september 2017 budget

Wait, wasn’t it just Labor Day? I can’t believe September is already drawing to a close. Even though it seemed like a short month, I still managed to do plenty of buying (and returning). Once again, it’s mostly fall items–I’m still holding out hope that it will actually come this year…

the keepers

gingham blouse {J.Crew via Poshmark} $20 (retailed for $110) This probably sounds ridiculously specific, but I’ve been looking for a professional, warm weather blouse in black gingham. There was a lot of black gingham to be found in stores this summer, but most of those items had cold shoulders, bell sleeves, or other trends I don’t like (no offense to those who like them–they’re just not “me!”). I took a chance on this lovely silk top I spotted on Poshmark, and I really like it. Some Googling indicates that it might in fact be dark navy and not black in the pattern, but I think it reads black. Good purchase! See how I wore it here.

faux leather jacket {Express via eBay} $32 (retails for $128) Technically, I already own a (genuine) leather jacket that I bought via consignment a while ago, but it’s a smidge big, which is great for layering, but not so great when I want a more form-fitting silhouette. This jacket from Express seems to get rave reviews, but the price tag was a bit hefty for my taste. I set up a search for the jacket on eBay, and eventually one popped up, new with tags and in my size. Score! Can’t wait to wear it.

twill field jacket {Old Navy} $24 ($44.99, on sale for $36 + extra 20% off + $5 rewards cash) I mentioned this piece in my last budget post, and ultimately I decided to keep it. I think it’s different enough from my J.Crew utility jacket (this one) that I can justify keeping it, and as I mentioned last week, I wear a lot of olive green! Plus, I got a pretty fantastic deal on it.

denim jacket {Old Navy} $23 ($35 + extra 20% off + $5 rewards cash) A few weeks ago, I mentioned my denim jacket dilemma. I’m just not loving my J.Crew one anymore. It’s still in perfect condition (for sale here!), but the fit and fabric are not so perfect for me. This one, however, is a great fit, wonderfully comfy/stretchy, and a very versatile shade of blue. See how I wore it here and here.

olive tee {Banana Republic Factory} $13 ($36.99 on sale for $14.99 + extra 10% off) My mom and I took an impromptu trip to the outlets last weekend, and the only thing I bought for myself was this tee. I’ve proclaimed my undying love for the LuxeTouch tee about a thousand times, but just to re-iterate–I LOVE THEM. So when I spotted one in my beloved olive green,  snatched it up…and may have contemplated buying an extra one as a back-up.

gray dress {A New Day via Target} $24 ($24.99 + 5% REDcard discount) After waiting a few weeks for a good promotion (to no avail), I finally ordered a few of the A New Day items I had been eyeing. I’ve been on the hunt for a gray dress for a month or two now, and this one seems to fit the bill. The fabric is definitely better quality than the Old Navy sheath I tried, but I’m not kidding myself into thinking that I’ll own this dress forever. The fit is nice and flattering, and I think I’ll easily be able to layer underneath it in the winter.

the returns

OK, hold on tight–there’s a lot of returns to mention here! First, I returned the black jeans I bought last month from the #NSale. I decided they were just a tad too small, and I also found my old pair of black jeans in storage, so I didn’t really need them anyway. I am considering ordering the same jeans in a different wash and the next size up. I also tried this denim jacket from Old Navy, but I didn’t like the wash as much as the one I mentioned above. I still think having a dark wash denim jacket could be useful for my current lifestyle, but this wasn’t it. Gap Factory had a great sale a few weeks ago, so I tried a few pairs of their “slim city pants“…and they looked terrible on me. Finally, as I mentioned above, I tried a few items from the A New Day line. This peplum top was just really wide and a little short on me, and I’m undecided on this denim shirtdress. I would prefer that it didn’t have pockets on the chest, but otherwise it’s acceptable.

the extras

I sold my camel blazer and used the funds to buy the same item in my current size. Because I returned those black jeans from last month’s budget, I used that money to buy this olive dress (my Amazon one, seen here, is already falling apart!).

September total: $136

2017 total: $1338

Remaining budget: $662

Whew, this was a long one–congrats if you’re still reading. I would say this was a sensible shopping month in terms of the items I ended up keeping. No frivolous accessories purchased this time around. The denim jacket and olive tee will for sure be worn non-stop, and I’m confident the rest will be useful later in the fall as well.

As for next month, I’m hoping to try out these jeans and maybe these pants in the burgundy and the olive (if only my size would be re-stocked!). This dress has also piqued my interest of late…but what color??

What did you buy in September?

Linking up with Budgeting Bloggers.

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august 2017 budget

It is currently 100 degrees outside as I type this post…but you’d never guess that based on the items I bought this month. I am more than ready for fall to arrive, and my shopping habits reflect that. Fall is probably my favorite season to shop for, so I have a lot to share with you today!

the keepers

leopard blanket scarf {BP via eBay} $18 (retailed for $45) OK, this might seem a little weird, but I’ve been wanting this scarf for two years now. It was part of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale a few years ago, and I didn’t grab one before it was sold out…and I’ve regretted it ever since. I came across it (new with tags!) on eBay a few weeks ago and ordered it on the spot. Leopard is one of my favorite ways to add a little interest to my outfits lately, so I’m sure it will get good use!

black skinny jeans {Wit & Wisdom via Nordstrom} $45 ($68 on sale for $44.90) This was one of my NSale purchases this year, which I reviewed previously (read that post here). I haven’t gotten a chance to wear these jeans yet, since it’s still hot as ever here, but I have no doubt they will be on regular rotation in the fall/winter.

black knit blazer {Caslon via Nordstrom} $40 ($59 on sale for $39.90). This was the other item I purchased during the NSale (full review here). Again, layering is still out of the question, so time will tell on the versatility of this blazer. I’m having second thoughts about sizing though…I might order a size up for comparison’s sake.

faux suede skirt in light maple {Sanctuary via 6pm} $28 ($79 marked down to $27.99). I’ve tried the suede skirt trend before, and I got burned the last time around (read about that mistake here). This time, I went with something returnable and much less expensive. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and the gorgeous “maple” color. I can’t wait to wear it with some boots and an ivory sweater!

mustard crossbody bag {3.1 Phillip Lim for Target via Style Encore} $30 (retailed for $34.99). As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a bit of a mustard/marigold kick these days–I just love it as an accent color to my otherwise neutral outfits. I consigned some clothing at my local Style Encore and spotted this bag while I was waiting. It’s the perfect size–big enough for my hefty wallet but still much smaller than a diaper bag!

gray suede moto jacket {Levi’s via Poshmark} $38 (retailed for $250). In continuing the second-hand theme of this month, I found this wishlist item on Poshmark. Although I love the blogger-favorite BlankNYC jacket, I knew that by the time it went on sale again, the cold weather would already be half-way gone. With some Googling, I found this genuine suede jacket available on Poshmark and was able to negotiate the price down a bit. It fits well, maybe slightly on the big side, but that will just leave extra room for sweaters and thicker shirts.

the returns

I made a lot of returns this month, y’all. First up, the beautiful, but too expensive boots I mentioned in my NSale review. Sniff, sniff. I’m also hunting for medium wash jeans and tried this “sculpt” pair from Old Navy, but they were insanely tight, and the fabric seemed too thick and constricting for my taste. I like my jeans to feel like pajamas–is that too much to ask? In that same order, I tried this dress to satisfy another wishlist item, but no luck. It fit, but the arm holes were a tad too big (so you could see my bra at some angles), and the material didn’t seem like it would last more than a season. I’m thinking Ann Taylor might be a good place to look for a quality, gray sheath dress. The final ON purchase was this jacket (which I posted about on IG), and as of this writing I am undecided on keeping it. If I sell my J.Crew field jacket, I might allow myself to keep it…

the extras

As I mentioned above, I consigned some clothing this month. Mostly I just cleared out some blazers from my closet that were always a tad too big. I used some of those funds to buy the smaller size (second-hand) in the black one. I’d also like to replace the camel one in a similar fashion.

August total: $204

2017 total: $1202

Remaining budget: $798

Perhaps I was feeling guilty for the “fast fashion” pieces I bought last month, because half of my purchases this month were second-hand items. You would think that that strategy would have lowered the monthly total…but apparently not. This was a heavier spending month for me, as I rarely hit the $200 mark. But, I’m fairly confident that I won’t regret any of these purchases. Plus, I still have almost $800 for the remainder of the year.

As for next month, I’m contemplating trying the same jeans I bought this month but in this medium wash. I’ll likely have to pay full price, but I’m willing to do so to find a pair of jeans that I love. I’m still searching for an all-seasons gray dress and still stalking this bag.

What did you buy in August?

july 2017 budget

As is my habit during this time of year, I’ve been wanting to shop much more frequently. My shopping mojo has been a bit diminished thus far this year, but now it’s back with a vengeance. As you’ll see below, I ended up buying several less expensive items (with one exception). Scroll down for details!

the keepers

red button detail top {Loft} $27 ($44.50 + 40% off promotion) If you’ve been following along on this Take One, Pass It On challenge, you might have noticed that I wear quite a bit of red. It’s probably my favorite accent color these days, so having a nice blouse in this cheery shade of red seemed like a good idea.

tan sandal clogs {Lotta from Stockholm} $76 (full price) I’ve been lusting after a pair of clog sandals for a while, and I finally decided to try this brand; it seemed to balance quality with reasonable prices. I love the look, but I’ll admit, they’re not all that comfortable. I’m hoping the leather just needs to stretch a bit–perhaps I should try walking around the house in them with thick socks? I’ve worn them throughout the TOPIO challenge here, here, and here.

striped tee dress {H&M} $18 (full price) As I mentioned in my last budget post, my old striped t-shirt dress was not even fit to be donated–I had to trash that thing after pregnancy. This one is an awesome replacement–lightweight, not too short, and just the right width of stripes. I can’t decide if the stripes are black or just really dark navy. I figure it will read either way, depending on what accessories I pair with it. Two dresses in one! See how I wore it here.

embroidered top {Forever 21} $28 (full price) A classic, blue and white embroidered top has been on my wishlist since last summer. I really liked this one, but it never went on sale, and my size was never in stock. I spotted this one at Forever 21 of all places, and it was exactly what I was looking for, style-wise. The fit is quite, um, voluminous, and a smidge short. I think that’s intentional, and it makes it super breezy for hot summer days. It will look so cute with jean shorts and tan sandals!

olive dress {Amazon} $18 (full price) I ordered this after Audrey mentioned it a couple times. I draw a lot of inspiration from her style, and I trust her judgment when it comes to the quality of pieces, so I gave it a go. Olive is definitely one of my favorite neutrals, so I can imagine about a thousand different ways to wear it. I’ve already worn it twice in the TOPIO challenge, here and here.

denim shorts {Abercrombie & Fitch} $12 ($54 marked down to $16 + 25% off coupon) H&M, Forever 21, Abercrombie?! Who am I? I didn’t even shop at A&F in high school. As it turns out, they have some pretty decent prices on summer basics, including these lighter wash midi shorts. I wear my other pair of denim shorts constantly in the summertime, so I thought another wash might be nice to add into rotation.

gold paddle necklace {Target} $16 ($16.99 + 5% REDcard discount) This was another purchase inspired by Audrey. It’s a bit more of a statement than I typically make with the jewelry I wear, but I still like it. I think it would be such an easy way to dress up all the simple blouses I wear.

the returns

None!

the extras

I ordered a few things from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that haven’t arrived yet. If I keep them, I’ll add them to next month’s budget post, although I’m contemplating making one of the items a special gift to myself for finishing up data collection for my dissertation 🙂

July 2017 total: $194

2017 total: $998

Remaining budget: $1002

I shopped at several places this month that are out of the norm for me. Unfortunately, most of them fall under the category of “fast fashion” and thus, I really don’t feel great about purchasing from them. Hopefully, the items I bought will last at least until next summer. I can already tell that I’ll wear the two dresses I bought several more times before this summer is done!

August is looking like it will be another spendy month, as I still have my eye on quite a few things. I recently did a closet purge and got rid of several items that were too worn to be professional anymore, including my beloved gray dress. So now I’m on the hunt for a new one. I would also like to find a black knit blazer (like this one), as my black blazer is wool and thus not very practical for any season except winter around here. Black jeans and a gray moto jacket are also on my wishlist (<–I should do another one of those posts again soon!).

What did you buy in July?

june 2017 budget

Another shopping month bites the dust. How did that happen? My spending in June ended up being pretty light…see the details below!

the keepers

magnolia print tank {Banana Republic Factory} $11 (on clearance for $29.99 + extra 60% off + 10% off for using my Banana Card) Remember this print from last summer? Banana’s retail stores sold several pieces in this print in 2016, and while I loved the print, the prices never got low enough for me to pull the trigger. Enter: Banana Republic Factory. Unbeknownst to me, the factory store also sold several pieces in this print this spring, but since I haven’t been shopping in forever, I had no idea. As luck would have it, I went shopping with my mom one weekend when Seth and Caleb were away visiting relatives, and I found this single top just begging for me to buy it from the clearance rack. I’m envisioning wearing it with white jeans or maybe my green pants (also from Banana…) that match exactly. Sidenote: the top I bought is slightly different from what’s pictured above. I couldn’t find a picture of the Factory version, which doesn’t have the shoulder detail, and it has a boatneck instead of a v-neck.

leopard sandals {Urban Outfitters} $29 ($44 on sale for $29) If you read this blog in the summer of 2015, you probably became familiar with these sandals–I wore them all the time! I still wear them and love them, but I wanted something a bit more casual and with a bit more black in the mix. I don’t normally shop at UO, but these sandals were exactly what I was looking for! They’re not all that comfortable, but I haven’t worn them out of the house yet…so maybe they just need some breaking in. They’re now marked down to less than $15 if you want a pair for yourself!

black pom-pom shift dress {Loft} $39 ($89.50 marked down to $64.88 + extra 40% off) It’s getting to be that time of the year when pants are just not an option–it’s so hot that only skirts and dresses are acceptable! The black dresses currently in my closet are of the dressier variety, so I thought this one had a more casual vibe that could be worn to work or on the weekend. I was a little nervous ordering it as a final sale item, but it seems to fit fine–a little roomy, but fine. Be forewarned that the sleeves are a bit, um, “aggressive” in their flutteriness (pretty sure I just made up that word). I still like it though because POM POMS.

the returns

None!

the extras

I used some ThredUp earnings to buy some cheap and comfy sandals second-hand on eBay. My fave brand is b.o.c.

June 2017 total: $79

2017 total: $804

Remaining budget: $1196

I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t spend much this month–I think this is the least I’ve spent on shopping in a month since I started this blog way back in 2013. I think I’m in a good place shopping-wise where I don’t feel the need to browse as often or buy as much. The magnolia print top was a fun “just because” purchase, but I think I can get the cost-per-wear down to a few bucks at least, particularly because it was so deeply discounted. The sandals and the dress will be good summer staples for the many months of hot weather we’ve got left in Alabama.

Now, all that being said, I think July might be a spendy month. I’ve got my eye on a lot, PLUS let’s not forget that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is coming up soon. First, I really want these sandals (sold out in my size) and these too once they go on sale (if ever). I also need to replace my striped t-shirt dress (which was really a maternity item for me and also falling apart). I’m also gunning for this embroidered top and gingham blouse to go on sale. Oh, and Loft just released a bunch of cute new arrivals. What was I saying about not wanting to shop as much? Ha!

What did you buy in June?

Linking up with Budgeting Bloggers.