Saturday, December 1, 2018

November 2018 Budget

November has been an extremely eventful month! Between wrapping up my dissertation, submitting it to my committee, traveling to Europe, getting sick, doing interviews, and trying to schedule my PhD defense (it's in 2 weeks!), I've been very busy. I've also been (over)indulging in retail therapy. I already know I tend to shop more when I'm stressed out, so that was definitely a factor, plus I picked up a little souvenir while I was in Europe. At least most of my purchases were pretty practical. Let's take a look at what I bought this month.



Banana Republic washable merino wool boyfriend cardigan (burgundy red XXS) - I love this cardigan! If my size wasn't sold out, I would buy it in more colors. It's the perfect boyfriend fit without being oversized. It's long enough to cover my bum but not so long that it overwhelms my frame. I like the lightweight merino and the fact that it's washable. I've only tried to wash it once so far in cold water and laid it flat to dry. It turned out fine albeit slightly wrinkled afterwards. Next time I will most likely handwash and use a cool iron. If you like cardigans as much as I do, I highly recommend it. I found it to be true to size. Originally $78. Paid $40.91.

Everlane the authentic stretch mid-rise skinny (washed black 24) - As I mentioned in this post, I've been looking for a new pair of grey skinny jeans. I tried to find something at the usual suspects (Nordstrom Rack, Amazon, J.Crew), but nothing fit my criteria (true grey, no weird embellishments, small ankle opening, mostly cotton, 28"-29" inseam). Then I read Kimi's review of the new Everlane skinny jeans, and I immediately ordered a couple pairs to try out. I chose the mid-rise, which turns out to still be relatively high rise. Also, the sizing is inconsistent between different colors. The washed black colorway seems to run large. I ordered both the 24 and 25, and the 24 is a better fit (I wear 25 in most denim brands). It's a hair tight in the waistband (I'm a little overweight at the moment), but the 25 was too large overall and felt loose/stretched out. However, I later ordered the true black in size 24, which I couldn't even get over my hips. If I were to order another pair, I would probably go with my true size 25. The interesting thing about these is that they look like real jeans, but they kind of feel like yoga pants. They're not stiff at all and are actually pretty stretchy. The material is not the thickest, but it's also not paper thin. I think they're worth a try if you're in the market for denim. Originally $68. Paid $50.

(not pictured) Chelsea28 jacquard side button tank (grey micro XS) via Nordstrom Rack - This tank was an impulse purchase. I went to Nordstrom Rack to return a few things and then of course had to browse around afterwards since I was already there. I've been looking for some pretty camisoles and tanks to wear under cardigans, and this seems to fit the bill. The pattern kind of reminds me of a Chinese qipao. I was surprised to see that it was made of 100% rayon (I had assumed it was polyester), so I do have to be a little careful in terms of laundering. Originally $49. Paid $6.12.

J.Crew tartan scarf (red multi) - I purged the majority of my scarves before I moved in with J, so I only have one winter scarf. I wanted a new plaid scarf that would go well with my winter coats, and this fits the bill perfectly. This white, red, and green Christmas plaid somehow "matches" my red lady day coat, my camel cocoon coat, and my navy peacoat. It's also very soft and pretty big. Originally $59.50. Paid $30.61.

J.Crew ribbed beanie with faux-fur pom-pom (ivory) - I bought this hat for my trip to Europe and ended it wearing it every single day. It's not the warmest, so I wouldn't wear it in the depths of winter, but it did keep my head warm when the temperatures were in the high 30s to low 40s. It fits my big head pretty well, and I love the large faux-fur pom. Originally $39.50. Paid $20.32.

Madewell medium perfect leather belt (pecan S) - I've been wearing my cognac leather pieces nonstop, so I thought it would make sense to also add a cognac leather belt. I instantly knew I wanted to buy Madewell's version, because it matches my bag perfectly. I'm really happy with the purchase. The leather is very soft, and the width of the belt is perfect. Originally $45. Paid $36.75.

Longchamp large le pliage neo (black) - I purchased my first Longchamp Le Pliage Neo back in April 2014 (when it was still called the Planetes), and it instantly became my everyday tote bag. I used it for school, and I also used it for conferences/interviews/career fairs. Earlier this year, I noticed that it was starting to look shabby after 4 years of nearly daily use. The bottom had little holes, there were permanent scratches on the nylon body, and the leather trim was dotted with tiny teeth marks (my ex-fiance's cat used to like chewing on the corners for some reason). I decided to replace it after graduation. However, when I found out that we were going to Europe, I researched the price of buying it overseas and realized that it was considerably cheaper. For example, the bag costs US$190 while it only costs €115 right now. The current exchange rate is €1 ≈ US$1.13, so that comes out to about US$130. Once you factor in the VAT refund (varies by country but usually 10-12%), it definitely made more financial sense to buy it in the Netherlands versus in the US. My VAT refund ended up being €12, which has already gone back on my credit card. I was worried about going through the VAT refund process, because I had never done it before, but it ended up being pretty fast and easy with GlobalBlue. They do take a cut, but they also streamline the process, so I'm okay with it. Anyway, now I have a great souvenir from my trip! Originally $190. Paid $117.13.

RETAIL: $529.00
PAID: $301.84 (57.0% MSRP)

SUMMARY: During Q2, I spent $453.82. During Q3, I spent $549.52. For Q4, I have spent $776.48 to date, making me officially over budget for the year, and there's still December left.



How did you do on your budget this month? And have you ever bought a handbag in Europe, because it was cheaper?

7 comments:

  1. No experience with handbags but I did buy Baccarat jewelry while in France 3 years ago. And it did work out that it was considerably less expensive to buy it there than in the US. Never been compelled to have any Longchamps for myself but I recognize their enduring classic design, I've bought pliages and the neo pliages as gifts--and they still thank me.

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    1. Yeah I don't think Longchamp is for everyone, but personally I like how lightweight and durable the bags are. I've already started thinking about what I would like as my next Europe souvenir! I read online that in general, it's cheaper to buy a designer item from whatever country it's made. For example, Louis Vuitton in France or Gucci in Italy. If I have a chance to travel to Italy, I'd love to buy a Gucci Soho Disco bag!

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  2. Glad you found a pair of jeans that worked out!! Sizing issues are so annoying; I had sizing issues with their modern boyfriend jeans. It doesn't seem like a brand that small should have so many issues with inconsistent sizing (but maybe they aren't as small as I thought they were...?). I bought that J.Crew beanie in the Black Friday sale, but in black--can't wait to receive it! And I'm super jealous that you picked up a Longchamp tote in Europe. Someday... :)

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    1. I feel like Everlane isn't that small anymore since now they have brick and mortar stores. I remember when they used to only have a few products! Now when you look at their website, they have lots of stuff. The inconsistent sizing is annoying. I'm planning to return the black jeans and try again in a size up. I hope you like the beanie too! I got the ivory color, because the black blends in too much with my hair.

      I didn't realize until I did a little research that some designer items are definitely cheaper in Europe! I read online somewhere that people will actually fly to Paris to buy their Chanel there, because it costs almost the same as the price difference. I got really lucky this time since we were going anyway, plus my plane ticket was only about $500!

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  3. The J.Crew beanie with faux fur pom pom is also my winter hat of choice! I also have a bigger than average head (most "one size fits all" hats are too tight on my head, boo) and while I didn't really try any others the year I bought it, it does fit me well. I tried on the Halogen X Atlantic Pacific beanie this year because the colors were pretty, but ack, that did not fit me well. That one is made to be a slouchy beanie, but because the brim was a little too tight to be comfortable, it was a very awkward look.

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    1. Great minds (and larger heads) think alike! The J.Crew hat is a pretty good value actually, especially for 50% off. Did you check out anything else from the Atlantic-Pacific collection? I spent a little bit of time looking at it online when it first launched, but the things I liked best were sold out.

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