Sarah's Real Life
12. 28. 2015


December Budget Breakdown

Row 1: Pumps (on sale) // Tee (on sale) // Turtleneck // Flats // Shirt

Row 2: Sequin Dress (rented) // Black Dress (on sale) // Pants (on sale) // Blue Dress (on sale) // Scarf (on sale) // Clutch

Row 3: Boots // Sweater (under $15!) // Skirt (on sale) // Earrings // Jeans (on sale)

Row 4: Dress // Bag (on sale) // Hat // Pumps (on sale)

It’s the end of December 2015, which means this is my 24th Budgeting Bloggers post. After 2 straight years of confessing my shopping habits every month, my outlook on these posts has changed – not necessarily for the better or the worse, just changed.

For one thing, my average monthly budget has increased since I started doing these these posts in January 2014. If you’ve been following for a while, you know that my shopping budget fluctuates depending on the income I get from this little online endeavor of mine. As I’ve found the best ways for me to monetize this blog, I’ve gotten a steadier stream of shopping fuel. Ironically (but in a good way), the day I post my budget each month is usually the day I make the most in commission because you’re all clicking my links to see what I bought!

When I check out some of my fellow Budgeting Bloggers each month, I’ve noticed that I spend more (sometimes a lot more) than most of the other ladies who bare their souls receipts online each month. No one has ever given me a hard time for my spending habits, but I have to wonder whether there’s anyone out in Internet land who’s thinking to themselves that I’m either (a) showing off how much money I have or (b) living outside my means. I’m not losing sleep over people who may or may not be judging me, but I am a little worried that I could be setting the wrong example for someone like a younger version of myself. So because it’s the end of the year, I want to take this opportunity to give a little insight and set the record straight on how I feel about budgeting, shopping, and participating in the Budgeting Bloggers linkup.

The most important thing I’ve come to realize is that you should never compare your spending to someone else’s, even if that person is your same age, has the same job, or the same number of kids. That means not only should you not adjust your budget to align with another person’s, but you also shouldn’t judge another person’s budget because it doesn’t align with yours. There are so many factors besides income that influence what is appropriate to spend on clothes. It may seem to most people like I spend an exorbitant amount of money on my wardrobe, but consider this: I live in a modest house, I drive an 8-year-old Nissan Sentra that is paid off, I have no kids, I take my lunch and snacks to work every day, I use coupons at the grocery store, and I don’t have any other expensive habits or take glamorous vacations. On top of that, I put in several hours of work a week to keep this blog running, which helps turn shopping into a self-sustaining hobby. I still put money in a retirement account, I pay all my bills, and I have excellent credit. I’m even getting close to paying off the credit cards I ran up back when I was not as smart about budgeting!

The only person who knows what your shopping budget (or your housing or food or car or any other budget) should be is you. It might be easier to Google “what percentage of my income should I spend on clothes,” but Google doesn’t know what your priorities are. If it’s your goal in life to have 4 kids and drive them to pre-school in a Lexus, then by all means, live your dreams. But unless you’re filthy rich, please do not let me peer pressure you into spending $800 a month on clothes!

The moral of the story is: Do what’s right for you, and don’t presume to know what’s right for others. I wish I could go back and say this to my 22-year-old self, but at least I can say it to the world wide web in the hopes of reaching another 22-year-old who thinks she can buy whatever she wants because she’s an adult with a college degree. I plan on continuing my monthly budget posts in 2016 because, even though my budget has increased, it will never be infinite, and these posts keep me in check and accountable.

OK, I’ve already gone on long enough, so I won’t go into my usual detail on my budget. After 2 years, I hope you can trust me when I say that I came in $120 under budget this month. (Yay me!) Most of what I bought/received this month is in the collage above. I had a great haul this month thanks to (1) a higher-than-usual blog income, and (2) Christmas gifts and gift cards.

As a reminder, I am linking up once again with the always enlightening Fran and her Budgeting Bloggers. Thanks for keeping me (brutally) honest, ladies!

9 responses to “Budgeting Bloggers: December”

  1. I respect you so much for writing this post. While I’ve noticed that your budget and spending is higher than some of the other bloggers who link up, I also recognize that you wear everything, remix everything, buy most things on sale, and lead a totally different life than anyone else. We have super different jobs and even though we both blog, our income and general life needs are different too. I’m always most impressed that you stay within your budget, rather than allowing it to be infinite just because it happens to be a little larger than someone else’s.

    I hope this isn’t a weird comment? Anyway, obsessed with both pairs of bow shoes and the striped shirt, and I can’t wait to see you style both blue dresses and the flared jeans!

    You do you, girl!

  2. Rachel says:

    Whoot whoot for 2 years of budgeting bloggers for you! I agree, you cannot compare your spending with someone else, we all have different priorities and are all going through different things.

  3. Kyle says:

    Girl, yes. All of the yes. I always love reading your posts – partly because of how much you spend (so many pretty things!!), but I also know that you and I live really different lives. Your buys this month are gorgeous – congratulations!

  4. Amy Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing! I like what you bought. I have never done this because I thought all the same things you have. I don’t judge other bloggers because I often actually spend less because of getting free items. I try hard to take things I don’t wear to the resale shop or donate them.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  5. Engineer L says:

    This post was really interesting! It got me thinking about my own financial priorities and other areas of my life where I could curb my spending. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Nout says:

    I’m going to be honest and say that sometimes I see other bloggers’ budgets and I’m like DAMN, I must be underpaid (haha?). I think you’re totally right, we shouldn’t compare our spending habits to others’. Take me, for example, I choose to spend a good amount on entertainment so I spend less on clothes. I also bought a new car recently. I also don’t make a whole lot of money off my blog. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and for being honest.