november 2017 budget

As I’m sure you all have noticed, shopping season has begun! With so many great sales already going on, it’s tempting to buy EVERYTHING. I didn’t quite do that, but I did spend more this month than I think I have all year. Scroll through to see what came home with me in November!

the keepers

olive pants {Loft} $42 ($69.50 + 40% off promotion) These are in fact the same pants I bought last month, just in a different color. In case you haven’t noticed, I wear my olive pants all the time, so I figured it would be nice to have a slightly dressier version on hand. My rockstar mom also hemmed them for me already, so I have a few outfit ideas for them during the holiday season.

cognac booties {Dolce Vita via eBay} $7 (retailed for $140) This is another “multiples” purchase. I bought these exact mule/booties last month in taupe. I loved them so much that I tracked them down on eBay in this lovely cognac color (another hue I wear often). They were marked as “pre-owned,” but I think they must have been a store return, as they are in excellent condition. Seen here and here.

black sunglasses {Quay via NYGlass} $45 ($55 discounted to $49.99 + 10% off coupon) Admittedly, I am a bit of a sunglasses hoarder–I own several pairs now. Nonetheless, I have yet to find a pair of quality, all-purpose black sunglasses. I really liked the matte finish on these, and they’re over-sized but not costume-y.

camel cardigan {Gap Factory} $15 ($39.99 on sale for $18.99 + extra 20% off discount) I’ve been hunting for a long, camel cardigan all season long, but really haven’t found many options in the under $50 range. This one is definitely what I would consider a “layering” cardigan in that it is quite lightweight, which isn’t ideal. The color is just what I was looking for though, so it was a nice (inexpensive) compromise.

leopard crossbody bag {Margot via TJMaxx} $64 (retailed for $130) For most of my adult life, I’ve lugged around large totes as my “handbag,” but these days I’m appreciating the convenience of a crossbody. I love my tan and black ones! I thought a leopard print one might be a fun way to add a little more interest to my more neutral looks. I came across this one on the TJMaxx website a few weeks ago, and I liked that it would be big enough to fit my Hobo clutch wallet. Plus, it’s genuine leather. It was a bit more than I am usually willing to spend on a bag, but I bit the bullet when I got an e-mail indicating that there was low stock (which was true apparently, as it’s now sold out).

tile stripe dress {Loft} $11 ($79.50 marked down to $59.99 + 50% off promotion + $20 rewards) I tried this dress on several months ago and liked it, but I didn’t like it well enough to pay full price or even 40% off full price. $11 I can handle though! It’s a nice thick texture, and I think it will coordinate with a lot of other items in my closet.

ivory blouse {Lush via Nordstrom} $39 (full price) Ivory is a color I wear quite frequently, but I don’t seem to have much to choose from in terms of winter appropriate clothing; all my ivory tops are sleeveless or short sleeved. This blouse seems like a good option in that it’s simple enough to be versatile but not too boring. I’m actually wearing it now as I type this post! It’s a little sheer, so I do wear a camisole with it, but obviously that wasn’t a deal-breaker for me.

black tonal stripe clutch {BP via Nordstrom} $12 ($25 + 50% off sale) I have had this clutch on my radar for over a year now. In fact, I had in my my Christmas list last year. When it was marked down to 50% off a few days ago (making it a very reasonable $12!), I decided to just gift it to myself. It has gotten great reviews, and I am in agreement. It’s a good size and seems well-made. It comes in a few other colors (ivory, silver, burgundy) if you’re interested!

the returns

After a few months of copious returns, this month didn’t have any! Perhaps that’s why my total spent is a bit higher than usual…

the extras

I have an extra $550 in my “allowance” now due to winning an award for my research and also selling a few items to ThredUp. I haven’t determined what exactly I’ll spend that cash on yet, but I’m thinking it will go toward replacing wardrobe staples that either don’t fit or are worn out. In particular, I need a new light chambray shirt and a pair of leopard pumps.

November total: $235

2017 total: $1775

Remaining budget: $225

I’m confident that most of this month’s purchases will end up being worn. I bought the booties at the beginning of the month, and I’ve already worn them 7 times! That’s already at $1 cost-per-wear! I’ll try to incorporate the other items into a few outfits in the coming weeks.

I’m trying not to shop too much in December, as I do have a double-whammy birthday and Christmas on 24th and 25th. That being said, I do have my eyes on several items, including this gorgeous coat, this  necklace, and these sneakers.

What did you buy in November?


october 2017 budget

I’ll be honest, friends, and admit that this month was a little rough for me. With the completion of my PhD becoming more of a reality (hopefully) and Caleb getting surgery this month, I’ve been feeling stressed both at work and at home. It’s times like these that I need this little space to escape to and write about something that brings me joy…so what better time to update you on my shopping adventures this month?!

Once again, there were a lot of purchases and returns in October…check out the details below!

the keepers

burgundy pants {Loft}  $35 ($69.50 + 50% off promotion) I can’t resist a well-fitting work pant, particularly in a pretty color! The Common Threads Challenge has definitely renewed my love of the color burgundy (due to the fact that I’ve been remixing my burgundy skirt). In terms of fit, these are a tiny bit long, and a little big in the waist. I tried the petite size as well, but those were too short. Fortunately, my mom offered to hem the pants for me, so I’ll just have a little extra room for the occasional mid-day food baby 🙂

chambray dress {Old Navy} $28 ($34.99 on sale for $28) I’ve gone through several chambray shirtdresses over the years, mostly because I keep settling for versions that are almost right. I get annoyed by chest pockets with buttons, and I need my dresses to be an appropriate length for work. Oh, and I don’t want the wash to be too light or too dark. Is that too much to ask?! I think I found a winner with this one though. I tried in both the regular and tall lengths, and I ended up keeping the tall version–and I’m only 5’6″! I feel like Old Navy has been making its dresses shorter and shorter lately…See how I wore it here.

red + blue plaid shirt {J.Crew Factory} $20 ($59.50 on clearance for $19.99) I love plaid shirts, particularly around this time of year (see here and here!), but I really don’t love flannel. It’s just so impractical for our climate, so I seize the opportunity when JCF and other stores offer lightweight, woven plaid button-ups. A red and blue plaid shirt seems like a classic wardrobe item, so I bought this one when it hit the clearance rack. It was final sale, and I took the gamble that the extra-small would fit–and it does! The “boy fit” must translate to a bit more room in the shoulders and bust.

taupe booties {Dolce Vita via eBay} $10 (retailed for $140) I’ve never really been happy with my old taupe booties. The inset in the front made them more flattering, but it made them harder to wear with pants. So, I sent them off to ThredUp in hopes of finding a more versatile pair. I found these cute mule-booties on eBay for a steal (new in box), and they are perfect! The heel is just high enough, and the toe is in between pointed and rounded. See how I wore them here and here.

skinny jeans {Wit & Wisdom via Nordstrom} $68 (full price) For some reason, I’ve just been kind of hating all of my jeans this fall. The material is too scratchy, or the length isn’t quite right…I just need to invest in a few pairs that fit me well. I technically bought the black version of these exact jeans during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale but then returned them. So, I was familiar with the fit and decided it was worth it to pay full price for what I wanted. I think this medium wash will be plenty versatile, but I’m also contemplating getting a dark wash pair or maybe the gray.

dark wash denim jacket {Lee via Amazon} $41 (retails for $58) Yes, I did just buy a denim jacket last month…but this one is in a different wash. For someone who wears denim jackets as often as I do, I feel somewhat justified in having more than one. I was a little concerned about sizing based on the reviews, but I ordered my normal size, and it seems to fit fine; there’s maybe a little extra room for layering should I be so inclined.

the returns

There’s a lot to get through here! First, I ordered this shirt from J.Crew Factory in addition to the one above, in case it was too small. I wasn’t as wild about this particular type of red and blue plaid. It was slightly longer than your average button-up shirt though, so it might be worth a try if that’s something you’re looking for. I also ordered this top in ivory, but it was slightly sheer, and a bit too boxy. As I mentioned above, I tried the burgundy pants from Loft in both regular and petite sizes, and the petites were a definite no–return! I also ordered these sneakers, but they felt just a bit too plastic-y and the fit was odd on my (very flat) feet. Finally, I thought this dress would be so cute with a quilted vest and booties, so I threw it into an order I was placing for Caleb at Old Navy. When it arrived, it was much too short for my taste, and I really don’t feel like exchanging it for the tall size…so I’m letting it go for now.

the extras

I sold some clothing this month, so I used those funds to buy a few second-hand things, including a pair of black mule booties and a forest green quilted vest.

October total: $202

2017 total: $1540

Remaining budget: $460

I’m pretty excited about all my purchases this month–that’s a good sign, I think! I’m sure everything will get a lot of use in the fall and winter months.

My birthday is in December, so I will be making a wishlist soon. A few general ideas include an open-front camel cardigan (these are surprisingly difficult to find!), a watch with both brown and black (like this), and a little black dress with sleeves.

What did you buy in October?

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.

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?