Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Budget vs. Impulse

Top- Kohls
Pants- BR
Necklace- NY&Co
Flats- Charlotte Russe

Ack, so pictures were just not working today. I think it looks a ton better in person. I hate these flats (they are really wearing out) and this would have been a lot better with a skinny belt at the waist (which I tried, but mine was waay too long). This outfit is a transitional outfit, because Wednesdays I go from college to work- so it has to work for both, including my several mile walk at school.

So, yesterday I told you guys I was going to delve further into the topic of budgeting for spending and impulse buying.

I'm going to come clean- I love budgeting, and am good at saving, but somehow I always go over my budget for clothing. I aim low, and I end up a bit higher every time. Most would say to take that into account and budget higher, but I don't want to do that- I want to control my impulses better (note, my spending does NOT put me into debt or leave me unable to save).

I know that when walking into a store, I should have a reasonable amount of $ in mind to spend. One of two things always happens- I walk out with nothing, or I overspend. Focusing on the overspending- when I look at what I have in my closet, I feel guilt. There are some things I have purchased that I have not really used more than 1x or 2x, things that don't fit me or my style well- which is terrible utilization of $. So I see hanging $ signs, and wish I had spend that $ wisely. At the same time, I should get rid of those things if I can't make them work- but I feel guilty, as if I was throwing $ away. So they sit there and make me mad at myself lol.

To better this area of my life, I need to do a few things- focus on making sensible purchases, not overspending, and get rid of what does not work. Not easy tasks. Some of my items are super nice and should be used, but don't fit in my style. Like the wide leather belt I have- it's too wide and a bit too big for my waist. Ex (outfit from last year):
Pretty belt, but you can tell it doesn't fit- it's not centered because it's on the smallest belt hole and is still a bit big. It's also wider than my actual waist, so it doesn't work with my body- it fights it. I think I paid $45 for this? I need to go check. Anyway it is a pile of sad wasted $. I also went through an ill-fitting skirt phase- I went crazy buying skirts, and didn't realize that just because they didn't fall down when I was wearing them didn't mean that they fit my body...

My rule of thumb has always been: if you are tempted to spend more than what you planned on spending, either save for it (because if it's worth it, I will save for it), or skip it (because this means it is an impulse buy). This is really hard to follow through, though. Lately I have been learning to do a few things that help me not overspend.

  • When online shopping, leave it in the cart for a week. If you still remember exactly what it was that you wanted and did not forget about it, then it's probably safe to consider purchasing.
  • NOTHING is worth rushing or overspending for. There always will be another pretty skirt, shoe, dress, whatever on sale somewheres that I will want, guaranteed.
  • STAY AWAY from sales e-mails and consumer blogs. The more often a blog posts things to buy, the further away I stay. Nothing is worse for me than feeding the shopaholic addiction.
  • Stay away from retailer sites/stores unless I am looking for something specific. Shopping is NOT a healthy way to pass time or to get rid of boredom! Retail therapy is not the answer.
  • Make a list of things that would better complete your outfits. Tally up the things that come up the most frequently and consider purchasing- mine have been a light-colored blazer, fun flats, a black trench coat, and a pretty-colored pump. Remember that this list is NOT needs!!!!! This is not a free pass to buy something because I 'need' it!
  • When shopping, keep in mind BASE, the budget, and the list of things I can use (discussed above).
  • Lastly, when buying something I have to focus on NOT being influenced by other bloggers. Just because it's something my favorite blogger would wear or looks like something expensive I liked does not mean it makes sense to buy it. 

What do you do to control your impulses, or how do you decide to purchase something?


  1. I had a real problem with this before I put myself on a budget last summer. I would do just like you said - either leave a store empty-handed or with two or three bags of stuff that I didn't need. Now (and even before I got laid off last month!) I find if I pick things up and walk around the store with them awhile, I can "edit" myself before it comes time to purchase. I literally go over the pros and cons to each item in my head, from what all I could wear it with, the overall practicality of the item, questioning whether or not I have something in my wardrobe similar to the item. It's helped me a LOT.

    1. those are all really great tips! I try hard to do that too- does it WORK with what I have, and do I have anything like it. It's so easy to buy multiples of things, and it's really not good- either you have a couple of versions of something that does not work for you, or you have several of something you like and you end up looking in uniform every day/stunted style wise.