budget report: week 13/52

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January is the third month of my $100 per month shopping budget, and things are going pretty well. Controlling my spending has been easier than I thought, and my shopping urges have quieted considerably. Over the weekend, I stopped by the mall and bought two pair of pants at Kohl’s and a sweater at Charlotte Russe, spending $85 of this month’s budget. But I’m starting to get that old familiar feeling…

You know the one? That nagging voice in your head that whispers “you have nothing to wear,” every time you get dressed? I hate that voice, almost as much as I hate to admit that I’m getting a little bored with my closet. I think there are several factors contributing to this sartorial slump:

  • With the weather constantly yo-yo’ing between hot and cold, it’s hard to get into a groove of “seasonal” dressing. 
  • In the eternal battle between the laundry and me, I’m always on the losing end. All my favorite pieces are usually buried and forgotten in the bottom of some hamper, leaving me with a bunch of lukewarm stuff that’s either inappropriate for everyday or just meh
  • In the last year, I got a little overzealous with the closet purging. It’s kind of like tweezing your eyebrows: You start with good intentions for just a little clean-up, and before you know it you’ve spent 30 minutes in a magnifying mirror daze and when you come to, you’re like, “What happened here?!

In the past, as soon as these thoughts of boredom started creeping in, I’d shush them with some retail therapy and shiny new things. But for the first time [ever?] I don’t want shiny new things; I just want some fresh perspective on the great stuff I already have. 

So what’s a girl to do when she’s on a tight budget and her wardrobe’s feeling stale? Why, invoke the creativity-sparking power of a remix challenge, of course! 

Yesterday, after finally tackling the looming laundry pile(s), I pulled together 20 pieces I love — 8 tops, 3 sweaters, 2 dresses, 2 jackets, and 5 bottoms — and organized them on a rack outside of my closet. 

I don’t have any grand plans for this round of remixing; no strict rules or guidelines, or even a time limit. My goal is simple: work these 20 star pieces into cute outfits, using shoes and accessories from my closet as the supporting cast, until I feel like I’ve remixed my way out of this rut. Here we go!

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42 thoughts on “budget report: week 13/52”

  1. I can buy an outfit at Jc Pennys and a pair of shoes from Charlotte Russe all for under $25. That curbs my hunger for a new outfit. Until the following week!

    1. I used to do this, too. But like you said, the little shopping rush only lasts a week, and I ended up with a closet full of stuff I only kind of liked, instead of a collection of stuff I really loved. I’m trying to shift my focus to buying quality basics that I can enjoy for many seasons to come. I keep a mental list of the things I’d really love to have, and try to stick to it when I’m out shopping. For example, right now I’m looking for great everyday jeans, a lightweight anorak style jacket, and basic dresses that can be layered with lots of different pieces.

      1. I am in love with the Rider jeans at Walmart! Those are my everyday jean to run errands in town.

  2. I’m really trying to budget hard in 2013, but I’m really looking forward to Spring/Summer 13 collections! So, like you I’m trying to dig out those lost treasures (or simply my favourites) from my wardrobe (sorry closet) and re-working them into some great looking new outfits…fingers crossed!

    Good look with your remix!

  3. Love this! I am trying to curb the urge to shop, too. I have been hitting up thrift and consignment stores lately (I have surveyed my options and only go to the best ones in town), which helps a LOT. As a post-grad with a TON of student loans to pay off, my shopping budget is pretty tight!

    1. Thanks, Corinne! I’ve done several 30 for 30′s, but didn’t finish them in time. So I’m hoping that by taking out the rules and the time limit I’ll have more fun with this round of remixing ;)

  4. Nice job! I look forward to seeing what outfits you create. I, too, need to go through my closet as many things no longer fit (for all the RIGHT reasons). I’m also getting to the stage where I really am narrowing down what I like to wear, what I really WANT for the closet and have a small list of things that I’m on the look out for. Except for shoes. All bets are off on shoes – I actually just bought a pair of knee-high black “riding” boots. I’ve been shopping and shopping and shopping for months and finally found a pair I liked. Thankfully I had a coupon.

    As for the eyebrow situation… I have some wonderful aestheticians who understood what I was saying when I told them that I am approaching middle-aged territory and my mom’s eyebrows are thin… I don’t need to pluck, wax or tweeze a ton because they are going to thin out enough on their own. Till then, I’m channeling Brooke Shields.

    1. Sometimes a good closet weed-out is just what the doctor ordered. I’m noticing that my style is getting much simpler lately. I just want a closet full of great quality basics. I try to keep a mental check-list of the things I want, and do my best to stick to it when I’m out shopping. It’s a great way to control your spending and keep a well-edited wardrobe.

      As for the brows — you rock those Brook Shields power brows as long as possible! ;-)

  5. Awesome post. As a fellow fashion junkie, I SO feel your pain. I am thinking of trying your wardrobe remix out! Also, I know some people are hell bent against thrift and/or vintage shops, but some of my most noteworthy pieces were found after a couple hours of some serious rummaging, which makes the thrift store trudge worth it! (Plus, you can snag unique vintage tops for under ten bucks!) Looking forward to reading more, and hope that my burgeoning blog can give you some tricks and tips as well! (not that you need them)

    :)
    modaiolo.wordpress.com

    1. Thrift/consignment shopping is the best! I wish I had more time for it these days. There aren’t a lot of great spots in my little town, so I have to drive a bit to bigger cities and unfortunately I haven’t had much extra time. I will definitely check out your blog, and let me know if you do a remix challenge!

  6. Can’t wait to follow along with this challenge to see what you come up with!
    I took a 90 day shopping break last year when I started my blog and feel like another one is on the horizon. It’s a great way to make sure you are utilizing what you already own.
    Cheers,
    Laura

    1. Thanks, Laura! A 90-day shopping break is a great idea. Such a great way to reset your spending habits, and realize all the things you already have.

  7. Superb! 2013 give us the creeps on budgeting and wise decision making especially on our shopping spree. It is in our hands on how we pull out our cash for shopping and any wants.. I’m more keen on my budget now that I am re-using some stuff on my closet.

    kudos,
    Ericka

  8. I admire that you’ve set a budget and are sticking to it. I really should take notes because I have a hard time sticking to any budget.

    Good luck and can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  9. A little hint I have learned over the years -invest in a couple of basic cardigans/jackets in solid colors and a few bottoms you dearly love that will go with most anything. Fill in with a few cute tees and scarves and it’s amazing all the new outfits you can come up with. Good luck. (you always look so cute I don’t think you will have any problems!)

    Brenda Rhodes-Sent from my iPad

    1. Thank you, Brenda! This is great advice. I’m from the school of What Not to Wear, and I’m a firm believer in Stacy and Clinton’s rules of basics and “completer pieces” like cardis and jackets. It’s amazing what one extra layer piece will do for an outfit. Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. Ugh, I had that nagging feeling last week. I am getting so sick of the Wisconsin (endless) winter and feel like I’m in such a rut of skinny jeans + sweaters. I did have to go out and buy some new patterned pants to get a little energized but they were only $18 and I’m still within my budget for the month so I didn’t feel too bad. Plus buying a statement piece got me thinking about all the ways I can wear it, so it was about incorporating what I already have. I can’t wait to see what you come up with with your fav pieces :)

    1. Adding patterned pants to your everyday basics is a great way to mix things up! I also love using scarves to spice things up. I stock up on them in early spring, when they’re on super-clearance. They’re such a great way to add color/texture/print to an outfit. Hope you get some relief from the cold soon!

  11. I’m feeling the itch to do a remix challenge too. I just moved to a new place and I was overwhelmed when I saw how many clothes I have that I don’t even wear that often. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    1. You should go for it, Alex! It’s such a great way to push the reset button on your attitude toward all the stuff you have. And if you feel like you still have too much stuff, there are so many great organizations that need clothes so a good purge and donation is always a good thing :)

  12. i love this idea so much! i’ve been wanting to do a little remixing project myself, but with all the crazy weather, i wasn’t sure i’d be able to stick to the same 20/30 pieces for a whole month. instead, last time i reorganized my closet, i made a mental note of items i used to love and haven’t worn in a while so that i can remix them into outfits i wear all the time. i still don’t want any rules, but i think i’ll follow your lead and make a more defined list of items to remix!

    1. This is a great idea, Nicole! I love the thought of picking out the pieces that need a refresher. I should do this, too. I think I used to just take those pieces and throw them straight into the donation pile, instead of giving them a fresh perspective. Which is why I’ve grounded myself from purging my closet for a while.

      Let me know if you take on a remix challenge! I’d love to follow along :)

  13. I so need to do this!! Would help me see the best in my clothes rather than complaining I have no clothes!!

  14. You know, I read something the other day (maybe on apartment therapy? I forget…) that suggested that if you’re having a hard time getting dressed even though you have plenty of clothes, it could be due to the fact that you’re actually missing closet ESSENTIALS. I never thought about it – but I think it is a really good point! I’ve since made it a point to write down what I think I am missing whenever I feel like I have nothing to wear and, yeah, it is totally mundane, classic stuff that are the missing puzzle pieces.

    Just a thought that might help you too! :)

    1. YES. This is fantastic advice, Katie. And so true. One thing I’ve learned in this new budgeting journey is that I’ve been shopping all wrong for YEARS. I was focused on quantity, so I’d buy ten $10 items that I liked in the store (probably mostly because they were cheap) but got bored with really quickly. Now I’m trying to focus on quality essentials, like you mentioned.

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