(my home office, early this AM)
Grechen’s Closet has grown quite a bit since last year (thank you WSJ and all the friendly blogs who have linked here!) and I realize that many new readers are probably not familiar with some things I refer to frequently, or reference here. When I write, I tend to write as if you’ve been reading for years. Which I understand, isn’t true for a lot of you. Just because I’ve been doing this for 10 years doesn’t mean you’ve been reading for that long (although I know a few of you have).
To that end, I’m trying to make it a bit easier to find information around here (let me know if you have any specific questions about anything, I think a FAQ page is in order?).
First, on my About page, I’ve listed my current stats: weight, height, etc., for those who wonder. I know it’s very helpful to know these details when you’re trying to figure out what/if something I’m wearing will work on your body. And admit it, you have ALWAYS wanted to know what my inseam is, haven’t you?? I also mention my current denim size, James Perse & Everlane sizes for reference. Let me know if there’s anything else relevant I left out.
Second, here is a link to my current budget. But I’m going to address that again here, and put it in a FAQ page:
Budget. This is a tough issue for me. Mostly, because this has never been a “budget” blog, nor did I ever talk about money, until June 2014, that is. Money is a sensitive subject, and it’s not something I really care to discuss. But I decided when I started my “minimal closet” journey that it was relevant, and could be helpful (both for you, and for me) and started to open up about my struggles with money and shopping, therefore opening MYSELF up to everything that comes with it, critique included.
That said, since I decided to put it out there, I now realize that I should probably be more open about how I buy what I buy on each outfit post, with more information about each item. So, I will try to do that going forward – indicate whether something was a gift, if I used credit to buy it, and/or I bought it myself. I also want to include the size, where it was made, etc., but I have to figure out a way to do that that doesn’t become too cluttered.
As I wrote in my original Budget post, I overspent WILDLY for many years on clothing/shoes/accessories. That, I have admitted to freely. I did not incur consumer debt over it, but I relied too much on my husband to shoulder most of the expenses, and I don’t have any savings at all. Now, my husband and I are on a budget and each have “discretionary” money every month to do with what we want. Since we implemented our budget in June 2014, I’ve tried to be very open about how I’ve purchased everything that I feature here, but I can do a better job. And be more clear about which items I’ve purchased with cash, which were purchased with credits, and which were gifts.
I hope I don’t complain about my financial situation, or give the impression that I’m frustrated about it. I love being on a budget, and don’t lack for anything (obviously). Having a strict limit to how much I can spend has helped me to prioritize, and realize, truly, which things are more important than others. I can go shopping now, knowing that I simply don’t have money to spend, and it feels good – it takes the pressure off.
Here is my personal budget breakdown*:
I get $200/month “discretionary” money, which I spend on my hair, beauty products, and saving for travel expenses to go see family. I refuse to spend this on clothes from now on.
I spend $175/month on Pure Barre.
After that, every thing else I earn goes into the household to pay bills and to get us debt-free by mid-2016, or sooner, hopefully.
If my husband and I decide together that we have the extra money, I might choose to allocate additional funds to specific things, like I did with the James Perse sale in November.
I earn money via:
Affiliate commissions – I earn a commission whenever one of you buys something via an affiliate link (an rstyle link, for example)
I also sometimes earn store credit in exchange for advertising; everything I buy at Shopbop I get with store credit I earn every month for displaying their widget on my sites. Same for Forzieri – I earn store credit every six months in exchange for advertising.
Everlane has been very generous, and sometimes sends me things to review, and has provided me with credit in my account to purchase things. I also earn credit whenever someone buys via my referral link. So, lately, everything I get from Everlane is purchased with credits, but in the beginning, I spent a couple hundred of my own dollars there.
I tried to do a weekly budget recap for a while, but as things do, it fell by the wayside. I will do a better job of recounting how things are paid for in each outfit post, but since we implemented our household austerity program in June, I’ve been very diligent about sticking to it. Very impressive, given my track record, but there’s work to do still. Baby steps…baby steps. I hope you’ll bear with me!
This was a very long-winded way to say that I know I can do better and be even MORE open. All I want to do, and have ever wanted to do, was to share MY story, my journey, my passion, and now my struggles to find my true self and live in my reality now that I’m in my 40’s. I hope in doing that, someone else doesn’t feel so alone. I don’t feel so alone anymore, and that is the best reward I could ask for.
So…any other questions/issues you want me to address in a FAQ? or in another post?
*I don’t have kids (which I’ve written about here), which clearly also affects how much money I can spend on “myself.” I do have a step-son who will have his Bar Mitzvah this year.
Re: kids. Same here. I couldn’t have them and we did spend a lot of money on a medical miracle, only to get nothing. I spent my 30’s being bitter and distancing myself from baby showers etc. But I’m ok now .. I don’t cringe when someone is walking around the office with a belly. Sad? sure, but finally able to deal.
My budgeting days are right around the corner as I finally (finally) gave my notice at work and my free wheeling, buy whatever I want days .. are coming to an end. I’ll still have money to play with, but I’ll be more discretionary with my purchases 🙂
MonicaP´s last blog post ..Sunday, rain, and soup
Gretchen – Inspiring post!
It makes sense that at the least you’d get credit from the advertising — and I hope and assumed you would. I thought that was fairly clear when I started reading your blog in the last month or so.
A lot of us are in similar boats with the budgets. Thanks again for telling of your success with it!
Interesting post! I like how you explain your conscious spending approach without hectoring or moralizing. Thanks for explaining the nuts and bolts of how you’re handling clothes shopping. Reading your money posts gives me useful tips for my own life, though of course I don’t have a blog. 🙂
I really like the idea of a FAQ page/corner/whatever, but honestly, other than basics about who you are, what you do, what the blog is about, etc., I’m not so sure that I feel you owe us any truly personal stats about your money or measurements. I understand that it can be helpful to those interested in buying a certain garment you own. But it strikes me as a little intrusive into your privacy, Grechen. Basics about HOW you budget are helpful, and I respect your intention to be transparent. Hmm…let me think about this for awhile. I respect you GREATLY!!!
Cathy Benavides says
I admire your budget! Adam and I are starting Financial Peace University in February; we want to start our marriage on the same, healthy financial footing. I think having a budget is awesome! It just means knowing where your money is going, and controlling what you allocate your hard earned funds towards. Right now, I have virtually no extra budget since we’re saving for the wedding. But I’m okay with that. It’s not like I’m lacking for clothes. PS – It’s true, I’ve always wanted to know your inseam length 🙂
Cathy Benavides´s last blog post ..My Word Of The Year for 2015 – You Won’t Believe What I Chose!
Grechen Reiter says
thank you val 🙂
i didn’t honestly think that so many details were necessary either, but i feel like sometimes they might be, you know? or at least helpful. and i don’t think i particularly “owe” anyone anything, but i do want to be of service somehow, and helpful to women who manage to find me and want to know more…
i actually started thinking about it following a trackback link from reddit, and a forum where a woman was looking for bloggers for short legs. my blog was recommended, but i realized that unless you really search, you probably would never discover how tall i am, or my inseam. or what my size is. so i decided to put it all in one place for reference. now…someone would have to be industrious and visit the “about” page, but there’s only so much i can do!!
Grechen Reiter says
oh! good luck monica 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
you are SO SMART. but obviously… 🙂
i’ve listened to so much dave ramsey i have him in my head. but too often i tune him out…you guys are going to get such a great start, it’s the best thing you can do, i think. money causes so many issues in relationships.
I agree – nothing owed. It’s what it is – a shopping g blog, a reflective one at that!
Wow Gretchen, thank you for being so upfront about everything – although I agree with your commenter above that said you don’t owe us any personal info. You are so honest about how clothes fit, etc. But I did look at your “About” page and was surprised as you look taller in your photos (note that you are still taller than me by an inch or two depending on whether I am slouching that day). I do appreciate your discussions about how Everlane and James Pearse fit you though as I found their sizing a bit confusing. I appreciate knowing how much an item costs since I might not be interested in something like jeans over a certain price. However, I do think budgets can be personal items and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel less than happy about what you spend…well, other than your husband since it is a shared budget. I think that your purchases, motivations, etc. may change for various reasons and your blog may change along – that’s life. I do appreciate your blog and the time it takes for you to write it : )
Hey Grechen, I’m a bit late to this post, but I appreciate your transparency and openness so much. Also, as a fellow writer and infertile woman who chose not to pursue ART, I loved reading the linked post about being childless by choice. I hadn’t read it before, so it was moving to hear about that aspect of your life. I think it’s such an important topic to discuss, because like you said, no one is talking about it. I have several close family members who have chosen not to have children and I totally support and understand that. They have awesome and happy lives that I admire. I did decide to adopt, and have the incredible luck of parenting two little girls (so far). They’re wonderful, and I wouldn’t change a thing–I plan to adopt and/or foster more kids in the future–but it’s certainly not an easy road.. And boy oh boy, do kids ever limit a girl’s wardrobe options (and budget!). I say that tongue in cheek, of course (as I pet my neglected silk blouses fondly).
Grechen Reiter says
thank you so much for this comment! i would like to talk more about this, about choosing not to have kids, but it’s such a personal (and potentially volatile) issue…but i appreciate READING women’s perspectives on it, so perhaps i should contribute more to the discussion…