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Shopping on a Budget


Shopping on a Budget

When you are single, you don't think twice about running to the store on a Friday after work to pick up a new cute shirt or a new pair of skinny jeans for your fun weekend plans! As long as you are not "over spending" then all is good. As long as you are not racking up credit card debt, its fine. Right?...Right? What about running over to TJ Maxx Home Goods to pick a few new pieces of decor for your apartment or home? As I approached marrying my husband, I knew that we had very different ideas about clothing and decor and shopping in general. My husband, and most husbands for that matter, do not understand why we girls love to have a new outfit {or 3} each season! There is this constant tension between trying to keep up with what is new and trendy and staying on budget and planning for your future. The struggle is real, I get it. I am 100% in the middle of it all.

To give you a little background on us - my husband and I are both CPAs. We have years of education and training in budgeting, accruing, purchasing, and how to audit all of these. My husband is more saving minded than I am and would prefer we just didn't spend money on certain items. Although there are days I roll my eyes and I am so annoyed that I can't just go out and buy a new part of boots, a new Patagonia jacket, or whatever it is that I am coveting at the time, I am beyond thankful for his financial stewardship and how he plans for our present and future. We still aim to compromise and satisfy both of our desires in a reasonable and loving way when it comes to our finances.

This past winter my husband and I set aside a one time seasonal budget for me to do some shopping for a few winter pieces. I was encouraged during this time to be very intentional with what I purchased so that I would be content. I began to think about how I always go to the grocery store with a specific list and buy those items. I am usually very good about only purchasing these items and maybe one other snack item we hadn't planned on if I am completely honest. As I told various people about my plan for my shopping trip, I got so many reactions of "Wow, really? That's a great idea." I really wanted to share some advice to those of you who are also struggling with the never ending budget dilemma. To purchase vs. to save and want vs. need.

My Advice:

1. Decide a realistic budget for your one time shopping trip. This is different for everyone - it depends on what you are shopping for, what your regular income and expenses are, and how often you plan to shop. For this recent shopping trip, I was going to purchase clothes for the fall & winter. I decided on a budget that I thought was realistic within our overall budget - $350. 

2. Make a shopping list. We always make a shopping list before we go to the grocery store - so why not also make a shopping list for buying clothes or home decor? This list should encompass what you specifically want to purchase during this shopping trip. This is extremely helpful in determining what items you want to round out your wardrobe for the season or what piece of decor will complete your space. For my recent fall & winter shopping trip - I went to none other than Pinterest to look at my recently pinned inspiration. I have been pinning various looks to my board "Colorado Style" for some time now and really wanted to make sure that I was going to purchase things that I had been desiring for a while. I noticed that I had pinned about 10 different looks with burgundy skinny jeans. Okay done - burgundy skinny jeans made it on the list. I repeated this same thought process until I came up with my final list:

  • Burgundy skinny jeans
  • Black skinny jeans
  • 2 long sleeve simple shirts to layer with
  • Warm cozy socks
  • Gray chunky sweater

Making a list will help you to stay focused and on track so that when you come home and look at your goodies you are content with the purchases made.

Other suggestions for inspiration: your Instagram feed (we all follow a few of those cute fashion bloggers), your favorite stores online catalogs, and pieces missing from your wardrobe.

3. While you are shopping - stay on task and focused. I cannot encourage you ladies enough that it is so important to keep in mind what you are looking to actually buy and staying within the agreed upon budget. It only makes sense to do these one time budgets if you actually stay within them. I know specifically for my husband this is make or break for a future shopping trip, if I do not hold to our agreement. Don't let all the *stuff* out there distract you and make you come home feeling guilty, overwhelmed, and disappointed.

I know first hand how hard it is to want so many new and fun things that are constantly coming across my Instagram feed, being pushed to my email by my favorite stores, and the feeling of discontentment when it comes material possessions. Remember - material possessions do not define you as cute, fun, or trendy. We are only stewards of our material possessions for a short time here on earth. Do not leave common sense and financial freedom in the dust because you get fixated or infatuated with a new clothing item. I hope this advice helps you to reasonably narrow down satisfying your urge to add new items to you wardrobe or into your home without breaking the bank or causing those big fights at home!

Summer is around the corner - I would love to hear what is on your wardrobe wish list. Leave me some ideas in the comments below! 

Love y'all and happy shopping -