Recap of the 30 for 30

Now that my sartorial challenge is over, it is expected that I share pearls of wisdom and lessons learned. Here goes. The most surprising thing about the 30 for 30 challenge was how easy it was. Before starting the challenge, I had moments of ludicrous anxiety. Limitations are bound to make you feel insecure and uncomfortable. Reflecting back on these feelings, I realize how truly ridiculous they were because the challenge proved to be easy. Once I edited down my wardrobe, getting dressed became simple. I didn’t feel guilty about wearing something twice in one week. That brought me to the shocking realization that I could probably purge half of my wardrobe. I am not going to take such drastic measures, but it is definitely something I need reconsider on a rainy day.

Second lesson learned: I can say no to spending. Once I realized how easy it was to keep a wardrobe fresh with only 30 pieces of clothing, I stopped wanting things. I started to realize that it wasn’t my wardrobe being insufficient that drove me to spend when not necessary, it was certain occasions, which when caught me off guard, created a spending problem.

Shopping with friends makes me more inclined to buy because I want to join in on the fun, regardless of whether I find something I really want or something that will pass as an exciting purchase for the moment. Visiting a new store often makes me more inclined to purchase something, and I purchase out of the need to commemorate the occasion. Coupons and sales in my inbox are also enablers. Now I only check a sale if I am looking for something specific. Blogging makes me feel like I need to buy things to keep up. Walking through H&M or Forever 21 just to browse is tempting as I will inevitably find an impulse buy. These are my triggers, not an insufficient wardrobe. I have learned that dealing with these triggers will be more important in the long run of building that perfect wardrobe than buying more clothes.

The trials and tribulations of personal finance

So today is the last day of the spending freeze. Although I had to break the rules a little (birthdays, bridesmaid stuff, etc.) and had a meltdown midway through, spending too much at Victoria’s Secret, I thought I did really well avoiding the temptation of shopping for the past three months. But regardless of how well I did or didn’t do, I still feel like I have learned some valuable lessons about money management and when to spend and when to save. I also came to appreciate the things I already own. I was forced to create outfits from what I already had in my closet on Friday nights and the results were often surprisingly good.

Moving forward, I came up with three questions I must ask myself before I make a purchase:

1. Is this something I truly need and have been planning on buying or is it an impulse buy?

2. If it is on the pricier side, is it classic? Will it last season after season?

3. If it’s something trendy, is it worth taking a chance on? Is it a piece that can be paired with other pieces that are already in my wardrobe or would I have to buy additional pieces and parts to make it work?

And I can’t end this post without saying the best rule of personal finance, “Don’t spend what you don’t have” (ie, credit cards are bad!).

(Photo via Nordstrom)

Spending freeze update and outfit inspiration

How were your weekends? Mine was great. The bridal shower went off without a hitch, and I think everyone enjoyed the food and the spice game we played. I also have to announce that I resisted many sales this weekend that were very very tempting. 10 more days to go. I’m in the final stretch.
I wanted to share this outfit. Even though it is very simple there is something I love about the rolled up jeans, camel coat, and red purse

(Photo via the Sartorialist)

Wishful thinking and winter hysteria all at once

So I broke my shopping freeze for the first time over the weekend. There were many reasons for my downfall. First of all I was given a special invitation to an after hours Victoria’s Secret party to premiere the new Body by Victoria bras. I thought “Ohhh, a party, they will probably have food and drinks.” That’s seriously what motivates me. (They didn’t) And then I saw all of the bright colors out for spring and summer and gave in. I have so had it with winter and I am ready for sunnier weather to be here so I picked up a couple of their bright sleep tees and a new Body by Victoria push up bra. The new bras are really soft and have memory foam in them. A comfortable bra was very hard to resist. I guess you could argue that sleep shirts and a bra aren’t really indulgent purchases, but when you buy them at Victoria’s Secret I think that counts as indulgent. So I got through basically two months without spending, which is still an accomplishment and I plan to finish my last month without spending.

Generally I don’t spend a lot of time looking at or buying Victoria’s Secret clothing, but when it comes to summer, I am all about their styles for some reason. They always have really bright colors. And I am all about a new pair of brown sandals this summer too. What are you looking forward to wearing this summer? I know I will be wearing dresses as many days as I can.

Lesson learned: Classic versus trendy

I can’t believe I have been through an entire month without buying any clothes. I have had no impulse buys, and I haven’t walked into a Forever 21 since before Christmas. I am pretty excited. I feel liberated. I am not thinking about the next trendy piece I need to add to my wardrobe, and I have been able to be more creative in shopping my own closet. I have been forced to find new outfits, and I am surprised at the new creations I have come up with. I am starting to think and day dream of what my first purchase will be after my three-month spending freeze is up. I am of course thinking of something practical and classic that will last a long time. I could really use a new pair of black pumps that can be worn to both work and out with my friends. Does anyone have any recommendations? Are there a pair of black pumps you can’t live without?

(Photo from Fashion Gone Rogue)

Resolution and snow

Cleveland has been and will continue to be in a snow/cold weather lock down for the next week. It hasn’t been above 25 degrees and the snow seems to be never ending. Personally, I love the snow. I don’t even mind driving in it.

So I am starting my new year with a little resolution. Actually, I have several resolutions, but I am too embarrassed to share them all so I will just share one for right now.
I am resolving to go on a shopping freeze for the next three months. That means clothes, cheap DVDs in the 3 for $20 bin at Blockbuster, and most important, impulse buys. That doesn’t mean, however, gifts. I just bought my sisters their birthday presents today and had to resist buying myself a $10 dress just for the sake of the price.
That also doesn’t mean the bridesmaid dress that I will be buying for my sister’s wedding this spring. So nothing that would be purchased out of necessity.
I can give a couple reasons for doing this, but mostly this decision has as little precedence as most things I just happen to decide to do. I guess you can call me impulsive by nature, which is one of the reasons to give this a try: the ability to exhibit some self control. Another reason is to try to save money. And lastly, I hope to make better decisions about the things I purchase, which goes along with that whole self control thing.
Wish me luck! Good luck with your resolutions!