Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Budget, or What I Didn't Buy

Ah, my first budget post! As I mentioned, I've been totally inspired by Fran and other great budget bloggers to keep track of my spending and document my experience with budgeting. I also decided I would put myself on a shopping freeze for the month of January, to repent after a few months of mindless spending. So, how did it go?


Budget: $200

Spent: $0

I did it! No shopping in January, other than the one exception I'd allowed for workout clothes (in addition to the two pieces I mentioned here, I grabbed another seamless tee on the clearance rack for about six bucks). And it was a really interesting experience.

It definitely wasn't fun -- hey, I just like to shop! -- and it wasn't easy (my inbox was SCREAMING with an endless number of killer sales). But after completing the first half of my closet inventory (part two coming soon!), I knew that these clothes I was eyeing really weren't things I NEEDED, they were just things I wanted...and sometimes being a grown-up is just telling yourself no.

So to avoid making this the most boring budget post ever, I thought I'd take a look at what I didn't buy. I was doing a lot of "window shopping", and I started keeping track of the things that I normally would have pulled the trigger on if I hadn't given myself this challenge.

Zip Sweater Jacket -- was $36 (now $60)

I thought this was a pretty great little jacket for spring and fall, when it gets a little cooler but you don't quite need a real coat. The oversized collar is fun, and I love the long and lean silhouette it gives. Not sure how it would work on real person/non model. Sizes online are pretty limited, but I might keep an eye out for it in my local store.

Kut From the Kloth Jeans and Blouse (no longer available) -- $100ish

Oh, the lure of the flash sale. An email from Rue La La caught my eye when I saw a Kut From the Kloth feature. I love the look of their jeans and I've been wanting to try out a pair, particularly their boyfriend jeans. I think the ones above were on sale for about $50, and I definitely would have popped them in my cart under normal circumstances. I also saw this blouse in the sale and probably would have thrown that in, too. Don't need it, but it is so me. I love a good sheer, lacy blouse -- I usually opt for black, so navy would have been a nice change.

Pretty Eyelet Dress -- $63.20

I almost slipped with this one. Sooo pretty...I feel like this is a dress I'd wear for years. I decided I'd just leave it to fate and if it was still available in February, I'd let myself pull the trigger.

Merino Collared Sweater -- $61.60

Another item that just feels! I love a peter pan collar, and I am always gravitating towards the gray/black/white color palette. Reviews say this runs a bit short, which is not great for a long-waisted girl like me. I think I'm also annoyed that even on sale, it's kind of expensive. Probably best that I let this one go. Probably...

Ena Heels -- $69.95

I do need some practical (but not hideous) work shoes, and these seemed like a good contender. A few weeks ago they were discounted but final sale, which never works for me (my feet are just difficult sometimes). Now they are back to full price but returnable. Hmmm.

Foil-Printed Pullover -- was $35.97 (now $59.95)

Anthropologie's additional 40% off sale items was pretty hard to pass up. Sometimes their prices are just so absurd, so it feels nice to get a bit of a deal. The sweater caught my eye months ago -- the rose gold detail is just so pretty and unique. At 35 bucks it would have been a fine purchase. I would have worn it enough to get my money's worth and I'm sure I would have been perfectly happy. But one of my tricks for learning to say "no" this month was to play devil's advocate. Perhaps this sweater is too unique and stands out too much. Also, I try to use that old "three ways to wear it" rule of thumb when making a purchase, and I'm a bit stumped here -- it will look the same with jeans or pants, and I can't think of too many exciting layering options. I have always been pretty good at talking myself in to making a purchase, but this is a good reminder that sometimes I need to be better at convincing myself to walk away.

Total Not Spent: about $365

That's pretty eye-opening. Even if I hadn't bought everything, I would have gone way over my $200 budget. My goal for February is to be REALLY thoughtful about purchases, and try to incorporate some of the things I learned this month:

- Look for reasons why not -- as a true Libra, I can almost always see the other side of the argument and need to talk myself OUT of buying things sometimes

- Be ruthless about the 3-ways-to-wear-it rule -- as cute as it is, that Anthro sweater doesn't pass the test

-Waiting 24 hours (for a handgun, or a fabulous party dress) is never a bad idea -- flash sales are dangerous because they speak right to that FOMO part of the brain. Sometimes in the light of a new day, that must-have just...isn't.

I can't wait to put my budget to the test in February! I'm still thinking about some of the things that I passed up this month, but I also have $30 of Old Navy Super Cash burning a hole in my wallet and there should be plenty of new spring merchandise in stores soon...

First time linking up with Franish and the amazing Budgeting Bloggers -- check them out for inspiration/temptation!


  1. I really enjoyed reading about what you didn't buy. It's certainly very eye-opening. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm so impressed you stuck the shopping freeze! I've been a little too intimidated to try one. And that dress would have sorely tempted me too.

    1. Thanks, I wasn't sure I would make it! In the end, it was a lot like trying to make/break any habit...hard at first, but much easier once you have some momentum built up. But I'll be happy to shop freely in February!

  3. You did a great job with your shopping fast! In your shoes, I probably would have pulled the trigger on that eyelet dress (using the "I could wear it to work" rationale).

    1. Thank you! And I feel like that dress was meant to be -- still available in my size on February 1, so it is now on its way to me!