Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The 2014 Budget

2014 was my first year of having any sort of budget and actually sticking to it for clothing. There were times in the past when I sort of budgeted, i.e., which I almost followed a shopping ban for a month in 2013, or when I would look at my bank account and decide on no more spending until the next payday. In 2014 I really went for it though, sticking to a budget of $300 a month. $300 a month may sound really high to you (like, if you're my dad for example, you laugh about it every chance you get), or really low, but it turned out to be a nice sweet spot for me. It kept me from going super crazy, as I used to work in the middle of downtown Chicago and would go shopping just about every day during my lunch break. It also left me enough wiggle room to toss in some bigger purchases now and then, like Hunter boots or a new winter coat.

The only thing I didn't like was that, in the interest of full disclosure, I put up everything I got, even if it was technically a present bought with Christmas or birthday cash. In 2015 I'm going to still share those items but not count them towards my budget for the month. I also haven't decided yet how I'll share items I purchase for my wedding, like a rehearsal dinner dress. I did not count the bachelorette party dress I bought in 2014 toward the budget, but I may count things like new shoes or dresses for other wedding events as long as they seem like things I'll wear again.

Here's the breakdown of what I spent each month in 2014:

January: $431.92
February: $263.22
March: $281.20
April: $270.70
May: $266.42
June: $256.12
July: $273.81
August: $289.18
September: $492.48
October: $56.49
November: $288.70
December: $145.74

Total Spent: $3,315.98
Average Monthly Spend: $276.33

While having a budget made me a lot more thoughtful about what I was buying, there were a few items that slipped through that I probably shouldn't have kept. My worst purchases of 2014 were:

Black skirt - Target - $22.99: This is something that I really liked in stores, but ultimately doesn't quite feel like me. I put it on a lot in my closet but it has only actually made it out of the house once or twice.
Gray Striped Tee - Loft - $8.25: I think I got really excited about striped tees in October, and then decided to pick this one up because it was such a good deal. But I bought it a little bigger than I needed it, figuring it would shrink. It shrunk all right, but only in length, not width, so now I have a very oddly shaped tee hanging in my closet that will never get worn again.
Green Pencil Skirt - JCrew Factory - $26.66: This was something I had on my wishlist for a long time, and then in reality never wore. Really, I don't think I ever wore this. It's partially because I wasn't working all summer and therefore didn't need to wear pencil skirts all that often, and partially because it turns out the color is really hard to pair with anything else. I'm going to leave this one in my closet though, in the hopes it will get some wear in the spring.
Bow Purse - TJ Maxx - $39.99: Another purchase that just turned out to not quite be my style. I had every intention of returning it, but in the end couldn't find the receipt.
Orange Heels - Sole Society - $29.98: This was something else I had on my wishlist for a long time, and then finally actually purchased because they went on sale. I actually still really like these but I think I only wore them once or twice, again, the color is just kind of hard to wear, and I wear flats most of the time.
Reebok Sneakers - DSW - $59.95: These should have been a good purchase. I bought them because I was in physical therapy and needed to stop wearing flats and sandals every day. While they are really comfy, my physical therapist rejected them for not being supportive enough and told me to go buy some "real shoes." Le sigh. I still wear them though because I'm a rule breaker.
Gray Colorblock Sweater - Loft - $35.70: I really loved this sweater even though it was a little itchy, but what started as an oversized tunic sweater quickly turned into a tiny baby sized sweater after a few washes. I didn't ever put it in the dryer, and the tag said I could wash it in the machine. Bad Loft, bad.

It was a lot harder to pick some of my favorite purchases, but here you go:

Gray Sweatshirt Tee - Loft - $19.75: Who knew that I could love a tee shirt so much? I pull this out literally every weekend to wear with leggings or jeans.
Arrow Bracelet - BaubleBar - $10: I couldn't link to a specific outfit to show this one, because I wear it all.the.time. My mom tells me every time that I wear it that she wants it (sorry mom, I'd buy it for you but it's sold out!) because arrows were a symbol of her sorority (she was in Pi Beta Phi) and even led to a random "meet cute" with some of her old sorority sisters.
Block Heels - Sole Society - $67.45: I'm not usually a heels type of girl (see worst purchases above) but these ones stole my heart. The block heel makes them so comfortable, and I loved the way these dress up a pair of jeans and a tee. I even ended up getting another pair in black to wear this fall.
Vest - Old Navy - $19.46: I thought this was going to be one of my worst purchases of the year, I was worried I would never wear it and therefore held off on buying it for a long time. Wrongo. I'm wearing it right now as I type this post, and wear it at least once a week. It's the perfect little layering piece.
Boyfriend Shorts - Gap - $36.56: How have I never owned boyfriend shorts before? These are the comfiest things ever, and I wore them just about every day over the summer.
Bandolino Riding Boots - DSW - $99.95: Who went back to the store and bought the exact same pair of boots after hers broke? This girl. And I've worn them just about every day since.
Patterned Skirt - JCrew Factory - $28.92: The trendiest item to make my favorites list, this is something I was worried wouldn't look good on me but ended up loving. It even made it onto the blog three times before I started worrying about overloading you guys - here, here, and here.
Watch - Kate Spade - $99: I wear this literally every day. So much so that it is starting to get a little grungy. How does one clean light colored leather?
Mark New York Coat - Nordstrom Rack - $138.99: This was by far my favorite purchase of 2014. I love the way it makes me feel: cool, chic, a little tough. You can see me in it here.

Whew. And that's the budget wrap-up for 2014. Sorry for the incredibly long post, turns out I had a lot to say on the subject! As for 2015? I think it'll be a little more of the same - $300/month. Will you be budgeting in 2015?

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  1. This is awesome! I really love that you laid this all out and were so truthful about it!

  2. Wow you were much better than I was last year! I overspend like crazy... a huge thing I'm working on this year. I normally budget by setting aside all my money for bills and then kind of going crazy at Whole Foods and Target.... whooops! Big changes in 2015. Love this post girl!

  3. I really really love that coat, what a great find.

    prosecco in the park

  4. Absolutely! I'm working on a budget of about $250 a month for clothing and accessories. So far it's been a reasonable sum for me :)

  5. I really need to stick to a budget like you! You did a really great job with it, and made some amazing purchases!


  6. Wow so awesome you kept track of your budget each month, thats something I could really use in 2015... I just might try that! Also it's nice you kept track of what worked and what didn't so you can save even more in the upcoming year.


  7. I always say I'm going to budget... but then forget about it when I'm shopping. You even managed to be under budget on average! That's crazy good! I liked how you mentioned your least favorite purchases, cause that's also something to think about when you go shopping again. The whole learn from your mistakes thing or what not. Happy 2015!


  8. Thank you so much for this post. I think that while we certainly learn from our own mistakes when it comes to shopping, we can also learn from others. I adore those block heels, I wish they were still available in my size. I also reflected on my "mistakes" and I realized they almost all had a common factor - they were from old navy. While I have gotten a couple of great things from that store, I am since I have regretted the large majority of my purchases, I am not allowing myself to shop from there anymore.

  9. I think we have a lot of similar things in our closet that we love and hate. I have a swing style skirt I finally decided to sell. And I was so nervous about my burgundy best but I wore it nonstop this fall!