Wednesday, April 07, 2010

How do you do it?

I went out on Easter Monday to run a few errands. It was my first "outing" being back in my old neighbourhood and for the occasion, I decided to step out of the pajama pants and leggings that I have been wearing for the last 9 months and actually put an outfit together.

It took some getting used to - my closet is pared down and I still don't know where half of my things are (even though I gave 60 lbs of clothes to the SPCA and sold like over $1000 worth of my stuff on Ebay I STILL have to keep a ton of clothes in storage).

But with some trial and error I put together something that was good enough and out the door I went.

I noticed a lot of looks though. I often get looks and in my head these are always "strange" looks and I always assume that people are making fun of me "what is she wearing?" "Look she's fat" "She walks funny" etc.

And today was no exception. As usual I avoided eye contact with the people who were staring and just went about my business with a stern look on my face. That's pretty much how I always look.

That was until I noticed a woman hovering around the end of the check-out counter in Safeway. I was struggling with really heavy grocery bags when the elderly lady stopped me. At first I thought she was going to ask me to help her, which was funny cuz I could have used help myself.

But instead she said, "You know I've been watching you and I must say you look absolutely wonderful. What an outfit! I rarely see young people look so pulled together these days and I just had to tell you that you look really great."

I was floored. I made a remark how I'm normally in pajama pants but instead of writing off the compliment, I just accepted it and thanked her profusely.

So, I didn't get dressed today thinking I had a nice outfit going on and I wasn't going to do an outfit post, but since that comment, I decided what the hell, why not!







Tunic/babydoll top (tucked it) + Jacket + Bag: Forever 21; Belt: New Zealand market; Jersey skirt (it's above the knee but looks longer from the photo angles) + Earrings: ASOS; Boots: Jeffrey Campbell

Notice how my earrings compliment the top? Totally unintentional. The feather symmetry must have been completely unconscious....weird how that happens sometimes?

Speaking of those earrings, I thought I had lost them for the last year...I could only find one of them which was a real shame because I never got a chance to wear them once I bought them.

Lo and behold, I'm moving my stuff back into my place and at the bottom of one of my old drawers, there's the other earring! It's been in my apartment the entire time the tenants were in there.

Speaking of tenants and leaving things as they were, we found our favourite foods stocked in the fridge. We thought maybe the tenants bought it for us when they moved out but NOPE. It was actually MY food that I had left in the fridge for THEM when they moved in last July! EWWWWW! WTF?


Sigh. Money.

When you don't have it, it can slay you.

I used to just spend more or less whatever, not keeping a savings account when I should have (cuz you never know when you'll lose your job), using up my credit card without thinking how it will bite me in the ass one day. But now, I feel forever changed. My relationship with money has changed.

No, I was never rich. I shopped sales (mostly) and I never spent over $500 for anything (only once...and that was a mistake!), nor did I just buy without thinking. It was excessive though (in my opinion now) and frankly, nowadays the idea of spending even $200-$300 seems a bit crazy (and I know to some of you money-conscious people, that might have always seemed crazy).

And, this is kind of embarrassing, but I'm kinda angry. Angry that I can't just buy whatever I want all the time and that so many people seem to be able to. Most of all, I am angry that I had such a poor relationship with money to begin with. That cheeses me off the most.

But I don't want to go back to the way things were. I know how buying the "latest" expensive shoes is not the answer to happiness (it is fun though). I know how you don't need everything new and all the time. By all means, everyone should be able to treat themselves. But what are you treating yourselves for? What did I do for all my stuff? Did I deserve new clothes every week? Did I NEED new clothes every week. DOES ANYONE? Not really.

If I could go back to 6 months ago, when I had money to burn, I wouldn't be burning it. I would be saving it for a rainy day, paying down my cards and so then, when I would buy myself something, it would mean something...and I'd be able to afford it. If I did that then, things would be easier now.

But there is always a lesson to learn and never too late to learn it. I just have to - quite frankly - suck it up.

SO - for you practical and forward-thinking fashionistas (or anyone), what is your relationship with money like? Do you save for items? Use your credit card and worry about it later? Shop only sales, outlets, Ebay or thrift stores? Or does your job/sugar daddy/blogging perks let you just buy whatever you want? :P Let me know in the comments below (anonymously, if you'd like).

Also, any tips you have for saving money is appreciated :)

I've asked this question before but there weren't many honest answers (though someone did admit their parents bought them everything...take it from me, that will bite you in the ass down the line, lol).


Even though I'm the older one, you somehow manage to keep me grounded and loved x0x0


Ashe Mischief said...

Everytime I see you post (and I swear I don't comment enough), I can't help but think "Guh, what a knockout." So there you go-- you're stunning, doll.

As for money-- I was thinking/writing about this recently in a draft... but it's true. I think there's a lot to be said about people whose blogs involve fashion, especially, feeling maybe a more intense relationship with money, more pressure to keep up with designer, to stay current and stylish... and to be honest, if I had the responsibility when I was younger that I do now, I'd have not nearly so much credit card debt.

And I understand-- I get angry because I want new, impractical shoes, angry because there ARE bloggers who just want and have, and for the most part... I think most of us have this love/hate relationship with money. I think blogging in this niche glorifies it, intensifies it, and makes it so pressured.

Maybe it's on my mind because my own relationship with money HAS changed too, I'm watching it more, pushing more towards cleaning up my credit than ever, and being more conscious about the things I buy, thinking about how long I've wanted them, waiting for a sale, etc.

"If I could go back to 6 months ago, when I had money to burn, I wouldn't be burning it. I would be saving it for a rainy day, paying down my cards and so then, when I would buy myself something, it would mean something...and I'd be able to afford it. If I did that then, things would be easier now." <-- so this, yeah this? I totally identify, but I'd add maybe 2-3 years ago.

Though I will say, the boy DOES plan his finances and stocks, savings on making sure he can keep me in shoes for the rest of my life. But I think he also knows I'd keep myself in check about it....

Loxy said...

I'm not a great money planner. I spend what I bring in. I don't save much, but I also don't go into debt frivolously.

I own a lot of clothes, but if I just look at my current outfit..
Jeans - $0 (clothing swap)
Shirt - $10 (sample sale)
Sweater - $15 (Jacob - sale)

I buy a lot because I don't spend much on any particular outfit. In fact, I don't think I own a piece of clothing over $100 except one pair of boots.

So for me, it's about variety.. sales, samples, swaps, vintage/used/consignment...

I will never have the fancy designer duds, but I do take time and effort to pick the clothes I own.

And like you, just a couple weeks back a woman complimented me on an outfit well put-together.

Strangers sometimes make it all worthwhile. :)

Lindsay said...

I feel you about the money thing. I am currently struggling with the "Damn, I should have done that!" feeling- cause there have been so many opportunities where I could have SAVED, but SPENT, SPENT, SPENT instead.

I'm trying to reform. I really am. I only buy things on sale or with a good coupon. I avoid using my credit card, and try to use the bank card at all times. (I have about no credit left on my CC, so that makes it easier. Ouch, huh?) Also, I have started making a budget. I write down my income, my expenses as best I can.

This sounds crazy for me, who's barely scraping by each month, but I've found that it really helps- I put 10% of whatever money I get (really, 10% isn't that bad) into a savings account. Birthday money, paychecks- whatever. That little savings account grows. And I DO NOT touch it unless its an emergency- and I'm teaching myself that an emergency does not involve lusting for a pair of shoes.

Its so funny that you blogged this, because I am in THE EXACT SAME PLACE. Hang in there, I'm trying to do the same. :)

myedit said...

Seriously, maybe people look at you because you are grogeous... true story. it is a lovely outfit too.
I'm getting better with money but we've been dumb. No crazy big purchases just foolish living...I'm trying really hard to pay down debt now, I've only been thrifting recently...

Kristin said...

I'm a huge sale shopper and I'll save up my pennies for a classic purchase! And I am most sure everyone that was looking at you was thinking how fabulous you look. It's a killer outfit!

Wondering Woman said...

An aunt gave me this advice years ago... pay yourself first. Figure your absolute necessary expenses and determine what's left over so you can pick a percentage to put back, if you say 15% then when you put your money in the bank take that 15% out right then and put in whatever savings vehicle you want (index fund, interest paying savings account, etc). Do that faithfully and DO NOT TOUCH THAT MONEY except for very important things, car, house, stuff like that. Pay yourself first before the money has a chance to go away and you'll be surprised. Also making just a couple of extra principal payments on a house note each year knocks years off your original note.

MizzJ said...

I totally agree with the previous comment's advice. Every paycheck I put away 20% into some form of savings. Also, I save all my credit receipts and I keep an excel sheet documenting out my expenses versus my incomes similar to an accounting sheet (I come from a line of accountants). This helps me keep an eye on where my money goes.

Other things I do is evaluate each item I buy, like is the price really worth the quality of the item, do I have anything similar, and can I think of multiple ways to wear it?

Lastly, try to be on good terms with your bank and look into your investment options for your retirement and to grow your money. It's not only good to save, but save smart.

Sorry for the lecture! :)

Anonymous said...

How funny - I too always feel like people are staring at me! My friends say I'm just imagining it! How lovely that you got such a compliment from a stranger. It must've really made your day.

As for money, well, I seem to be forever buying clothes and shoes but always seem to have nothing to wear. One of the things I find so hard and I'm sure you can relate to is that my weight goes up and down like a yoyo. It may only be about 5-7kgs (I think that's about 12-14lbs) but it makes a MASSIVE difference to what you can and can't wear. Therefore at any given time I can usually only wear about 1/2 my wardrobe anyway. I buy mainly cheap clothes because I hate investing a lot of money in something when I know it may not fit me in a couple of months. I have a bad habit of not being able to throw anything away - I figure that because I've paid money for it I should keep it - even if it's been sitting in my wardrobe for a couple of years and has never been worn. I think it's always hard to strike a balance between spending money on yourself and enjoying your life and not going to the other extreme of always saving for a rainy day. Anyway, I'd love to hear some tips on how you manage to always put an outfit together that looks so stylish.

Anonymous said...

I'm not much of a fashionista, can't even remember when I shopped for myself last, so it is hard for me to relate to spending much money on clothes. I do, however, have money issues as most people do. For some reason, our household income just doesn't go as far as it used to. Maybe it is the 2 kids, car payment, etc. Anyway, I just wanted to say that it made me happy to read that you are thinking more about it lately. I've enjoyed your blog for a long time and it often pains me (because I can't relate to it) to see you buying so many clothes when you also speak of money issues. I've never commented because I didn't want to sound snide or poking my nose into business that is not mine. But, I could just see that your pattern of clothes buying could not be kept up. It has to be very frustrating to love fashion so much (and be so talented in putting together outfits) and have it be a love that continually costs more money. Good luck in figuring out a way to balance your love of fashion and you money managing.


daisychain said...

In answer to your question?! I used to spend impulsively, never to the point of getting in debt, but enough to accumulate a lot of crap and all that jazz. I later linked it to what I was going through and my moods and have since worked to calm that urge. I've gone the other way now, even if I want something I have a hard time handing over the money...I really really torture myself over buying anything non-essential.
Oh for the perfect balance eh? I never get pressured by other people to spend,
I like what I like, and if there is a must have...then I save for it and pay cash. I've never had a credit card (thankfully, I'd be awful!)

I guess in some ways I'm spoiled as I don't drive or work (well, the hours I do per week are hardly work) and I walk everywhere. I also still live with my parents who won't take rent. I like to think I'm setting myself up with a sensible spending attitude for when I am out there on my own. I still need to cut down on some areas of my spending though, mainly impulse food and drink buys that mainly get wasted or passed along to family and friends.

Oh god, this might just be the longest comment I have ever written in my life. Sorry!

J.Me. said...

I'm really glad you ask this question. (That outfit DOES look great, by the way.) I don't have a healthy relationship with money either. I like to pamper myself...but I really try to be disciplined. My kind of pampering includes eating out and buying $4 coffees. I do enjoy a good pedicure, but I honestly haven't gone in about 5 months. There was a time when I was living beyond my means, but that was because I had a crappy job and had just bought a car (why on EARTH did they finance me?!). During that time, I couldn't buy ANYTHING. I usually go shopping for clothes only when I've had just about the worst day a woman could have...And even then I set myself to one rule: If you are not IN LOVE with it, if it isn't comfortable, and if it doesn't make you look uber HAUTE, then the answer is NO. I usually leave with nothing or 1 item when that happens. But then there are other times when I need better clothes because mine don't fit, or because I wake up to realize that everything in my closet was either handed down OR purchased from goodwill. Another thing I decided to do was create a new wardrobe by getting things altered to FIT me. I am short and ALL of my pants are way too long. This was a tremendous way to improve my mood about what was in my closet. I am still usually dissatisfied with what is in there (especially since I seriously don't know how to buy shoes for myself), but I make sure that I have at least 5 favorite favorite favorite items that are versatile so I can always mix it up. I tend to use my credit card for any purchases, but only when I know that I already have the money in my checking to pay it off immediately, OR when I know that my next paycheck will have enough to cover. Sometimes the latter gets me in trouble, because of emergency, unexpected expenses...No one is perfect, especially with regards to money. But after living through that really tight budget period of my life, and having paid of my credit card...I felt SO FREE. Those interest payments will KILL you. I also looked into getting all of my other bills paid off in advance, if student loans and my car. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't, but throwing extra money at a bill each month makes you feel really great about your situation and helps get it paid off sooner. Sometimes that doesn't work either, though. I wanted to see if I could pay off my car completely in one fell swoop, but there would be a fee to do that...that amounts to the same as if I just continued on my regular monthly payments. So, I decided against it, but I do try to contribute a little extra to my student loans every now and again. As far as housing, I am currently renting and my rent is super cheap...So, that helps me save a bundle as well. I have definitely been very focused on cleaning up my credit in the last 2 years, because someday I want to marry someone and not bring an overwhelming load of baggage with me.

So...that was really disorganized...but ultimately I am trying to stay on top of things. I try not to buy anything that I don't need or won't use...And when I do buy things, I think about my spiritual, physical and emotional wellness...Is what I am buying good for my mind body and soul? (I just bought a yoga dvd and it's awesome...Baron Baptiste rocks my face off.) I sincerely wish you the best of isn't easy...But it's kind of like losing weight or quitting smoking...we just need to make up our minds that it is something that NEEDS to happen and then do it...little by little each day.

Michelle said...

Saving money... is always easier when you have some to begin with!! Same as it's easy not to fight over money when you have money.

My best tips that have worked for me when saving money:

Try not to pay with cash OR credit. I pay as much as possible with a debit card, which is my own money ONLY. Visa and Mastercard both do Debit cards now too, hopefully you can get them in Canada. It's your own money, but you can still use that money to shop online to book flights, accommodation, concert tickets... that kind of thing.

Paying on a debit card has a few benefits to me:
1. Most obviously, it's my money, not credit

2. When I pay cash I find I spend it and have no clue what I spent it on. Especially if I get $50 from the ATM to pay for something that's $45. Where does that other $5 go?! Who knows, most of the time. When I use the debit card, that $5 stays in my bank account and I'm less likely to whittle it away on junk just because I have the cash in my wallet. (#2 has an additional benefit - you're less likely to buy snacks from vending machines if you rarely carry cash!!)

3. Each transaction is recorded. Here in Australia a bank called ANZ has a free product called 'Money Manager' which is open to everyone, not just ANZ customers. It probably won't work in Canada, but one of your banks might have something similar. Basically, it allows you to categorize each of your transactions and run reports on how you're spending your money. Even when I make a cash withdrawal, if I keep on top of my categorising, I can usually remember what I used the money for and you can manually split across the funds across a few categories if required. It has the ability to setup bill reminders, set savings goals, and let you know when you're spending more than you're earning! It's a great tool.

Since I've been doing all of the above, I've found that we (my husband and I) always have money in the account and are finding it much much easier to save, and save more quickly. Just making yourself aware of what & where you're spending will help you out so much!!

Anika said...

Wow. Even though you're controlling spending, you still look a million dollars hun. So I would say well done, and forget the tips ;)

And that outfit is classy. Perfect. And when you're done with those shoes, remember me okay? ;)

p.s. I'm not the best with money. I should be but I don't have serious payments to make i.e. mortgage, credit card debt so am not as careful as I should be.

You've given me more incentive to do this seriously. So thank you.

rlutz said...

I love your outfit for the grocery look great!!
happy something special for yourself!

Alice said...

i was poor poor POOR in college and the first years out - as in, check my bank account the day i got paid to see if there was $5 in there for 1 happy hour beer - and that affected my relationship with money, although in an ultimately positive way, i think. i certainly enjoy the relative financial freedom i have now in comparison! and "treat" myself to things more than i should, but i also am VERY strict about keeping a certain amount of money always available in my checking account after too many bad memories of overdrawn penalties :-P i've also only ever owned 1 credit card, which has helped keep me out of too much trouble!

Kelly said...

I'm lucky in that I make more money than I need. I put 20% of my paycheck in savings, and $50/week in my health savings account. If my checking account starts looking particularly padded, I'll toss some of that extra money in savings. I don't like having TOO much in my checking because then I know I'll start buying things I don't really need. I've never had any debt, although there were a few times in college when I had $30 in my bank account and had to live off of that for a week.

But I still do feel bad that I'm not saving more. I mean, I COULD be saving a lot more, but I like going out to eat and shopping. So I spend money there. And since my rent is low and my car is paid's way too easy to treat myself to things like that.

Kelly said...

Oh and as far as my "fashionista" habits - well, I'd rather have 10 $20 dresses than 1 $200 dress that I'd have to wear day after day. I like variety more than quality, and that's easy to see on my blog! I spend ridiculous amounts on lingerie though - I'll spend more than I'm willing to admit on my stash of quality bras!

OceanDreams said...

Hope your honey has a great birthday! :) You do look lovely, I have always loved your outfit posts.

Saving money. Well, I no longer use the CC - only in emergencies. I also set a budget per week and when it is gone, it is gone. Period.

Also, I really think about what I am spending. Do I want that shirt this week? Then I cut back on eating out or buying those shoes that I might want more?! It's all about figuring out what you can get the most out of with the money you have.

You can do it girl and hope your week is going well.

Erin said...

Okay, I realized the comments are all "do this" or "do that".

For some, it's about a number or a percentage, but I think we have to look at the positive.

1. If you were going to be irresponsible with your money, better now then later!

2. Now you know, and you can make decisions based on what you've learned.

3. Take is as a challenge. You could still do fashion blogging, you'll just be on a budget!

Alecto said...

I always leave my card at home and, when at home, I leave it in a place that isn't easily accessible. That has seemed to help a lot. I also eat my lunch at home, rarely purchase Starbucks and only carry cash if going out (that way I feel guilty after spending it on something stupid which prevents me from buying anything else). I mean- I still spend money somehow but I definitely limit myself.

Anonymous said...

In those photos you look like Jessica Simpson. Has anyone ever told you that before?

POPPY said...

Cute boots!!!!

Don't let someone who doesn't understands silly comment get to you.
No need to explain yourself. We've all been there. I am there!!!!! But as long as you can see what's wrong and how to fix it than you'll be good! No worries!

And I'm sure many of your readers would agree with me and say thanks for being honest! Your honesty can help put people in the right direction (so many bloggers have so many expensive stuff, you're not even that bad)!!!!

Heh heh at the Jessica S comment too <8

Fashion Court said...

you should NOT be surprised that you were complimented on your outfit - you look fabulous!

honestly, i go on spending binges a lot. i have trouble controlling my spending when i find an item that i love and it comes in a few colors. i can't psychologically settle for "just one color" lol. i'm trying to work myself out of it. i also look in my closet to see what i haven't worn and if i know i won't wear it - i'll return it if possible (nordstrom has a fabulous return policy). but especially writing about's hard NOT to get sucked in.

Anonymous said...

Great tips! I do a lot of comparison shopping. Not just with clothes but everything. For example: if I want coffee, do I get the $4 Starbucks or do I make my own. Or do I go sumwhere in the middle and get a $3 Dunkin Donuts. Its about curing impulsiveness. Its hard but as long as you think about it;; stay on your mind.

Lesley said...

Pluto is 27?! lol jokes! happy birthday to your bf! Hope you guys have a blast on your trip :)

Hmm as for money stuff, I think it's sort of innately in me to be cheap. However, I do go out to eat a lot and without fail, I find when I do seem to have a nice savings built: something expensive will come up: my car will breakdown, school tuition due, parking ticket (oops!), 5 weddings / birthday outings in a row.. they add up!

But I automatically have $50 come off every paycheque into a CDN savings bond. It actually paid for my entire trip considering I forgot about the account for over a year lol.

I don't have a mortgage at this time in my life though, so it should be interesting to see how I handle that down the road. I'm sure, I won't be living the lifestyle I've become accustomed to.

I'm always selling shit on craigslist though and when I make money on that I try and put half away and half I'll treat myself. I totally need to stop going out so much.. I'm nickel and diming myself to death

Amber said...

Aww, what a lovely comment - and I have to agree with everyone else who said people probably stare at you because you're *gorgeous* :)

As for money, I know how you feel. I was really bad with money when I was younger - I stupidly took out a bunch of store cards (lured in by the "If you sign up for our store card today you'll save 15% on this purchase!"), and although I always promised myself I'd pay it off at the end of every month, I never did. And then I'd see something I loved and think, "Hmm, I'll stick it on the card and then pay it as soon as I get paid," and not do it because by then I'd found something else I wanted, and the whole cycle would start again. I actually think I'm pretty addicted to shopping, and it's a really hard habit to break.

That said, I'm a bit better these days: I don't buy ANYTHING on credit, and am slowly working at paying off the one remaining card I have, which is a 0% interest one, but I do struggle with not being able to just buy the things I want. So I'm afraid I don't have any advice - just lots of empathy!

Wanderlusting said...

Amber - Hey, I'll take empathy any day...better than a condescending/schadenfreude comment :)

(PS 0% interest? how the hell? me wants! :P)

AsianCajuns (Cath) said...

Yes, you look wonderful in that outfit! Very pulled together and stylish.

Now, about budgeting. I don't really have a specific fashion budget, but I have a weekly budget. And if I ever have any money left over from that weekly budget I either try to be good and roll it over to the next week or I'll go spend it something fashion-related - like my $18 boater hat.

I definitely go through periods where I get angry that I can't go out and just buy what I want - not even a $50 dress at H&M. However, it does pay off when I see my savings increase a little each month and I have a cushion in my checking account so those automatic payments that I forget about don't come around to bite me in the ass.

A budget has already really helped force me to wear more of the clothes I usually forget or ignore in my closet.

Vegas Princess said...

With money being so tight I don't have the ability to buy whatever I want either. SO if I want something new I save up for it. I used to search thrift stores when I was in college. I really need to start up that practice again. You can find the most wonderful things.

Happy Birthday to the BF!!!! :)