was working on my Design Your Wardrobe project and had planned to treat myself to some clothes for my birthday.
Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $50.00 / $24.58
Audiobooks $30.00 / $29.27
All Sewing $100.00 / $101.95
Clothing $100.00 / $67.44

My income has dropped a great deal since the beginning of March, so I’ll be running on a personal “austerity” budget going forward, at least for a while.

Track household spending on food.
I haven’t bothered to total these numbers. I expect our grocery spending was high as we stocked up as best we could and have been cooking more at home. (We’re also using a single grocery store and buying whatever brands are available, so we’re not keeping costs as low as we usually do.) Our household budget will need to be modified going forward, anyway, as our household income has dropped significantly. Lennox and I both still have our jobs (thank goodness), but both of us have taken substantial pay cuts.

How I saved money in March:

  • I downloaded an Amazon First Reads title and two Audible Originals for free.
  • I watched a YouTube tutorial and gave myself a haircut. I used to cut my own hair all the time when it was shorter, but gave up when I grew it out. Hair grows back, even when the cut is terrible, and this wasn’t terrible.
  • I downloaded some free graphics from Creative Market.
  • I downloaded four free Kindle books. The library is closed, so I find I’ve gotten less picky.
  • I used an account credit to order a CD for free on Amazon, but it was delivered to the wrong apartment, so I never got the package. It was one of those “automatically added to your Amazon Music” CDs, so I have the music in MP3 format, but it’s still disappointing that a neighbor wouldn’t walk over and drop it on my doorstep.
  • I used a forgotten Google Play gift card balance to buy a TV show I wanted to rewatch.
  • I normally spend the entire month of March collecting birthday freebies and using birthday discounts and coupons, but that wasn’t possible this year. I only used two:  A $10 off coupon at Torrid and a $10 birthday reward at The Body Shop. I used the former on a pair of leggings and the latter on my favorite facial moisturizer.
  • I read ten ebooks and one physical book from the library, and three free Kindle books. I also read four Kindle Unlimited titles before I canceled my membership, so each of those cost approximately $0.08.

Everything is unsettled, and we’re perhaps many months (or even a couple of years) away from a new normal. I have good days and bad days, and often feel overwhelmed. I’m not sure what place personal goal-setting has in my life right now, though I think (as I mentioned above) that they can contribute to a sense of normalcy. So I’ll likely adapt my goals to the present circumstances. We’ll see. At the moment, I have only two real ambitions: Don’t let things pile up, and do the next thing that needs to be done. That may have to be enough for now.