This Mama's Clothing Budget & Finds: March 2017 (15 items)


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Every month since starting the blog, I've given you an honest look at my clothing budget and what I bought. I want to avoid the impression that there is endless money to spend when you're a blogger. Maybe that's true for some bloggers, but I'm just a regular mom trying to empower other regular moms to dress well. And I have a budget :)

This month I planned to spend March AND April's budgets as I finalized the pieces for my spring/summer capsule. I'm okay with going over budget at the beginning of a season because I want to get the pieces together as quickly as possible. This allows me to get the most use out of them. The budget balances out later because there is less to purchase over the last few months of the season.

BUDGET REPORT

My budget: $24.89

($60/month family budget + $4.89 left over from Feb - $40 on other family needs)

What I spent from the budget: $84.40

($59.51 over budget)

One happy mama getting out to shop by herself!

One happy mama getting out to shop by herself!

My plan of attack: upwards of 9 stores... I know, I'm crazy. But after hauling around children everywhere, anything seems possible when you're by yourself.

My plan of attack: upwards of 9 stores... I know, I'm crazy. But after hauling around children everywhere, anything seems possible when you're by yourself.

Clothing needs for other members of the family took up $40 this month, so there was $24.89 left for my capsule shopping. 

I spent $84.40 from our designated clothing budget. But the total from my purchases was actually closer to $175. I purchased several of the items using gift cards or personal "discretionary spending" money. (I build up my personal money stash from cash gifts and odds and end jobs I get paid for--like giving haircuts.)

Since I was 59.51 over this month's budget, I basically spent April's budget too. This is according to plan as I mentioned above :)

You can see the breakdown of cost in the next section.

If you're struggling to find the money to put your capsule together, here are some ideas for getting some extra change in addition to your family's clothing budget:

  • Ask for gift money or gift cards on your wishlists. If your friends and family know the best gift for you is money so that you can go shopping, you'll start to receive some that you can use when you need it most! Gift cards covered almost half of this month's expenses!
  • Drop an expensive habit just for one month. Whether it's buying Jamberry wraps or a Starbucks coffee, calculate how much you could put towards your clothing budget if you held off on those purchases for just one month. Wasn't too bad? Try the same for a second month!
  • Cut expenses elsewhere. There is always a way to save on groceries or simply resist an impulse buy. Do this for a month too and you'll be amazed how much accumulates to use towards purposeful shopping!
  • Clean out your closet and take clothes you no longer wear to your favorite consignment shop. After your items sell you'll have some credit to spend at that store... or cash out to spend elsewhere.
  • Accumulate cashback every time you order online (even when booking a hotel or buying a new oven!) My favorite cashback services are: Ebates, TopCashback, and Swagbucks. Cash out with gift cards that you can use when you go shopping!

  • Earn referral money on any of the above cashback services mentioned. Just 2 Ebates referrals usually gets you $50, each Swagbucks referral earns you $5 + 10% of their earnings for life, and each TopCashback referral earns you $10. You can also get $10 for every person you refer to ThredUp, an online consignment store.

Hope those tips help.

Now on to what I found!

Links for anything available online are provided below images.

  1. White V-neck T-Shirt by Andrea Jovine, Burlington Coat Factory; Similar from L.L. Bean
  2. Crochet/Lace Detail Slouchy Tank by Eyeshadow, Burlington Coat Factory; Exact in Navy
  3. Blush Tank with Frayed Chiffon Trim by Coldwater Creek, Consignment
  4. Striped Tee by GAP, GAP Store; Exact
  5. Mint Layering Tank by Merona, Target; Exact
  6. Mint Tunic Top by Streetwear Society, Consignment
  7. Striped Blazer by TCEC, Consignment
  8. Grey Jegging Jeans by GAP, GAP Store; Exact
  9. Denim Vest by American Eagle, Consignment
  10. Mint Vest by California Blue, Consignment
  11. Trench Coat by Banana Republic, Consignment
  12. Utility Jacket by Ecote, Consignment
  13. Statement Necklace by (unknown), Consignment
  14. 3-pack Headbands by Minicci, Payless Shoe Source; n/a
  15. Nude Pointy Pumps by Calvin Klein, Consignment

Cost Breakdown

Taxes, if any, are included.

White V-neck T-Shirt by Andrea Jovine, Burlington Coat Factory:  $8.68

Capsule item: Fitted Tee

I have three white tees hanging in my closet right now... because you can never have enough. White tees are such a staple and yet they get dirty pretty easily. They usually don't last more than a year for me. So when I find a good one that fits and is affordable, I buy it! 

It's made with 100% "pima cotton" which is an excellent quality and holds up well. That's the beauty of shopping at outlets like Burlington Coat Factory (similar to Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx)-- you find great brands at cheap prices.


Crochet/Lace Detail Slouchy Tank by Eyeshadow, Burlington Coat Factory:  $14.12

Capsule Item: Slouchy Tank

This is one of the favorite pieces I found this month. I was literally on my way out of the store and passing the juniors section when I spotted this cutie. Tried it on and LOVED the fit, the crochet and lace details on front and back... Only problem was the arm holes were WAY too big. No sewing adjustment could bring it in easily. And a regular cami wouldn't look right either.

With fitted tank underneath

With fitted tank underneath

So I left it at the front when I checked out with my other items. 

Later I was at Target and saw their fitted tanks... they had a perfect mint one! It suddenly dawned on me that I could wear it under the slouchy tank to fix the modesty issue. Not only that... the mint peeking through would be super cute. I drove BACK to Burlington Coat Factory and had a clerk at the front dig it out of the "going back" pile. Aaaah.... found it. And bought it. With much glee.


Blush Tank with Frayed Chiffon Trim by Coldwater Creek, Consignment:  $3.25 - $3.25 (Gift Card) = $0

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Fitted Tank

Local consignment shop find. Love the cotton/modal/spandex fabric. It's Coldwater Creek so I know it will hold up well. I also really like the frayed chiffon on just the hem. 


Striped Tee by GAP, GAP Store:  $16.27 (40% off)

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Striped Tee

Just a basic striped tee that I got for 40% off at GAP while there to try on ALL THEIR JEANS. I didn't leave with jeans (ordered a pair later) but loved how this tee fit. 

Honestly, this is more than I'd usually pay for a t-shirt. But I decided it was worth it for a staple piece like this one that fit so well.


Mint Layering Tank by Merona, Target:  $8.31 (15% off)

The mint tank that made me drive back to Burlington Coat Factory in search of the beloved crochet tank I'd left behind! This piece will be worn under any capsule tops that need it.

I used Cartwheel to get the 15% off in store. Download their app to check for daily coupons before you check out at Target!


Mint Tunic Top by Streetwear Society, Consignment:  $5.99 - $5.99 (Gift Card) = $0

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Tunic Top

Can you tell I'm doing the mint/blush for my capsule colors? :)

This tunic is definitely a relaxed cut. I liked how it fit and it was the perfect mint for the capsule.

However, I'm planning to stitch up the side slits so that I have the option to wear it without a layer underneath in the dead of summer. ;) 


Striped Blazer by TCEC, Consignment:  $3.81 - $3.81 (Gift Card) = $0

I first ordered this Old Navy one. I LOVED the stretchy ponte knit. However, it didn't work with too many of the colors/patterns I already had in my wardrobe (particularily the florals... which is key) and it felt too long for my torsoe. Also, the white made me nervous about staining it as I took care of the kids. I didn't want to be worrying about that when I wore it around the house so I decided to return it. Thankfully I found the navy blazer on consignment for $6.99 and it was marked down 50%. I like the cropped fit much better and it goes with everything in my wardrobe!

L: Old Navy Blazer (Returned)  R: Consignment find (KEPT)

L: Old Navy Blazer (Returned)  R: Consignment find (KEPT)


Grey Jegging Jeans by GAP, GAP Store:  $32.52 - $32.52 (personal money) = $0

The GAP jeans that I ordered after the Poshmark fiasco.

The GAP jeans that I ordered after the Poshmark fiasco.

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Gray Jeans

A bit of a story around these...

One morning I brought the boys with me and hit the mall with ONE PURPOSE: try on all the jeans. I was able to try all of GAP's styles and a few at Buckle before baby was clamoring for his milk.

Thankfully what I did get to try on was sufficient. I loved one pair at each store but didn't buy anything because... DISCOUNTS. Give me the discounts! Now that I knew what I liked, I decided to wait for a sale or look on Poshmark.com for an option.

Okay guys, I love Poshmark. It's a really good option. But it didn't work out for me this particular time. I found the "same" Gap Legging Jeans" in this color and ordered them for $13 after shipping.

Poshmark only does returns on items that arrive differently than described. I was too quick to decide they did arrive as described and "Accepted" the order, at which point the money got released to the seller. BIG MISTAKE.

L: GAP Legging Jeans from Poshmark ($13) R: GAP legging Jeans NEW ($32)

L: GAP Legging Jeans from Poshmark ($13) R: GAP legging Jeans NEW ($32)

Later, I realized they were not made with the same fabric combo (it was an older version of the same jean I guess?) and they were stretched out. They fit more like straight leg jeans with the hem tapered more than the pant legs and gave me a "mom jeans butt." Okay, maybe not that bad. But when you're looking for skinny and you get slouchy... it KILLS you inside. AND there was a sun bleach stain on the back of them.

The sun bleach stain would have been my ticket to a free return. But it was too late because I had already "accepted" the order. I emailed anyway and the lovely Poshmark rep made a big exception for me (she made that clear :)) and put $7 credit on my account (the cost of the jeans without shipping). I'm thankful for that! Unfortunately I'm still down $13 on a pair of jeans I won't be wearing. *stab to the heart*

In comes the pair pictured above. I was running errands again by myself on a Sunday afternoon and decided to try on the same GAP Legging Jeans in store again since I was walking by. They were out of grey but I tried on a different color. They fit perfectly. Again. :) I had a 50% off coupon too! The clerk was super helpful and called three different stores to find me a pair of grey ones in my size so that I could use the in-store-only coupon. They arrived from California today (smelling like sunshine!!). See photo above. They fit like a glove. It's like they were tailor made for my body! 

So just an encouragement--don't settle for jeans that fit less than perfect. If you can't look in the mirror and say "MAN these were made for me" then don't get them. You'll find the right pair if you try lots on when you have the opportunity. And when you find the right pair, wait for a sale or coupon and then take em' home! 

p.s. If you're wondering why I didn't buy Old Navy jeans for cheaper... I tried all their styles on in-store earlier and couldn't find one that wasn't baggy on the butt without giving me a muffin top when I sized down. Since they didn't work for my particular body I had to move on to other options.


Denim Vest by American Eagle, Consignment:  $8.69

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Denim Vest

My lovely friend texted me early in March with a picture of this denim vest she spotted at a consignment store. It was a tad too big on her which meant it would be perfect on me. Easy find. Didn't have to leave the house or click anything online ;)

I have absolutely loved this vest already. I've been wearing it over my long sleeve winter shirts while the weather takes its time to warm up.

I was purposefully looking for a light wash like this one because I already have a dark wash denim jacket. Mix up your denim tones if possible to maximize looks ;) 


Mint Vest by California Blue, Consignment:  $3.25 - $3.25 (Gift Card)= $0

Capsule Item Fulfilled: EXTRA Vest

This piece caught my eye even though I already had my crochet vest for the capsule. It was that same awesome mint color! It fit like a glove, was only 3 bucks, and I'm a vest addict--so I bought it even though it's an extra.

Wearing it today over my long sleeve navy tee. *heart eyes*

Seriously, ladies, vests are SO much fun! Talk about exploding your outfit possibilities. 


Trench Coat by Banana Republic, Consignment:  $20.65 - $20.65 (Gift Card) = $0

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Trench Coat

I used to think trench coats were boring, but a year blogging about easy fashion has taught me the opposite! They are extremely versatile and they're a classic that won't go out of style. 

I recently published a guest blog post about styling trench coats. You can check it out here.


Utility Jacket by Ecote, Consignment:  $16.30 - $6.90 (Gift Card) = $9.40

Just out of the wash... need to iron it :)

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Utility Jacket

Utility style is a huge trend right now. I've loved my utility vest and know I will get lots of use out of this jacket through the spring and into next winter and fall.

I really like that it's longer than most of my other jackets so it will work over my long tunic tops. It's also machine washable! YES PLEASE. No dry cleaning for this mama.


Statement Necklace by (unknown), Consignment:  $3.25 - $3.25 (Gift Card) = $0

Another amazing steal on consignment! Since it was used I don't know the brand, but it sure looks a lot like some that Target is offering right now.


3-pack Headbands by Minicci, Payless Shoe Source:  $5.44 (on clearance) 

Capsule Item Fulfilled: Pretty Headband

Payless always surprises me with the cute inventory they carry in their accessories section. I never go in there to look for hair accessories, bags or jewelry but their selection is always spot-on. This set of three headbands was on clearance (originally $12). I love how neutral they are so that they'll go with lots of my outfits.

Headbands are a great way to add variety to your looks while keeping the hair out of your face!


Nude Pointy Pumps by Calvin Klein, Consignment:  $13.03 - $13.03 (Gift Card) = $0

These shoes are not in the capsule but I've been on a search for comfortable nude pumps for a long time so they were on my general shopping list. My eyes almost popped out of ma head when I spotted these NEW Calvin Klein shoes for just $13 at my favorite consignment shop! Similar Calvin Klein are going for $99 new!

 

 

 

 

 


Goals for April

I have a few more items on my list for the capsule:

  • Flowy maxi skirt (in blush)
  • Slouchy tee (in teal or mint)
  • Gladiator Sandals

If I find them I'll go ahead and buy even though I'd be using May's budget. I'd rather complete my capsule to get the most use out of it for spring/summer. The budget will catch up when I'm not shopping for capsule pieces!

That wraps things up for this budget and finds report! 

Now it's your turn to share... are you looking for any of the items in this list?