10 Ways to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation

Awhile not all lifestyle inflation is necessarily bad, it certainly can wreak havoc on a budget if you aren't careful. Here's how to prevent lifestyle inflation.You may have heard the term “lifestyle inflation,” but if you haven’t, lifestyle inflation is when you start buying more to support a more lavish lifestyle. This could happen as you get older or as your income increases.

Awhile not all lifestyle inflation is necessarily bad, it certainly can wreak havoc on a budget if you aren’t careful. Another danger of lifestyle inflation is that often time, people’s desired lifestyle costs more than what they make, resulting in credit card debt or other forms of debt.

These certainly aren’t rules, but rather guidelines on how to keep your lifestyle in check. So here are 10 ways to avoid lifestyle inflation.

1. Forget About the Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses is dangerous to you and to your budget. We all have moments of impulse where we see what our friends and neighbors have an we want it. For me, when I look at my friends, I want to travel more, buy a house, and eat out more. But these are all things that, though I feel confident I can do someday, would bust my budget right now and honestly aren’t my top priority at the moment.

So ignore the Joneses and do what’s best for you. Make your money work for you and trust your gut with timing. You might not be able to afford everything your friends have right now, but you can make it a goal to work for it and save for it for the future.

2. Trust Your Budget

Your budget is in place for a reason. It’s because it works for you.

Many people consider budgets to be confining, but have you ever thought about how much freedom a budget actually allows you?

If you budget properly, you’ll have more money to spend how you want. If you can control “boring,” but necessary expenses, like the electric bill, rent, groceries, and debt, you’ll have more money left over at the end of the month. Then you can actually choose how to spend that money in a way you want.

3. Allow Yourself Limited Inflation

It can be challenging to keep living like a broke college student years after you graduated, and it’s okay to allow yourself a little inflation. But you have to decide what your priorities are.

For me, when I finally broke free of the “broke college grad” stage, I started purchasing much healthier and more wholesome foods, as well as buying a few minor decorations for my apartment. It didn’t cost a ton, but it helps me to keep going with my budget.

If your budget allows, give yourself some sort of small luxury. Maybe you will allow yourself to go to a movie once a month, or a night out with friends every so often, or a gym membership. Whatever it is, make sure it 1) still fits within your budget and 2) is something you truly value.

4. Have a Plan for All Extra Money

When you have extra, unexpected, income, what is your plan for it?

While you can’t expect to get a tax return, inheritance, or birthday money, it doesn’t hurt to commit to putting extra money towards savings or debt.

This also goes for making extra money. I committed to putting any extra money through blogging and freelance writing towards debt. I don’t allow myself to use this money to inflate my lifestyle because honestly, I work HARD for that extra money and I don’t have to do it. I would hate to see my hard work be wasted on frivolous purchases. I am buying my financial freedom with that money.

In addition, any extra money, like gifted money from the wedding, tax returns, or extra paychecks go to our debt. When you get a large chunk of unexpected money, it can be so tempting to spend it, so planning what you will do with that money ahead of time prevents lifestyle inflation.

5. Keep a Running List of Wants and Needs

Keeping a list of wants and needs helps you to prevent impulse purchases.

For example, you might really want to go on a vacation to France. With vigorous savings and planning, that could totally happen. But when your friends try to get you to go on a trip to Hawaii, you’ll have to make a choice between what you want and what your friends want.

And when you keep a list of your needs, you’ll be able to better prioritize your spending. You’ll find yourself often having to pick between wants and needs, which will keep your finances in check.

6. Sell Items Frequently

Look around your house. How much stuff laying around don’t you use?

Take the time to frequently audit your possessions will remind you how much you already had. It will promote a minimalist lifestyle and show you that, frankly, you likely already have everything you truly need.

Plus, selling your items is a nice way to earn a little cash to pad your emergency fund or pay off debt!

7. Decide if Luxuries or Convenience is More Important to You

There are different types of lifestyle inflation. You can buy more luxury items – like furniture, fancier clothes, vacations, or cars, or people tend to splurge more on convenience items, like eating out, time-saving apps, or delivery services. While I don’t allow myself many big “luxury” inflations, I have allowed myself to purchase some convenience items because my time, though it has become more important, is less.

Convenience purchases, to a point, can be a reinvestment back to yourself. I personally would so much rather spend money on something that saves me time or makes me feel better versus buying something luxurious just to have.

My most recent convenience purchase was an upgraded iPhone. As a blogger, I constantly rely on my phone to conduct business, and my old phone ran out of storage and no longer supported my needs. So this was a luxury that was worth the cost to me.

8. Know Your Bare-Bones Budget

While this hopefully isn’t the budget you have to rely on every day, I always keep a bare-bones budget in the back of my mind. This is the budget I would switch to if I ever lost my job or came down with a serious illness or emergency.

It’s important to keep this budget in mind because at some point in your life, you won’t be able to afford luxuries. So how can you keep your lifestyle in check?

Think about someone rich who lives lavishly. They could make a million dollars a year. But if they lost their job tomorrow, could they support their current lifestyle for very long? Probably not.

This is a case for not ever increasing your lifestyle too quickly. While you don’t need to be a cheapskate all the time, it’s important to limit your lifestyle to something you can afford no matter what life throws your way.

9. Advance Your Savings Goals

When you receive a raise or lump sum of income, how do you spend it? Do you automatically consider how you could increase your lifestyle?

I’m challenging you to instead, focus on increasing your savings. There is always a case for saving more money. It doesn’t make much sense to continually fund a more lavish lifestyle while you keep your saving goals the same.

Remember, as you earn more and your lifestyle increases, your savings goals must as well.

10. Remember, Personal Finance is Personal

Everyone has drastically different financial situations, and your money is yours. Don’t let anyone tell you how to spend it!

If you don’t care about buying a house ever, then don’t buy one. If you make $500,000 a year, but choose to invest all of it while not increasing your lifestyle at all, more power to you.

And that goes for me as well. These are all tips for avoiding lifestyle inflation, because I believe we all should live somewhat below our means. But don’t think I’m trying to tell you how to spend your money! Your situation, values, and needs are so different from mine or anyone else’s. So do what’s right for you, but also be mindful about how much you’re spending on creating a lifestyle for yourself. Because having a great life doesn’t need to cost a ton 🙂

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Have you ever been tempted to increase your lifestyle? Any other tips on how to avoid lifestyle inflation? Drop a comment below!

The Story of How I Almost Bought $30 Mascara

So the other week, I was at a party at my friend’s house. Wine was involved (I mean, hello, this is me we are talking about).

As the night went on, all of us girls ended up in my friend’s bathroom. Side note: IDK why girls always end up in a bathroom together. So many life convos. Anyway. My friend happens to be a distributor for a certain higher end makeup brand. So we were all in there trying on her makeup.

Let’s be clear. I honestly am not much of a makeup girl. But I am too frugal to pay someone to do my makeup for my wedding, so I have been experimenting with doing my own. So I was open to my friend and her products.

I tried on some of the mascara. It was that kind with 752 steps. And I put it on and holy sh*t! My eyes were huge! Gorgeous! I needed this! Everyone agreed!!

As I’m batting my eyelashes at myself, someone asked the price of the mascara. $30. Ouch. A far cry from my usual $4 mascara I get from Target with a coupon.

Even with all the pressure, I walked away from buying this mascara. I know it doesn’t seem like much of an achievement, but can you think of times you were seriously tempted to buy something you didn’t really need?

I was proud I walked away from an impulse purchase. And here are some tips to help you walk away, too.

Don’t sip and shop

Had I had one more glass of wine, I would have bought a tube of that mascara. Had I had more, I would have bought 197 tubes of it. In short – we make some stupid choices with alcohol. It causes us to be impulsive and do things we wouldn’t normally do.

Be aware of this and don’t let it blow your finances! If you need to, ask a friend to hold you accountable. You don’t want to wake up with that sort of regret.

Thou shalt feel no guilt

We all have that friend who sells something. And we all love her and support her. But that doesn’t mean that we need to pretend we need whatever she is selling.

I love my friend, and I am thankful that she wasn’t pressuring me into buying her product. If I had $30 for mascara, I would buy it. But the truth is, I don’t have a makeup budget. And, though her product was nice, I really didn’t need it.

It’s so easy for women to feel guilty about not buying a product from a friend. But truthfully, if that friend is making you feel guilty or pressuring you into buying something, maybe she isn’t that great of a friend.

The only thing this does not apply for is Girl Scout cookies. If you know a chick selling those, you better order up and put her on speed dial.

Know your values

If makeup is your thing and you have $30 in your budget for it, go for it, girl. There is no shaming here. But like I said, makeup is NOT my thing and it isn’t a high priority for me. I would rather spend that money in other ways.

Personal finance is just that – it’s personal. So know your values and make the right, well -thought out decision for you.

You’re better than peer pressure

It isn’t easy. When all your friends are blowing a ton of money, you want to, too. You don’t want to look like the broke girl or the one who isn’t having any fun.

My girlfriends were telling me how good that mascara looked and how I NEEDED to buy it. And while I wasn’t offended by that, I just didn’t let it get to me. Because that mascara was not the right thing for me to buy.

Know how to brush it off and say no. Trust me. If you spend your life succumbing to peer pressure, you will be broke and unhappy. It’s all about making the right decisions for you.


Remember that it is called personal finance for a reason. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should and should not spend money on. Take ownership of your financial situation and commit to only making well thought out and planned purchases.

Why I’m Doing a No-Gift Christmas

Is anyone else Christmas obsessed? I’ve been listening to Christmas music since early November…I know, I am one of those people.

There is some *magic* about the season that, as corny as it sounds, leaves me feeling refreshed, inspired, and thankful.

Ever since I moved from Iowa to South Carolina, the holidays have looked drastically different for my family and me. I actually couldn’t make it home for two Christmases in a row due to working in the hospitality field. Christmas was an extremely busy time of year for hospitality, so I would always end up working (side note – be sure to tip any hospitality workers extra this season!).

Now that I am no longer in the hospitality industry, I am fortunate to make it home to spend time with my family over Christmas. It isn’t always easy to get home, however. A round-trip on a plane costs upwards of $375, and it is a 20 hour drive to my hometown from Charleston.

This year, my fiance, dog and I will be loading up the Jeep Wrangler and driving the long distance home to Iowa. Getting to Iowa isn’t even the most challenging part. Our families both live in the Midwest, but they live about 2.5 hours away. Which isn’t terrible, but that means that just because we are in Iowa doesn’t mean our travel is over.

Last year, my family recognized how difficult it was to even get together for the holidays. It sounds cheesy, but I have 3 sisters who live in various parts of the country. Two of them are married and have other families to visit over the holidays as well. To get our whole family together, for even 12 hours, is an achievement.

So we decided to quit giving each other Christmas gifts.

And last year’s gift-free Christmas was so wonderful that we decided to do it again this year.

Continue reading “Why I’m Doing a No-Gift Christmas”

4 Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Gift-Giving

Is anyone else Christmas obsessed? I usually get in the Christmas spirit in the summer and listen to Christmas music until Christmas day. I know, I know. I’m one of thooooose people.

I just can’t help myself! Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year, and it’s the only time I get to see my whole family.

Anyway, it’s no secret that Christmas, as beautiful and jolly (!!!) and wonderful as it is can be damaging to our finances. Gifts cost a ton of money, plus the cost of travel expenses, food (and more food…and more food….) and higher entertainment costs. The total cost of Christmas can very easily reach over $1,000 or more.

While buying gifts is very generous, most people aren’t attached to receiving gifts. Why not consider alternatives to traditional Christmas gift-giving to save some serious money during the season? Here are 4 alternative ideas for you to try.

Secret Santa gift exchange

Have your family pool together to do a secret Santa gift exchange.

If you don’t know how it works, you simply put everyone’s name in a hat and have everyone draw one. You only buy one gift for that specific person.

The hardest, but most fun part about this is keeping who you’re shopping for a secret! And it’s more fun to pick out one really amazing gift for one person instead of trying to scramble for gifts for everyone.

Set spending limits

Together with your family, decide how much you are allowed to spend on gifts for one another.

You could do something fair, but affordable, like $30 per person max. Or you could really challenge one another and do a $10 gift limit. This forces you to get creative with your gift giving.

Make homemade gifts

For those of you who have been #blessed with DIY skills (unlike me), making your own Christmas gifts can save you a ton of money.

Quick note about DIY – I literally have no DIY sills, but I try hard. I crocheted scarves for everyone one year and they were the saddest thing ever. I mean, they were hideous. So only DIY if you’re confident in yourself and in your own skills 🙂

Focus on birthday gifts instead of Christmas gifts

This is what my mom decided to do. Instead of going ham on buying Christmas gifts, she gives each of us a generous birthday gift. Before, we used to do small gifts for birthdays and big gifts for Christmas.

This saved my mother a ton of money and a ton of headache! Since she is still a mom, she insists on getting us stocking stuffers for Christmas so we still have something to open Christmas morning.

Following my mother’s example, I started to do this as well. I love it because it makes that person’s birthday extra special and gives me time to search for a gift I know they want.

Budget-wise, this works incredibly well for me. Instead of saving hundreds of dollars for Christmas gifts, I can save and spend that money throughout the entire year for everyone’s birthdays.

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Christmas is such a happy time of year, and I think you’ll find that by committing to an alternative form of gift-giving, you’ll have just as much, if not more, joy during the season!

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it feels like there is no escape. You might wonder how you can save money when you barely have enough to cover the bills and necessities.

Living for your next payday isn’t just annoying, it’s dangerous. What if an emergency happened, and you had no money to pay for it? Would you have to go without food? Shut off your lights? Put it all on credit and worsen your situation?

Building a savings is vital not only for emergencies, but to be able to afford the things you want out of life.

It’s no easy feat, but you can, and should, stop this cycle. Here’s the steps to take to find freedom and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Set savings goals

Decide what it is you want to save for. A vacation? A house? Sending the kids to college? Decide what your goals are and calculate how much money you need to save.

One mandatory savings goal – an emergency fund. I know, it’s not anything exciting. But building an emergency fund gives you insurance. If something goes wrong, which things always do, you will have insured yourself because you can pay for emergencies.

Ideally, you would have an emergency fund worth 3-6 months of expenses. But start small. Right now, you may only be able to save $1,000. And that’s okay.

One great tool for saving money quickly and automatically is the Capital One 360 online savings account. This is what I personally use because it is easy and I get better interest than at a bank!

Create a budget

Now that you have some goals to work towards, it’s time to create a budget to make your dreams become a reality.

What can you cut? Can you cancel cable, subscription services, the grocery budget, or social expenses? Can you live minimally for a while to build up your savings?

Add savings to your budget as a fixed cost. Remember – you aren’t saving every month to blow it on trips to the mall, fancy dinners, or vacations. You are saving for your future, not for the present.

Automate your savings

The easiest way to build savings quickly is to automate it. By automating it, you never see it and have less incentive to spend it instead of savings.

Many banks now offer this feature. Put it into a separate account so you don’t confuse your savings with spending money.

Increase your income to increase your savings

If you aren’t saving as quickly as you like, you can look at two things. First, how much have you cut out of your budget? Can you control your spending anymore? If you’re already at a bare budget, you may need to look at increasing your income.

Increasing your income doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. It might take some reevaluation of your goals and your time management. Can you ask for a raise? Apply for a higher paying job? Start a side hustle?

Side hustles are a great way to increase your income on the side if you aren’t able to increase your full-time income. A side hustle is anything you do outside of your 9-5 to earn money, whether it’s babysitting, blogging, freelance writing, or starting a business.

Not only do side hustles increase your income, but they increase your skills and motivation. Often, people who side hustle experience a boost in their 9-5 careers as well.

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No matter your circumstances, you have the power to change your finances and your life. By committing to switch your habits, you can escape living paycheck to paycheck and start living for the future.

How to Save on a Wedding When You Live in an Expensive City

If you are a frequent visitor, you likely know that I am getting married in a few months. Needless to say, I am very excited to be marrying my fiance and to celebrate with friends and family. But being engaged, paying, and planning for a wedding can be stressful!

My fiance and I are both from Iowa, but we are getting married where we live in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is a gorgeous city, but the wedding scene is absolutely crazy. I mean, these brides are cray. Just the other day, I was in Starbucks (obvi) and a couple was there for a meeting with their event planner. I overheard (okay, I creeped) and the couple said their budget was $40,000 *insert dismayed emoji*

As you could have guessed, my fiance and I are NOT spending nearly that much on our wedding.  I could pay off my student loans and car with that type of money!

Though Iowa weddings are typically much more affordable, we opted to get married in Charleston for a few reasons. First, I didn’t want to plan a wedding from 1,000 miles away. The logistical challenge and stress would be too much. Second, Andrew and I knew we would have regretted not getting married in Charleston, when it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And lastly, even though we love our family and friends, we knew not all of them would be able to travel for our wedding, making it smaller and more intimate.

With my wedding less than 6 months away, here is my insight on how to spend less on a wedding in an expensive city.

Be flexible with your date

Many venues and vendors will charge less if you have your wedding on, say, a Thursday versus the typical Saturday wedding. I noticed that some venues charged even half as much for a weekday wedding than for a Saturday wedding!

My venue was one that didn’t charge any more for Saturday events, so luckily, I am able to have my wedding on a Saturday. If a Saturday wedding is important to you, remember that you may need to pay additional for it.

Also be flexible with your season. One reason we are having our wedding in March is because it is the “off-season” in Charleston. In the South, April and May are busy seasons, as well as September and October (because the summers are too hot and the winters too cold).

Because of the off-season, I also got my photographer for half price and cheaper hotels!

Opt for indoors

Though outdoor weddings are alluring, they can actually be much more expensive.

You’ll likely pay for the venue itself plus you’ll want to make sure you have tents on hold in case of rain. Most places I talked to give you 24 hours before the wedding to decide if you want the tents up or not, and they are costly to put up. So you spend the night before your wedding trying to forecast to see if you have to pay $1,000 for a tent that you may not even need.

I can’t handle that kind of stress, so that was enough for me to hold my whole wedding indoors.

Additional costs for outdoor weddings include chair rentals, a runner, blankets if it’s cold, fans if it’s hot, and maybe even bathroom facilities.

Again, it’s not a bad thing if you want to have an outdoor wedding! They are gorgeous and if that’s your priority, go for it. Just know it might be a little more expensive.

Look for all-inclusive venues

Speaking of venues, many places charge you thousands simply for the roof over your head, forcing you to look for yet another rental vendor for your tables, chairs, dance floor, place settings, etc.

Having to rent all of those items is a much bigger cost than most brides anticipate. To me, this was a huge factor in picking my venue. They provide everything for us, down to the table cloths. It saves me a ton of time, money, and stress!

Consider nontraditional food options

I know many people are traditional and expect a full plated meal at a wedding. In a big city, this is a huuuuuge expense!

My sister who got married in Iowa 8 years ago paid $9/person for a whole meal. In Charleston, I was looking at $50/person for a meal. Keep in mind, you also have to pay taxes and a service fee on top of the actual food charge.

There was no way I was going to pay that much for food, so we opted to do fun stations and hor d’oeuvres instead. Personally, I prefer this at a wedding because people are up and moving instead of sitting forever. And saving all that money is a huge bonus as well 🙂

Settle for your invitations

When I first got engaged, every bride was telling me how hard it was to find affordable, but original invitations. And I didn’t really believe it until I started looking.

Nothing is more disappointing than to find some invitations you like, only to find out they cost $2,000 locally. Are you kidding me?!

It goes without saying, but I will be settling for some more generic/boring invitations because honestly, who cares?

After much researching, I will likely be ordering invitations through Minted. Those foil pressed invites…drool!

Get creative with the rings

Though I’m not sure how much my fiance spent on my engagement ring, when we were looking at paying for our wedding bands, we both decided it wasn’t worth it to us to pay thousands of dollars.

All men’s bands look pretty much the same, and my fiance is the typical man who is rough on things. We couldn’t justify spending much on an expensive ring. He was all for the cheap one! For his ring, I researched different metals. I opted for a Tungsten ring for him.

Tungsten is nearly indestructible and it won’t scratch…just what Andrew needs! Looking at it, I can’t tell the difference between it and a white gold ring. Total cost = $80.

For mine, the wedding band that matched the engagement ring was over $1,000! I thought that was crazy. I decided instead to do a totally separate wedding band. I just wanted a thin, simple band for cheap that I could wear when I’m out camping or being active so I didn’t have to risk losing my engagement ring. Plus, I love the way my engagement ring looks without the band attached.

So it a very unromantic, typical frugal Rachel way, I bought my own wedding band at Pandora for $25.

I actually love it because I can mix and match or buy more “wedding bands” if I get sick of the one I have. I’m not super sentimental about this, so having the flexibility works for me.

We might upgrade our bands someday, but we are happy with our decision now!

Buy a dress off the rack or out of town

Wedding dresses are also sold at a higher cost in major cities than they are in a small town.

The thing I was shocked about while shopping for dresses in Charleston is that I was seldom asked for my price range. And if I was, the consultant didn’t hold true to that. I can’t tell you how many times I tried on a dress I loved, only for the consultant to tell me it was $3,000! I left 3 stores empty-handed and disappointed.

I finally randomly found a small boutique in the area that actually listed all of their dresses with the prices online, so I had a good idea which ones I wanted to try on before I even got there. I loved that boutique’s honesty!

When I got there, I actually fell in love with a dress sample that they were selling off-the-rack. This dress was originally $3,000 that they were selling for $900. I didn’t go in to the store with the intention to buy off-the-rack, but I am so glad I did!

I got to bring my dress home that day, so I don’t have the buyer’s remorse. I can try on my dress whenever I want, plus it gives me more time to get quoted for affordable alterations and I can visually shop for accessories.

Had I not found this dress, I would have gone back to Iowa to search for one in a more affordable salon. Because honestly, a dress doesn’t have to be expensive for you to love it and look gorgeous in it.

Borrow and craft as much as you can

What I have found is that friends and family are usually ecstatic when you ask to borrow something for your wedding. There is some sentimentality around borrowing and I’ve never had someone tell me no.

My sister is letting me borrow her veil, saving me the $300 price tag of one in store.

My future sister-in-law is letting me borrow some decorations, table runners, and her cake cutter.

My other sister is letting me use her old centerpieces, which I am spray-painting to go with my décor.

My fiance’s grandfather is making our cake topper.

I am so appreciative of everyone letting me borrow items and making things for us! It saves a ton of money and time and my family has been so honored to let us use their stuff or skills for our wedding.

Buy fake flowers online

I made it my personal mission to have as few vendors as possible, mostly because I didn’t want to deal with coordinating with 7140 different people.

I love the look of real flowers, but after getting some quotes from florists, Andrew had to peel me off the floor. Talk about sticker shock. We are talking $300 for a bridal bouquet, plus $150 for bridesmaids.

Because of this, I started looking online at artificial flowers. And let me tell you, they have come a long way! The pluses of buying artificial flowers is that the bouquets are ready to go way in advance, you don’t have to worry about crushing them day of, and also that I’m allergic to real flowers so I should have just looked at fake ones in the first place!

I ended up ordering flowers for all the bridesmaids and me through afloral.com. I bought a few extra so I can bulk up the bouquets if needed. The bouquets were on sale, plus afloral always offers coupons, so I spent a total of $70 on florals.

I just got the flowers in and honestly, they far exceeded my expectations. By the way, I was not paid to sponsor afloral.com. They are just a website I was very happy with and want to share with you!


Phew! This is my longest post to date, so thanks for sticking with me! Hope you learned a tip or two from that. Any other tips you might add? Comment below!

10 Ways to Stop Impulse Shopping

How many girls do you know who are fairly decent at budgeting, but then BAM, their closet is spilling over and they can be found at the mall every weekend? I’ll let you in on a secret: that used to be me.

Shopping was such an emotional habit for me. I’d shop when I was bored, when I was lonely, when I was stressed, when I was procrastinating. Shopping made me feel better for a little bit, but it wasn’t solving anything. The worst part of it was that I was buying a lot of cheap, poor quality clothes. But my closet quickly became filled with, so put it bluntly, a whole lot of crap.

It wasn’t until I moved that I realized just how much junk I had. For someone who has moved 7 times in the past two years, that was a lot of baggage to carry around. Something needed to change.

Now, I still love to shop, but I have definitely curbed my impulse shopping habit. Here’s 10 steps I took to stop emotional shopping:

  1. Clean out your closet.

    This is the only way to see just how much stuff you have bought and things you haven’t even worn. When I cleaned out my closet, I realized I was getting rid of hundreds of dollars of clothes that I had not worn once. What a waste!

  2. Research classic, staple items you need to build a solid wardrobe.

    No matter your personal style, figure out the basics. You likely will want a nice coat, a few pairs of quality jeans, some black heels, etc. Write these things down! They are items you will want to invest in and maybe even splurge on. Predict how many years of use you can get out of each item.

  3. Make a list of all clothes you need, and which season they fit.

    Keeping a running list of every item of clothing you need will serve you in so many ways. If you’re having a moment of weakness and want to impulse shop, you can use this list to make sure you’re buying only things you actually need. This list also provides opportunities to find more items on sale because you know what you’re looking for.

  4. Be smart and buy at the end of the season.

    Have you ever noticed how swimsuits go on super sale at the end of summer? When at the beginning of summer, they are ridiculously expensive? When you create a list of exactly what you need, you can be on the look out for these end-of-season deals and can save a ton of money. Sure, you might miss out on buying the hottest trends of the season, but trends come and go anyway. To me, spending money on timeless pieces that I can wear for years to come is worth far more than buying a new trendy piece every single year.

  5. Save up for high quality pieces.

    If you are buying an item that you will wear almost daily, then it is worth it to splurge on a higher quality. For example, when I lived in Iowa, it was imperative that I had a winter coat. I wore it every day for almost 6 months out of the year, so it was worth it to invest in a higher quality coat versus a cheap one. Plus, it kept me nice and toasty 🙂

  6. If it’s not on your list, no buying!

    This will force you to really think through your purchases ahead of time and eliminate any possible impulses.

  7. Acknowledge your emotions before shopping.

    Be aware of how you feel and be honest with yourself. Are you shopping because you’re trying to fill a void, or are you truly shopping because you need clothes?

  8. Ask yourself how many wears you’ll get out of that outfit.

    Calculating cost per wear is a great guideline to know if something is actually worth it. You can learn more about it here.

  9. Only buy clothes you absolutely LOVE.

    If you’re like me, half the stuff you buy on impulse is total junk. Maybe it was on sale or maybe you were just feeling emotional while buying it. If clothes don’t make you feel great, then they aren’t worth buying. This can be a hard lesson to learn for some who view clothes as simply functional. Clothes can say so much about you, so I encourage people to spend time and money dressing themselves in a way that makes them feel great.

  10. Have fun and shop on!

    Shopping can still be fun, even while trying to curb impulse shopping and while sticking to a budget. Be smart about your purchases and be in tune with your emotions and you can’t go wrong.

6 Things to Always Buy Generic

With regards to generic items, it seems like there are two teams. One is all about buying everything generic, no matter how low the quality might be. The other team is full of name-brand snobs, the ones who never look on the lower shelves in the supermarket for the cheaper items. I used to be on Team Generic, while my fiancé is on Team Name-Brand. I was bound and determined to show him how much money I saved by buying generic, until recently.

Story: A few weeks ago, I bought a box of 100 garbage bags for like $2, much cheaper than the name-brand for $12. But the garbage bags I bought actually disintegrated when I touched them. Like they literally ripped to shreds by a touch. After a loving “I told you so” from my significant other, I can now say I have seen the light.

This isn’t to say all generic items are bad – in fact,  I have bought generic items that were better than the name-brand. My goal the last few weeks has been to try name-brand versus generic of general household items and see which one has the best quality. I can now attest to 6 general household items you should always buy generic.

Household cleaners

I worked as a housekeeper in a hotel during college and let me tell you: you don’t need many fancy cleaning products. Dish soap, bleach, and water go pretty far. Better yet, make your own environmentally-friendly cleaning products for pennies. Click here for some great recipes by Good Housekeeping.

Paper products

Technically, I rarely buy any paper products but toilet paper. I refrain from buying convenience items like paper plates, towels and napkins and opt for reusable plates and cloth towels and napkins instead. Again, this is both economical and environmentally friendly!

Cereal

Okay, maybe I’m strange to include this. But I can’t cook, so before my fiancé and I started cooking all meals together, I ate cereal twice a day (I do not suggest or promote it!! It was shameful!) But through this, I can call myself a cereal connoisseur and can say that generic tastes just as good as the expensive brands.

Nail polish

Avoid expensive name brands like Essie and OPI. I have tried them and found that they chip way too quickly for costing $8.00. The $1 brands work just as well for me, if not better than the expensive brands.

Prescriptions

If there is a generic prescription available, take it! Insurance companies even say that the generic is chemically equivalent to the brand so that’s why they push generic so much. The only difference is the packaging.

Seasonings

I can’t believe the difference in the cost of name brand versus generic spices. It is absolutely crazy to me that I can get 5x the amount of cinnamon for less than the name brand offers.

What items do you buy generic? Any you would recommend? Any you would NOT recommend?