Shopping Diaries: December 2018

After overspending on my wardrobe last year, I decided to track my spending. At the beginning of each month, I will review and reflect on the things I bought in the previous month. I hope the insights I gain from doing this will help me accomplish three goals: 1) avoid overspending, 2) shop smarter (quality not quantity), and 3) have a functional closet full of pieces I love to wear.

Snapshot of last month’s receipt

+ $345.60 Isabel Marant “dicker” boots on sale for $384 minus 10% cashback from SSENSE via Jewel (referral link here).

+ $292.5 Sophie Buhai gold small everyday hoops for $325 minus 10% cashback from SSENSE via Jewel.

+ $113.85 Ugg “mika” boots ($130.65 including tax minus 14% cashback or $16.8 from Macy’s through Ebates on the retail price of $120…referral link here)

+ $95 Outdoor Voices “kit” aka a deal to get a sports bra and a pair of leggings for $95

+ $59.99 J.Crew fleece pullover

= $906.94

The details (what I bought and kept)

Isabel Marant “dicker” boots

These boots have been on my “to-buy” wishlist since I first spotted noticed celebs wearing them to Coachella circa 2011. Back then I was still in college and had no idea how I was going to get my hands on a pair. Not only because of how much they cost compared to my broke college student budget but because online shopping was not at all what it is now. Anyway, after almost a decade of admiring from afar, I finally spotted them on sale at SSENSE (you don’t have to pay for tax and duties and there’s free shipping on orders $200 or more) and they also offer 10% cashback via Jewel so I figured, this is my moment to jump on it. After (frustratingly) trying on a few sizes, I finally found FR 38 to be the best fit for my usually US 7.5 feet and occasionally US 8 when it comes to boots. I’ve worn these three times so far. The first time was to a holiday party where I was doing minimal walking and found them to be really comfy with no break in period.

The second time, I mistakenly wore them for about 30 minutes of walking and my feet were not having it by the end of the day. Because I have wide feet, the boots were pinching my pinky toes. By the third time, there was no more pinching (below). But I started to feel that there is no support in the ball of foot area. No padding whatsoever so when I’m stomping around the city, I feel it all.

I’m hoping the suede stretches a bit in the toe area with wear and I just bought these ball of foot cushions from Amazon, so fingers crossed they work.

Yuki from Newinspired wrote a thorough review of these boots here on her blog. Warning: I was definitely influenced by her blog post. I do know that I’ll be wearing these on night outs/parties. As for wearing them to work, I’ll definitely wear them for days when I am not walking miles and miles. No regrets so far since most shoes tend to have a break in period for me.

Sophie Buhai gold small everyday hoops

I like how these hoops can dress up something as casual as a fleece pullover

I’ve been eyeing these for a while and the holiday season definitely pushed me to purchase. I’ve been wanting a thicker pair of hoops and these definitely fit the bill for me. I like that they don’t go all the way around so there’s no worry that I’ll accidentally tug my piercing with it which happens a lot with my Catbird hoops. They also feel really secure. These are my go-to for dressing up a simple outfit. P.S. I ordered these on SSENSE so I wouldn’t have to pay tax like I would if I bought it on Net-A-Porter or other online retailers and JEWEL gives 10% cashback. Cha-Ching!

Ugg “mika” boots

(I went with a size 8 which is the size I usually wear for boots, I’m usually a US 7.5 for flats)

I wore these a lot last month and have been wearing these nonstop this month, and I don’t plan on stopping. These are wam, support my feet because of the rubber/sneaker sole, and didn’t cost 680 bucks like the Isabel Marant “Nowles” boots I originally wanted. Usually, I don’t recommend settling but these boots totally eliminated all desire for the Isabel Marant ones. Now that’s what I call a steal.

Outdoor Voices kit (athena crop top (size: xs) and the high rise ⅞ warmup leggings (size: s), both in hunter green) get $20 off your first order with my referral code here.

Last month, my supervisor at work planned a self-care day involving a group yoga class. I forgot that I got rid of my old yoga leggings, and found myself an excuse to buy the Outdoor Voices ones I’ve been curious about for a while. I got both the top and the bottom because I’m a sucker for a deal whether real or imagined. I originally got the regular ⅞ warmup leggings but found that the small fit like an extra small, and the waist was too low for me. I reached out to Outdoor Voices and they made exchanging super easy. Once the high rise ⅞ leggings came, I tried them on and they fit perfectly. There was no uncomfortable tightness and the waist even covered most of my belly button which means it won’t ride down during yoga poses and workouts in general. If you’re looking for a new workout outfit, you might want to give the kit a try. There are a number of different options to mix and match with, so you won’t get stuck with a combo you don’t like but feel like you have to buy for the deal. Anyone else hate when that happens?

J.Crew fleece pullover (sold out) but longer version sold here.

This is one of those very rare moments when buying something final sale doesn’t bite me in the a$$. I wasn’t sure if the xs would fit because there was no picture of it on a model or size reference on the J.Crew site so I ordered it on my American Express just in case I needed the return protection (learned from Luxe Strategist). Turns out, it was everything I’ve been wanting in a fleece. It’s cozy, warm, and perfectly boxy and cropped. I find that fleece pullovers for women tend to be fitted or hip length, and that just isn’t flattering for me personally so I was really surprised to find this version on J.Crew and on super sale. It’s no longer available but they do have the longer version available, on sale and in limited sizes. Please bring this back next year, J.Crew!

The numbers

$906.94 = December total

$5,790.58 = Year to date total

6 = Number of items added to my closet in December

51 = Number of items added to my closet so far this year

Final thoughts

This is my final shopping diaries post y’all. Not just for 2018 but probably forever.

I might do seasonal shopping reflections in the future but definitely no more month by month breakdowns. These just don’t bring me much excitement and joy like it did in the beginning when I was trying to hold myself accountable to shopping and spending less. And, I’m not going to lie, I’m so glad to be writing this last post. There’s a sense of accomplishment and also major relief that I’m finally done.

But before I wrap this up for real, I need to take a look at how I fared when it came to my three goals to 1) avoid overspending, 2) shop smarter (quality not quantity), and 3) have a functional closet full of pieces I love to wear.

Goal #1: avoid overspending

I realized that this was a very vague goal. In the back of my mind, I knew I didn’t want to spend more than the amount I did in 2017 which was about $5,500. But I never committed to it honestly. If I consider the fact that I spent over $5,500 when I was unemployed in 2017 to spending around $5,700 in 2018 when I was finally employed in the middle of the year, then I would conclude that making money didn’t make me spend significantly more. So in this sense, I would say that I achieved my goal to avoid overspending.

Goal #2: shop smarter (quality not quantity)

In 2017, I bought over 60 items and in 2018, I bought exactly 51 items. With numbers alone, I would say I achieved my goal of buying less. I spent 2018 taking a lot of time considering each and every item I wanted to buy. Sometimes exhausting the idea so much through research and weighing pros and cons that I throw out buying the item all together.  Taking the time to establish standards for the things I buy and holding myself to them have been incredibly crucial.

Whenever possible, I try to support brands that believe in ethical and sustainable business practices. My favorites from last year have been Everlane for basics, Reformation for trendy pieces, Rothy’s for sustainable footwear. And when I find myself wanting to buy from a brand that isn’t transparent about their business practices, I take even longer than usual to consider the value of what I want and whether or not it’s worth it. And considering my recent discovery of cash-back via Jewel and Ebates, I would say yes, I have definitely achieved my goal to shop smarter.

Goal #3: have a functional closet full of pieces I love to wear

I would guesstimate that 90% of the things I bought this year are things that I love to wear. The 10% probably accounts for basic items that don’t excite me but are incredibly practical and functional. I will say that 100% of the things I bought this year are functional, in the sense that they’re not just one time wear or cheap thrills. They are all items that I hope to have in my closet for a while. I do hope to add more work clothes and standout pieces for special occasions and nights out. In that sense, my closet is still a work in progress. Even so, my closet as it stands right now can get me through five days of work without wearing the exact same outfit. Which I think is a major accomplishment, considering the fact that I started from scratch when it came to my work wardrobe. I guess I can give myself a small pat on the back for building a functional closet full of pieces I love to wear.

Now that I’ve reviewed my goals and how I fared, let’s end this with my goals for spending in 2019:

  1. Continue to keep track of what I buy via the notes app on my phone
  2. Continue to take time considering what I want and why
  3. Always look for cash-back deals before buying something
  4. Implement the bring one new thing in, take one thing out method whenever possible

Thank you for following along with my shopping and spending this year, well, last year. I hope it was helpful in some way. Now, tell me…

What are your shopping and spending goals for 2019?

See you in my next post!

Sophie 🙂


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This is not an ad. All opinions are my own.