I Have $200 and 3 Months To Go

Or, how I got ahead of my budget by summer’s end.  I was on track all year at $125 per month spending.  Then getting some peeptoe booties in July and the swimsuit ordering caper that lasted into August set my budget back.  I was only into next month’s spending at that point, but late August and September continued to see me ordering many fall items on my list.  Here’s the gory details:

oops-summer

Now I am left with $200 (instead of the $375 I should have at this point) and 3 items I still really want off my list.  Namely, slip on sneakers, jeans, and a sweater.  Ideally, I can slow my roll and buy just one of each of these items a month, up to the end of my shopping year.  First that means waiting until October to purchase the sneakers.  I have 2 pair in mind and slowing down is actually helping me to make a careful decision between them.  At first I wanted the shiny silver Vans.  But then my BF pointed out that I have plenty of silver shoes (he’s right).  So I went back to the wine colored Dr. Scholl’s that caught my eye.  They just scream fall, lol.  BUT, they would not be so great for work because you can’t wipe spills off flannel fabric.  I may end up buying the wine ones this year ($50) and the silver at the start of next ($70).

 

As for the jeans, I don’t have a specific pair in mind, but know that I need more to rotate in for my job.  Now that I don’t have to wear black uniform pants I found that really only 2 pair of jeans are work worthy.  That is, comfortable enough to run around the restaurant in.  A third pair is definitely in order.  I imagine I will spend up to $100 for whatever pair I decide on.  I also think this will be an in-person purchase.  I have ordered jeans online before and it takes a lot of trying on and returning to get the right fit.  This time around I want to go to brick and mortar stores even if that means paying more.

Lastly, I have a few sweaters on my shopping list but know that I can only afford to buy one with my remaining budget.  Either ombre/dip dye or an asymmetric if I’m forced to make a choice.  I have enough ‘regular’ sweaters to get by.  I have my eye on a Vince dip dye on eBay but it’s a bit more $$$ than I have budget for.  Might have to wait until the jeans and shoes are bought to see what I really have left to spend.  It’s hard to see what I like and know I want, but wait on it to see if I can budget for it.  But it’s good for me.  Right??

Basically, I got carried away the last 2 months and am going to have to pay the proverbial price for it to get back on track to finish out the year. I think I can do it, though.  I’m excited to try anyway.  I know realistically I don’t need anything for the remainder of the year.  But we know it’s not just about what we need when it comes to clothes shopping!

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Athleisure Capsule

I had been meaning to attend to this since the start of the year.  Other things took priority, but now I’m focused on flushing it out.  Last week I got some Skechers, mostly for work at the Mexican rotisserie, but they also could cross over into athleisure apparel.  I bought some Athleta tights yesterday and Sanctuary joggers today.  Both should arrive soon.

In addition to these new items, I have the following already in my closet.  I just need to get in there and get mixing and matching!

I also have plenty of true ‘gear’ items, for running and yoga, which I may or may not decide to mix into the capsule.  PrAna, Adidas, Reebok, Nike, and the like.  The above are more a nod to the idea of sporty wear without being true technical fabric, sweat-it-out, gear.

Not listed, but obvious (I hope!) are the t-shirts and tanks to layer with/under everything.
I’m not really sure how it will pan out, but I’m eager to try.  I don’t want to feel or look like I literally just got done running or left yoga class.  But I like the idea of a casual sporty look that will be super comfy to boot!

End of Summer Shop – intentional vs. unplanned

This weekend is the last of summer and I just now finished up my seasonal shop.  I spent a good amount of time and energy in acquiring swimwear.  The other buys were actually quite unintentional and things I just stumbled upon happily.  They might be some of my better buys this year, so I am giving thought to the happy accident vs hunting down of a listed item.

The swimwear was a toss up between a designer style that I really liked vs better fit of a bargain priced suit.  Not until I was in the moment of changing after work into the designer bottom yesterday to go to a water slide did I make the choice that it would indeed go back.  I’d had a return slated for 4 weeks but was hemming and hawing.  Part of my thought process actually went like, “if I have the complete set, resale will be better on eBay someday.”   Well, spending $60 on something I’m not comfortable in now to maybe recoup some money later is obviously silly thinking.  I mean, I even ordered 2 sizes in this bottom and the larger size did not offer more coverage.  It’s just too skimpy.  Period.  End of story.  Move on!

swim separates

swimwear capsule 2016

Since making that decision, I went back and reordered a suit I’d first returned as maybe being too tacky.  I think the mesh along with the bright red color was what had me questioning it.  I went with the white version this time and think that will keep the ‘sexy’ down and make it more wearable.  Reordered just the top in red, to go with my black board shorts.  Again, enough balance to counter the possible too sexy vibe.

I know this sounds like a lot of back and forth and it was.  I don’t like to spend so much time and energy on shopping for things.  But swimsuits are hard even when you can try them on in store.  Ordering them online makes it all the much more involved.  Can’t fake bad fit with a bikini!  That said, I’m glad it’s done and I look forward to a month or so of little to no shopping.

The other items I got I stumbled upon at both Ross and TJ Maxx.  The blush and cobalt tanks from TJ Maxx were actually on my list (I’d been hunting online but not found the ‘ones’) and the wrap dress at Ross was truly an impulse buy in every sense.  I think sometimes just grabbing what appeals to you across the room can be a good thing.  As long as it is not the default shopping mode you engage in, that is!  Often times I find I get so focused in finding the _____ that I become a worse shopper.  I end up funneling my search through, say, color first instead of seeing the garment as a whole – its texture or drape.

I’ve done this with a red dress for several years now.  I have tried three, none of which I ever wore.  The most recent I returned right away, as the color was off.  It has me wondering why I think I ‘need’ a red dress anyway.  I like the color on me.  But beyond that . . . I don’t have a good answer.  Maybe just a red topper over a black dress would be fine.  Or better.  Maybe I have to let go a little of the gaps I think I need to plug in my wardrobe and just be more open to finding items a bit more serendipitously.

After all, this unplanned for wrap dress is a world better than any of the red dresses I’ve been hunting down!

Calvin Klein wrap $21

Off Balance – yet again

Or, the saga of working three jobs. Yes, I have no one but myself to blame – and I am in the process of getting back into a reasonable routine.  But in the meanwhile I’ve let the blog posts slip onto the back burner.

I am still steadily shopping off my list.  Had a bit of a back and forth returns saga with sizing swimsuits recently.  I have a red dress on order right now to hopefully replace one I bought last year that was an ‘almost’ that I never wore.  Also a yoga tank that might be long enough to stay down without tugging.  But moreover I’m trying to get my career track back in the right direction.

I tried a retail job, branching out from food and beverage.  I didn’t really like it but I stuck with it as the job I ‘should’ have with benefits.  Fast forward a year and a half and I’ve taken on a second food and beverage job in addition to the golf course, and finally gave notice at the grocery last week.  It’s been a hard couple of months transitioning between all the jobs but I knew when I took on the 3rd that I’d give up the grocery eventually. And for those concerned, I do still have health insurance, so that’s all good 😉

I tried something new and gave it a good try, but it’s okay to say, “that’s not me, this is what I prefer.”  In the end, be true to yourself.  Once I’m back to a few days off each week and a regular schedule, I’ll have the time to wear more of my clothing again.  At the moment it’s uniform to loungewear, to bed, back to uniform.  Rinse, repeat.

So that is why I’ve been so scarce here.  I am still plugging away slowly at my list, trying to be patient and get just the right _____ that I need.  Sometimes I get caught up in the returns merry go round, but it is better than settling for second best and then needing to upgrade that item anyway.   I think clothes shopping is in its proper place in my life at the moment.  Sure, I think about it more than most, but I’m keeping on track and within $50 of my yearly budget at the moment.  I’m looking forward to a great fall, back on track with the kind of work I enjoy and a schedule that gives me more time to live my life!

Needs, Wants – Can’t We Have Some Fun?

The other day I wrestled with online shopping to fill a void of time.  I did need some things, but mostly I was feeling anxious and restless and was using the searching and hunting to assuage my unease.  I did not buy anything at that time but instead went online to a Facebook group I belong to End Closet Chaos.  It helps sometimes to just get it off your chest lol.

I was looking at shift dresses I’d had in and out of my carts for a couple months.  The heat is here and what is more perfect that a light, airy dress to beat it?  But I work 6 days a week right now and have no time to wear a $200 shift, even a $60 one, to warrant such a purchase.

But I do need, and have also been looking on and off for, tanks.  A casual relaxed fit for my summer social activities and also wearable to my new job, and a black workout one for yoga.  So, I turned my search to the true need of the moment – tanks.  Put some in a cart.  And then walked away.  Went to my shift at work and left them there.

While I was at work, one of them went off sale.  This is an online site where sales are a daily thing honestly.  I decided I could do without that particular black tank and started searching for a different one.  Noticed the new sale (see, there is always a sale going there!) included . . . . shift dresses.   At this point I told myself, “hey, self, you want a shift and you know it’s a want, not a need.  You need tanks.  You can have both this way.”  I ended up with 2 tanks as planned, and a $8 shift just for fun.  Felt totally fine with this choice, not as if I’d ‘caved’.

twist shift dress $8

When I think it through, I’m happy if I focus 80% of my shopping on what I need and have fun with the other 20%.  Used to be the opposite was how I spent my clothing budget.  Maybe the shift won’t work out.  Or maybe I will only have 2 or 3 occasions to wear it this year with my crazy schedule.  I can deal with that on deep sale, not so much the $198 version that first caught my eye.  That would be a large part of my budget spent toward a frivolous item and I’d never get reasonable CPW from it.  I still want to have fun with my wardrobe and occasionally buy something I simply want, but not at the expense of filling those needs first.

The Bare Minimum

There is a lot of talk about how little we can/should get away with buying and still have what we need.  A year shopping ban is popular on one site.  Some extremes like the lady who wore the same dress for a whole year.  I got to thinking how it would be a great experiment to only buy one item a month next year.

And then I started to wonder about the basics.  How does one not shop for a whole year but have a bra that’s still in good shape?  Socks that aren’t holey in the heels?  For me, uniform pants that have not faded from black to a dull grey?   What do we really, truly NEED every year, no matter what?   Even if I turned off all enticements through pictures and blogs and magazines, I still need those basics to get out the door every day.  Mine are likely different than yours.  Here is what I’ve come up with:

  • 7 pack of ankle socks for work
  • bra
  • undies
  • black uniform pants
  • work shoes
  • running shoes (every other year)
  • sports bra (every other year)
  • layer top(s) for both lounge/sleep and under uniform

Those are just the base needs.  Now if I add in likely replacement needs for the normal wear of my closet I also have:

  • replacement tee(s)
  • jeans
  • leggings
  • sweater(s)

I am already at a dozen with no ‘fun’ shopping for a new trend or silhouette I’d like to try.  Hmmm.  Some of you may be into shoes – that adds even more to the list.  (I have enough shoes to get me by for a couple years, truth be told, since I wear Danskos to my job and only pull out the rest for ‘fun’ outside of work.)  Now if you like handbags, you’ve got another category.  And on and on.

So, I approach these big plans of limited yearly purchases with a bit of skepticism.  They sound awesome and life simplifying, but just don’t pan out that way when I start to look at my needs.  Realistically I will likely always be buying a couple things a month on average.  And that’s okay!

Have you tried one a month?  Or the 5 piece French wardrobe?  Something similar?  Did you find your needs didn’t fit into the box?

Checking In – What I’ve Bought So Far

Almost halfway through the year, it’s about time I get to listing what I’ve purchased!  I used to keep a running total of the ‘out and about’ clothes I wear to get dressed up to go move about in the world.  I had a separate list, below that main one, of basics and gear and layer or lounge pieces.  This year I decided to put them all together.  Truth be told, I was buying just as much of the little extras I wasn’t counting in my item total.  And quite honestly, with my lifestyle, I spend far more time wearing the ‘extras’ than I do the going out clothes.  So, no more demotion to second stage for them!  They’re part of the group now. 😉

Here is what I have purchased as of the end of May:

2016 budget June2016 so far

Two items have been purged.  One (the blue jogger pants) shrunk, and the other (jelly sandals) were just terrible quality and I never even wore them.  They were an impulse $8 buy online that just didn’t work out.  Win some, lose some.  Also in my totals are three gifts.  The cashmere sweaters were bought with Christmas money and my red Toms were ordered with a birthday gift card.  For now, I am including these dollar amounts in my yearly total even though it was not technically my money spent on them.  I still see it as money I allocated toward a clothing purchase.

Including $30 in return postage and $25 in alterations, I have spent $622 for the year so far.  This equates to $125/month, which is alarmingly right on track for the $1500 I envisioned spending for the year.

I thought I was pretty much set for clothes this year and just looking to update and refresh in general.  I’m seeing that, although that might be the case, wardrobe upkeep still means buying regularly.  For me, at least.  With what I know now about my wear rates, and desire for variety – I realize my buying rates will continue at about a 3 item per month average.  This allows for a basic of some sort most every month, with the other items being a new trend and a replacement or upgrade for a garment that is wearing out.  This seems like a reasonable and sustainable plan for me.

That’s where I’m at for 2016 so far.  How’s your shopping plan panning out?  On track?  If not, do you have a method in place to get back on track?  Or maybe your plan just needs adjusting to your reality.  😉