(the important stuff…smiling, and enjoying time with family – my dad is taking the photo, there in the window)
There it is, the “B” word. I’m ashamed to admit that as an adult I’ve never really made myself stick to a budget. I’ve never even created a budget for myself. I just paid my bills and whatever was left over I spent. Which, as you can probably imagine, didn’t leave any room for savings, unexpected expenses, or anything else for that matter. But dammit, I had all the “stuff” (i.e. clothes, shoes & bags) I wanted.
Yeah, I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes with money.
Now though, Leo and I have made a plan for where we want to be financially in a couple of years, and there’s no room in that for “extras.” And it’s time I start behaving like the 41-year old woman I am, and follow a plan to get us where we want to be financially before we’re both middle-aged (he’s younger than me, thankfully…
And that’s where my budget comes in.
If you’re a regular reader and have been paying any attention at all, you’ve probably noticed that I buy a lot of clothes (James Perse, ahem.) And maybe you’ve wondered how I can spend $500 or so a month on clothes. I look back and wonder that too.
I’m not going to get in depth into my financial/emotional history here, but I’ve been specifically spending a lot more on clothes since we moved to Dallas, and Ozzie died – which happened basically simultaneously. I used shopping and buying stuff as a reason to get out of the house, and socialize, since I’ve yet to make many friends here. And losing Ozzie hurt more than I cared to admit; it affected me so deeply that I’m still trying to cope. But it’s time to pay the Piper, as they say, and start to put myself in a better position.
And I think it helps when you get a glimpse in to my personal life a little bit – I have always tried to be relate-able and open about nearly everything. But not about how much money I spend. I never thought that I needed to be, I guess, because I never tried to make this into a “budget” shopping blog. And I’m still not going to do that with regard to the things I feature, but I am going to be more accountable for the things I bring into MY WARDROBE, and why. Because ultimately, I want to have MUCH LESS STUFF. Having a budget is going to help that a lot, and maybe be inspirational if you’re trying to pare down too.
The fact is, that I don’t need much anyway, but I AM a shopping blogger, and I started Grechen’s Closet to talk about and wear new items from designers I love. I’m going to keep doing that, but within a strict budget from this moment forward: $200 at Shopbop every month, and $200 “discretionary” every month.
I earn store credit at Shopbop every month for displaying a widget on Grechen’s Codes, which is where the $200 at Shopbop comes from. My $200 “discretionary” fund has to cover hair cuts/color, beauty supplies, and any other “personal necessities,” so I’m not going to be using that for clothes, unless I have some left over.
Suffice it to say I won’t be spending much on makeup/beauty products for a while…I’ll need a haircut and color soon, and that’s not cheap!!
You may also have noticed that I’m not like a lot of other fashion bloggers now who tend to wear more “courtesy of” items than items they paid for. I don’t get a lot of free stuff. I’m really picky about what I do accept, which is why I DON’T get a lot of free stuff. I would never accept something or wear it for you guys that I wouldn’t buy myself, which that eliminates about 90% off the stuff bloggers receive as “c/o” items.
I have been lucky to have created a wonderful relationship with Everlane, and they periodically send me items to review for you, which I always note in my reviews. I have received $15 credit for purchases from new customers who click on my link, but I’ve also spent A LOT of my own money there.
So, I don’t expect to be adding as many things to my wardrobe going forward, which is great, because I don’t need anything. I can still use my Shopbop credit for fun stuff, and if I just need to splurge, so I’m thankful for that, but otherwise, I know I need to be purging my wardrobe, not adding to it. Which actually makes me very excited to have a budget now; it just won’t be possible for me to add so much anymore.
And that is it. In my “Week in Review” posts on Saturdays I’ll keep track of the clothes/shoes/accessories I bought that week, in addition to the things I got rid of. My goal with this is to become financially healthy not only by spending less money overall, but also by REALLY reflecting on what I NEED and don’t need given budgetary constraints. Believe me, I’ve discovered that I don’t need a new nail polish every week (that’s $40/month!!!) or random stuff from Target if that takes away from other more important things.
I know…took me long enough. But better late than never, right?