Monday, September 29, 2014

September Budget Part I

$2300/year, can add in gift cards and eBay sales.
No more than 45 items this year and must fit in with my shopping questions.

Spent this month: $244.02 out of pocket, $34.74 in eBay sales, $200 in birthday money
Totals: $2132.61 out of pocket, $446.71 on gifts/gift cards, $354.62 on returns and eBay earnings.
$167.39 left for the year out of pocket.

54 new items entered my closet this year so far total. I can buy or receive up to 0 more items this year. I went over the goal of 45 by 9 items!

I'm adding in two new facets this month: WHY I bought something (not just why I'm keeping it) and what I purchased but returned (these will be listed out in Part II).

What Came In:  14 items
Old Navy Green drop earrings, $ 4.17
These replaced the mint drop earrings. I also have really wanted to add some variety to my jewelry, but may have failed as I did not realize they're the same length as my other drop earrings (I thought they were longer). I've been wanting to add more color options and green is a color that goes with many other colors. I really like the color of these and this style of earring (same style as the mint ones I purged). They're subtle but still are visible in my long hair. 8.5/10
LOFT Outlet Long gold tassel necklace, $9.88
I've been wanting to add a tassel necklace for a while, and finally found one! The tassel style is trendy, but I don't think it will go away quickly. I wanted one to update my style, and in gold with neutral colors because I wear gold the most and wanted it to be very versatile. This necklace is really up my alley (can't see whole necklace, sorry- too long to capture) in that it has a lot of great detailing. 9.5/10
Loft Outlet Long gold necklace with aqua and navy, $12.99
This was mostly an impulse purchase. This necklace is not something I would have purchased a month ago, knowing that I usually add too much blue to my jewelry collection. I've purged a lot recently though, and when I saw this one, I knew it would fit in with my style and that it didn't duplicate anything in my closet. I'm happiest about the fact that it has navy and a bright blue, which will make it more versatile as it can pair with more things. 9/10
Old Navy White pearl long earrings, $4.77
Again, I've been wanting more variety with my jewelry options. I felt that these earrings were 'different' from my regular style but would pair well with my other pieces. I really like that these are quite elegant and are a bit longer than the average earring, so they'll be visible in my hair and they'll be really nice if I wanted to wear my hair up. I'm a big fan of the rhinestones mixed with the pearls and have worn them many times already. 10/10.
Clark's Always Chic Pumps, $140.00 plus $11.20 in tax ($151.20)
I really needed to replace my poor, worn-out  leather Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps in burgundy patent. This year they were only worn 19 times, but I have had them since at least 2008 and have truly gotten my cost-per-wear out of them! They only cost me $29.99 as a lucky fluke (end of season, last pair, on clearance in the retail store). They're all nicked up in the heel and the finish has been scratched and ruined, along with heavy pigment loss/discoloration. I ordered the Clarks in both a 7 and a 7 1/2 because I am not familiar with the brand/fit. This was my 3rd try at replacing these (think of all the time involved in searching for, ordering, waiting for shipping, and returning each time!) and frankly I was getting sick of the whole business, which is why I ordered two sizes with these. I was directed to them when I posted on the YLF forum that I had been searching without success for these, and was immediately directed to these! I got them extremely fast (next day I think?) and was so amazed with them- they fit like a dream in my normal size 7, and are very cushy. Their only downside is that they are painful after several hours of wear, but it's likely the break-in period and due to the pretty tall heel height. 10/10.
WHBM Convertible Purple Pendant / Bib, $19.00
I wanted this necklace as an alternative to my beaded short purple necklace and as an accent to my neutrals. I've been watching it since it came out at $65 and got it at this great price when it went on clearance. I love that I can wear this as a long pendant or as a short bib-style, it's very versatile. 9.5/10!
WHBM Silver Pendant, $16.15
I kept hemming and hawwing about this one. It's got two tiny defects in the chain that only I will see, but it sold out and I knew there was no chance of exchanging it. In the end I decided to accept it as is, because I really love how it looks.  I've worn it a few times already and really enjoyed it. 9.5/10
WHBM Printed Surplice Shirt-tail Hem Top, $55.58
This top came out this month in the same print as the one I pre-ordered last month (see returns on Part II post), and since it was a different fit I ordered it to compare to the fit of the other top. They both arrived on the same day. This top is more blousy than I usually prefer (more than pictured) and I contemplated returning or altering it when trying with my wideleg pants on. But, when I tried it on with my black slim-leg fitted trousers, I was sold. Usually I demand more versatility from my tops because I only know at this point that it only works with my fitted pants, but I really like this one. I also have been wanting more blousy tops to pair with my fitted pants after discovering that I need to balance my silhouette more via my outfit journal. After wearing it a few times I decided I do need it taken in a couple inches at the waist to make it perfect, but I'm willing to do so. 9/10
WHBM White Surplice Top, $41.33
I've been searching for a fitted white top that is not see-through for a very long time. I've ordered and returned probably 10 white tops this year! I originally wanted it to be sleeveless, but upon considering this one I decided that as long as the sleeves were fitted I could still wear it with cardigans, so it was worth trying. I really love the silhouette this one gives me. I can layer it with a tank or cami for work, but on the weekend I'll wear it as shown to be a bit more sexy. This top comes in black and burgundy, and I'll have to be careful not to follow my typical 'if one is good, two is better' mentality because they both are oh-so-tempting.  9/10
WHBM Black Eyelet Jacket, $47.50
When this jacket first came out this spring, I was very tempted to order it. I held off until now (very rare for me!) when the price finally hit a level I was willing to spend on a semi-trendy jacket. The flirty detailed waist and the peplum flare in the back are what attracted me, though I was not thrilled that it was black since I have a plain black blazer already. I actually ordered this in a size 6 AND a size 8 (to be 100% honest about what I order and return), because reviews were so mixed about sizing. My size 6 was great and even had a little room for layering under it. It's so lightweight and is really ideal for my body- it looks amazing. This is a risky buy because I won't be actually wearing it until spring. 9.5/10.
WHBM Tiered Floral Camisole, $56.94
This camisole only recently caught my eye, though it came out in early spring. I'm usually not a fan of strap-y tops because they require an over-layer, which is silly because I might wear a top without a topper a total of a few times a year. This top was making me think about how I could transition my burgundy jacket to spring, and I knew the colors will go well with many of the colors in my closet (especially the berry pink cardigan I got recently). I adore the print (why don't they sell these great prints in sleeveless versions!?!?). The camisole was originally very expensive at $110, and was pricey now on sale at almost $60. When I tried it on I was enamored with it- it looked AMAZING under my burgundy jacket and will work with many of my other jackets and cardigans. I also will be tempted to wear it  as shown on a hot weekend- the back is very low cut and I can imagine it being great for a nice dinner out, provided I wear an appropriate bra. The season is past for this top, so I'm making a risky choice to add it despite not wearing it in the near future. It's already sold out! 9.5/10
Loft Multi-color Necklace, $19.75
I selected this necklace when looking for more variety because the color pallet is so different from my usual. I'm starting to find more muted colors very attractive, and I really like that it has several tones which means it should work with many of the things I own. It's smaller than I imagined but I still love it enough to keep it. 9/10
Loft Teal Blouse, $24.75
Firstly, this blouse caught my eye because it's my favorite color (one that is sorely missing in my top selection after  all the purges). I also liked it because I've been drawn to more 'modern' fitting tops lately. I bought a modern fluid-fit leopard print blouse and truly love it, and want to expand my options a little without going crazy. I've noticed while journaling my outfits this past month that I don't like pairing fitted tops with fitted bottoms, and I have mostly fitted tops and several fitted bottoms. This top is more fitted on me than the model pic, but I love it and it's still modern and fluid. 9.5/10
Loft Blue Drop Earrings, $14.75
These were a risky order, since I ordered the coral pink earrings and added the blue ones despite not being able to see a product picture just in case they were a great color. Well, these were perfect and the pink ones went back! They coordinate (accidentally) perfectly with my outlet necklace purchase, and are a great pop of color. 9/10

Total spent- $478.76, -$200 birthday money and -$ eBay earnings: $244.02

What I ordered but returned: 7 items
See part II for the breakdown!

Purged: 36 items
See part II for the breakdown!

Sold: 2 items
See part II for the breakdown!


I'm trying to really follow through with my new sense of purpose and direction, and being more intentional (see this post here). I followed a one-in, one-out kind of rule with my shopping this month. If I want to continue to shrink my closet I need to know not only what exactly I am adding and why, but what item it's replacing as well.

I stopped shopping 9/10/14 of this month and don't have plans to resume shopping until next year (January). Yes, that means that all 14 items were ordered or purchased within the first 10 days of September! Since I started Project 333, I've felt really committed to seeing this through (this Project 333 round ends November 30th). I'm a little concerned about the end of November, as Black Friday/Cyber Monday for me traditionally are where I spend most of my money and bring home the biggest number of items. It'll be a real test of my willpower to skip it completely! I'll still keep posting a monthly budget post to keep myself accountable. Hopefully the only things I will have to report will be purges and sold items!

On that note, I can't believe I purged 36 items this month. 36 items is a big part of my wardrobe! That was about 24% or almost 1/4 of my wardrobe that I purged within a two-week span. That kind of turnover is ridiculous! All I can say is that I'm ready for a change and I've been more ready than ever to let go of things that are not adding value to my life.

I did bust my item limit this month. All I can say for myself is that while I didn't meet my goal with the item limit, I'm still very close. 3 of the items I purchased this year have actually left my closet (listed in my January-June Shopping Review here). I've also purged a large number of older items this year- many more than what I've brought in. I started counting later in the year and my list is currently at 78, but I know it's more than that. I'll probably still plug away slowly at my purges the rest of the year. There are a couple potential items I have identified, but I need to take the time to try them on and see if I can get good outfits out of them first.

As for the budget, I very nearly busted it! If it hadn't been for my birthday money that I got (August 17th, and I did not spend any of it last month) I would already be past my budget. While I feel good about my wardrobe, my problem was that I was always looking to see what was new rather than concentrating on what I already had. The constant roll out of new products at my favorite store for the new season can be very seductive. I'm glad my favorite store's new line is all about my worst color- camel. And I'm glad I have the 20 piece wardrobe for next year and Project 333 right now to focus on.


  1. I enjoyed reading this post, Meli. You got some really great things this month and the jewelry pieces DO look different from the other items you've posted in the past. I hope you found it helpful to write about WHY you bought things. I have definitely benefitted from adding that element to my blog, although it IS very time-consuming to write those posts.

    I look forward to reading your part two. How amazing that you purged 24% of your wardrobe in one month! I hope you're going to show photos of those items, too. I'm eager to see why you opted to pass those pieces along. I always learn a lot from writing my reasons and I'll probably learn things from reading your reasons, too.

    You're making excellent progress and it's wonderful to see!

    1. Thank you very much for your comment & interest Debbie!!! I definetly found benefits in explaining why I bought what I did.

      Thanks for the input- Part II is still in progress but I'll do my best to add pictures of the purged items! :)

      The purges- I feel accomplished but also wasteful and guilty. But at least someone else will get USE out of my excess!

  2. Great post - and I love the pumps, the teal blouse and blue earrings - they could have found their way into my closet as well :-)

    1. Thanks Mette! I think my favorite thing here is the pearl and rhinestone earrings, strangely enough. I am very happy with my purchases, so hopefully that doesn't change!