Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stuff I Bought Today; or, Inside the Mind of a Shopaholic

Stuff I Bought Today

I went shopping today for the first time in what seems like a long time, but it's only been since June.  However, in May, the only things I bought online where two thermometers from Bed Bath & Beyond - a meat thermometer and an oven thermometer, both very essential to successful cooking and baking.  In May, both my roommate and I went a little haywire and spent money frivolously, on things like dining out, pedicures, eyebrow waxes and for me in particular, iTunes.  I'm convinced that the road to ruin is paved with iTunes.

In the beginning of June, I made my Old Navy purchase, but in the second half of the month, my money was not in my hands.  Some would consider that a good thing, but it was not a good situation for me, because I had no money for food, which is necessary to live.  I scraped by, and then last week my money was back in my hands.  But June was not an easy month, for that reason.

Now my money is back in my control again, and I needed some things, and The Body Shop and Lane Bryant had good sales going on.  I bought 9 of the seamless lace briefs, which I got for $7.22 each - full price, they're $16 each.  I can't even begin to tell you how desperate the underwear situation was getting around here.  Even better, these are no visible panty line panties!  They don't cling, either - all good things.

The Body Shop products are great ... I can't say enough good things about them.  The Seaweed Deep Cleansing Facial Wash is the only thing I have found that works really well on cleansing my face.  The Seaweed Purifying Facial Cleanser does not work as well.  My skin is oily/combination and it needs a more thorough cleanser.  I got three of those, because TBS has a 40% off sale going on just for today (7/18/2012), and if you have a Love Your Body discount card, you get an additional 10% off, plus points added towards future purchases.  So I got 50% off everything you see there, bringing the average price per item to about $8 each.  If you consider that facial cleansers in the average NYC drugstore cost about $12 and up, and the fragrance alone was almost $30, the savings were pretty significant.

However, I still have to get a pedicure and eyebrow wax, get my capri pants from Old Navy tailored, plus buy food for the month.  Life on a fixed income is not easy.  At least I don't have to worry about underwear or skincare products for awhile.

I have been finding my Out of the Dark budget to be helpful, as long as I write down what I spend each day.  I keep track of all my expenses in a little notebook.  Today my spending, including paying all my bills and putting aside money for rent, was enough to make me feel faint.  I think I'm going to be doing my own pedicure and tweezing my own eyebrows.  No dining out this month.  You know how the saying goes: If you want to play, you gotta pay.  I've done enough playing for this month.  Even though it was stuff I needed (well, OK, no one really needs skincare products - only if you don't want to look like a scaly, oily mess when you go out in public), and I saved a lot of money, as one of my friends likes to point out, I would have saved a lot more money if I hadn't shopped in the first place.  But then I would be walking around with skanky panties and ugly skin, and smelling stinky, too.  No one wants that.  I did a public service by spending money on my upkeep.

See?  I can justify ANY purchase!  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Walking Around the City Outfit - Men's

Learning Yet Another Lesson on How NOT to Spend Money, Pt. 2

See all that Old Navy stuff in the previous post?  

The verdict is in:  I'm never shopping Old Navy again (except for flip-flops).  I'm very dissatisfied with my purchases.  The fabric on the tank top was too sheer and flimsy, and the cut on the khaki and black twill capris was ... how shall I say this?  I don't know who they cut their clothes for.  Whomever their fit model is, she must not have a waist.  The hips and the waist on the capris were the exact same width.  I'm sorry, I am a woman, not a box; I have curves, with hips and a waist.  Maybe their capris fit some women, but the savings that I derived is going to be eaten up by the expense of having to take the garments to the tailor to have them hemmed and the waist taken in.  

I should've just gotten my usual LL Bean Perfect Fit Cropped Pants - they fit properly, and they look good - nice and polished.  And if I wanted twill capris, I could've gotten LL Bean's twill capris, or Lane Bryant's.  Live and learn, that's what I say.  Now I know better.  Old Navy is good for cheap flip-flops, and little else, for me, at any rate.  

In for a dime, in for a dollar - I should've just spent the money and bought something that would have fit properly.  I should've heeded MissusSmartyPants' advice:  It's only a bargain on sale if you would have paid full price for it in the first place.  In other words, whether something is expensive or inexpensive should not be your only criteria for figuring out what to purchase with your hard-earned dollars:  You have to factor in Cost Per Wear (how many times you will wear the garment vs. how much you paid for it), the expense of maintaining the garment, and tailoring if it doesn't fit properly, and whether you'll have to buy more new items to go with it, or if it coordinates with items you already have in your wardrobe.  

You have to love it, too, otherwise it will hang in your closet, or sit in a drawer, longing for you to take it out and wear it, and sobbing quietly to its buddies when you ignore it, thereby engendering garment-guilt on your part.  Definitely something you want to avoid.

At this point, I'm proud to say, I have considerably less in the way of clothes than I had this time last year, so everything is in constant rotation for the season.  The only items I haven't worn in a long time are my dress shirts, and that's because I haven't had any occasions that call for dress shirts.  Plus, they itch when I wear them, so I prefer to wear t-shirts, but they're not appropriate for every occasion.

This is my thought process that I will use in the future to decide whether I will make a purchase or not.  I have to rid myself of this notion that it doesn't matter what I spend my money on.  It matters, and it has long-term effects.  Hopefully these capri pants will start earning their keep when I get them altered, but until then, I just have to put it down to making a bad decision in haste, while I was lured in by the temptation of a 30% off sale.  

Live and learn, baby, live and learn.  Sometimes I feel like I keep living and not learning, but part of doing this blog is that it keeps me on track to be a more conscientious consumer.  So far I've gotten better at keeping track of my spending and staying on top of writing down what I spend every day, and reconciling my "books" at the end of every month.  But that's a post for another time ... maybe next time!

Have a Happy Independence Day, everyone!  Stay safe and enjoy your day!

Learning Yet Another Lesson on How NOT to Spend Money, Pt. 1