january 2018 budget

It’s been a while since my last post! 2018 is turning out to be a busy year thus far, so I haven’t had much time to dedicate to this blog. Nonetheless, I did want to pop in and share this month’s purchases.

the keepers

black + tan monogrammed pullover {Marley Lilly} $40 ($60 on sale for $39.99) I bought a monogrammed pullover from ML last spring, and it’s seriously one of my most favorite weekend items. I decided that it couldn’t hurt to have another one for my collection, so I bought this version (with elbow patches!).

tortoise phone case {Marley Lilly} $15 ($35 on sale for $14.99) I don’t think I’ve included phone cases as an accessory before, but this one was purchased not out of need but just because I wanted it. So, I feel like I should include it in the budget as a “just for fun” purchase. I haven’t started using it yet, but I really love the circle monogram I chose!

buffalo check shirt {Old Navy} $12 ($32.99 on clearance for $14.97 + extra 20% off) I bought a buffalo plaid shirt about two years ago, and it has shrunk in the wash such that I no longer wanted to wear it. This ON replacement is great because it’s got plenty of length, and it’s also very soft.

v-neck pleat hem short sleeve top in white and black {The Limited} $14 each ($69 on clearance for $13.80 each) This was definitely an unplanned purchase. I happened to see another blogger wearing it, clicked her link to shop it, and found out it was 80% off with free shipping. You know I love a basic top with a little interesting detail, so I went ahead and bought it in two colors. The white is ever so slightly sheer, so I will probably wear a layer underneath it, but overall I am impressed with The Limited’s “comeback” offerings.

v-neck pleat hem long sleeve top in green {The Limited} $35 ($69 on clearance for $34.50) Obviously, this is the exact same top as above, but in a long sleeved version. I just loved the particular shade of green so much that I was willing to spend a bit more for it. I happen to be wearing this top now as I type up this post, and it’s pretty dang comfy. A good purchase!

the returns

No returns this month!

the extras

I still have quite a few gift cards from Christmas, and I’m as shocked as anyone that I haven’t spent them all yet. I used a small portion of my J.Crew gift card to buy this top and this fun necklace during their MLK weekend promotion. I think the total came to $20, which I think is a crazy good bargain!

January total: $129

2018 total: $129

Remaining budget: $1871

I’m pretty pleased with this month’s purchases. The pullover and some of the tops have already been added into my winter wardrobe rotation, and once spring arrives, I’m pretty confident the short sleeved tops will become favorites too.

As for next month’s budget, I did order a pair of duck boots recently, but I’m waiting for them to arrive. They won’t be the most stylish item in my closet, but all this crazy winter weather has convinced me that they would nice to have! Anyway, I’ll be sure to add those to February’s tally, assuming I keep them.

I honestly don’t have much on my shopping radar right now. I have a big milestone happening in mid-February (I’m defending my dissertation proposal), so I haven’t been thinking too much about clothes lately. Hopefully I’ll have more time to devote to this space soon!

What did you buy in January?


december 2017 budget

Hello all! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas. Now that the New Year is almost here, it means that I’ve got another shopping update to share! Here’s what came home with me in December:

the keepers

buffalo plaid skirt {J.Crew Factory} $45 ($74.50 + 40% off sale) As I mentioned in this post, I’ve been eyeing this skirt for a while, and I finally decided to go for it when it was on sale for 40% off + free shipping. Sadly, it’s now sold out, but you might be able to find it on the clearance rack in some stores. I have all these outfit ideas for it, but it wasn’t exactly weather appropriate for much of the holiday season (wool seems a bit much for 60 degrees, right?). So I have plans to wear it to work beyond December…buffalo plaid is not just for Christmas, in my mind. See it here.

black dress {J.Crew Factory} $36 ($89.50 + 50% off sale + 20% off coupon) I’ve been on the hunt for a simple black dress, and this one seems to fit the bill. It’s not terribly exciting, but it’s comfortable and fits me well. I actually wore it to church on Christmas Eve with a sparkly necklace and some red pumps.

gold leaves necklace {J.Crew Factory} $20 ($49.50 + 50% off sale + 20% off coupon) I don’t wear much jewelry, but this necklace struck my fancy. I think I like that it is simple but still interesting. Here’s hoping it doesn’t just gather dust on my vanity.

ivory pom hat {J.Crew Factory} $16 ($39.50 + 60% off sale) This is the last JCF item, I promise! When we had our snow storm a few weeks ago, I realized that I don’t really have much in the way of winter hats and gloves. This one is very much in line with my current aesthetic, and it made a good stocking stuffer (from me, to me!).

two tone clutch {BP via Nordstrom} $15 ($25 + 40% off) I was so impressed with the BP clutch I bought last month that I decided to buy this versatile two-tone version. Considering how often I wear brown + black together, it seems like it well get good use. While it would be great for date nights and such, I’m also thinking of using it as a way to organize my (pocketless) tote bag–I hate having to dig for ten minutes to find my keys!

pearl cuff bracelet {Banana Republic} $12 ($48 + 40% off + $15 reward + extra 10% off) BR has lots of adorable pearl-embellished items right now, including jewelry. I love the simple elegance of this bracelet…and that I got it for such a steal.

Nike Tanjun sneakers {Macy’s} $49 ($65 + 25% off) Truth be told, I end up wearing sneakers much of the time on the weekends. But, I really don’t like to put extra mileage on my actual running shoes–gotta make them last as long as possible! So I decided to try out Nike Tanjuns as my non-running sneakers. As it turns out, Nikes are excluded from pretty much every promo in every store, but Macy’s randomly had these marked down by 25% a few weekends ago. They are really comfortable, but I’ve only had the chance to wear them around the house thus far.

the returns

The only thing I returned this month was this tulle-cuff tee. It was overall too big, and the sleeves seemed like an odd length. I could have tried a smaller size, but it seemed like a pretty seasonal item anyway. I’m not sure I would wear it at any time other than the holidays.

the extras

As I’ve mentioned approximately a thousand times lately, my birthday was this month, so there are a few extras to report this month. First, my mom got me this lovely camel coat (the same one I mentioned in my wishlist). My parents also got me this fun pink vest for Christmas (bringing my vest count to about 600), and I used some birthday money to buy this watch. I also have some gift cards to J.Crew, Target, and TJMaxx, but I haven’t found anything I’d like to buy…yet.

December total: $191

2017 total: $1966

Remaining budget: $34

Generally, I think all of December’s purchases were wise ones. I’m a little concerned that the Nikes won’t be worth the price, but we shall see. Perhaps I’ll embrace the athleisure trend?

Keep an eye out over the next few days for a year-end budget re-cap!

What did you buy in December?

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?