A roundup of my standout buys of the year
- What It Is: An app to track your water intake
- How Much It Costs: $0
- Why It’s Awesome: I almost always make “drink more water” a New Year’s Resolution and always fail miserably. This app sends reminders throughout the day to help keep me on track, but my competitive nature also loves seeing the water level rising every time I log a drink.
Book of the Month Club
- What It Is: Each month, a panel of judges (sometimes they’re celebs!) picks five books and you choose one of them to be shipped right to your door.
- How Much It Costs: The first 3 months are $10/month; after that it’s $15/month. Since you’re getting brand new, newly released hardcovers, $15/month is quite cheap. And if you add additional books to your box, they’re only $10 apiece. Shipping is free.
- Why It’s Awesome: The whole “I’ll just wait for it to come out in paperback” mantra is no more. This club has introduced me to tons of new authors. I also love that each judge offers a short essay to give some color to the book, beyond what’s printed on the cover flap. And who doesn’t love getting packages?! As someone who is constantly reading, it’s nice to know there will always be a book waiting for me and since it’s so reasonably priced, I get to read new books without going into debt. (FYI: This one was a 2017 purchase, but I loved it so much it had to be reported.)
Essie Mix Taupe
- What It Is: Nail polish described as “warm ivory with a dash of pink”
- How Much It Costs: $9
- Why It’s Awesome: This color feels bright (it’s chalky, not sheer) but in a neutral shade so it’s not overpowering. Also, since it’s ivory, not white, it can be worn year round.
- What It Is: Free shipping and fast delivery (2 days max, sometimes 2 hours) from Amazon.com
- How Much It Costs: $10/month
- Why It’s Awesome: This was the year we finally got Prime. I never thought I needed it, but I’m liking it! I tend to use it for bulk items (it practically pays for itself in Vitamin Water Zero), party supplies, and gifts for our niece and nephews. I don’t like using it for everything because I like to support independent brick and mortar sellers. I’m also really liking the tv/movie options as a supplement to Netflix/cable (loved The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Big Sick).
- What It Is: A sheet mask to place over your face to [depending on the variety you choose] purify, smooth skin, brighten, or reduce blemishes.
- How Much It Costs: Some can be $30, but I’ve been using the Sephora brand for $6 a pop.
- Why It’s Awesome: I started using face masks in early/mid 2017, but only recently realized how amazing they are for planes. While I never notice the effects of travel on my skin (dryness, overcompensating with grease, puffiness), I know it’s happening. What I do notice is that I always just feel grubby when I get off the plane after having sat in stale air for hours. Face masks combat all those issues. I quickly pre-cleanse with a makeup remover wipe and then apply the mask, never having to leave my seat. I like to do it earlier on, maybe about halfway, to break up the flight and give myself a little luxurious experience because let’s face it, I ain’t sittin in first class and could use a lil luxury wherever I can get it.
The 52 Week Money Challenge
- What It Is: Each week of the year you make a small deposit into your savings account. At the end of the year, you’ll have $1,378 saved.
- How Much It Costs: In week 1, you put away $1; $2 in week 2; $3 in week 3, etc. The most you’ll have spend at one time is $52 – seems simple enough. It may not be an actual product, but it is an expenditure so I figure it earns a spot on this list.
- Why It’s Awesome: Why have I not been doing this for years?! I set an alarm so I can transfer money through the bank app on my phone every Monday. Because it’s such a small amount at a given time, I don’t feel the pain of parting with the money. I mean it takes more than 2 months before you’re putting away anything in the double digits! Everyone tells you to just sneak away $10 each week, but this will actually save you more money ($858 more, to be exact). I also love some of the challenge “hacks” to really up your savings game. Next year, I’m thinking of upping the contribution by $2 increments instead of $1. This will work out to a total savings of $2,704 for the year, with your largest spend being $103. OR I may just keep it going so that it becomes a 104-Week Challenge, which would give me $4,082 in savings just in year 2. I started this challenge as a way to bump my personal savings back up after having dipped into it. It was so easy, though, that I set up a couple other similar automatic contribution plans – one for our family’s nest egg and another for my pocketbook fund. Yes, I started a fund to buy myself designer bags. Don’t judge.
- What It Is: An apartment for us to live in!
- How Much It Costs: This info is proprietary; sorry. I will say, we actually got a good deal on the place and it was fully within our means so we won’t have to alter our lifestyle – we didn’t want to be house-poor!
- Why It’s Awesome: We officially closed on our new home on 2/20/18. While I owned my previous apartment, it was so meaningful to get a place together. It’s large enough that we have room to grow our family, and it’s in a fun new neighborhood. This apartment managed to check all of our boxes: two bathrooms (which we didn’t think possible), outdoor space, ability to renovate and put our own stamp on things, doorman/elevator, and close to the subway with an easy commute. It’s so nice to have someplace that feels like ours. I feel so much more settled now!
- What It Is: This skincare product clears up pores to unclog and clean up your skin.
- How Much It Costs: $24
- Why It’s Awesome: The site says it transforms skin in four weeks, but I honestly started seeing a change in a mere two days. While I don’t have what one would classify as acne, there are ALWAYS pimples on my face (made worse by my picking…bad, I know, but I can’t help it). This is the first product that has actually helped my problem skin.