Friday, September 26, 2014

September 2014 Purchases

Background Info
I am currently an engineering grad student, and unlike many other disciplines, you can actually get paid (a little, not a lot) to attend grad school. I don't have to pay tuition and receive a small sum of money every month that covers my living expenses. The amount of money I get is fixed, which means my disposable income shrinks every year as my rent goes up, the price of gas rises, etc. Still I know I am very lucky that I do not carry any debt and also have some savings so that I don't have to worry about money during this period of my life.

Regarding my budget, I have set an amount of $300 for most months and $350 for the months of July and December/January. That may seem like a lot to some people. Heck, it seems like a lot to me. Eventually I would like to reduce this number to $200 per month, but I will need to do it gradually.

September Purchases

Surprisingly I didn't overspend on Altuzarra for Target this month. I placed a large online order the night the collection launched but ultimately returned many of the items due to fit issues, including this crane dress that I really liked in my review. Sadly it was just too loose in the bust, and I didn't feel like it was worth the cost of alterations given how few wears it would get. There are still two keepers though. Without further ado, here's the breakdown for this month:

1. Altuzarra for Target sleeveless sheer bow blouse (black XS) - I love tie bow blouses, and this one was no exception. It's definitely sheer, but I like the way it looks layered over a lace-trim cami. See it on me here. Originally $29.99. Paid full price.

2. Altuzarra for Target jacquard pencil skirt (black 2) - Surprisingly this was my favorite piece from the Altuzarra for Target collection. I like that the skirt is simultaneously sexy and modest. Overall it feels more expensive than it is. If you're interested in the details, check out my review here. Originally $34.99. Paid full price.

3. Gap cable knit sweater (ivory frost XS) - As I mentioned in a previous post, this heavy cable knit sweater caught my eye initially, because it reminded me of an Aran sweater I saw last year at J.Crew. Of course it isn't heavy sweater season here yet, but I'd like to start replacing my old misshapen heavy sweaters before winter hits. Originally $59.95. Paid $59.95 - 40% off - 4% off ebates = $34.53, a discount of 42%.

4. J.Crew Factory geometric graphic merino sweater (graphite ivory XXS) - I love everything about this sweater, from the print to the neutral color to the soft merino wool. My top pick from J.Crew Factory this month. See it on me here. Originally $88. Paid $54.50 - 30% off sale = $38.15, a discount of 57%. I used a J.Crew rewards card (value $36.50) to bring my out-of-pocket cost to $1.65.

5. Banana Republic v-neck timeless tee (white SP) - I've been looking for a white tee that's not sheer for a long time, and this tee is the most opaque one out there. Highly recommend. A word of caution: it does run small; I had to size up from my usual XSP. Originally $22.50. Paid $9 - 2% off ebates = $8.82, a discount of 60%.

6. Madewell mini coinmix necklace (light worn gold) - I ordered this on a whim without really expecting it to be a keeper. In real life, it's nicer than the picture online indicates. Light and slinky, it's good for those days when you just want something simple. Originally $35. Paid $35 - 30% off sale - 2% off ebates = $24.01, a discount of 31%.

7. Vintage silver shell cameo ring - I have a secret hobby. I enjoy collecting carved shell cameo jewelry. I find the faces incredibly beautiful, and it's marvelous how intricate the carvings can be. So far I've acquired two brooches, a pair of earrings, and now this ring. I've scoured thrift stores and consignment shops in the past, but Ebay is my best bet for price and selection. I won this beauty in an auction for $33.87.

now drumroll please....

RETAIL: $304.30
SPENT: $167.86 (55% of MSRP)

Not too shabby! I feel like I'm slowly getting better at reining myself in and only keeping items that I love. Next month I plan to focus on basics like tees and flannel shirts. Linking up with Franish and the Budgeting Bloggers!


  1. Great finds, they are all classic pieces that you can wear many different ways. Very grad-student-chic :)

    I'm also trying to stay within my budget ($25 currently) but it's really not working out, haha.

    1. It's really hard to stay within budget. Looks like you got some good thrifted pieces though!

  2. Everything that you picked is beautiful! It takes time to convince yourself just to buy what you need. Even then you may still not make it. So many pretty things!

    1. Thanks, Meghan! Looks like you got some great stuff this month too. Hopefully it'll get easier and easier for me to only buy the bare necessities.

  3. I've been eyeing that J.Crew Factory sweater too! It's just the right mix of class and fun. That Altruzarra pencil skirt is gorgeous too!

    Stopping by from Fran's linkup- xoxo jenna @ sincerely jenna marie
    PS- I'd love for you to stop by on Thursdays to link up!

    1. Thanks, Jenna! I'll have to start taking more outfit pics.