Friday, January 31, 2014

January 2014 - the damage...

In 2013 I started tracking my monthly clothing budget right here on the blog.  Often times I will go back to those posts to review them.  Getting a bird's eye view of my spending quickly gave me a better sense of my style by being able to instantly see what worked and what didn't work for 2013.  For instance the jeans and black pants I bought throughout the year were winners and were worn to death and are still very much loved and on the flip side most items with patterns, for instance, that I purchased were bombs and went largely unworn.

For 2014 I have decided to continue to keep track of my clothing purchases and budget right here on the blog.  I will be sticking to the $300 budget that I had in 2013.  BUT, I am switching things up a bit. When I  recently saw this post (it's long but worth the read) I was inspired to not only have a monetary goal for my clothing budget but to have an overarching goal about the actual pieces I bought as well.   This was a TOTALLY new concept to me and it really excites me. Of course I want to buy pieces I love and I want to focus on quality over quantity - but we all say that, don't we? While that is easy to say, I have found it is very, very hard to put into practice.

So for 2014 I will not only have a monthly monetary budget for my clothing purchases ($300 per month) but I will also have a monthly piece limit for my clothing purchases (5 pieces per month).  Of course, I am only human... some months this might not work and I realize that (or this whole idea might just not work, I'm prepared for that too).

To give you an idea of how 2014 will differ from 2013 I did some math:

  • For 2013 I budgeted $300 a month (and averaged $325) for clothing and purchased an average of 7.5 pieces per month.
  • For 2014 I have budgeted $300 a month for clothing with a limit of 5 pieces per month.
  • That means I plan to buy 33% less pieces with the same $300.  Or I can "invest" 33% more in each piece I buy, if I so choose.

Are you planning on tracking your purchases in 2014 in some way? If so, let me know I would love to check out how things are going for you!

Without further ado... the January damage:


LOFT, Sequined Blazer, $118 marked down, paid $30
J.Crew Factory, Two Toned blazer, $118 marked down, paid $56.99
Sole Society, Perforated Flats, $64.95 used credits, paid $0
J.Crew, Majesty Peacoat, $298 marked down, paid $99
J.Crew Factory, Chambray Top, $68 marked down, paid $39.50
Gap, Destroyed Always Skinny Jean, $69.95 used a gift card, paid $26.30

Total Spent: $248.79 (total saved: $488.11)

Thoughts on the budget: This being my first month doing the 5 for $300 budget I am a little under budget… but right on for the pieces (this may be tricky balancing the two!) but this is due to the MAJOR deals I got with the after Christmas/winter sales.  The amount I saved this month was mind blowing so I am thrilled with that.  Looking forward to upcoming months I will have to be more strategic about my buying… it's not just me spending until I reach my dollar limit anymore.  I will really need to think about each piece I buy and how it works in my monetary budget and my piece budget.  I can already see that this new challenge will in fact be a "challenge." I am beginning to feel nervous about it!

Thoughts on the pieces: The red coat and sequin blazer were "winter miracles" - such great deals and not necessarily pieces I had planned on buying but when I found them I loved them.  I think there definitely needs to be room for spontaneity in my clothing budget.  This year will be about finding the balance between planning, budgeting, and still having fun with shopping.  The two tone blazer I had LOVED when it first came out and missed the boat on, or so I thought!  When I saw it pop up in the clearance section in my size I knew it had to be mine!*  The destroyed jeans and chambray top were purchased to replace similar pieces that had "died" recently.  That is another hard part about budgeting… when you buy pieces you really love they sometimes need to be replaced from being loved too much - these pieces can "eat" up the budget a bit.  That was the case with these two pieces.   The nude flats were love at first sight, but I have also been shopping for another pair of nude flats for spring.  So this was a "wish list" item fulfilled.

This was a super long post… I hope it was helpful and that you are looking forward to following along with my budgeting adventures again in 2014.  Please leave a comment if you are working on budgeting this year too… we can support one another!

*one note about J.Crew and J.Crew Factory sale and clearance sections online: a sales rep at the J.Crew store recently told me to keep checking the online sites if I was looking for a sale item that was no longer available.  She suggested first thing in the morning (she said 6am, but first thing for me is more like 8am).  And lo and behold, she was totally right… if you are searching for a specific sale item, check first thing in the morning EVERY DAY and you will be surprised what keeps popping up! Maybe I shouldn't have shared this secret with you :) but I couldn't resist!  Especially since I often zero in on a few of my favorite J.Crew pieces and patiently wait for them to go on sale… instead of trying to just snatch up whatever J.Crew puts on sale. 

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