Sarah's Real Life
10. 28. 2015


October Budget Breakdown

Rain doesn’t usually bother me that much, but we’re having the gloomiest gloom that ever gloomed, and it’s really messing with me. I think I got spoiled with the perfect fall weather over the weekend. Plus, I still have some new stuff I bought this month (like those pink sunglasses and olive suede wedges) that I haven’t worn yet and the rain is ruining my very fashionable plans! Since I’m feeling like a Grumpy Gretel at the moment, I’m going to keep the chit chat short and just let you peruse the goodies I added to my wardrobe this month.

My Budget

       = $720

What I Spent

       = $753 (total retail value $1185)

I went over budget just $33, which I pinky swear I will make up next month. Unless, you know, I have too much wine and Kate Spade has a flash sale. (Actually, KS is having a major (up to 75% off) sale right now! Hide the Sauvignon Blanc…)

Finally, as always, I want to disclose the things you’ve seen me wear that I didn’t have to pay for. Sweet deal, I know. And all it takes is hundreds of hours of hard work and creativity.

What I Received

Linking up with Franish and the Budgeting Bloggers group.

09. 28. 2015


September Budget Breakdown

Who has two thumbs and is ready for fall? This girl. (I’m pointing at myself with my thumbs now. You get it.) Thanks to a better-than-average blog income, Labor Day sales, leftover birthday gift cards, and lots of strategy, I came away with a pretty amazing haul this month, and it wasn’t just crappy summer leftovers.

Almost as impressive is the fact that I could have spent more, and I didn’t. As you’re about to find out, I got a ton of stuff from Loft in September. The first order was during a flash sale, and I earned 3 $25 cash cards to use later in the month. Fast forward a week, and I went into a Loft store to try on some new arrivals, and I used a $20 rewards card and a $40 gift card to get a couple tops. I ended up spending forever in the store because there was some weird glitch with my gift card, so they sent me home with 4 more $25 cash cards to apologize! I made notes of what I wanted to get once it was time to redeem my cash cards (actual notes in my iPhone – I don’t mess around when it comes to shopping). When the time came, I was able to grab a few more things I really loved that added up to about $200, but took them home for half thanks to 4 of those coupons. I actually went back to Loft over the weekend to use my remaining 3 coupons, but I didn’t find anything that I HAD to have. I went to a couple other stores while I was at the mall this weekend (again, sales/coupons drew me in), but I came out empty-handed.

So that’s your lesson for this month: just because there’s a sale or you have a coupon doesn’t mean you have to use it. If you get a discount on something you wouldn’t have wanted to buy already, then you’re not saving money. Speaking of money, let’s look at what pretty stuff my money bought this month…

My Budget

       = $821 to go toward filling my dressing room (the must-see post from last week)

What I Spent (items pictured above, starting top left)

       = $718 ($103 under budget, and got $1400+ worth of fall-ready fashion!)

What I Received

Want to be inspired by other budgeting bloggers? Check out Franish.

08. 28. 2015

This is normally the time of the month where I share how far I managed to stretch my clothing budget for the month. I tell you how I added up what I could spend, show you all the stuff I got, and reveal exactly how much I spent on it. Well, here’s the thing: this month is special. #1 I had more blog income than normal (go me!). #2 I got birthday presents of clothes, gift cards, and cash with which to go shopping. #3 I’m going on vacation so soon and I still have to finish packing so I don’t have time to do my usual breakdown. #4 Since it was my birthday month I just bought whatever I wanted.

So instead of all my usual detailed accounting, I’m just going to share my favorite things I added to my closet one way or another this month. For the record, I was still under budget :)


August Favorites


Yellow Dress (on sale, multiple colors) // Burgundy Jacket (multiple colors) // Gray Watch (on sale) // Yellow Sunglasses // Polka Dot Pumps (on sale, multiple colors) // Teal Bag // Tassel Earrings (other colors) // Pink & Yellow Skirt (on sale) // Fringe Sandals

 I’m linking up with the Budgeting Bloggers at Franish as usual! Hopefully they don’t kick me out for half-assing it this month. I think they’ll forgive me.

07. 29. 2015


July Budget Breakdown


July 2015 will go down in history as the month I bought 3 pink midi skirts. Who buys 3 pink midi skirts in one month? Cher from Clueless maybe, or Becky Bloomwood from the Confessions of a Shopaholic series. But real people? Just me probably. What can I say? July is a great month for sales. The stores are getting ready for fall already, but the weather is just starting to heat up so I’ll actually have plenty of time to enjoy all these spring/summer pieces. See, it was all part of my plan.

My Budget

       = $868

What I Bought (pictured above starting top left)

       = $403 (total retail value $1243…yes, I’m amazing)

That leaves $465 left over, although “left over” is a little misleading. In reality, I’ve spent a few hundred bucks on my wonderful, magical dressing room in my new house. It’s almost done – I just need a rug and curtains but I’m having trouble finding what I want. I optimistically thought I would have already done a whole post revealing said wonderful, magical dressing room and laying out my decorating/remodeling budget buuuuut you know how it goes. I really will finish it soon (next month! it’s in writing now!) and show you all pics on the blog, but it might not be a budget post. I haven’t done a great job of keeping track of what I’ve spent because it’s been spread over a couple months and I didn’t keep track of all my receipts during the moving process. Maybe I’ll just start with a clean slate budget-wise for August and call it a day.

What I Received

Linking up with Fran and the other Budgeting Bloggers!

06. 29. 2015


June Budget Breakdown

Whoa, is it that time again already?! Where did the month go? Oh, right, for me it went to buying a damn house and moving 6 years’ worth of stuff out of my apartment. You’d think with all that going on, I wouldn’t have a spare moment to shop. Yes, you would think that, wouldn’t you? But sometimes after a day full of #allofthestress, I’d treat myself to a big glass of wine and a mini shopping spree. It really did the trick. Sure, it’s more stuff to move, but with 100+ pairs of shoes already, what’s another 6? Wait, I acquired SIX pairs of shoes this month? Damn. See below for details on the damage:

My Budget

       = $1053 (a number you will probably never see here again)

What I Spent (starting top left)

       = $539 (total retail value $1088!)

This left me with more than $500 to put toward my dream closet, so all the pretty stuff I buy will have a pretty place to sleep at night. :) You can see a tiny peek at how it’s coming together on Instagram.

What I Received

See my other Budgeting Blogger babes today at Fran’s linkup!

05. 27. 2015


May Budget Breakdown

Not a ton of spending this month, by Sarah standards anyway. It’s partly because I’ve been too busy to shop. I had a decent amount of blog income this month, but I didn’t spend all of it. I plan on saving the excess for a special purpose next month – stay tuned!

My Budget

       = $481

What I Spent

       = $281 (total retail value $426)

What I Received

Find the other Budgeting Bloggers today at Franish!

04. 29. 2015

April Budget Breakdown

Welcome to “Budgeting Bloggers: April,” otherwise known as “the Month Sarah Bought All of the Shoes.” You should see the floor of my closet – it’s a little crowded. It’s a good thing we’re looking for a house. Speaking of which, I don’t plan on carrying my unspent April budget over to May – gotta save up! (Plus, that money was kind of already spent on my donation to Heifer International. Oh yeah, funny story.)

My Budget

     = $677

What I Spent (pictured above, starting top left)

     = $582 (total retail value: $1,316)

Look at those bargain shopping skills!

What I Received

Be sure to head over the Franish sometime to check out the other Budgeting Bloggers!

03. 27. 2015


March Budget Breakdown


A good portion of my budget this month went to keeping Ann, Inc. in business, as I got a whopping 10 items from Ann Taylor and Loft. The last time I went a month without shopping at either of those stores was November. Between Ann Taylor/Loft, J. Crew, and Target, my closet is set. Sometimes I wonder if I should make an effort to switch it up more often, but when certain stores just “get” your style, you know your size, and the price is right…it’s just so much easier. I took advantage of some stackable sales at Ann Taylor, and I used my store credit card (strategically) and earned a $20 reward certificate. I used that reward to cut down an already-on-sale purchase from Loft even further. Oh and I ended up getting the belted v-neck top (top row, middle) for free because they shipped me the wrong shirt the first time. Win!

This month I tried to keep focusing on building my work wardrobe (another reason I spent a good chunk of time and $ at Ann Taylor), and I think I did a bang-up job. Look at all those fancy pants and blazers! But nothing’s bland or boring. More winning!

As for the budget, if you have a freakishly good memory, you know I’ve been WAY under budget the last 2 months. Normally I carry over unspent money to the next month and then add that to my normal “starting” budget of $150 per month. I had $295 left over at the end of February, so I decided to be frugal (well, my version of frugal anyway) and put March’s $150 in savings. I also did a major closet clean-out and after a very long wait at the consignment store, I walked out with $220! Add in a little blog income, and I didn’t miss that $150 at all. In fact, I was still $71 under budget! Hashtag all of the winning!

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

My Budget

     = $701

What I Spent (most pictured above, starting top left)

     = $630 (total retail value $1145)

What I Received

Stop by Franish to see the rest of the Budgeting Bloggers!

02. 25. 2015
February Budget Breakdown

Look at all this good stuff I got this month! Even if you’ve been reading my blog every day of February (and of course you have, because you’re smart), you probably won’t recognize half of this. That’s because it’s been so effing cold this month that I either haven’t been able to wear my new stuff or just haven’t been able to take outfit photos. But stay tuned and you’ll see it all in action soon!

February will go down in history as the month of returns and price adjustments. Let me share a couple stories for those of you who want some real-life tips on getting the best deals:

The whole top row above is stuff I bought from Loft. I started off ordering 4 items during a flash sale. I knew I wanted the polka dot shirt, but I ordered a few extra things to try because you got free shipping with a certain minimum order. I loved the shirt and the red skirt, but I didn’t love the other 2 pieces. After I made my first order, I received a coupon for $25 off a $75 in-store purchase. I decided to return the 2 duds to a store and then look around for something to use my coupon on. I found the other 3 pieces you see in the top row up there, and there was an in-store promotion going on that I thought would give me an extra awesome bargain. But when I got up to the register, it turned out everything was full price. I was in a hurry to get somewhere and I couldn’t decide what to do, so I just went ahead and paid for it even though it made me feel guilty immediately. I really liked what I got, so I decided to just let it chill out in the bag for a while, and I waited for the next online flash sale. Then just last week, I was able to snag the pieces I wanted for a lot cheaper. Once I had ordered them, I returned the duplicates to the store. Boom!

The same day I made that last return, I stopped by Macy’s and found a really cute pleated floral midi skirt. I knew there was supposed to be a big sale coming up, and I asked the sales associate if this skirt was going to be part of the sale. She said no, so I went ahead and bought it. ALL LIES. The next day I was back at Macy’s to help Kristin do some shopping, and I noticed that the skirt was 20% off! Since I had used my Macy’s card, they were able to look up my purchase and refund me the price difference. Moral of the story: some sales people have no idea what the hell they’re talking about, but others are very helpful. It never hurts to ask.

OK, story time is over. Here’s everything else you might want to know about this month’s shopping haul:

My Budget

          = $818

What I Spent (pictured above, starting top left)

          =$523 (total retail: $861)

Almost $300 under my budget! I think I’m going to be good next month and not carry over all of my unspent money. #willpower

What I Received

I’ll be linking up with the Budgeting Bloggers on Franish, so be sure to check them out! And maybe join us next month :)

01. 28. 2015
January Budget Breakdown

I’m sitting here working on this post and watching Parks & Recreation, which is LIT-RALLY the greatest show in the universe. If you don’t watch it, you should start immediately and don’t stop until you’ve caught up on the first 6 seasons. Done? OK, great. So now you understand the concept behind “Treat Yo Self.” That’s what Tom and Donna are doing in tonight’s episode, and it’s what I did for myself this whole month. I opted not to bedazzle my elbows because it’s just not practical in the winter. Instead I stocked up on sweaters, coats, and jewelry.

As you probably remember, I use my blogging income to supplement my shopping budget, and January was a good month so I had plenty to work with. I would have spent the rest of my budget, but I had to hold back thanks to good ol’ vehicle troubles. It’s a little too cold to walk 15 miles to work, and I have exactly zero pairs of shoes appropriate for such distances. So. New tire thingamajig for me. #TreatYoself

My Budget

        = $832

What I Spent

        = $644 (total retail value: $1,115!)

Look at that, $188 under budget. That almost makes up for my bill at the mechanic. There were only a couple things I bought at full price. I definitely took advantage of all the post-holiday sales.

What I Received

See how the rest of the budgeting bloggers treated themselves this month – linking up with Franish!