Checking in on the budget breakdown

I posted what I envisioned my rough budget breakdown would look like for 2015 some time back

Now it has come to pass and it’s time to see if I was on the mark.  If the 4 fall items I have on order work out (3 sweaters from Express and an Equipment silk shirt), this is how my ‘out in the world’ category of items breaks down:

Under $15 – 3 items (2 purged unworn – the only purged purchases this year)
$15 to $24 – 7 items
$25 to $49 – 12 items
$50 to $99 – 4 items ($355 total)
$100 & up – 3 items ($375 total)

My ‘basics’ fell under the $25 mark and my uniform needs averaged around $40. These items were not included in the breakdown above.  They total about $500 this year, $250 each for basics and uniforms.  I expect both to be less next year – maybe $350 total.

If I were to tally what the retail cost of my wardrobe is, it would double, no doubt.  Heck, the most expensive item, a $160 designer leather skirt, alone retailed for $600!  So, I’m not sure the point really of all this, but it is good to see that I can find exactly what I like at a price point I feel no guilt over.  And I was pretty much on point with how I spend my cash.

I suppose going forward I can gently up the ante by moving up a tier while buying less.  Make the bulk of my purchases the $50 – $99 items, move the low end up a notch to $20 – $49, shaving off the under $15 purchases almost entirely, and still allow for some $100+ items.

Curious to see how, once again, it shakes out.

Shopping Plan for 2016

This year I used a template for my shopping, alongside my usual running excel spreadsheet of itemized purchases.  It seems to be working well for me.

I am going to go ahead with 2016 using the same idea but with some minor changes.


First big change is including more of my ‘other’ items.  These are the things like layer tanks and running capris.  Not things I consider in my out in the world outfits, but items I need to buy for my life, regardless.  As I’m coming around more and more to buying for my real life, I need to find a way to include these items, as they are used as much as, or even more than, the ‘fun’ stuff we all shop for.

Second change is eliminating tank/short slv/long slv for my tops categories.  I found I didn’t buy any tanks at all, just 2 vests, and that my categories weren’t reflecting my shopping reality now that I’m out of the FL climate.  Warm weather/cold weather is much more intuitive.

I also changed from separate sweaters and jackets categories to simply ‘toppers’.  Again, this is more in line with how I really shop.  I found a pleather/knit drape front jacket this year instead of the same in an all knit sweater, as I had on my list.  Same difference.  Don’t care if it’s a jacket instead of a sweater – it’s a drape front topper.  

The last struggle for me now is to hone in on the seasonal shopping.  I’m doing better.  A lot better.  But I still buy pretty steadily throughout the year.  Ideally, I’ll get to where I buy most things in the first month, then taper off for a month or two, finishing with a seasonal refresher at the season’s end.

That’s the plan.  I imagine I’ll be spending less than 2015 since I have few if any real wardrobe holes.  I don’t have a set limit but would like to spend around $1500 vs the close to $2000 I’ll hit this year.

Do you have a plan for next year?  Did you have one for this year, and if so, are you on course, or do you need to rethink how you shop?

Quick copycat

I’m off to bed but thought I’d share an outfit pic for fun.  Worn yesterday to go out to dinner.  Funny thing – I’d had this cut out from a magazine before I realized the jacket I had recently bought was THIS jacket.  Guess I don’t stray too far from ‘my’ look.

I don’t often do copy looks but I had all the elements and was halfway there in my own head anyway before realizing the whole jacket thing.

inspiratiion jacket

I didn’t end up wearing the jacket as it was in the high 80’s down in NV, but liked this enough to file it away for another time.  Pardon the look in pic 1, my boyfriend caught me off guard.  Okay, off to bed.  See, I told you?  Quick one!

Where to Put Your Money

I’ve been thinking more and more on how my clothing budget is panning out.  About $1650 spent so far for the year.  Roughly $250 on basics and $250 on uniform wear, with alterations and return shipping fees rounding out to $150.  That makes my ‘regular clothing’ category the remaining $1000 so far.  I have less than 3 months left in the shopping year and expect I’ll get to $2000 if I find the fall/winter items on my list.

One third of my clothing budget is going to those categories that make up the backbone of what I wear every day.  Awesome!  Going forward, I’m thinking I can shave off a bit here and a bit there to get to $500 spent on the basics, uniforms, and incurred costs (shipping etc), with $1000 going to the ‘fun’ stuff.  Still the same percentage going toward each category, just trimming the fluff a bit.  Total budget of $1500, down from a projected $2000 this year.

Having started a new job this last year had me getting a uniform together from scratch. From here on out, it shouldn’t cost near as much.  Now I can just replace and update.  Same as I will be doing for exercise gear, sleep wear, and layer/lounge items.  Actually, I’m finally at a point where most my wardrobe is in place and replacing and updating should be all I need in any category.  There are no true gaping wardrobe holes.  Just wants.

I figure I could very reasonably do:
$150 for uniform – likely just one, maybe 2 pairs of black pants and one pair of shoes.
$200 for basics – foundations, one workout, one lounge, and one PJ set, plus any layering needs like camis or leggings
$150 for incurred costs – return shipping, alterations

That leaves $1000 for everything else.  My ‘out in the world’ capsule, if you will.  Could mean twenty-five $40 items, or ten $100 gems, or any mix thereof.  Plenty to play with.  I have been in wardrobe building phase for the last 3 to 5 years if I think about it.  Before was just a mess of cheap stuff I’d accumulated.  But these last years of planned and conscientious buying has landed me in a good place where a lot of needs are met.  I’ve been gradually purchasing big ticket items.  I have my leather jacket(s) and boots.  I have my winter wool coat(s), leather pants and skirt, and even the designer wrap dress.  I have my interview suit and my funeral dress. That meant spending the bulk of my budget on these items, neglecting the basics in the process.  Finally, I’ve caught up in both places.

I am now in a want vs need mode, which is really great.  Makes me wish I’d started sooner 😉  Anyway, a cool grand should be plenty to still enjoy new looks and not feel I can’t afford what I want.  I’m not a fan of setting up goals I’m bound to fail at.  A year ago I still needed to spend the cash on those neglected basics. I’m ready now for the reduced budget.  Ready to spread the money both where it’s needed and still have enough for the new seasonal refreshers.

I’m confident that I can still have fun with clothes, get what I truly need for my lifestyle, and not feel constrained by cost with this budget for 2016.  Stay tuned!