On July 21st we celebrated the Belgian national holiday which was the perfect excuse to take out the gift my boyfriend got me for my birthday:
The VonShef 4 person picnic backpack.
My boyfriend giving me presents is always a very funny process (for me at least). He’s really bad at gifting, he always gets panicked whenever he has to get someone a present, he can never think of what a person would like or want and he ends up scrolling the internet like a madman until a few hours before he needs to get to a party or a birthday celebration.
Of course I think this is lots of fun, because I’m the exact opposite: I’m a great gift giver. And through the years I’ve realised that the way to do so is to PAY ATTENTION. Pay attention people! To what your friends say they’d like, they’d need or they’d enjoy doing but never have the time or the company. And then offer it to them. It doesn’t have to be expensive (that’s what vouchers are made for! you can just buy a part of the product or the experience, ), but you can always put a smile on the faces of your loved ones if you just pay attention to the things they like and then you make an effort to offer them.
And that’s what my boyfriend did, which made his stressed face and hesitance to offer me my gift this year even more adorable. He knows I love picnics, he knows I want to do more of them (not that we can do so many given the Belgian weather, but still, a girl can dream), and he knows that I love doing them with friends….so voila! The perfect gift!
The VonShef backpack is truly amazing. It is so practical and works really well – our bottles of rose and still water remained chilled for more than 3 hours despite the heat, which was something I really appreciated (it’s a huge bummer having to run to the store for fresh wine in the middle of a picnic!). And it really has everything you will need for the picnic (the only additional thing I had to bring with me was a few toothpicks, everything else is already in the bag!!!).
We had such a great time that day and it really felt like a perfect way to celebrate my birthday and my boyfriend for implementing so well the first rule of the art of gifting: pay attention 🙂
Money is definitely not #worthlivinit. However, the things money can buy us, totally are.
I took this decision at the beginning of March to start saving rigorously to be able to both sustain myself financially AND be able to get a little spoiled (but just a little, otherwise saving would not really make sense).
Did I succeed? Not completely – but did not fail either. Which I think is a very good start. By that, I mean I missed my saving goal by 20%, so I had to withdraw some more money at the end of the month to meet my financial obligations, but the 80% I managed to save was already good. So kudos to me for that 🙂
And these were my rewards:
- 2 tickets for the Muse concert in Athens on 23 July: I really can’t wait for this one. The concert venue is next to the sea, and all I can think about is the sea, the moon, the crowds, the perfect Greek summer breeze and music.
- A Hermès tie for the boy: This was the first time we celebrated his bday together as a couple, so I thought an expensive gift was in order….I actually feel to be victimized by this idea of caring so much about someone, because I ended up buying him something more expensive than almost anything else I have in my closet. And I’m not really sure he got what an Hermès tie means in fashion currency…Anyway, that’s what I think about money – its best use is either for traveling or making the people you love happy. Btw, the Hermès website is SOOOOOOO cool and the app EVEN COOOOOOOLLLERRRR. I could actually spend serious amounts of time playing with the app, while pretending I’m digitally window shopping for my man. The tie itself is super playful as well. The pattern looks like simple dots from afar, but moving closer you realize it’s adorable hazelnuts. And on the back, you can actually see two little squirrels if you look really close. HOW ADORABLE IS THAT??? And for 100% silk, I think it was actually a pretty cool deal. I hope you enjoy it, my love 🙂
So, where does that leave us? I’m more decided than ever to continue on this path. I believe March went well, so I will continue my financial fasting in April, trying to make it even more successful. I will be adding two steps though:
- Keeping records of what I spend at the super market: This might seem a bit radical, but believe me, I have no intention of actually cutting down on shopping for my daily needs! I just want to keep an eye on what goes out of my pocket for such things, exactly to be able to calculate my budget more accurately. I also want to do a little comparison between super market brands. I’ve never been the person comparing prices of products on the shelves or knowing instinctively the answer to the question “How much is a kilo of tomatoes?” So, keeping records will help me see what are the most beneficial choices for me budget-wise.
- Draw a little list of the things I know I will want to make mine in April 🙂 I already know my splurging goals for the next month: Deco, deco, deco. Because of the recent change in my living conditions, I’m looking to give a new feel to my apartment to make it look more “our” than just “my”. This means a good amount of euros will go into furniture and plans for the balcony. (Btw, I’m so excited about this move, I want to document every single step of it – from the emotional turmoil to the fight over the color of the couch!)
I feel very grown up with all this planning taking place. I also feel bored. But I’ve realized keeping things in order HAS helped me feel calmer and more organized myself, in order to be surprised only positively. Plus, there are so many things we can’t control in this life anyway. Important things. Let’s start with sorting out our financial messes to leave room for panic when the actual problems hit. And have a fabulous life in the meantime 🙂
P.S. I stumbled upon this very interesting piece on Refinery29 a few weeks back. It’s a bit complex for my understanding of financials and probably best suited for U.S. readers, but is an overall very good guide to help you get a better grasp of your budgeting goals and also save some money while doing so 🙂