September was a little better.

September definitely went better than August. I decided to have a personal austerity month and was mostly successful in reining in my spending (more on that below). I’ve been wading through some pretty extreme feelings of overwhelm lately, so I’m pleased with the progress I made — because I did make some.

Goals for 2019 – September Progress

Send one real letter a month.
I didn’t manage to send anything this time.

Sew at least one garment a month.
I made another pair of Burda 6952 trousers — in cranberry stretch cotton sateen — and a Lawley skirt in grey chambray. I’m wearing both regularly; it’s nice to make some well-fitting basics.

Send newsletter at least once a month.
I’m working on a draft right now but didn’t send one out last month.

Make one apartment improvement a month.
I don’t think I did anything in this category last month. Or if I did, I didn’t write it down! Whoops.

Go on one outing with Lennox a month.
We went to see the “Icons of Fashion” exhibit at the MFAH (loved it) and went to a taping of the NPR game show “Ask Me Another,” which featured Kristin Chenowith. That was super fun!

Read one physical book I already own a month.
None in September.

Track spending on books, clothing, and sewing.
I spent an unprecedented $29.09 on books, $37.99 on sewing, and $169.98 on clothing and accessories. I did spend a little more on clothes than I’d intended, but most of that was second hand: 2 pairs of leggings (new with tags), unworn Allbirds sneakers, character shoes, and a lightweight cardigan from eBay, a vintage scarf from Etsy, and an ASOS dress from a seller on Sell Trade Plus on Instagram. I did buy a knit top from Target’s XXO collection (damn that FOMO) and a set of Edgar Allan Poe enamel pins on a whim, as well as some tights from Torrid, though that was a planned purchase and I used a coupon. Still, September’s spending was far better than it has been for several months!

Track daily writing habit.
I didn’t track my writing last month, and although I did write some, it was sporadic at best.

Post weekly IG photo.
I only posted a single photo in September. I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’m surprised I managed that.

Run robot sweeper, vacuum bedroom, tidy, and clean bathroom weekly.
I did this one week and had the cleaning service in one week. Again, I felt like this was still a success considering my state of overwhelm.

Longer-Term Goals

Reduce fabric stockpile to less than 100 yards (plus scraps) by the end of 2019.
I’m beginning to think I won’t quite make this goal by the end of the year; I’m currently at 123 yards. I bought fabric for a cardigan and a couple of pieces of inexpensive knit fabric to use for muslins, so even though I’ve used some other fabric, the stockpile still grew.

Finish Baktus scarf.
I’m taking this off the list next time, as I have absolutely no motivation to finish this. I’m done with knitting, you guys! It’s a freeing feeling.

Find a way to keep performing.
Rehearsals for the holiday show began, and I was asked to take over as director of the children’s chorus in addition to my role in the play. I agreed, and although I don’t regret it, I have not yet adjusted to the increased demands on my time. I’m doing my best to juggle everything, but I’m not really getting enough rest and will likely have to let some other things slide until after the production closes. I’m enjoying it, though. I have only taught private, one-on-one voice lessons for many years, so it has been a real challenge to take on even a small group of kids again.

Combine websites, transfer blog, forward other domains, purchase an SSL certificate.
I didn’t even think about any of this in September, to be honest.

My September Frugal List

My personal austerity month was a success, at least in the way that it helped me to focus on my spending behavior again.

In September, I:

  • Picked up a free Kind bar and a free Greek yogurt cup with coupons on my Kroger card.
  • Downloaded several free graphics from Creative Market, including an oversized wall calendar template for 2020.
  • Didn’t buy a newly released sewing pattern, even though it was on sale and I really, really wanted it. I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any sewing patterns in September, and I stuck to it.
  • Downloaded two Audible Originals and two Amazon First Reads.
  • Put a book on hold at the library, which isn’t remarkable in any way, except that I was prompted to do so when I saw the ebook on sale at a price point I would typically buy.
  • Made $19 selling sewing and knitting books at Half Price Books.
  • Had three free drinks on my Starbucks card. I didn’t realize that my points had piled up like that!
  • Made a skirt with a free sewing pattern and fabric/notions I already had on hand.
  • Made about $18 selling a pair of unworn shoes on eBay. (Now that I know how simple they’ve made it to list items for sale, I’m likely to sell again in the future. I listed several things and re-listed the ones that didn’t sell the first time.)
  • Used a $10 off coupon to buy a pair of tights for $3 and change.
  • Read five ebooks and two physical books from the library, and one Kindle book included in the Prime Reading program. I’ve been so busy that my reading has slowed way down; I only read 22 books total last month.

I’m pledging to buy only a single item of clothing in October — a custom sweater from eShakti — and I will try to match my spending on both books and sewing to September’s totals. I also plan to catch up and bill two of my private clients. Aside from that, I plan to prioritize rest!

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