Thursday, January 10, 2019

The 2018 Budget

It's that time of year... for a full 2018 budget recap! In 2018, I had a clothing budget of $350 a month which included everything except for undergarments, pajamas, workout clothes, and maternity essentials, and includes bigger ticket items like shoes, coats, and special occasion dresses. I'm not particularly hard on myself in terms of hitting that number each month, if I go over one month I'll just try to reel in my spending the next.

I've been sharing my clothing budget now for five years (what?!?) and during that time I've really tried to cut back on unnecessary purchases as well as fast fashion and things that wouldn't last. I would say I definitely have gotten better since I started tracking my budget, and it helps that I don't spend my lunch breaks wandering down State Street making impulse purchases. I have cut way back on spending at places like Forever 21 and Old Navy, where I would find I'd wear a piece only a few times before it either shrunk, started falling apart, or I stopped liking it. Every year though I say I'm going to try to spend more on fewer quality pieces, and it still isn't quite happening. But, that being said, I'm definitely in a better place now!

The Breakdown By Month

So here's what I spent in 2018! Each month links back to the original post.

January: $363.68
February: $401.48
March: $413.12
April: $322.75
May: $270.50
June: $209.75
July: $434.55
August: $378
September: $239.66
October: $271.09
November: $315.44
December: $127.80

Total Spent: $3,747.82
Average Monthly Spend: $312.32

I was expecting to be way under budget for the year since I haven't spent much for the last few months, but I forgot about my overspending at the beginning of the year! So things all seem to have averaged out, and I spent just a little more per month than in 2017

The Misses for 2018

So even though I think I've been getting better about what I buy, there were a few misses that managed to slip through. My worst purchases of the year all come from the first half of 2018, it's possible I'll change my mind on something I've purchased more recently but for now I think they were all good choices! Here were my worst purchases of the year: 

LOFT Lace Blouse - originally $59.50, on sale $32.97. Purchased in March. 
I thought this was so pretty, but really it never quite worked for me and I think I only ended up wearing it once. It was too cold to really wear for the office, felt too formal to wear casually, and never worked with a skirt like I wanted to. Plus I should have paid more attention to the arm holes, they're a little too big for me. 
J.Crew Polartec Pullover - originally $118, on sale $37.99. Purchased in February. 
This was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up, but I should have listened to my instincts and returned it because it's a little cropped and doesn't quite work on me. I should have waited until this winter, because I hear this year's version is longer and more flattering! I don't know that this is a total miss though because I do still wear it, just less than the other fleeces in my closet. 
J.Crew Factory Necklace - originally $49.50, on sale $20.00. Purchased in May. 
Again, something I thought was cute but never really wore. Partially because I always wanted to have on statement earrings instead of a necklace this summer, and partially because it ended up feeling a bit too juvenile / 2012. Plus one of the rows of beads came loose and it would scratch me. Note to self: stop buying cheap jewelry! I like the couple of classic pieces I wear every day better than anything else! 
Sanctuary Tank - originally $69.00, on sale $41.40. Purchased in February. 
I ended up buying this at the last minute for our trip to Charleston last spring and actually really liked it at the time - you can see I shared it here. But, when I went to wear it again this summer, I couldn't figure out what bra I had worn with it previously because it showed a ton of the sides of whatever bra I tried! So I don't know what was happening in Charleston then, or if I was just showing off my bra the whole time hahaha. 

The Hits for 2018

So, what were some of my best purchases of 2018? This is hard to define since I had a lot of favorites, so I picked the things I ended up wearing the most. 

J.Crew Factory Gingham Dress - originally $69.50, on sale $33.60. Purchased in May. 
This is one of those dresses that worked for dressy or casual occasions, was fun to wear on trips, and worked once I got pregnant too. Definitely a good buy! 
Madewell Jeans - originally $128.00, on sale $48.99. Purchased in January. 
Madewell makes my favorite jeans, so I was really excited to find these on such good sale last year! My torso is too short for all of the high waisted jeans that are popular right now (they literally come up to my bra!) so I'm a fan of their medium rise, dark wash skinny jeans since you can really wear them anywhere and dress them up or down. Madewell is also a favorite because they offer "tall" and "taller" lengths for those of you with really long legs! 
Clare V Petite Alice Bag - $175, used giftcard $0. Purchased in January. 
This was purchased with a gift card from Christmas so really it was "free" for me but I still debated for a long time on whether or not to spend so much on a "trendy" item. Well jokes on me because I wore it non-stop, on our spring trip to Charleston, all over the place this summer, and to Hawaii this fall. Sometimes a statement bag like this just makes an outfit, and this one was so fun to wear! 
New Balance Sneakers - originally $69.99, used coupon $49.99. Purchased in October. 
I. Love. These. Sneakers. 
They're amazingly comfortable which is the most important thing to me, but I love the little leather detailing that just makes them so cute. I'm only wearing "sock-style" sneakers these days (they don't have a separate tongue, and are really stretchy), and love that there's absolutely no rubbing! 
Maggie London Gingham Dress - $128. Purchased in February. 
I also bought this to wear in Charleston, but ended up wearing it all spring and summer long! It's such a fun piece but ended up working for a number of occasions, from bridal/baby showers to work to date night and everything in between. Plus it worked great at the beginning of my pregnancy too when things were starting to feel a little tight! 
Halogen Cardigan - originally $79.00, on sale $42.90. Purchased in July. 
I bought this as a part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale thinking I'd get some use out of it as a pregnancy layer, and man was I right! I've been wearing it basically non-stop, it's casual but manages to look good dressed up too. The only tricky thing is wearing it under a winter coat, I usually just take it off because it looks awkward hanging out the bottom and put it on once I get where I'm going. This exact cardigan is sold out, but here's a super similar one
Gibson Convertible Sweater - originally $54.00, on sale $36.18. Purchased in September.
This is so cozy and perfect for wearing with leggings! It's working as my bump grows but will also work great post-pregnancy. You can wear it off the shoulder or as a cowl neck, and I definitely have only ever worn it as a cowl neck! 
Abercrombie Sherpa Pullover - originally $68, on sale $40.80. Purchased in September. 
This was a risky purchase since I bought it just as my baby bump was starting to show up, so it could have had a really short shelf life, but I'm still wearing it now! It's so cozy and the perfect weight to wear around the house to stay warm without overheating. I wear it basically every day I work from home! This one is sold out but I also own and love last year's version.
J.Crew Factory White Shorts - originally $49.50, on sale $34.65. Purchased in March.
These were a replacement pair for another I wore to death in previous years, and I'm still loving them! I wore them non-stop until my baby bump made me stop, but they are so comfortable and stretchy, and short without being too short. 
J.Crew Factory Plaid Scarf - originally $29.50, on sale $20.65. Purchased in November. 
I mean, I couldn't really write a favorites list without including one of these scarves, you heard me rave about them all fall and this holiday season! I love that these make any simple outfit look that much cuter, and work well as cold weather accessories too. They're also the perfect size - not overwhelmingly big but not too small either. I now own six! 
Old Navy Tee Dress - originally $26.99, on sale $10.00. Purchased in July.
I really got my $10 worth out of this dress! I bought it right at the beginning of my pregnancy to give my bump a little more room, and ended up wearing it all over the place this summer and fall. 

Thoughts for 2019

I'm still feeling the $350 is a good amount for me per month. It might not seem like it because I still buy a lot, but it definitely does rein me in every month. That might change once our little baby girl joins our family and our expenses change, but I'll reevaluate once that happens. 

Want to see more? Check out my budget recaps from 201720162015, and 2014.

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