Tag Archives: shopping

This Is What Shopping Lists Are For..

A pair of black pumps I had on my Amazon.com wish list just went on sale for 41% off, and I have a 20% coupon code.  I am so tempted.  The only thing that keeps me from hitting the “buy” button is I recently went through my closet and assessed my needs and wants.  At the top of my replacement list is a pair of brown pumps.  I also would like a leather purse.  Another pair of black pumps is not even really on my shopping list and if I buy it, I would probably have to wait out the upcoming Labor Day sales.  As one of the commenters said in my wardrobe revamp post, it’s smarter to shop strategically!

I must stay strong…

Old Happy Purchases

A lot of popular blogs and magazines  frequently feature things to buy. Spring is in the air! Time for new stuff in the latest colors! Everything you bought in previous seasons is out-dated!  I admit that I’ve been tempted so many times and if you are, too, you might need to do this little exercise, too.

Go through your house or closet and remind yourself of past purchases that still make you happy. You might be surprised that many things you thought of as “investment” pieces did not bring about as much happiness or return-on-investment as expected.  You might also get a small dose of happiness from old purchases and not feel the need to buy new things.  At least that’s what I was hoping when I wrote this post (inspired by my new spending mentality due to “Your Money or Your Life” Regular readers will be tired of my constant reference to this book by now).

So here goes my list of old purchases that still make me happy:

  1. Peacoat: A classic in blue that I got a good deal on
  2. Leather boots from Italy: Pretty and classic; needs a little shine!
  3. Party dress:  Looks like new because I only wore it once! I wish I had occasion to wear it again.
  4. Bathroom Cabinet: A small change that greatly updated our bathroom.
  5. Sweater Dress: Still pretty new. An excellent deal and so comfortable!
  6. Selected DVDs of classic TV shows: I can watch some shows over and over again.  Which reminds me of #7…
  7. Old books that I can re-read and that I never get bored of.
  8. Black fake leather purse: Maybe I’m too old for fake leather but I love it and don’t care. It’s sporty but still OK for work environments.
  9. Shiny black leather flats: I think I love it more because it’s from a designer brand.  The cobbler was doubtful about adding shoe taps on it until he turned it around and saw that it was made in Italy.
  10. Red Land’s End sweater: Work appropriate yet so comfortable. 
  11. Gray cardigan: I wear this all the time.  Hides the butt which makes it very practical, too.
  12. Dark jeans: It’s on the skinny jean side and I’m sure that trend is over but I do love it.

Just by doing this quick exercise, I realized that love for stuff can wear off pretty quickly.  For example, a pretty blouse from one of my favorite designers would have definitely made this list just two years ago.  It’s still in good shape but I don’t wear it as often anymore for some reason so I can’t say that I love it.

Ironically, in some cases, the more I’ve worn something, the more likely it will fall off the list because it doesn’t look shiny and new anymore.  Since I’m a complicated person (haha), I can also say that if an item does not get that much use, I love it less because it did not meet my expectations in some way.

Furnishings did not make the cut because my kids destroy furniture.  My favorite pillow is stashed in a closet out of reach and I’m tempted to sell or give it to someone who can really appreciate it.

Technology wasn’t included but I admit that I love the use I get out of various tech stuff.  I would give up many things before cutting internet access!

What old things are making you happy right now?  Please include clothing items, shoes, and purses so that I don’t feel shallow.

Rethinking My Spending Mentality

I was re-reading old shopping-related posts and had to smile at the wistful tone of some; There’s a clear yearning to shop and my belief that buying a much-wanted item will bring me a small degree of happiness.  For now, I can truly say that the book “Your Money Or Your Life” has already made me re-think that belief.  I don’t know if it’s a lifelong change or a momentary one.

I think it’s hard to not equate purchases with happiness. Some purchases do still bring me happiness, especially if I got a great deal on something I still love years later.  Unfortunately, love usually fades after a few months.  Most often, those things get old and retire to the back of a closet until they hit the Salvation army pile.  Or I get used to that new thing and it’s just another old thing in the house.  Most times, it’s the newness that makes us happy and that’s why we crave more and more.

And speaking of “Your Money or Your Life”, I’ve decided on a “magic number” for my actual income earned once you factor in commuting time and work-related expenses.  I’m keeping this magic number a secret for privacy reasons.  Two things to note:

  1. My “magic number” may be far off from my real wage because I just took some numbers from the book at face value, such as their estimates for gas and clothing
  2.  Assigning a real number to my work hours helps me to stay focus.  It’s easier now for me to spend mindfully now that I can ask myself, “Is this item or service worth X hours of my time?”

I have found that knowing this number, real or not, has confirmed my belief that hiring cleaning and gardening help is well worth it.  Our gym memberships may be on the high side though.

I also wished that I had read this book before having children.  While I had made “plans” to hire more help once kids came along, I never actually crunched numbers to see if it was do-able.  I just thought we use our emergency fund money for this new luxury.  Not the best plan, not a plan at all really.

Back to reading..

Goals: Accountability

Even with my goals posted, I still have to read through it daily in order to remember and take action.  Of course the best thing about posting up goals on a blog is accountability so here goes…

  • Update wardrobe. Purchased so far this year – $30 for a sweater, belt and striped shirt (via a Land’s End Canvas LivingSocial Deal), $26 for a sweater and $35 cotten dress perfect for next summer.  I also realize that I need to create a list so that I don’t go overboard so here goes in terms of priority plus my maximum price: 1 pair of dark straight leg jeans ($50),  1 jersey wrap type dress (work/casual; $40),  1 skirt (work/casual; $40), 1 pair of ballet flats or heels (preferably in brown/neutral tones; $70),  1 -2 blouses that are comfy as t-shirts but more  dressed up ($20 each).
  • Eat fish at least twice a week.  At least once – twice a week, I’m making this my default choice. If there’s fish on the menu, I’ll order it (unless it’s fried).  Leaving myself “no choice” is probably the only way I can remember this goal!
  • Don’t focus on saving money too much.  I am constantly reminding myself that I’ve rarely found lower prices on diapers and wipes than at Amazon.com, although I don’t know if this is still true now that they dropped their discount from 30% to 20% only.   I still compare prices way too often.
  • Enjoy parenthood. Sometimes this is easy; sometimes incredibly hard.
  • Exercise on the weekends.  Not happening….
  • Don’t expect others to read my mind.  My poor husband should appreciate this one.  I should also add “not to make mountains out of mole hills.” I sort of “let it go” in terms of a comment he made and the anger dissipated quickly rather than blow up.
  • Pamper myself.  I bought myself an iced coffee,  just because.
  • Let go of my idea of a “perfect” clean house! 

Bonus goal of doing good: Bought co-worker an iced coffee, praised several colleagues that helped me on a big project, looked into joining a credit union.

I’ll do my next update in early December.

Goals, Finally

You may have noticed a new Goals & Resolutions list on the side of my blog. That’s because I don’t have any other place to put up goals…my habit of writing down on goals on post-it notes doesn’t work because I simply forget about these a week later.

Some of the goals are a bit vague and more of an attempt to cultivate new, better lifelong habits than concrete goals.

  1. Update wardrobe. My taste has changed a lot lately and now I want a good combination of comfort  and style.   I think that every few years a wardrobe refresh  is necessary due to changing tastes and shapes.   My Dilemma:  I have several pants and skirts that are still wear-able but a bit too tight for my liking.  I also want 1 or 2 dresses.  In my ideal world, all my new clothing would be good for both work and weekends.   And did I mention that I don’t want to spend too much? Update: I just found this great post about clothes shopping (really helpful tips)!
  2. Eat fish at least twice a week.  Always good, right?
  3. Don’t focus on saving money too much.  Sometimes I feel like Scrooge McDuck.
  4. Enjoy parenthood.
  5. Exercise on the weekends. 
  6. Don’t expect others to read my mind.  This is one of the vague ones but I think one of the root causes of my unhappiness is that I expect others to know what I want without having to say anything.
  7. Pamper myself and don’t expect others to pat me on the back.  Again this goes back to happiness.  I often want others to praise my actions and get disappointed if no one seems to appreciate me.  Well, I’m old enough now to reward myself and it’s better because no one knows what I want more than myself.
  8. Let go of my idea of a “perfect” clean house (life with kids is just going to be messy…).  Where is my messy inner teenager?

Either I’m way ahead of my 2011 resolutions or I’m way behind in my 2010 resolutions. 

Side Note: I read many bloggers who have monthly goals. I have no idea how they manage to make and keep so many goals! It is also hard to keep a reasonable number of goals. I really could list 3 financial goals, 3 career goals, etc… Plus I have some fuzzy desire to make a difference and support causes outside of my own little universe. 

September 14: Unfinished Posts

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

This week, I’m listing some unfinished, never to be finished (?) posts.  How does this simplify your life? It doesn’t, but it simplifies my life. Ha!

I had scheduled a post about Amazon.com but who really needs to read my opinion on this mega-retailer? We all know about it.  Some parents may want to take a look at their Amazon Mom program. Nothing saves your sanity during the first few sleep-deprived months than scheduled delivery of diapers and wipes (at very good prices).

I started tracking how much “extra” money I earned via Ebates ($44 and counting).  I should have started using them years ago as I’m quite a big online shopper. Oh well…

I had started a rant about stupid baby names. I’m talking about you Jayden, Beckett, Asher, Madison, etc..  People, let’s all agre to stop bending over backwards to give them a “unique” name and stop spelling normal names in weird ways, please….

I started a post about Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Then I read a few posts and liked some of it, although she obviously has a team of experts.  I also read through her newsletter with an insider look at the Venice Film Festival.  Hair, make-up, paparazzi, delicious foods, Matt Damon, exclusive parties, etc..  At one point, she goes to a jewelry shop and says that she “needs a sugardaddy”…Really? Gwyneth who hails from a wealthy Hollywood family, made millions in movies and is married to a rock star needs a sugardaddy…. at that point, I realized yet again that she lives in a freaking rich girl’s bubble. 

I also started a post about guilt.  To summarize, leave that guilty feeling for murderers and criminals.

Do you have a lot of unfinished posts?

August 24: A Simple Wardrobe

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

Since this series is supposed to be geared toward worker bees, I had to write a post about the work wardrobe. 

Here are my best tips on simplifying dressing well for work:

  1. Pick your outfit the night before – Nothing causes more headaches than trying to decide what to wear at 7 a.m.  Always have a light jacket or cardigan handy in case the weather is cooler than expected.
  2. Forget the crisp white shirt, or don’t buy high-maintenance clothing – For me, nothing is harder to upkeep than white blouses and cashmere.  After a few washes, my formerly crisp white shirts always look drab and rings around the collar are a pain to get rid of.  While I like the feeling of cashmere,  moth holes inevitably appear after a few seasons (despite my best attempts to keep them clean before storing them in airtight containers with cedar blocks).  I also hate handwashing cashmere, which I feel that I must do in order to preserve them well.
  3. Stick to one main wardrobe palette – It’s easier if all your clothes match blacks and grays so that you don’t have to buy brown shoes/boots.  I don’t follow this rule because, well, I love brown shoes and boots.
  4. Get a work “uniform” – At some point, you’ll realize that certain outfits work better on you.  Dresses are an easy solution.  Even if you’re not a dress person, it’s a good idea to have a few work-appropriate dresses (like wrap dresses) that you can always wear when you’re having trouble deciding on an outfit.

What are your best tips for keeping a work wardrobe simple yet stylish? Please do not say that clothing is an investment.  It is not. Don’t argue with me on this one!