Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 2015 Purchases

Historically July is the worst month for my budget. Is it really any surprise though? I feel like every single retailer had huge blowout sales this month, and every time I couldn't resist the temptation. I bought a lot of stuff, but some items haven't arrived yet so I'll include them in next month's budget.

To begin with, I realized that my closet was missing warm-weather pajamas. I'm one of those people who can't wait to change out of their clothes the moment they get home, and I spend 95% of my time at home in pajamas. However, most of the stuff I own is made of flannel and really more appropriate for fall/winter. Enter two sets of J.Crew Factory pajamas. They're both very lightweight and made of 100% cotton. The blue striped set feels more menswear inspired, while the set with the heart pattern is more feminine. The top for that one has a low neckline, so I've taken to wearing it backwards.

1. J.Crew Factory striped short-sleeve pajama shirt (brilliant blue XXS) - This fits really well! I could see wearing it as an actual top. Originally $39.50. Paid $22.50 + 40% off + 1.5% off = $13.30.

2. J.Crew Factory striped pajama short (brilliant blue XXS) - I like that this doesn't have a waist tie. The inseam is a little short at around 2". Originally $32.50. Originally $15.5 + 20% off + 1.5% off = $12.21.

3. J.Crew Factory tank sleep set in hearts (dark navy XXS) - Originally $69.50. Paid $42.50 + 40% off + 1.5% off ebates = $25.12.

Lounging around in new pajamas
Now onto my haul from the infamous Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. There were a million things on my wishlist initially, but I narrowed them down to only the essentials. Here's what I picked up.

4-5. Zella live in leggings (black XS) - I love these leggings! Since the black color rarely goes on sale, I decided to pick up two pairs during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I bought a pair last year and wore them all the time. They're great for yoga, working out, and/or general lounging. They're closer to yoga pants than regular leggings in terms of how thick and opaque they are. Highly recommend! Originally $52. Paid $33.90 + 6% off ebates = $31.87 x 2.

6. BP stripe crewneck pullover (white breton stripe XS) - I'm constantly on the lookout for a good stripe top, so I just had to pick up this lightweight sweater. The XS fit me with room to spare. Originally $38. Paid $24.90 + 6% off ebates = $23.41.

I'm also keeping these Zella socks but didn't include them in the budget, because socks and underwear are necessary essentials. I ordered these Sperry duck boots too, but they're going back because I'm not in love with the quality.

As I mentioned during my June budget post, I wanted to focus on finding the perfect denim jacket this month. I ended up finding two and compared them in my last post. I asked everyone for feedback, and based on some excellent insight, I decided that I'm going to keep the medium wash one for sure. Thanks, everyone!

7. J.Crew denim jacket in Tyler wash (Tyler was XXS) - Originally $128. Paid $128 + 30% off + 15% off student discount = $76.16.

Now onto the biggest sale (and personal budget fail) of this month, J.Crew ran an unprecedented online sale of 75% off select items last week. At first I tried to stick to my guns and only buy items that I really needed. Hence I picked up 3 of these Tippi cardigans, which I already own and wear all year round. Unfortunately final sale was in effect at the time, which was lifted the following morning. I was a little annoyed about that, but by then all the classic colors had sold out in my size. I guess you win some, you lose some. I ended up placing a second HUGE order later on in the day when none of the items were final sale, but I won't know what I'll keep in the end until my order arrives, so stay tuned for next month.

8. J.Crew merino wool Tippi cardigan sweater (heather smoke XXS) - Originally $85. Paid $59.99 + 75% off + 1.5% off ebates = $14.77.

Not pictured: J.Crew merino wool Tippi cardigan sweater (black XXS) - Originally $85. Paid $59.99 + 75% off + 1.5% off ebates = $14.77.

Not pictured: J.Crew merino wool Tippi cardigan sweater (heather acorn XXS) - Originally $85. Paid $59.99 + 75% off + 1.5% off ebates = $14.77.

To atone for ordering so much stuff this month, I cleaned out my closet and listed a bunch of things on eBay. Five of those items sold so far for a profit of $65.96 (after shipping and eBay/PayPal fees).

So the total for this month comes to...
RETAIL: $666.50
SPENT: $258.25 (38.8% of MSRP)
SOLD: $65.96
NET: $192.29

That's not too bad! Of course we'll see next month when my big 75% off J.Crew order comes in.

My goal for the year is to spend less than $3000, which translates roughly to $250 per month. Right now I'm at $3000 - $327.20 for 2015Q1 - $801.47 for 2015Q2 - $192.29 for July = $1679.04, which translates to an average of $335.81 per month for the next 5 months.

As always, I'm linking up with Franish and the other Budgeting Bloggers!

How did you do on your budget this month?

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Tale of Two Denim Jackets

As I mentioned last month, a denim jacket has been on my summer wishlist. I recently visited J.Crew and tried on two different versions that I really like.

The first is the classic J.Crew denim jacket in Tyler wash. It is a sturdy-feeling medium wash jacket with copper buttons and whiskering on the sleeves. It fits well in the torso (mostly true to size, on the smaller side) but doesn't leave much room for layering. It's also a little stiff but could soften with wear. Neither of these two issues are that important to me, since I only plan to wear this during warm weather. Based on some sample outfits I put together, it seems to pair well with black pants, skirts, and dresses that aren't blue. I purchased it in store for $76.16 plus tax.

J.Crew denim jacket in Tyler wash in XXS
The second option is the J.Crew denim jacket in Calyer wash. It's a distressed light wash jacket with silvery buttons. It fits true to size, slightly larger than the Tyler. The length of the body also seems a hair longer. There are a number of actual rips in the jacket, but I examined them closely and don't think they're likely to get any bigger based on my experience with distressed jeans. Due to the distressed nature, the denim is naturally softer than the Tyler. It pairs well with black pants and most dresses. I purchased it in store for $96.60 plus tax.

J.Crew denim jacket in Calyer wash in XXS
Because the jackets are reasonably expensive, I only want to keep one and return the other. Plus it seems ridiculous to keep both before I even know for sure how often I'll wear a denim jacket. So which do you think I should keep? If you own a denim jacket, which wash do you reach for the most? Thanks for your help!

Which denim jacket should I keep?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday, Catniss!

Catniss turns one* today!
* Based on the birthday that the shelter staff gave us, which probably isn't the most accurate, but we're going with it anyway.

In honor of the occasion, I thought I would dedicate today's post to talking all about her. The last time I did that was not long after her adoption. Four months later, it's funny for me to go back and re-read my original post. Some things have stayed exactly the same, but others are totally different.

The biggest change about her in the last 4 months is that she's all grown up now! She was only 7 lbs when we first got her and looked considerably smaller than the average-sized cat. Lately I noticed that she was looking bigger, and at her recent vet visit, she weighed in at 9.3 lbs, which is pretty average (most domestic cats are between 8-10 lbs). Most likely she has hit her full adult weight, and now we just need to work on maintaining it through portion control.

One thing that has stayed constant: her love of food. She is the opposite of picky and will pretty much eat anything I offer her. That's really convenient and probably one of the most helpful things when I was experimenting with different foods for her. I've never seen her reject anything or even walk away from her bowl if there's still food inside. She does eat very quickly but doesn't throw it back up like some other cats (probably the food is too precious to let it leave her body). Her favorite treats are these Kitty Yums. She goes crazy over them!

EVO cat & kitten wet food mixed with water to get even more moisture into her diet.
Her current favorite toys (she loves novelty) include peacock tail feathersthe cat dancer, boxes, and most strangely of all, a rolled up pair of socks. We discovered that last one entirely by accident when Engineer W left a pair of his socks lying around. When we came back, she was fighting it. She likes to do this thing where she grab it, then scratches and claws at it furiously. Sometimes she even walks over to it, plops down like a chicken hatching an egg, and then proceeds to roll around and "kill" the socks! It's really funny and cute.

Rock 'em sock 'em
Every cat owner probably thinks this about their cat, but Catniss really is awesome. She's so sweet and affectionate. She could just sit in my lap or on my chest for hours. She likes to follow me everywhere, even to the bathroom! She loves being petted, is generally obedient, doesn't scratch furniture, and never tries to run out the door. She's quite calm most of the time, even around strangers. I didn't know what to expect when we first adopted her, but she's exceeded my expectations.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed learning more about Catniss, and I hope she enjoys her birthday of petting, playing, eating, grooming, and napping!