(I was so tempted to title this #basicsbitch, but I get that some people read this at work, where URLs are monitored…blah blah blah)
Most people would start a post about budgeting with a comment about spreadsheets or maybe making your own coffee at home. There might be a Suze Orman reference.
But I already make my own coffee at home (or work) most of the time, don’t have cable, paid off my car last year, etc. And my spreadsheet skills are only so-so.
Instead, my post on budgeting is going to start with a conversation about shoes.
I don’t get why finding comfortable basics that aren’t obscenely expensive is such a challenge, but I can happily report that, after years of searching, I found a couple I’m happy to share:
The Lucky Emmie flat – a simple leather flat without a *&^#& ballet-style bow
I boldly wore the Emmie flats for the first time on a day I walked about 9 miles in Las Vegas, with nary a blister. I get blisters in everything, even tennis shoes, so this is a true feat.
Fair warning: these run small. The 9 fit me very snugly but the 9.5 felt better and left room for a cheap-o Dr. Scholl’s insole from Target. I noticed that the bottom said “9/39” which is weird since I always wear a 9 in US sizes but a 39.5 or 40 in Euro sizes…I’d say follow your Euro size on these if you know it.
They’re $59 full price but tons of stores seem to carry them, so your chance of being able to use a coupon code is good if you’re patient. They come in a bunch of colors and patterns, but I was happy to go with versatile black.
My other semi-recent purchase, also black, are these Cole Haan Outlet Landsman Chelsea booties. They’re nice leather and a good height for rolled up jeans or skirts. They can be pretty casual but are refined enough to work dressed up as well. I got them on sale for around $100 in November, and they’ve been my top shoe pick for months. If you’ve seen my shoe closet, you know that’s saying something.
Cole Haan Landsman booties – no clue why the lighting is so atrocious
So, about the budget part. I’ve been spending more money than I’d like on clothes and shoes, at the same time that I’ve run out of room in my closets for clothes and shoes. While I accomplished some big financial goals last year (I paid off my car, my credit card, and 2 of my 4 undergrad student loans), I still have 2 undergrad student loans left – and they’ll hit their 10 year anniversary this August. There’s also grad school loans but let’s not talk about those…I’m a little scarred lately in that department. I’m going to need to buy a new car soon-ish, but that moment hasn’t quite come yet (thank goodness).
Point is, I want to spend more money this year on paying off my loans and on travel, and less on shopping. I suck at budgeting – some months I’ll buy nothing, others I’ll hit sales and go comparatively nuts – but I thought it might be useful to try keeping a running list of “wants.” Some of them – classic black cowboy boots with black stitching – have been on my lookout list for years. (I’m sensing a simple black shoe theme here) Others – an olive green hip-length jacket, something along the lines of this military jacket that has been all over the web lately – have emerged more recently, but I know would go into heavy rotation.
So, I’m wondering: do you actively stick to a budget? Do you keep a running list of things to buy, especially clothes? How do you prioritize travel (or your splurge of choice) while keeping things relatively balanced?
Perhaps more exciting – do you have big plans for your tax refund this year?