Monday, December 29, 2014

December 2014 Purchases and 2014 Budget Review

I started December with $402.81 left in my budget. That seemed like a lot of money at the beginning of the month, but I was still worried that I would end up over budget for the year since I have a weakness for winter clearance sales. As it turns out, I was right. I spent most of the money during the seemingly endless parade of sales before Christmas. One main culprit was the round of 30-40% off sales at J.Crew. There were several full-price items that I fell in love with and had to have, which is quite rare for me. The other culprit that pushed me over the edge was a sale on the Rebecca Minkoff bag I've been eyeing for months. Even though I am a little over budget for Q3/Q4, I don't really regret any of my purchases this month. I love everything, and the damage could always be worse, right? Anyway, here's a recap of what I bought in December.

December 2014 Purchases

J.Crew elephant parade tee (navy XXS) - I'm really a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl at heart, so I can never have too many tees. Isn't this fitted elephant version adorable? It's hard to tell from the stock photo, but the elephants are 5 different colors: white, silver, rose gold, gold, and copper. I foresee wearing this all the time. Of course it's pretty expensive, even at 30% off, but I really liked it and had a near panic attack every time I saw it sell out online. I got tired of the emotional seesaw while waiting for it to go on deep sale, so I finally caved to the pressure and bought one, telling myself that I would rebuy it if the price ever dropped lower. Originally $42.50. Paid $42.50 + 30% off + additional 10% off + 2% off ebates = $26.24.

J.Crew origami skirt in elephant parade (golden elephants 00) - This elephant parade mini is one of my favorite J.Crew pieces this season. The black and gold jacquard fabric is surprisingly versatile with my wardrobe of mostly neutrals. It's absolutely stunning paired with black. See my full review here. Originally $118. Paid $118 + 30% off + 5% off ebates = $78.47.

J.Crew Harper scalloped suede flats (deep violet 6) - I've always wanted blue suede shoes (maybe influenced by Elvis?), and this pointed toe pair was perfect. J.Crew does color well so the blue is extremely saturated, and I love the scalloping around the border. Unlike its predecessor the Viv, I find the Harper to be true to size. Originally $128. Paid $128 + 30% off + 4% off ebates = $86.02.

Old Navy glittery pointed-toe flats (silver/gold 6) - Is it weird that I can't stop staring at their sparkly goodness? Sadly they rub a little at the heel, but nothing some Dr. Scholl's can't fix (recommended by Instagram friends). Thanks to Caroline for pointing them out. Originally $26.94. Paid $26.94 + 30% off + 2% off ebates = $18.41.

!iT Collective Taylor mid rise skinny ankle jean (red sand 24) - I really wanted a pair of plum jeans for fall. I considered getting these Madewell ones at first, but they were too expensive, so I bought this pair instead. I'm pretty happy with them. See them in action here. Originally $94. Paid $43.94.

Rebecca Minkoff love crossbody (black/gold) - I'm so thrilled to add this quilted bag to my collection after months of lusting after it! Now Fran and I can be bag twins. It's absolutely beautiful in real life. The quality is excellent, and the attention to detail was phenomenal. See my full review here. Originally $295. Paid $295 + 30% off + $73.05 in rewards points = $133.45 out of pocket.

Brooks Brothers tuxedo shirt (white 0) - This was my first time ordering from Brooks Brothers. I was curious about their Red Fleece Collection and wanted to try out a few pieces. I've been looking for a tuxedo shirt for years now, so naturally I was drawn to this. The fit was surprisingly good, comparable to a 00 at J.Crew. Not too sheer, and I like the blue trim details. I think this shirt may run smaller than other Red Fleece shirts, because I also ordered this flannel shirt that I'll be returning since it was too large and long. Originally $85. Paid $85 + 40% off + 5% off ebates = $48.45.

Brooks Brothers crewneck stripe tee (black white XS) - For some reason, it's hard for me to find stripe tees that fit well and aren't too sheer. This one's a little long in the sleeves, but it fits like a dream otherwise. Slim without being clingy and completely opaque. A nice basic. Originally $39.50. Paid $39.50 + 40% off + 5% off ebates = $22.52.

So my total for the month comes to...

RETAIL: $828.84
SPENT: $457.49 (55% of MSRP)

Q3/Q4 2014 TOTAL: Over budget by $54.68


So how did I do for the year?

A little backstory first. Even before I began blogging this past July, I kept track of my monthly clothing expenditures. But it was just that, tracking with no enforcement. This year I resolved to stick to a budget of $300 per month for most months and $350 for January, July, and December. At first I just let it slide if I went over budget for the month, but in October, I decided to start carrying over my balance from month to month (and reduced my budget for December to $300). I like my new accounting method better, so I plan to stick with it next year. Okay, now onto the analytics (I am an engineer after all).

Here's the monthly breakdown. Yay, graphs!
Based on this, I went waaaay over my budget in January, July, and December. No surprises here. Those months correspond to winter and summer clearance sales. Perhaps in the future, I can either try to avoid the temptation of low sale prices or buy less in the other months to make up for it. During the rest of the year, I was right on target.

So my original goal was to spend less than $3750 for the year. That number got revised to $3700 in October. During Q1/Q2 of this year, I spent $1821.95 on clothes. During Q3/Q4, I spent a total of $1904.68. That's a grand total of $3726.63 for the year, which is an average of $310.55 per month. That's not too far off the mark, but I am still over budget by $26.63 for the year. The main shocker was how much the lump sum was. It's a huge pile of money! My heart aches to visualize it.

Next year I am decreasing my budget to $3000, which comes out to $250 per month. Wish me luck!


How did you do with your budget this year? Linking up with Franish and the other Budgeting Bloggers.


  1. That handbag was a steal after credits and deals....I managed to be $3 UNDER my yearly of my best and worst purchases as making

    1. Great job with your budget! I'll head over to read your post.

  2. Sales got me this month, too, and they usually do in January also! Ahh! Really hoping I can get my spending under control next month. I've only had one really good month since I started budgeting in March (I guess that's better than none, haha). I LOVE those J.Crew flats you got!

    xo Kimi

    1. I'm optimistic about doing better next month, because there's nothing else I want from J.Crew (for now... haha). I love the flats too! I'm so glad I caught them on popback. :)