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10.31.2013

Budgeting Bloggers: October + Cutting Down on Shopping/Spending



I said last month that I was going to really cut down on my shopping in October.  Well, I failed at that one...and I failed at keeping track of what I bought and how much I spent as well.  I did buy the Kiriana boot from Target for $25ish, a couple of pairs of leggings for $5 apiece at Target, some cognac ballet flats from Old Navy for $9, and a couple of dresses on clearance for about $5 apiece, and two cardigans for $20.  I'm pretty sure there were other things as well...but I can't remember, and I have a lot of other things on my mind right now regarding budget, shopping, spending, etc.

While I absolutely love blogging, documenting my outfits, and connecting with all of you, I know that my shopping habits have just increased and the amount of money I'm spending has increased since I started blogging in January.  It's just fun and exciting to get new things and create outfits with my new pieces.  However, I'm not in a place in my life in which I can be spending this kind of money on clothes, of all things.  The materialism/consumerism piece that comes with blogging (I've noticed it in myself but also in tons of other bloggers) kind of grosses me out, and I want to get away from that.

I'm not 100% sure what I want to do from here.  I know that if I put myself on a huge shopping ban, I'm going to be just even more tempted to buy, buy, buy, and I obviously don't have great self-control, so I'm not sure that's going to work.  However, if I keep my habits the same and don't change a thing, I'm not comfortable with that either.

Here are some of the things I'm going to do:
  • Unsubscribe from store emails.  All too often, I get an email from Old Navy or Gap or something saying that the store is 30% off, and I decide I need to just check things out.  This almost always winds up in me spending money.  This is such an easy fix!!
  • Stay away from the clothing section at Target.  I'm at Target often for normal, household things like toilet paper, dish soap, and groceries.  If I stay away from the clothing section, I am not even tempting myself to see what I might be missing.
  • If I feel like I need to shop, only go to thrift stores, and bring a limited amount of cash to spend.  Honestly, part of what I love about shopping is getting a good deal.  Shopping at thrift stores gives me such a thrill.  I love going through racks and trying to find awesome pieces amongst all the duds.  Also, if I bring just a small amount of cash with me, I won't be able to overspend and pull out my credit card to get more.  This will also help me determine whether or not I really need something, or if I just like it because of the price.
  • Shop using only gift cards.  I do have some gift cards that I will still use.  As far as I'm concerned, gift cards are "free money," and I think that as long as I have them, I shouldn't let them go to waste.
  • Replace things that I'm lukewarm about with things that I love.  I have recently finally realized that while I love pencil skirts and more formfitting dresses on other people, they just do not look good on me.  I wind up passing over these items constantly in my closet because I know that I'll be uncomfortable in them during the day.  I now know that a-line skirts and fit and flare dresses are the best shape for me.  I need to get rid of all of the stuff that doesn't flatter me and replace them with versions that do flatter me.  This will likely be a long-term thing, and I'm not sure what my process will be, but it is something that I have been thinking a lot about lately.
  • Sell some of my clothing that doesn't fit or doesn't work in my closet anymore.  I have a HUGE pile of clothes in our spare bedroom that I know I need to do something with.  While much of it probably should get thrown out or donated, I have several really nice things that I've only worn a few times.  It would be great to try and get some money back on those pieces as well.  I'm thinking about doing a blog sale or setting up a Poshmark account, or even trying eBay to sell some of my previously loved items.
  • Participate in more closet and wardrobe challenges using my existing items.  I love capsule wardrobes and clothing challenges.  I think that if I participate in more of these challenges, it forces me to look at my clothing in a new way and try to be as creative as possible with the pieces that I have.  Every time I do a 30x30 or a closet challenge, my desire to get new things goes wayyy down.  This is something that would be really easy for me!
  • Take things one day at a time.  You know how people are unsuccessful at losing weight if they say that they're going to cut out all carbs, sugars, and fats at once?  I think that cutting down on spending habits and shopping is the same way.  If I put myself on a year-long shopping ban, I know that I will fail really quickly.  However, if I try to take things in baby steps, it might actually work.  For instance, I know that I do not need any more jewelry.  That is a quick thing to stop buying right off the bat.  I'm feeling like I have a great collection of cardigans and camisoles, so I probably don't need to add anymore of them into my closet as well.  If I tell myself "no" to certain clothing items that I'm usually tempted to buy (but have plenty of in my closet already), I think I'll be able to resist spending just because something is pretty or a good deal.
So.  This is where I'm at with my closet, my shopping habits, my spending, etc.  I have a big job ahead of me in trying to clear things out and become 100% in love with every single piece that I own.  With some transitions coming up in the next year for Kevin and me, I know that I really need to get my shopping under control so that I can contribute financially to our family in a better way.  It's going to take work and I'll probably have some slip-ups, but I know things need to change.  I think it's time!

Do any of you have other advice about what has worked for you in spending less money on clothing?  I'm eager to hear your suggestions, advice, and stories!!

I'll be linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers this month!

10.30.2013

Pinned It and Did It: Casual Button-Up

Shirt / Jeans: Old Navy Flats: Payless Necklace: Maurices

Inspiration: via long distance loving

There's something so comfortable and relaxing about wearing an untucked button up with skinny jeans, flats, and a statement necklace.  It's easy to throw together, but I still look like I put some effort into my outfit.  I was inspired to wear this after seeing this pin.  In theory, this isn't a hard outfit to put together, but I'm not sure I would have thought to wear my leopard print flats or this particular necklace with the outfit if it wasn't for the pin.  Sigh, I love Pinterest :)


10.29.2013

Fit & Flare

 Dress / Blazer: Old Navy Scarf: From my mom Tights / Boots: Target

I wore this outfit when I was representing my graduate program at our state's education conference.  One of my classmates and I sat at a table in the exhibition hall and talked to current Minnesota educators about our counseling programs.  Before graduate school, I worked professionally in college admissions, so sitting in the exhibition hall felt like being at a college fair again, and I loved being able to chat it up with lots of teachers.  When we had less busy times, my classmate and I just chatted and had a great time together.

I felt great in this outfit.  This ponte dress is incredibly comfortable, and I love how it looks on me.  These fit and flare dresses are my favorites to wear.  I think they're the most flattering silhouette for my body, and I like how I can dress them up or down.  Since it was chilly outside, I decided to wear my black blazer as an additional layer, as well as this fun, patterned scarf for a little extra pattern.  This was also the first time this fall that I have worn tights since it is finally cooling way down in Minnesota!

10.28.2013

Still Loving Maroon

Shirt / Cardigan / Pants: Old Navy Necklace: Forever 21 Shoes: TOMS

I've written previously about how much I love maroon, and I'm still loving it.  I bought these ankle pants at Old Navy for a steal, and I already can tell they will get worn a ton.  They are the same style (Diva skinny-ankle pants) as my blue printed pants, and I really recommend them.  These pants are stretchy and comfortable, and yet they hold their shape and look professional as well.  I love this color combination of maroon and gray.  They are both dark and rich, and I think they work well together for fall.

PS. Sorry my photos have been so crappy lately.  With my crazy schedule, I usually need to take my pictures really early in the morning or just past sunset...plus it's been really gloomy and cloudy lately, so the natural light is almost nonexistent.  Someday, having a "real" camera will be so great...

10.23.2013

Koi

Shirt / Jeans: Old Navy Flats: Target, thrifted new Scarf: From my mom

Orange is not a color that I normally gravitate towards.  I'm much more of a neutrals + cool colors kind of girl (although the amount of coral that I own says otherwise), so when I saw that today's color for the Pantone-Inspired Fall Color Challenge was Koi, I was a little nervous that I wouldn't have anything to wear!  As I looked through my closet, I realized that while I don't have any orange pants, skirts, dresses, or tops, I do have a couple of orange accessories...so I decided to wear them both today!  The orange on my scarf is nice and vibrant, while the orange of my flats is a little deeper, but they still looked nice together.

literate & stylish

10.22.2013

Turbulence

Dress: Target Cardigan: Old Navy Belt: JCPenney (came with a skirt) Shoes: TJMaxx

Today's color in the Pantone-Inspired Fall Color Challenge is called Turbulence.  As a self-proclaimed lover-of-neutrals, I was excited to see that this lovely, rich, dark gray was included in the challenge.  I had several charcoal gray options, but I decided to grab for my gray cardigan.  To keep the outfit from looking too sad and dark, I decided to feature this bright yellow lace dress.  It has been a little chilly, so I really should have added some tights so I could be more comfortable...oops!

literate & stylish

10.21.2013

Vivacious

Dress: Old Navy Boots: Guess Necklace: From my mom

Today begins the Pantone-Inspired Fall Color Challenge, hosted by Marissa from The Modern Austen and Heidi from Literate & Stylish.  I had a lot of fun putting together outfits for their Pantone challenge in the spring, so when I saw that they were doing a fall challenge, I knew I had to join in!

I absolutely love today's color: Vivacious.  This rich, hot pink is so pretty and bold.  I don't, however, have a lot of this color in my closet!  I think the pink stripes on this sweater dress could definitely be described as "vivacious," though!!  I am so happy that I can finally wear my sweater dresses again - they were one of my favorite things to wear this past winter.  They're just so cozy and comfortable, and I love how easy an outfit featuring a sweater dress comes together.  All you need to do is throw on some boots or flats and a cute necklace or scarf, and you're set to go!!

literate & stylish

10.18.2013

A Pop of Neon

Sweatshirt / Top / Jeans: Old Navy Shoes: TOMS Necklace: Eclectic Wendy Designs

I know I've been showing quite a few weekend-appropriate and casual outfits lately, but I'm trying to stay inspired and dress nicely on the weekends.  Blogging my weekend outfits has been a fun way to explore that side of my style as well.  This outfit was worn on a day dedicated to homework...and it was perfect.  I was comfortable for long hours sitting on the couch reading, but I was also dressed appropriately enough that I could go out for a quick dinner with Kevin in it.  I really like the combination of the neon green/yellow blouse with the gray sweatshirt over it.  The gray helps to tone down the brightness of the top, but I like that the color is able to pop as well.

10.17.2013

Footwear Challenges...


Sweater / Vest / Pants: Old Navy Tall boots: Guess Short boots: Target Scarf: From my mom

Well, my iPhone tends to take decent pictures when it's sunny outside...but when it's cloudy or dark outside, the photos come out with distorted colors and an annoying graininess... For your reference, the pants that I'm wearing here are navy blue, the boots I'm wearing in the top photo are a nice cognac color, and the boots that I'm wearing in the bottom photo are dark brown.

I've been struggling with footwear lately, you guys.  In the summer, I feel comfortable in ballet flats, sandals, wedges, and TOMS and interchange them all frequently.  However, as much as I love dressing for cooler temperatures, I often find myself stuck on what to wear on my feet.  I have a few pairs of boots , but I also don't want to be stuck wearing boots for the next 6 months.  I've just recently decided that I wanted to give ankle boots a try, so I ordered this pair (after seeing how freaking adorable they are on Whitney) with a coupon and a gift card.  I'm eager to get them finally and add a different shaped boot to my colder weather shoe options.  While I'm faithful to my ballet flats, they're admittedly not the greatest shoes to wear in the colder weather.

Aside from boots and ankle boots, what kinds of footwear do you recommend that I check out for the colder weather?  I'm desperate for some new suggestions!

10.16.2013

Maroon and Navy

Top: Old Navy Cardigan: Target Jeans: Old Navy Shoes: Target Scarf: Target

You guys, I took a couple of days off of blogging since I'm having a hectic week, and I didn't even realize that on Friday, I hit my 200th post!  Wooo!  I can't believe I've already posted 200 times on my little blog, and I'm still going strong!

This outfit is another weekend outfit, but I would totally wear this kind of outfit to work on more casual days.  I've been really loving maroon lately it's bold but can still work with many other colors.  I am not a huge fan of true, bright reds, so this deeper shade is perfect for me.  My navy scarf is actually a huge square, so I folded it into a triangle and tied the ends together to make an infinity scarf.  I like how it looks!

10.11.2013

The Blues


Shirt: Gap Blazer: Gap Pants: Old Navy Flats: Payless Necklace: Target

I'm wearing my $2 printed pants again because I love them, they're comfortable, and I want to get as much wear out of them as I can before it gets too cold for ankle pants.  I know I asked for ideas of what colors to wear with these pants when I first wore them and I got some great suggestions, but I couldn't help but pair them with white again this time.  I love this shirt and feel like it goes perfectly with pretty much everything.  I also threw on my navy blazer for an extra layer.  I love how the blues and whites look together!  I think next time I wear them, I'll look to my purple button up, mustard cardigan, or mint peplum shirt.

10.10.2013

Pinned It and Did It: Lime, Stripes, & Leopard

Tank: Target Cardigan: Target Skirt: Old Navy Scarf: Old Navy Flats: Payless

Inspiration photo from this pin (originally from the blog Clothed Much)

One of the first style blogs I read was Clothed Much.  I've always liked Elaine's sense of style, and I appreciated that she was on a budget and somewhat of a minimalist.  This outfit, which she wore in March 2012, is one of my favorites of hers.  I love the simplicity...but it is not boring at all.  The pattern mixing of the striped skirt and leopard scarf along with the lime green cardigan keep it from being stale.  I've had this outfit pinned forever and I finally decided to recreate it myself!

Despite the grainy, unflattering picture, I liked wearing this outfit and felt good in it all day.  I wore it while spending the day teaching elementary school children about things like friendship, respect, responsibility, and emotions, and it was perfect for walking around to different classrooms, playing with kids on the floor, and being professional as well.


10.09.2013

Plain to Polished!

Shirt: Old Navy Jeans: Gap Flats: Payless

Cardigan: Kohls (thanks Mom!) Necklace: From my mom

Back in August, I had a couple of posts called Plain to Polished (see original posts here and here).  I loved putting those outfits together, and wanted to make it a semi-regular series on my blog.  Well, time has really gotten away from me, and it has been over a month since my last Plain to Polished post!  Today's outfit was the perfect candidate for this post.

I knew I wanted to wear my polka dot jeans today and this white oxford (finally, I found one!).  However, the outfit like this was pretty plain on its own.  To add another layer for my chilly office, I decided to add my mustard cardigan.  For a little more visual interest, I added this black and silver layered necklace and some dangly earrings.  The final product is much more put together and fun.


What do you think about this Plain to Polished outfit transformation?

10.08.2013

In-Laws

Sweater: Old Navy Jeans: Old Navy Boots: Target Scarf: From my mom

You know how it's kind of standard for people to complain about their in-laws?  Well, I'm not one of those people.  I have been so lucky to have married into the most wonderful family.  Kevin's parents are smart, caring, fun, generous, funny, and supportive.  They have welcomed me into their family with wide open arms from the very first time I met them.  I love spending time with them and feel so "at home" with them.

I wore this outfit this weekend when I spent the day with Kevin's parents.  On Saturday, Kevin was hanging out with a bunch of his guy friends right near where his parents live, and rather than staying at home alone with our dogs, I decided to spend the day with his parents.  We had a fantastic time!  We spent the morning chatting and taking all of our dogs (I brought our two pups with me, and Kevin's parents have two basset hounds) to the dog park to wear them out.  Later, Kevin's parents and I went to Cecil's Deli, a fantastic deli in St. Paul for lunch and more conversation before heading to downtown St. Paul for the St. Paul Art Crawl.  I had never been to an art crawl before, and it was SO cool!  First of all, I love St. Paul and feel so happy there.  Plus, I really enjoy looking at art and getting inspired by professional artists.  Kevin's family friend has a studio in a loft downtown, so we stopped by to see her and all her art.  Listening to an artist tell stories about how they create their art is so fascinating and inspiring!  Afterwards, we decided to drive around St. Paul and look at our fantasy homes, if we were to ever move to St. Paul some day.  When we got back to their house, we had dinner and more conversation and Kevin met up with us after he was done with his friends.  Honestly, it couldn't have been a more perfect day!!

Am I the only one out there who adores her in-laws??  Or do any of you have special relationships with your partner's family?

10.07.2013

Pleasant Surprise

Shirt: Lucky Brand, thrifted Skirt: Target Scarf: JCPenney Flats: Target, thrifted new

When I first put this outfit together, I thought it was going to be blah and boring.  I knew, though, that it would work just fine for my elementary school counseling internship and that I couldn't dwell on how boring I thought it was since I was running out of time in the morning.  When I got home from my internship and snapped this picture, however, I was quite pleasantly surprised with how nice it looked!  I think it's quite flattering on me, and I look like a little sailor or a European traveler or something, haha.  

Do you ever have outfits that you aren't really wowed with until you see your pictures?

10.04.2013

Weekend Wear

Sweater: Old Navy Jeans: Old Navy Shoes: TOMS Necklace: From Mom

Top: Old Navy Jeans: Old Navy Flats: Target, thrifted new Necklace: Target

I am always so curious to see what bloggers wear on weekends or when they want to be comfortable.  I think it's fun to see people in their "day off" clothing and to be honest, sometimes my casual outfits are the hardest ones to plan!  I decided that I wanted to occasionally show some of my weekend outfits to show how you can be comfortable and casual on the weekends without needing to resort to yoga pants and holey sweatshirts (although I do spend a fair amount of time in these outfits as well...).

Since I don't usually wear jeans during the work week, I like to wear them on the weekends.  To keep me from looking frumpy, I like to wear some of my more casual sweaters and tops as well, but accessorize them with cute flats or fun jewelry.  In the first outfit, I've kept the outfit pretty simple and comfortable with the sweater and TOMS, but added a little bling with my necklace and earrings.  The second outfit features a popover blouse, colorful flats, and a chunky beaded necklace to keep the outfit from looking too bland.

What do you typically wear on the weekends?  Would you wear an outfit like either of these on a Saturday or Sunday?

10.03.2013

Pinned It and Did It!

Dress: Target, thrifted new Leggings: JCPenney Cardigan: Target Belt: Target Flats: Payless

Inspiration photo from this pin [via Along the Lines of Style]

Whitney and I have been blogging friends for quite a while now, and I'm constantly in awe of her sense of style.  She's really bold with mixing prints and patterns, has a great eye for color combinations, and she knows what it's like to be on a budget.  We have similar lifestyles as well, so I find her outfits applicable to my work and internships (she is a teacher and I'm in the education field as well).  Back in August, when Whitney wore this outfit, I knew I had to recreate it myself for this week's Pinned It and Did It link up.

We have the same olive dress from Target, so that was an obvious place to start!  Like Whitney's outfit, I added my cream cardigan, cognac belt (with a bow, which always reminds me of Whitney!), and leopard flats.  Since my dress is shorter (combination of my height and I think I accidentally shrunk it - oops), I added some black cropped leggings.  I loved how the outfit turned out - what do you think?

10.02.2013

Mint, Navy and Nerdy

Tank: Old Navy Cardigan: Gap Jeans: Gap Sandals: Target Necklace: Maurices

I wore this outfit to my internship on casual Friday last week.  I bought this mint sleeveless blouse to replace the cobalt one my puppy shredded shortly after I got it.  I actually really like the mint color and am excited to wear it with all kinds of neutrals and brighter colors!  To keep this outfit from being too bland, I opted for my polka dot jeans and added my white statement necklace, some dangly navy pearl earrings, and I'm sporting my new nerd glasses!  I've been wanting a spunky, nerdy pair of glasses for quite a while, and I completely love these.  They're a dark tortoiseshell color on the outside, and bright purple on the inside, which is really fun!  I'm such a dork and get probably far too excited about new glasses...I cannot be the only one, right?!

10.01.2013

Blue Printed Pants

Shirt: Target Blazer: Calvin Klein, thrifted Pants: Old Navy Flats: Payless


These pants are so awesome, y'all.  They are super stretchy but still have a nice structure, and I really like the cute little print.  And the best part about them?  They only cost me $2.  I KNOW.

In typical Brynn fashion, I kept it pretty neutral today, with a white top and gray blazer, so that the print on the pants could speak for itself.  I do want to wear these with something that isn't white or gray, though...any ideas of what colors might look great with these pants??