Dec-Mar Purchasing + Budget Update

I think this is the last of the winter-y posts before I start posting spring outfits (which, due to continued cool weather, look mostly the same so far), but I wanted to explore my additions and financial-goal progress before I switch into my warm-weather posts a bit.

What I Added December 2018 through March 2019
(with no plans to shop March 30/31, 2019)

December 2018
Latched Mama “Mama Bear” tee
Latched Mama Racerback tee
Image Sources: Latched Mama Website

I am still nursing, albeit only once or twice most days, and I liked that these options worked with leggings, were options for workouts at home (or out, for the tank), and would likely see wear beyond my nursing days. The Mama Bear tee has a bit of buffalo plaid at the shoulders I like, too, and if I don’t end up wearing it (largely as lounge wear) once I’m done nursing, I’m happy to pass it along to someone who is.

January 2019
Everlane Stretch Cigarette Skinny High-Rise $52.00 shipped
Poshmark Trovata Birds of Paradise Cardigan $39.49 shipped
Primo Comfort Adjustable Stretch Bras $27.11 for three shipped
Target Sports Bra $21.81
Stitch Fix Unlimited Fix Renewal $49.00
Image Sources: Jeans / Bras / Sports Bra / Cardigan (pic no longer avail)

The jeans have been on steady rotation, though I bought at 27 and would be quite inclined to try a 28, as the button-fly pulls on them when my weight goes up a couple of pounds (like, every month for a week). I like the fit otherwise, but am not enamored enough with the wash to want to repurchase. And I bought a pair of button-fly jeans from Old Navy in 28, which are a little big on me. I’m working on losing a few pounds, much of which I attribute (accurately or otherwise) to the never-ending nursling, but these are kind of solidly in the “if I love them in a year I’ll keep them and if not I might just let them go”. I’m currently in a problem area where my favorite jeans died (irreparable rip in the bum), are not a brand I want to repurchase, and not, apparently, otherwise replaceable for wash or fit or cut. Working on it, but as a result, I have about 8 pairs of jeans I feel meh about, to some degree or another.

The adjustable bras are presently too small, but my bust is decreasing in size as I’m working out, and I’m nearly halfway through the program with a slvier of hope that I might just wean this child before the program is over. Or not. Whatever. I don’t care enough to push it, but I think I’m ready for her to be ready, if that makes sense. They are in a bag and I’ll try them again in a few weeks – I bought them on super-special sale and I’d lose half the purchase price returning them, so I’ll either find that they work or donate them/give them to a friend for whom they can work better than for me.

The sports bra is great! I wear it every time it’s clean, and I need more. So I expect to snag a few of those next time I’m at Target. I’m in between a medium/large due to being a 34E/32F, and am finding the large is most comfortable, if not always as supportive. I hate jumping-cardio anyway (::shakes fist at plyometrics::), so it’s just an excuse to modify, and then my chest and knees thank me.

The sweater was on heavy rotation from the moment of its arrival, as you might have seen in my “Big Catch-Up” post, but due to the warmth and wool content, I’ve relegated it to the cold-weather wardrobe at present. It’s delightful and I can’t wait to wear it again (if I’m only slightly more excited about NOT NEEDING A WOOL SWEATER IN THE FIRST PLACE).

The Stitch Fix renewal was a trick to include. It hit my card in January so I put it there, but my last Fix was a bust, so I haven’t used it. It will stay good until I do. My next Fix is set for June 2019. I think I get $50/year worth of value out of the program still, but we’ll see how I feel after my debt is gone and I’ve had a chance to hack away at this closet overload a bit more.

February 2019.
Old Navy Button-Fly Jeans $25.89
Old Navy High-Rise Leggings $16.28

I love both of these things right now. Though I think I could have done a 27 instead of a 28 in the jeans, they are probably my favorite jeans right now. I’m annoyed they aren’t more ethical/sustainable, but my budget is what it is right now and I’m planning to wear the hell out of these. Slowing down fast fashion matters, too, I think, especially for budget-minded folks — speeding up slow fashion is no good, and I did some of that, too, as I’ve been wandering in the weeds of ethical and sustainable clothing vs. real life.

I have no idea why all my leggings aren’t high rise and I kind of hate all of the rest of them now. But instead of replacing them, I’m working on loving my body in them. TBD. Also, the jeans are not cropped on me, because my legs barely reach the floor. Whee.

March 2019
March isn’t officially over until Sunday, but I’m excited about my debt-reduction progress and am happy not to be shopping for at least a few days, and I have a pair of shoes I’m also excited about (secondhand) coming my way shortly, and we’re good there. Also I spent so much on a tshirt and I’m sorry/not sorry about it, to be honest.

Poshmark Nisolo Austin in Smoke $86.79 shipped
Zulily Snap-Front Cardigans (2) in White, Gray $35.03 shipped
Justin Timberlake long-sleeve concert tee $65.00 (I know. Hush.)

I slept in the shirt last night and it reminds me of all the great concert tees and event tees I bought growing up that were always Men’s XL or whatever, except this one fits me just right. It’s thick and feels familiar and great and yes please I don’t care if it was $65. The Austin shoes by Nisolo are half a size down from my Dari boots, which I adore. I do not plan to wear these with socks and have some room in the Daris, so this should be okay. I like the charcoal/off-black tone, and the wooden heel. I really am impressed with Nisolo so far and plan to buy more. These shoes were discontinued and I was sad to miss them, as I like the super-high vamp (good with skirts and dresses or pants, and suitable for court), so when they popped upon Poshmark in what is almost certainly the right size, I jumped, offered 85% of asking, and got them. The cardigans will hopefully work out. They are no sustainable purchase at less than $13 each before shipping, but they are just what I need for work and casual wear for the spring/summer, and the button snaps are an unexpected detail. I purchased them in intentionally light colors – I didn’t like the contrast of the snaps against the black (too loud) and I think the white/gray will get a ton of wear. If they are at all reasonably constructed and sized (crossing fingers), I will likely wear them for a few years. I tried the Medium, which was the upper range of my bust, mid range for waist (but I’ll almost certainly wear them open), and just right for hips (see prior comment).

Budget, Budget, Budgetty, Budget.

I pretty-well annihilated my clothing line-item in December/January when I pushed back my Fixes and decided to get serious about paying off my credit card debt before my 41st birthday this summer, and I’m not only on track, but will probably pay off my card before our vacation a month earlier. I’m really excited by the momentum, so much that I’m OK with the bits of splurges here and there, especially the couple that support my fitness habit. I will be posting more about that in May when I finish the program I’m doing and can review it properly (minus the meal plan, which I’m not following).

MARCH BALANCE: $1522.66 (here we go)
Anticipated APRIL BALANCE: $876.12
The slight reduction in January is ALL CHRISTMAS, baby. And February is lying a bit, because I almost always make a payment before the end of the month when I get my paycheck, but with the 31st of January falling on a Thursday and busy-ness, I didn’t make my normal payment until a few days into February. I therefore assumed having three payments in February would be a fluke reduction (hey, hey, almost $600 down), but then through the power of not shopping, I’ve managed to pay almost $650 down this month (with no additional charges anticipated through the close of the billing cycle, I don’t think…) Even if there’s something small, knocking out $1200 in debt in two months is feeling like a real check in the win column, and I am on track to be credit-card-debt FREE by May 15th, which is to say, to a place where I am paying off my credit card every month by then, a full six weeks before my birthday.

I’d originally hoped to be credit-debt free by last fall, which clearly didn’t happen, but I’m still stoked to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My starting balance November 2017 was $5318.67, so if I am at $0 by May, that’s $295 down per month (not including interest), and without much curbing of spending some of those months in 2018. While I’ve shown I can handle $600 per month in Feb/March, I’m actually really happy to have an average payment of closer to $300 as an average, because that is what I’ll budget for spending, and try to tuck the other $300 into savings for rainy days, calculated splurges, and not consuming always all the things. I was reading about an idea that you can’t afford something unless you can buy two of the thing (i.e., match your spending to your saving) and this would essentially be matching my savings to my discretionary spending as a practice, which I really like. We’ll see if I pull it off. At present, having $150 or so per month to spend on clothing and $150 per month on other discretionary spending seems appropriate, so that’s my goal.

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