Sarah's Real Life
04. 28. 2017



Budgeting Bloggers: April

Row 1: Shoes (c/o Shopbop) // Skirt // Earrings

Row 2: Top (sold out but check eBay) // Earrings // Dress (c/o Shopbop)

Row 3: Bandana (on sale) // Hat // Top

Don’t mind me, just sitting at home eating a spoonful of peanut butter, putting together April’s budget shopping post! I’m verrrry happy to report I stayed within $13 of my budget, and I actually got quite a few more items than you see above, but a lot of them were on sale and are now sold out. Sorry boutcha, but I hope you found some good deals of your own this month.

April’s Budget: $394

($150 starting budget – $61 overspent last month + $136 blog income (minus taxes) + $169 selling old clothes)

April’s Spending: $407

I hit up the Victoria Beckham for Target collection and got 4 items which all appear to be sold out online, but it never hurts to check your local store. There’s definitely a bold, mod look to everything, so it may not be everyone’s style but it’s most certainly mine! Would I have bought all that stuff if it weren’t made by a Spice Girl? No. But at least I admit it.

Pretty much all the rest of my money this month went to keeping J.Crew in business, but how can you blame me when everything is so cute and springy? Stripes and gingham out the wazoo.

Linking up per usual with Franish – show the other budgeting bloggers some love!





03. 31. 2017

Alternate Title: What Happens in NYC Stays in NYC

Budgeting Bloggers: March

Row 1: Bag (c/o Shopbop) // Sweater // Jacket // Dress

Row 2: Dress (on sale) // Top (sold out, but similar here) // Sweater (on sale) // Shoes

Row 3: Top  (c/o Tobi) // Jacket (c/o Tobi) // Dress (c/o Shopbop)

March Budget: $250

($150 starting budget – $6 overspent last month + $106 blog income)

March Spending: $311

So here’s the thing. If you ignore what I did on Friday, March 24th, I wasn’t too far over my budget for March. But the 24th was my last day in NYC – the conference ended on the 23rd, and I designated Friday a “me” day to gallavant around the city and do whatever I wanted before heading home.

I went to the MoMA in the morning, took myself to brunch, then went down to SoHo and shopped to my heart’s content! I mean, I know I can buy all these things online, but there’s something magical about bopping around the greatest city in the country, going from store to store, enjoying the sunshine and admiring the Flatiron building in between.

So let’s just agree that my NYC shopping spree doesn’t count, K? If you can cut me some slack, I’ll reward you by showing you all the goodies I got on the 24th! Check ’em out below!

NYC Shopping Haul

Row 1: Shirt // Necklace // Cardigan

Row 2: Earrings // Sandals

Row 3: Bandana // Dress // not pictured: this lace top



02. 27. 2017



Budgeting Bloggers: February
Row 1: Jacket (on sale) // Dress (on sale) // Shoes
Row 2: Shoes // Necklace
Row 3: Tassel Earrings // Bag // Stone Earrings


February’s Budget: $367

($150 starting budget – $124 overspent last month + $256 blog income minus taxes + $85 selling old clothes)

February’s Spending: $373

I’m quite proud of myself for making up for last month and keeping within $6 of my budget for February! Good job, me. I always knew I could do it, if I could just be so busy with other things that I didn’t have time to shop. Yep, that’s exactly what happened.

My other goal for February was quality over quantity. A whirlwind Target trip kept me from really sticking to that, but at least part of that trip was covered by a gift card I got for Christmas (thanks, Cindy). A gift card also covered most of these amazing Cole Haan suede wingtips.

My bigger ticket items were this suede moto jacket and a pair of fabulous 70s-esque sunglasses (which aren’t available online but you can see them in action here and here). But who knows – maybe my impulse-buy $13 Target earrings will stand the test of time better than the $100 jacket. I’ve already worn both pairs of earrings twice!

What did everyone else spend their hard earned money on this month? Looking forward to linking up with the Budgeting Bloggers Queen, Fran!



01. 29. 2017



Budgeting Bloggers: January

Row 1: [almost the same] Bag (c/o Shopbop) // Shirt (on sale) // Necklace (on sale)

Row 2: Dress (on sale) // Stole (on sale) // Sweater (on sale)

Row 3: Earrings (only $10) // Boots (on sale)

Gotta love January – according to the retail calendar, it’s time for spring, but according to the real world, it’s very much winter and very much time to take advantage of buying clothes on sale that you can actually wear the next day.

The unfortunate side effect is that most of what I purchased this month is now sold out so I couldn’t include it in this post, but everything pictured above is still available (at least as of this moment) and mostly still on sale!

January’s Budget: $259

($150 starting budget + $109 blog income)

January’s Spending: $413

I can explain. There was some blog income I thought I was getting this month, but it turns out it won’t technically hit the bank until next month. Rest assured my “overdraft” will carry over to February and I’ll do my best to make it up! I feel a little guilty that this month I mostly got random fun stuff and not a lot of good-quality staples. My goal for February is quality over quantity.

Along with the “real” money I spent, I also used my saved-up Shopbop credits to get a new Rebecca Minkoff bag (exact version sold out, but here is the newest version) and a pussybow chambray shirt (seen here). I also had a Nordstrom gift card from Christmas and I used about half of it to get these chunky boots. They’re a little different from my usual style but still cool, and more importantly they won’t get ruined by yucky weather (#MidwestProblems).

As usual, I’ll be linking up with Franish and the other Budgeting Bloggers. Check those ladies out too!


12. 29. 2016



Budgeting Bloggers: December

OK, here’s the deal, friends. I’ve been a bad Budgeting Blogger. Not because I broke my budget, but because I haven’t been keeping track of my purchases the past two months. You might have noticed I skipped a November budget post altogether. I was too busy recovering and catching up on work after my NYC Thanksgiving trip. I’m pretty sure I overspent in November, but I’m pretty sure I made up for it in December. Most of my new things this month were Christmas gifts! Anyway, I’m just going to call it even and start 2017 with a blank slate. I hope you’ll forgive me.

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite things that found their way to my closet over the past few weeks!

Row 1: Dress (on sale) // Earrings // Sweater

Row 2: Pumps (on sale) // Dress // Earrings

Row 3: Tee // Sunglasses (under $25) // Sweatshirt



10. 28. 2016


Budgeting Bloggers: October

Row 1: Bag* // Skirt // Oxfords (on sale)

Row 2: Turtleneck // Pumps* // Jacket*

Row 3: Flats // Sweater // Booties (c/o Dansko)

Row 4: OTK Boots // Scarf // Navy Pants // Orange Pants (on sale)

You might think in a month I called “Frocktober” I would have bought some dresses. You might be wrong. The point of Frocktober was to remix the dresses I already had, and then spend too much money on other things. Duh.

October’s Budget: $441

($150 starting budget + $20 unspent in September + $132 blog income minus taxes + $139 selling old clothes)

October’s Spending: $508

So I went over. But it’s fall and all the pretty things are out and I’m just a human woman with no children and access to the Internet. I saved up my Shopbop credits (they’re a blog sponsor) and put them to good use during a big sale this month and got a gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff bag, suede pumps, and an insanely cozy jacket. I did spend some of my own money, but what would have been $500 normally I got for only $170.

I had an unspent J.Crew birthday gift card that I also used during a sale to get more bang for my buck (I had my eye on those cap-toe Gemma flats for weeks). And how about those cream Clarks oxfords?! Not a style of shoe I get that often, but they were too cute and comfy to pass up and were only half the normal price at Nordstrom Rack. Clearly it was a shoe month – I had to make up for the lack of shoes in September, obvs.

And…OK…I have to admit something. I cheated. I’m a cheater, cheater, pumpkin-pants-buying cheater. I bought 4 pairs of pants at Ann Taylor (2 of them pictured above) and decided not to include them in my budget. Why? Because I’m a big fat cheater. But also because I really do need more work pants for the cold-weather months and I always have so much trouble finding ones that fit well (again because of the whole being a human woman thing). I hit the jackpot at AT during a 50% off sale, so I just went for it even though I had already spent my budget for the month. I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s OK as long as I admit to it, right? Just say yes. Thanks.

Want to see some other budgeting bloggers who probably didn’t cheat? Head to Franish!





09. 30. 2016


Budgeting Bloggers: September

Row 1: Dress // Tank (under $20!) // Vest (on sale) // Bikini Top & Bottom

Row 2: Skirt // Dress // Top (on sale)

Row 3: Dress // Sweater (c/o Hillflint) // Pants (on sale)

Ahh, September. Probably the only time I’ll acquire both a bikini and a sweater in the same month. I guess that’s why they call it “Augustember.” (That totally caught on, right?)

September’s Budget: $513

($150 starting budget + $73 unspent in July + $34 selling old clothes + $256 blog income minus taxes)

August’s Spending: $493

My budget was smaller than last month but I still made out OK – $20 to spare! To absolutely no one’s surprise, the bulk of my money went to Loft this month. I picked up a few summery things during a flash sale when they were offering double cash cards to use later…and you better believe I used those later for some more fall-centric items! But I think my favorite purchase of the month might be the long-line vest from Express. You can see it in action here. I got a good deal on the vest too, and it’s still on sale!

I got just one complimentary item this month (the sweater above). I haven’t worn it yet, but it will make an appearance soon! There are also a couple things I couldn’t put in the collage because I got them at small boutiques in my post-beach visit to Chapel Hill. One of them is a Carolina blue plaid scarf because duh.

Did my fellow budgeting bloggers spend more on summer sales or new fall arrivals? Only one way to find out: head to Franish’s linkup.






08. 28. 2016


Budgeting Bloggers: August


Row 1: Skirt // Top (c/o Shopbop) // Earrings // Bag (c/o Shopbop)

Row 2: Bracelet // Booties (on sale) // Necklace (under $20) // Pumps (on sale)

Row 3: Maxi Dress // Duster // Pants // LBD

Row 4: Scarf // Slides (on sale, c/o Shopbop) // Dress // Sweater (on sale)

August tends to be a good month for my closet because it’s my birthday month! I always get birthday money and gift cards and coupons, so I get to do lots of shopping without spending too much of my “real” money.

August’s Budget: $606

($150 starting budget – $69 overspent in July + $300 birthday moolah + $225 blog income minus taxes)

August’s Spending: $533

Let’s talk b’day goodies first, shall we? Kristin helped me pick out a fun and colorful skirt at J. Crew (she also got me an adorable “PARIS” t-shirt, but my size is on backorder so I’ll get a surprise in the mail in a few weeks).  My grandparents-in-law got me a DSW gift card, which I used to buy what I call my “scandalous Victorian booties.” My in-laws gave me a Target gift card, which I used on new skinny jeans and a gray duster cardigan. My parents, being the thoughtful and generous people that they are, gave me my very favorite gift – a check – and I spent it on two dresses from Loft and jewelry from Kendra Scott (the earrings above, plus a ring I designed myself). I made my birthday moolah go the extra mile by using my birthday coupon from Loft and shopping during a sale. Oh, and Kendra Scott gives a birthday month discount, PLUS I got a free gift with purchase because the new KS store just happened to open on my birthday. Basically, it was an epic birthday shopping trip.

I also saved up a couple months’ worth of Shopbop credits (they’re a sponsor, FYI) and got an off-the-shoulder top, leather slides, a bee-yoo-tiful suede fringe bag, and a plaid button-up (not pictured).

A responsible person would have been satisfied with all her gifts and not spent her own money on more stuff she doesn’t need, but I can’t be responsible all the time. That would be boring, and who needs to retire, anyway? There were so many good end-of-summer sales going on, so I ordered another pair of culottes from Madewell, along with a t-shirt and cotton sweater (both still on sale). My final purchase of the month was during the last Ann Taylor sale, when I got a silk neck scarf (I really think I can pull it off), suede pumps, and a blush shirtdress.

I’m actually pretty proud of myself, because a lot of what I got is going to transition really well to fall (go ahead and judge me for my style blogger cliche – I can take it). AND not only did I make up for last month’s overspending, but I stayed under budget for this month!

Be sure to visit the other budgeting bloggers who link up with Franish! Those ladies keep me in check.






07. 31. 2016

Alternate title: “Whoops. I like shopping.”


Budgeting Bloggers: July

Row 1: Dress // Hat // Shirt (on sale) // Watch (on sale)

Row 2: similar Bag // Vest // Black Top // Gingham Top

Row 3: Top // Sunglasses (on sale) // Sandals (on sale) // Belt (on sale)

Row 4: Top // Earrings // Skirt // Dress (on sale)

July’s Budget: $770

($150 starting budget + $11 unspent last month + $535 blog income minus taxes + $74 selling old clothes)

July’s Spending: $839

I started doing these budget posts to hold myself accountable for my clothing-related spending and for the most part it has worked really well. This was the first month in a long time that I had one of those moments right after hitting “Submit Order” that I had a sinking feeling of guilt. Sure enough, I checked my handy budget spreadsheet and realized I had gone over…like way over. I immediately started thinking of what I could do to fix it. I started going through my closet for things to sell to my favorite second-hand shop (which I did, and made $74). And I swore I would return something once my latest orders came in. I always say I’m not going to keep everything from a big order (sometimes I’m just trying to get the free shipping), but then I love everything and keep it anyway. This time, luckily, two things I ordered came with weird stains on them, and another pair of shoes that were shipped separately mysteriously never got delivered and J. Crew reimbursed me. I don’t believe in karma or fate or any of that crap, but this was…well…convenient. So in the end, I was only $69 over my budget, which is manageable. Good thing, too, because I was thisclose to swearing off shopping for August. 😉

So what led me to spend all of the monies in July? SALES. It’s the end of the summer for retailers and I lost all willpower when faced with those steep discounts. That polka dot drop waist dress was 40% off and had my name written all over it. I picked up a new pair of jean shorts (not pictured) at the same time, and that’s actually something I’d been wanting to find this summer. J. Crew’s summer clearance (which is still going on) was a winner too – I already loved my striped linen shirt in blue, so I got it in pink, plus I got that cute pink gingham top and a striped summer scarf (not pictured). Ann Taylor’s extra X% off sale got me good (no shock there), and so did Madewell’s, which is when I snagged those sunglasses and that thick brown belt (another thing that’s been on my wishlist for a while). And don’t even get me started on the Nordstrom sale. You should all pat me on the back for only taking home one Ted Baker watch and one pair of Kendra Scott earrings.

The end-of-season sales are still going on, and soon we’ll all be tempted with pretty new fall things. Have fun, but…I say this from experience…be careful out there!

Be sure to check out Franish on Monday to see how all the other Budgeting Bloggers did this month. I’m sure it will be very embarrassing for me.





06. 30. 2016


Budgeting Bloggers: June

Row 1: Hat // Skirt // Bag // Dress

Row 2: Skirt // Bag // Dress // Shoes

Row 3: Flats // Shirt // Sandals // Jacket

Row 4: Tee // Wedges // Dress // Bag

June’s Budget: $797

($150 starting budget + $171 unspent last month + $396 blogging income + $80 selling old clothes)

June’s Spending: $786

Remember how in last month’s budget post I said I went for quality over quantity? Well I sorta forgot about a few things I bought at Target. Whoops (insert blushing face emoji here)! But don’t worry, I’m not cheating — I included that $52 spend in this month’s budget (I got the brown/gold flats and the striped tee you see above).

This month, well, let’s be honest. I bought a lot of stuff. Only time will tell which pieces are with me for years and which I wear 3 times and then sell to a consignment shop, but I have a couple predictions: the lilac bag, while gorgeous, doesn’t have the pocket arrangement I like, so it probably won’t get a ton of use. But the medium wash jean jacket I have already worn multiple times, so I have high hopes for that one.

Honestly, I’m not all that concerned with whether each and every thing I bought this month is timeless. Everything serves a purpose (at least temporarily), even if that purpose is just to have a little fun with my clothes this summer. Plus, I got some amazing deals, so it’s all good! I got 5 items (including the jean jacket) for just over $100 during one of Loft’s epic extra million % off sales. I used my DSW $10 reward on those striped wedges. I got several things from J. Crew (like the orange dress, Panama hat, and striped shirt), all on various amounts of sale. I also earned a $20 Nordstrom Note and used it to save even more on a couple things during their recent big sale. There are actually a few things missing from the collage, so I got even more for my money than you see here!

I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back and call this month a shopping job well done. See how the rest of the Budgeting Bloggers did by checking out the linkup on Franish!