Monday, November 30, 2009

Did you partake in Black Friday/Cyber Monday Shopping?

I decided to take a pass on shopping this year and didn't shop the sales online or in the stores. Though I did quite a bit of online and in-person 'window-shopping' throughout the weekend. Looking at display windows of stores is one of my favorite seasonal past times. I'm still making my lists of Christmas gifts and will probably start doing my shopping in earnest this coming weekend. I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone already!

So did you do any shopping over the weekend? Were there really great deals to find out there or is this Black Friday shopping thing just media hype?

Friday, November 13, 2009

No Shopping for Me, Even In my Dreams...

For whatever reason, I don't normally remember my dreams these days, or I remember only fragments. So imagine my suprise that I remember vividly dreaming last night that I went on a shopping excursion to the Buffalo Exchange in my hometown and wouldn't even allow myself to shop in my dream! I wandered around the entire store and didn't buy a thing. I even took some clothes in to trade but ended up just getting the cash value for my items instead. This is strange for me because I love this store! It's no Beacon’s Closet , but it's convenient to visit on my trips home. I guess my resolve to cut out the unnecessary spending has leaked over into my subconscious also. Weird.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize

When you don’t keep your eyes on the prize:

  • You fall behind on your savings goals (or don't have goals at all).
  • Your credit card debt creeps back up and negates all of the money you paid down in the past.
  • You buy your lunch instead of saving money (and possibly calories!).
  • You loosen spending habits, stop budgeting and wonder where it all went?
  • Miss out on side hustle opportunities to bring in extra income.

So what is my prize? Meeting personal financial goals!

When you do keep your eyes on the prize:

  • You surpass your savings goals.
  • You see progress on paying down credit card debt that once seemed insurmountable.
  • You pack your lunch on a regular basis and only eat out for an occasional treat.
  • You reign in spending, budget and know exactly where your money goes.
  • You maximize side hustle opportunities in your spare time to increase income AND add valuable experience to your resume.

It’s not always easy, but clearly, keeping your eyes on the prize is the better option. Stay motivated!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Netflix Model for Haute Couture

I found this article recently in the New York Times:

"For many women, a $1,000 dress is something they admire in the pages of a glossy magazine or see draped on the frame of a celebrity — not an item hanging in their closet.

But a nascent Web site called Rent the Runway is hoping to make high-end fashions much more accessible and almost as easy as renting a movie from Netflix.

The mail-order service, which finishes the testing phase on Monday, allows women to rent dresses from notable fashion designers like Diane Von Furstenberg, Hervé Léger and Proenza Schouler for roughly one-tenth of what they would cost to buy in a retail store...

Julia Harris, a 27-year-old graduate student living in New York, turned to Rent the Runway when she needed something chic for a fall wedding. For $50, she got a fuchsia Catherine Malandrino number with an elaborately ruffled bust that would have cost $495 to buy."

While this business is a creative idea, I firmly believe that anyone can look stylish at a low or high price point. I feel that this business could potentially encourage women to spend beyond their means just to 'keep up with the Jones.' The clothing I've spent the least amount of money on are usually the items I receive the most complements on. I can’t personally fathom renting clothing I can’t reasonably afford to purchase. The idea of wearing a lovely piece of clothing once and then having to return it seems disappointing to me. I’d rather buy something I love and can afford to wear over and over again. It’s kind of disheartening that for some people, fashion is so-throw-away these days. Whatever happened to purchasing items that will last and can be passed down or donated to someone else?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

About Me Part II

I haven't been tagged for a meme recently, but I thought I'd share a few random facts about me anyway:
  1. My family cat is an emotional eater. When he's been left in the house alone a lot, he gobbles up his food and makes himself sick. His food portions have to be closely monitored.
  2. I have to say the word nosey in my head before saying it out loud because I grew up pronouncing the word "newsy." I'm not sure if that's a family quirk or actually a real word.
  3. I get mistaken for Ethiopian occasionally and have had people come up to me and start speaking to me in what I assume is Amharic several times over the past few years.
  4. I get called 'little lady' occasionally by strangers. I don't take offense because I am literally a 'little lady.' I'm small and short in stature.
  5. I didn't know what a credit score was until my freshman year of college when my roommate (now one of my BFF's) explained it to me. I learned what an IRA was from another friend during my sophomore year. My good friends are always passing along valuable information to me!
  6. I read the wedding announcement feature articles in the style section of the New York Times on Sundays. They are usually well written and I'm a sucker for 'happy endings.'
  7. If I see a piece of clothing that's in what I would consider a reasonable price range, I'll buy it in a heart beat, but cringe at the idea of spending lots of money on restaurants and take-out.
  8. I will never like Go-go music no matter how long I live in DC, though I have respect for it.

Anyone who is reading this can consider themselves tagged!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Goals

I didn't manage to set goals for the month of October, but that will be remedied this month. I didn't make any goals last month, mainly because I wasn't strongly feeling the 'intention' I knew it would take to achieve them, but I'm feeling more motivated this month, so here they go:
  1. Blog more regularly. I love blogging and I need to put myself back on a somewhat regular blogging schedule as I did when I first started this blog. Thoughtful posts take time, energy and inspiration. My plan is to outline what I'll write about each week for this blog and my other blog. I'll then post three times a week. Writing about style has become a passion over the last several months, but writing about my spending and meeting my financial goals helps to keep me accountable. Writing posts on both blogs should allow me to indulge in both interests if I actually plan out my time better.
  2. Exercise 3 times per week. I need to get back on track with exercising on a regular basis. So, a mixture of doing DVD's at home, taking classes and going to the gym will help me meet that goal.
  3. Cook at least one new dish and one new baked good. I'm so tired of all of the regular dishes I cook, so I'd like to branch out and try a new dish and baked good this month. I've been playing with the idea of becoming a vegetarian in 2010, so I will try to stick to vegetarian or vegan dishes. I'll try another recipe from this book and perhaps look for a good soup recipe.
  4. Contribute to holiday gift fund. As I mentioned in this post, I plan to contribute to my giftfund with my November paychecks.
  5. Learn some Photoshop basics. I plan to spend some time each week playing with Photoshop and looking for online tutorials on the Internet. I saw a few books on Photoshop at the library, so I'll also pick one up on my next visit. Ideally, I'd just take a class but taking on a class right now does not fit into my schedule or my budget. I'm trying to get into the habit of taking photos more because I usually forget about taking photos and then kick myself later for not having photographs of special (and not so special) occasions with family and friends. I also share outfit pictures on fashion communities like wardrobe remix and weardrobe. Since I'm sure everyone is not interested in what I'm wearing on a given day, shoot me an email or comment, and I'll send you a link to my pages on these websites.
  6. Limit Extraneous Spending. I want to spend less this month but not feel like I'm depriving myself at the same time (that's possible right?). I will allow myself to buy food, household items, holiday gifts, and pay for transportation costs around the city and to my hometown (I have to make two trips home this month). Socializing will have to revolve around things that cost little to no money this month. I tend to visit people more instead of going out during this time of the year anyway so this shouldn't be too difficult.
  7. Finalize my Spring 2010 class schedule with my advisor. I've picked my classes, and I'm pretty sure they will get approved by my advisor, but I'll double-check to be on the safe side.

I have the feeling November is going to be a good month!