Category Archives: challenge

budget report: week 13/52


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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budget report: week 3/18


Remember this post, in which I shared my new {gulp} quarter-long budget? Part of the deal was regularly checking in with updates on my progress; you know, to keep me honest and prevent those little spending slips that add up to total budgeting failure and whatnot?

Well I’m nearly halfway through the first month of the four-month challenge, and I haven’t spent a penny yet. Not on a bag or a shoe or even a lipgloss. It’s early in the game of course, but it seems that by announcing my intentions to all of you, I conjured a little Jiminy Cricket that talks me through every purchase temptation and keeps me on track! I’ve stopped in a few stores in the last couple of weeks to browse, but thought twice — and three and four times — about each thing I wanted to buy, ultimately walking out empty-handed.

I find myself wanting to hang on to that hundred bucks for as long as possible, holding out for something really fabulous, which is so very unusual for me! For as long as I can remember, extra money has always burned a hole in my pocket… I was blowing my birthday cash on neon scrunchies, Lip Smackers and MadLibs and shaking the quarters out of my piggy bank before I was old enough to pick out my own clothes.

I have no illusions that it’s going to remain this easy over the next 15 weeks, but for now I’m basking in the glow of the extra cash in my checking account.

when is “enough” actually, er… enough?


I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Mostly in terms of the contents of my closet; which may seem trivial and silly, but it has a surprisingly profound effect on other parts of my life.

I’ve shared my struggles with shopping addiction before. {Just typing the words “shopping addiction” looks so serious and scary, but let’s not sugar coat things.} While I’ve come leaps and bounds with my spending in the last couple of years — attributable to a major shift in priorities, a cut in take-home pay after becoming self-employed, and being too busy with said self-employment to shop — every now and then I find myself sneaking in a few too many purchases and justifying them in that old familiar way.

For instance, in the last couple months I’ve done more shopping than usual, telling myself I’m “stocking up” for Fall. Um, let’s be serious: I live in Florida, and the seasonal climate change is hardly drastic enough to require a total wardrobe overhaul. So why am I drifting back into nasty old habits?

There are a number of reasons, I’m sure. For one, as a blogger who shares her style with the world on a regular basis, I want to keep things fresh and interesting. However in truth, I think this is probably pretty low on the list; falling under other things like the stress associated with moving the business and taking on more responsibility at the shop.  I also blame all the Gossip Girl marathons on my days off for filling my head with endless outfit inspiration, but that’s probably another post entirely.

What’s a girl to do to get things back on track?

I’ve toyed with the idea of a year-long shopping fast (my friend, Cathy, is doing one now!) but in the back of my mind I feel like taking on such a lofty goal cold turkey is somehow setting myself up for failure, perhaps to be followed by a shopping rebound of epic and devastating proportions?!

Here’s what I’ve come up with. I’m sharing it with all of you to give it legs and some accountability, since I always seem to let myself off the hook way too easily.

1. Stop purging for a while. I have a weird compulsive habit to go through my closet every few months and get rid of mounds of clothes at a time. If I haven’t worn something since the last purge, it’s outta there.  Sometimes this is good (i.e., I’ll probably never end up on an episode of Hoarders) but sometimes it’s bad. In all of my well-intentioned weeding, some good apples are tossed into the fray and I miss them later. Instead of getting rid of things entirely, maybe I’ll pack them up in storage bins so I can revisit them later with a fresh perspective, and still keep my closet neat and tidy.

2. Set a budget. And actually stick to it. This is where my palms get sweaty, and I start feeling suffocated by the confines of the “B Word.” {shivers}. But here goes… for the next four months beginning in November (a quarter of a year seems doable and semi-life-changing) I’ll give myself $100 a month for new clothes, shoes, accessories, and beauty buys. No roll-overs — it’s “use it or lose it.” I’ll share every purchase on the blog — pinky promise — to keep myself honest and track my progress through February. Side note: tempting as it may be to go on a crazy spree in the last weeks of October before this budget officially begins, I’m not going to do any shopping through the end of of this month.

3. Explore new hobbies to fill the void. Sometimes I shop purely out of boredom, or to escape my hectic reality for a few hours. This spare time would be much better spent reading a classic novel, working on a DIY project, exercising, or taking a class to learn something new!

4. Find new sources of style inspiration. Confession: Every time I stand in my closet and bemoan, “I have nothing to wear,” it’s a bold-faced lie. {That’s right, Husband, I just admitted it.}  I have plenty of things to wear, I’ve just run out of ideas for how to wear them. When the contents of my closet start to feel stale, I get the nagging itch to stock it with newness. With endless inspiration at my fingertips from my favorite bloggers, Pinterest, and magazines, I’m sure I can come up with lots of new ways to remix what I already have.

5. Take these four months to pay off all my credit card debt. I don’t have much left, but it would be even better if I didn’t have any left. I think it’s important to have some kind of light-at-the-end-of-the- tunnel when setting restrictive personal goals, and coming out of this sans credit card debt is a shining beacon of hope worthy of the small sacrifice.

Here we go!