March 2021.

I’m on Claritan and Flonase together for oak pollen season this year, so I actually haven’t been sneezing for once. I’m not very miserable at all, which is as good as it gets when sheets of pollen coat everything for weeks on end.

March 2021

LEARNING

I’ve been doing more Norwegian lessons on Duolingo. I really enjoy Norwegian, though I don’t have any pragmatic use for it. I simply like it.

MAKING

I sewed a Seamwork Finn t-shirt, a toile for a Mimosa blouse, and made some tasty gluten-free gingerbread. I also made low-fat, gluten-free Funfetti cookies for my birthday (instead of cake).

WRITING

I finally posted about my Tee of the Month Club on the blog, though I still haven’t sent out my newsletter. I haven’t worked on my novel, either. (I’ll get back to it eventually.) I also chose my project for Camp Nanowrimo in April.

CONNECTING

We had an outdoor, socially-distanced lunch with my partner’s family in early March, and I got lots of calls and texts around my birthday. (“People like me, they really like me!” shouts my inner Sally Field.) I also had another Zoom tea party, and that was fun. (As much as I’ll love throwing tea parties in real life again one day, I won’t be looking forward to cleaning the house every time. That’s one tiny silver lining for these weird and terrible times.)

HOUSEHOLD

I finally got a new hand soap pump for the bathroom. We previously wore out two pumps shaped like cartoon rhinovirus germs; the second one broke last summer. It was too cute, but I couldn’t justify a third purchase because that pump just wasn’t tough enough for pandemic-era hand-washing. We’ve been refilling a Soft Soap dispenser, which is admittedly frugal, just unattractive. I hemmed and hawed over which soap pump to buy for months, which is ridiculous. I ordered this one primarily because it was innocuous and on sale. It’s fine.

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
This is the first time in months that I’ve spent less than budgeted in every category! Wow. I’ll be bumping up the books budget a bit next month (I have at least 2 pre-ordered Kindle titles coming in April), but that second library card has made a noticeable difference in my book and audiobook spending. My body size has stabilized for the moment, too, so I should be able to spend less on clothing for at least a few months. (I’ll be comfortable with going back to thrift stores after I’m fully vaccinated, so that should help, too.)

March Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $10 Planned / $9.04 Spent
Audiobooks $10 Planned / $5.39 Spent
All Sewing $100 Planned / $91.73 Spent
Clothing $100 Planned / $52.16 Spent

 

Household Spending
I feel like we spent more than usual in March, but I haven’t crunched the end-of-month numbers yet. “Feeling” isn’t very precise! We haven’t decided what to do with the new round of stimulus money, and we need to decide whether we’re going to move in a few months. Decisions, decisions.

How I saved money in March:

  • I used a $10 birthday coupon on a pair of sale leggings from Torrid. I only paid $11.50 (including shipping), and I’m glad I paid so little, as the fabric quality has gone down. I guess I need to start sewing my own everyday leggings. (I don’t have trouble finding good ready-to-wear exercise or wicking leggings, oddly enough.)
  • I downloaded two free Kindle books.
  • I had a free chai from Starbucks and a free burrito from Freebirds for my birthday! I love birthday freebies. They’re the best thing about birthdays at my age.
  • I redeemed survey points for a $3 Amazon gift card, then purchased two bargain ebooks with it for an out-of-pocket cost of $0.22.
  • I redeemed survey points for two $3 Amazon gift cards, then purchased a new release ebook for $1.57. You can’t beat that!
  • I downloaded a short Olafur Arnalds album from the library’s Freegal service.
  • I used a printable coupon combined with a store sale to save $7 on one of my OTC allergy medicines. This also triggered a “$7 off your next Walgreens purchase” register print-out coupon for some reason. I don’t know why it happened, but I’ll be happy to use it!
  • I used a $10 birthday coupon to order lipstick from The Body Shop. (I only paid for tax and shipping.)
  • I bought a block of Post-It notes on clearance for $0.90 at Walgreens. That’s like 90% off!
  • I read (or listened to) 14 digital titles from my two libraries and read one physical library book. Using the library saves me hundreds of dollars a year! I also listened to three Audible and two Chirp titles for a second time and read a free Kindle book.

How I made money in March:

  • I spent much of early March recovering from surgery, so I worked fewer hours than usual, both at my regular job and on my personal clients.
  • I had a video meeting to consult on QuickBooks issues with a side client. Even easy billable hours count!
FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m feeling better physically than I have in a long, long time. I’m still afraid of eating and probably will be for a while — 10 months of near-starvation reactivated all of my disordered eating patterns. My psychological recovery is likely to be a longer-term process than my physical recovery. However, I got my first dose of the vaccine yesterday, so I’m planning a museum visit in about 6 weeks! I’m excited about that, at least.