Tag Archives: shopping

2016 Spending

Although I saved a substantial sum in 2016, I definitely overspent in many areas. It was the year of my wedding so even though my parents contributed a sizable sum to the event, I splurged and spent too much on it outside of their contribution. We did a small “mini moon” which also cost something, but in 2017 we will splurge on a bigger international honeymoon. Here is a quick overview of how my spending went into 2016…

Income (after tax and 401k): $112.4k
Spending: $81.2k
(remaining / savings: $31.2k + $18k  (401k) = $49.2k saved)

Auto & Transport: $5.1k
Bills & Utilities: $1.5k
Education: $2.2k
Entertainment: $1.37k
Fees: $443
Food: $11.7k (yikes)
Gifts: $1.67k
Health: $5.4k (not counting insurance)
Home (rent and home things): $17.3k
Personal Care: $4k
Shopping: $14.8k
Wedding: $9.6k
Travel: $6.2k Continue reading

The Percentage Budget: How much should the single working woman spend on clothes?

There should be some criminal penalty for allowing me to enter a Nordstrom. The lighting, the quality-made clothing, the hip fashions that should be in my closet — not on the store rack — are too enticing. Luckily, I’m terrified of buying designer items that cost a small fortune, so I only buy items that cost a miniature fortune. Still, they add up, and I feel guilty for buying just about any item.

I wonder how these stores stay in business selling $300 shirts and $400 shoes, where a decent outfit complete with shoes and accessories costs $1000-$2000. While it doesn’t make sense for someone in a lower income bracket to shop at Nordstrom, I have to assume that this type of store and pricepoint would be targeted towards a mid-career professional earning over six figures. Not that I have to actually follow through with their marketing persona, but why can’t I enjoy the fruits of my labor in the form of a Joie blouse or Ted Baker suit? Continue reading

Shopping for a Car: The Unnecessary Saga

*edited to add: the reason I am considering such an old car model is that for the next 2 years I have the remainder of my DUI sentence with increased insurance premiums. I am paying $120 per month right now for very basic, no comprehensive insurance due to the DUI. The punishment was deserved, but I do not see myself buying a nice car which requires comprehensive insurance. My original plan was to keep my old car around until the end of the sentence so I wouldn’t have to worry about comprehensive insurance, but it’s pretty much dead now. So I’m trying to buy a car that will get me through the next 2-3 years that won’t require even more expensive insurance. I forgot to mention this.

There seem to be as many models of cars as there are people in the world. Big ones, small ones, fancy ones, simple ones, Japanese ones, American ones, European ones, new ones, old ones, really old ones with expensive surgery to make them look like younger ones, et al. And today, with my poor, destroyed ’99 Toyota parked silently in a carport space waiting for its end of days, I know it’s time to get a new(er) car. It’s been time for a while. Since, in 2011, when it was hit and had the front bumper ripped off. A year later, the insurance company finally agreed with me that the accident wasn’t my fault and send me the remainder of a $2000 check. But, the car, worth less than this with 200k miles and a leaky engine, wasn’t worth repairing. I started to hunt for a new car. Yes, in 2011.

It’s getting a little (extremely) ridiculous that I haven’t purchased a car yet. The two issues at hand are 1, determining which car to get, and 2, figuring out how to pay for the car.

When I bought my last car, I went about it in my typical anxiety-ridden way. While I was curious about the plethora of choices out there, I quickly limited my  choices but determining I should get a  Toyota or Honda. I didn’t like the Honda logo or body styles (superficial, yes, but I am) so a Toyota was the winner. I didn’t want a Corolla because they were, well, ugly (I had no idea about performance comparisons at that time.) Prior to deciding on a Toyota I nearly bought a used Chevy Aveo or a used Saab hatchback from two different dealers. Those were the only two cars I tested out before deciding on the Solara. Continue reading

Fighting Shopping Addiction

It used to be I could avoid shopping malls and manage to refrain from overspending, but with my Internet-connected lifestyle, it’s hard to avoid constant temptation. I’ve made a commitment to only purchase items this year that support my goal to get healthy (or reward me for dropping a few dress sizes), but that doesn’t equate to frugality.

While it seems silly, I get a major rush from shopping. It started when I was young. Since there was little emotional connection in my family beyond constant fights, the one time where I felt I could bond with my mother was when we went shopping. Going to the mall was our thing. And we spent way too much money on my clothes. Spending $1000 at Nordstrom was a common occurrence. I never bought designer clothing but the amount of clothing purchase added up. If I liked a shirt in blue and it came in six other colors, my mother would convince me I needed every color. Being able to purchase all of this made me feel in control, like I was on top of the world. Continue reading

The Executive Makeover (Part 1 of Many)

At a web startup, t-shirts and jeans is often the norm. It’s accepted you work around the clock so if you want to wear pajamas if no clients are coming into the office, then that might be ok on rare occasions. But as your company grows, so does the expectation of professionalism, starting with how you dress.

As others are hired at later stages in the company, this becomes further clear. T-shirts are replaced with button downs. Jeans have transformed into slacks. And, if you’re still wearing what you wore at the beginning of the company, you no longer fit in.

A 2001 study conducted by consumer research firm Yankelovich Partners, Inc., titled “Work Your Image: The Importance of Appearance on the Job” reported that 76% of respondents believe that a woman’s appearance affects whether she is taken seriously, asked to participate in meetings with upper management or is well regarded by colleagues and supervisors. Sixty four percent believe that her appearance will lead to consideration for raises or promotion. Continue reading

Confessions of a Deranged Shopaholic – HECC Edition

My Broken Coin — a fellow personal finance blogger — wrote a post on how she spent $8600 on shopping in 2012. That led me to checking out my own stats to see how much I spent on shopping last year.

$17,617!!!
$9164.78 on clothing(!)
$4,456.99 on “shopping general” (mostly Amazon.com, yikes)
$1,272.98 on “sporting goods” (camping stuff for my vacation)
$858.67 on makeup
$811.76 on hobbies
$187.81 on electronics

That’s ridiculous as it doesn’t even include my food costs. Now, I choose to live in a place where rent is $650 / month with roommates so I can afford the overrages of my shopping addiction, but I’m not sure that even adds up anymore. A 1br apartment that’s comparatively nice to my current shared 3br would cost me $1800 a month minimum, and in this location probably more like $2200. So I could spend $18600 more in rent, or, well, clearly I can spend that all on clothes, makeup and household items. Or I can just force myself not to shop for anything other than necessities for a year. Continue reading

How to Get the Most Out of Black Friday

As a serial sale rack shopper, I often chuckle at the deals that stores offer on Black Friday. It’s not that there isn’t a few steals in the bunch, but most of the time stores discount in ways that market to the least common denominator, the common person who believes discounts on Black Friday must be better than every other day of the year.

Certainly for a few key electronics purchases stores may offer big discounts to lure shoppers in. But then, you get stores like Banana Republic offering “35%” off their entire store merchandise. That sounds like a good deal, unless you were in the store last week when they were offering “40% off all full-priced tops.” Meanwhile, on Express (where I often pick up a few Black Friday Deals) the online store offers everything at 40% off. I’ve been at the mall too much in the last month for some reason, and every time I’ve gone into Express, they had one of their “buy one get one 50% sales” for shirts or jackets or other items.

The reason I like Black Friday at Express is that you can buy their suiting (which doesn’t seem to go on sale otherwise) at 40% off, which is a good deal. That’s until 12pm, they offer their suit jackets and pants and the rest of their store at 40% off online… if there’s anything left by the time you click around.

Other stores like NewEgg.com have pretty good electronics deals. You might get a good discount on a hot item, so it’s worth shopping around — but it often doesn’t require going into the store and getting trampled on by a stampede of  crazy shoppers — you can get many of the same deals online.

One of the biggest tricks I see is how some items are significantly discounted while others, which I’ve seen on sale racks in stores, are now online for the same or even a higher price marked “40% off their regular retail price.” So it’s best to buy items that you know the value of, and ones that don’t go on sale, and are available season after season.

So stay indoors, get up early (if you haven’t already) and search your favorite sites for the best deals. Stock up on items you’d buy anyway that never go on sale and are at a solid discount, like the suiting at Express.

What was your best Black Friday deal this year?

 

 

October Spending: A Belated Halloween Fright

My October spending is spooky. But thanks to a $5k surprise bonus and a random $1k return of deductible for a year-old car accident that wasn’t my fault my finances evened themselves out this month, and I managed to save a generous portion of my income as well. Go me. Still, I could have saved a lot more if I were smarter with my spending. Here’s the breakdown of how things shook out last month:

Income: $7400
Auto: $972
Rent: $632
Shopping: $537
Travel: $438
Bills: $292
Food: $266
Entertainment: $189
Personal Care: $74
Health: $35
Fees: $24
Other: $31
——————-
Left over: $3,687   Continue reading

Q3 Spending Breakdown: $13,620.56

From July to September, my spending was a little ridiculous. It all started with the DUI, which cost me $3,000 in legal fees even before the big fine that will hit in Q4. The other large expense of the quarter was my Canon 5D plus a flash for it. Photography is an expensive hobby. I did manage to also spend $1082 on clothes and other shopping… how did that happen? Yikes. (see the graph below.)


Unfortunately the legal fees and DUI fees will continue to take a toll on Q4. I have $750 more left in the legal fees, and expect a $2,000 fine. The good news is that I have a chance to obtain $10,000 total in bonuses for this year, which should help me up my networth, and instead will go towards my stupidity. My income this year including bonuses will be a minimum of $95k.  That helps. I’m really trying hard to prove myself at work so I can move up the career (and salary ladder) but it’s pretty clear that I’m still learning as I go, and things take me longer than they should. I can only hope I can prove myself going forward.

 

 

 

I Need a Makeover. Stat.

Before you judge me and my piles of clothes on the floor and my “nothing to wear” conundrum, hear this — my wardrobe says more “college student who hasn’t slept” than “marketing director.” Every day, I wake up, look in my closet, and on my floor, and find there’s few items that reflect my position, and the rest of my life’s aesthetics aren’t supporting the cause (case in point, my busted car with Styrofoam instead of half a bumper.)

There have been times over the past few years when I went through this “makeover” shopping splurge, which usually lead to buying too much overpriced, dry clean only clothes at Banana Republic that don’t even look good on me and end up getting wrecked a few times after I wear them. The purchases I’ve made at Express, despite being more suited for “just out of college” than my professional status, at least last me. But that leaves me with a closet of “Editor” stretch pants in black and a few short sleeve, button down shirts in various cheap materials that still look young and unpolished. Hey, at least they’re machine washable.

But what’s a girl to do? When the interns dress better than you do, it’s a reality check. As more and more employees of the female species join our company, I’m quickly becoming the worst dressed. And I don’t want to be on that list. But I also don’t want to spend a fortune on outfits that will inevitably make it into the share pile quicker than you can say “how on earth did I gain five pounds?”

My closet, however, is just not cutting it. I’m tempted to do the Banana and/or Anne Klein splurge — find some clothes that manage to be trendy and hip enough for the startup culture, but formal enough to put me at the head of the figurative class. It’s a tough splurge to swallow, since I’m determine to LOOSE those five pounds, plus another 30, in the coming months.

Beyond clothes, i’m questioning my hair style (it’s now long, layered, but hard to manage) and just tinted with a “glaze” — somehow expensive highlights make people seem more put together and worth more. Marketing is 10% product and 90% sales. Sales is polish. And on that spectrum I’m always leaning towards scruff. Clean, but lacking in the shine that can take a girl places.

Tonight, I’m tempted to toss all my old clothes for good, and start from near scratch. But what will that cost me? Seems like such a waste of money, as I’m getting on with my Express clothes just fine, and the Banana clothes I do own are sitting in my dry clean only bag collecting dust.

How often do you buy new work clothes and where do you shop?