Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: No Shopping Summer

Today, I wanted to share a little journey I went on this summer and my thoughts on the whole process. Starting about back in April, I stopped shopping (except for a few things) and not necessarily by choice (which I’ll get into another time). It was definitely necessary, but it’s been an interesting journey for me.

First things first, I definitely shopped a little in May to refresh my work wardrobe and get some things for my vacation to Greece in June. I also treated myself to a two items in July and August for special occasions. It wasn’t exactly a no shopping summer, but it was definitely a summer with very little shopping.

I have to be honest, because it was not necessarily a choice, I think it was a little bit easier to do this successfully. The desire wasn’t really there because I knew I had other priorities. However, my love for shopping didn’t disappear. It just went to the bottom of my priority list. I spent a lot of time scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, etc and just not feeling like I wanted to shop which was definitely a key factor to going 3+ months without shopping in bulk like I normally do.

Now that it’s half way through August and getting into fall, the itch to shop is definitely back in full force. I also started a new job recently so all I want to do is treat myself because I think I deserve it. So far, I haven’t bought anything new yet, but it’s probably coming soon! It’s very interesting to me that I spent the whole summer not really caring about getting new things, but now that I feel like I can or I deserve it or I need it cause it’s going to be ~fall~, it’s getting more difficult.

Some things I learned from this experience is that:

  • I can still work with what I have and look good (biased?)
  • Other things are way more important, but it feels good to get the things that you want sometimes
  • My creativity does not depend on buying new things every week (but buying things once in a while helps keep those juices flowing)
  • I can actually go 3+ months without buying things which is a huge first for me
  • The money I saved from shopping, could be put to use on more experiences which last way longer than trendy clothes

This experience was a little bit of a wake up call from a financial aspect, but it also shed some light on just how creative I can get when I need to. I’m hoping that moving forward I can remember this experience and find a healthy balance between the two! Cutting it out completely was tough and not sustainable for me, but it was definitely good to give myself that break.

I want to know in the comments: have you ever challenged yourself to give up something you love for more than a month?

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: No Shopping Update

So my friends, it’s over now. My one month challenge of no shopping. Let me tell you, it was not as hard as I thought it would be! I’m pretty proud of myself because I really thought I was going to struggle through this month but I feel like I came out knowing what I can do to keep myself from over spending on clothing.

One of the things that really helped me feel like I didn’t want or need to shop over this past month was keeping myself busy with other activities. Over this past month, I went skiing, went to a brewery, took a cooking class and celebrated St. Patrick’s day. I spent my weekends being out and about and I’d only ever really look at my phone in the morning when I woke up or right before bed. I think being so busy over the last month was something that really made a huge difference in not feeling like I wanted to shop. I honestly didn’t have time to sit down and try to shop!

I also focused on my main goal for this month. I wanted to save money to spend on a vacation with my boyfriend and for my upcoming trips because having experiences is much more important to me than how I look. Being knowledgeable about the world and the different things it has to offer is what makes me feel my best so focusing on my goal of saving for my travel plans was a really big help because I knew I was working toward something that was going to leave me feeling richer than new clothes ever could.

One last thing that helped me was knowing that I would treat myself to something after the month was over. Before I started I decided that I really need some new work out clothes and sneakers because my health and exercising is really important to me and it’s one of my favorites parts of my routine. Keeping in mind that I could reward myself with some new sneakers and a few pairs of new gym leggings was something that really helped to keep me focused on not spending on other things.

However, I will say that the weather getting warmer this past month was something that did not help me! The thought of transitioning my closet into all the pretty spring colors and thinking about what I’d want to wear on vacation really made me want to shop for spring clothes. The change of seasons was probably the one thing that really made a struggle because I was getting so tired of winter when I started this journey. But keeping my goals in mind was definitely more helpful!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: No Shopping for a Month

Today, I thought I would share a small goal I set for my self over the next few months. Currently, it’s the end of February and I’ve got lots of things planned for 2019 and they are slowly but surely coming to fruition. However, these things I have planned require quite a few coins if you know what I mean. So last week, I set a goal of no shopping for one month and I’m going to tell you all about my experience here, on my fashion blog.

Just to catch everyone up to speed, my plans for this year include mainly travel but I also would like to move into my own apartment next year and I’m considering getting a new car. As of right now, I have 2 trips planned for 2019 with 2 more in the works and those are pretty much my top priorities if we’re being honest because I’d rather travel than have a place to live apparently. Now, I really need to save some extra money for these trips so since clothing is my largest expense, I decided to cut that out for a month (and another month and another one too). Starting on February 13, 2019, I decided that I’m not buying any new clothes, shoes, or accessories until March 13, 2019. Pretty simple, right? Well, we’ll see. Self control is something I struggle with tremendously.

On February 13, I actually bought a heck ton of stuff and had the realization that I can’t do that if I want to actually enjoy my life and have experiences and keep moving my life forward. Currently, there is nothing that I feel I need or am lacking in my closet and I’m not quite ready for spring yet, so I thought this was the perfect time to take a break. I do plan to keep the other aspects of my life the same to ease some of the struggle and still have things to look forward to (such as nights out and dinners). I also plan to reward myself with something special once the month is over because positive reinforcement works every time!

My tactic for this is fairly simple because this is basically just going to be a test of will power and patience for me. I set daily reminders on my phone of why I’m doing this every 2 hours (which is maybe excessive but necessary). It’s to keep me in the mindset that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m not really trying to torture myself. I also plan to really challenge myself to find inspiration in my own closet by experimenting with pieces I already own and trying to make them feel new by styling them with different pieces. Then at the end of the month, I’ll give you my honest experience of how I did!

It’s going to be a very interesting month, but I’m looking forward to the challenge!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: September 2018

This is my final update about my 2 month challenge to get my sh*t together. To be completely honest, I failed miserably. I did not even come close to reaching my goals and in fact, I think I’m worse off now than I was 2 months ago. It’s sad and it doesn’t feel great, but now I know that that didn’t work for me.

I think the main issue is that I didn’t have a big enough goal to work on. I had a few landmarks I wanted to reach but the overall goal just wasn’t really there. Thinking back to my last two posts, I don’t even know why I decided to do the things I said I would do in the first place. I didn’t decide what I wanted or what was most important to me. I just said that I wanted to work on a few small things like beefing up my savings and balancing my credit card. They weren’t small steps to a larger goal. I want to be completely honest, but those aren’t strong enough goals. I think I finally realized that I need to put some work in and get my sh*t together and do something that will actually put me in a better position.

So to keep my Ballin’ on a Budget series going, I’ve picked a new goal. I’m giving myself 15 months to accomplish it, by January 2020. It’s a significantly bigger goal and it takes much more commitment, planning and patience to get there. By January 2020, I will be moving out of my current house and moving into an apartment of my own. I always knew it was important to have goals and be working toward something, but I didn’t really understand what that meant until I knew what I could be missing if I wasn’t constantly working toward something more important.

The first few steps of getting to save up enough money to feel comfortable moving into a new apartment on my own is going to be seeing where my finances are right now, putting together a monthly budget, and allowing myself enough flexibility to not feel restricted. In the last 2 months of my previous challenge, I felt so restricted trying to save and work on my credit that I ended up making it worse. I realize that I need to be realistic. It wouldn’t make any sense for me to make a budget that doesn’t leave room for some new clothes, wine and a night out with friends. Those are things that make me happy and keep me wanting to move forward. They are things I can look forward to so my next goal is going to allow for those things that make me feel good, but in moderation.

I’ll also need to figure out how much it would cost for me to live on my own and pay for rent, utilities, food, insurance, etc. I need an actual numerical goal to work toward otherwise, I’ll find a reason not to reach it. Once I figure that out for one month, I think it would be a good start to save for 6 months worth of rent and utilities. Depending on how long that takes me, then I can continue to save more or get started at actually finding housing that fits within my budget. I think this goal is realistic because I’m giving myself plenty of time to fulfill it.

I’m coming to a point where I realize that you can’t just float by if you want people to take you seriously. You have to have goals and be willing to work toward something, otherwise you’re just wasting everyone’s time. At this point, I would be silly to not figure this out and work on it. I would be missing out on so much more by not setting a goal and working on it.

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: August 2018

It’s been one month (approximately) since I started my Ballin’ on a Budget series and I wanted to share my very first update about my progress. If you remember back in July in my first Ballin’ on a Budget post, I discussed some of my thoughts about budgeting and the effects it can have on your life. I also mentioned a few savings and spending goals I wanted to reach. I gave myself until September 30, 2018 so I still have one month left to get where I want to be.

So far, I am not anywhere near where I wanted to be (yikes!) and that is because I went on vacation in August to Miami, FL. If any of you have ever been to Miami, you’ll know that it is not cheap to stay there for a week. I knew this trip was coming up, but I didn’t plan very well for it. This is not necessarily a good reason or excuse for deterring reaching my goals, but that is exactly what happened. Needless to say, this trip set me back quite a bit.

So now, to readjust my goals for the coming month, I know how to be a little bit more realistic about it. I know when I’m traveling next month, special occasions that are coming up, and I have an idea of all the other crazy things that might come up in between. I tend to be impulsive about my spending so I never REALLY know what’s going to come up, but I do know things that I was thinking of purchasing that might turn into impulse buys. What I need to really adjust for this coming month is my self-control, but I also understand that it takes time to change bad habits and I should be patient with myself. So here are my adjusted/realistic goals to reach for September 30, 2018:

  1. Pay off entire August credit card bill in full before due date.
  2. Keep credit card balance under 15% of my credit maximum as of September 30, 2018.
  3. Add $300 to my savings and emergency funds.
  4. Put an extra $10 weekly into my retirement fund.

These goals are much more attainable for me and I believe that I’ll be able to reach them. I think goal setting is always important for the future, but what’s more important is making sure to adjust and reset when you need to. If you aren’t reaching your goals, it’s easy to be frustrated. If you take the time to evaluate why you didn’t reach your goals and adjust your plan to fix that, then you have a much better chance of actually reaching them later on.

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Fashion

Save vs. Splurge: Fall Edition

Everyone has a different opinion on what you should save on and what you should splurge on. My mom’s idea of splurging is finding a designer bag on sale for under $100, while mine is… a little different. Whatever your opinion might be, I wanted to share some pieces that I think are wardrobe staples to splurge on and pieces that maybe you should try and find at Forever 21. I’d love to know, what are some items you think are worth splurging on and what would you rather save on?

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SLURGE

1. Coats/Jackets

For the fall and winter season, especially in New York, a good coat is an absolute MUST. It gets chilly pretty quickly here, so you need at least 2 coats (a light one and a heavy one) to cover all your bases. I think no matter where you live or what the temperature is, it’s important to have a coat that fits your needs and will last you a long time so I would definitely splurge on a good coat.

2. Denim

A great pair of jeans can do wonders for your wardrobe and give it some more longevity compared to more trendy items. Denim is forever, so I am definitely willing to spend a little bit more on a pair of jeans or a denim jacket. It’s more so an investment. But, if you’re pregnant or going through a time where your weight/body shape isn’t consistent, hold off on buying those $200 jeans until you feel you’ll get a good cost per wear ratio.

3. Boots

Boots are such a classic piece and they come in all sorts of styles and colors. If you find a style that works for your wardrobe and your budget, it’s totally okay to spend a few extra dollars on a pair that will last. Boots will never go out of style, so I personally like to invest a little bit more money into them, especially my ankle boots. But I’m not talking about all the trendy chunky boots, or glittery over the knee boots. Classic black ankle boots, tan/brown riding boots, or black over the knee boots, are always going to be in style so definitely worth splurging!

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SAVE

4. Basics

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think there are plenty of good quality affordable basics, so it’s not necessary to spend $40 on a white t-shirt. Target and Nordstrom’s bp. brand carry loads of high quality basic t-shirts and tanks, so it just makes more sense to spend less for the same quality. Plus, these are usually much easier to take care of! Who really wants to take 10 t-shirts to the dry cleaners??

5. Trendy Pieces

This one is probably a no brainer, but trends are so temporary that there’s just no point in spending a lot of money on something you can’t wear 6 months from now. With fast fashion stores like Zara, H&M, Forever 21 and online shopping sites like Fashion Nova, there’s really no need to to spend a lot on these pieces. These stores have made trendy fashion attainable, without breaking the bank.

6. Accessories

This might also be an unpopular opinion, but when I say accessories, I’m not talking about your high quality gold jewelry or Grandma’s vintage Chanel bag. I’m thinking more along the lines of statement earrings, “belt” bags, visors, or whatever else. Along the same lines as the trendy items, does it make sense to spend a lot on that metallic fanny pack that you won’t even want to wear in 3 weeks? I didn’t think so.

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It’s Up to You!

These are the items, that could really go either way depending on what works with your style, needs, or values. These are up for you to decide if you want to splurge or save on them!

7. Sweaters

You know I love a good sweater, but sometimes the cost to maintain the quality is not always worth it. I like to buy my sweaters moderately priced in fabrics or from brands that I know are easy to wash and wear. I love sweaters from Urban Outfitters, because they are moderately priced (approx. $39-69) but they wear really well and can be washed in your washing machine at home!

8. Leather/Faux Leather

This is totally dependent on your values and your style. I think leather-looking pieces are an absolute staple for my own wardrobe, but someone else can probably live without them. There’s also the financial and moral issue of buying real leather or fake leather. I personally, prefer to buy faux leather, but I like them to be high quality since I wear them often so I spend a little bit more. This one is all about what you prefer and if it will work for you!

9. Handbags

A good handbag can really go the distance and give you the best cost per wear. However, if you’re someone who likes to use a different bag every day, maybe it’s okay to spend less on handbags. Or maybe you like spending more on your handbags BECAUSE you don’t use them every day. This is definitely a personal choice! I personally, like to invest in a handbag that I will get the use out of. Whether it’s a structured bag for work, a leather tote or a small crossbody, if I know I’ll use it, then I’ll buy the designer bag for a little (or a lot) more.

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: July 2018

Now I’m no financial guru or anything, but I have come to realize just how important keeping track of your finances can be. In my first year post grad, I’ve taken on responsibility for most of my financial obligations (excluding groceries and housing, thank goodness for loving parents). However, in this last year, I’ve also seen myself creating poor financial habits. Trust me when I tell you, it’s beneficial to build up good credit, but the credit card companies are NOT your friend! I’m not an expert and I will definitely not try and give you advice on a topic that I’m not fully educated on, but I do want to share my story and my goals as I journey to change my bad financial habits into healthy habits.

I know first-hand how poor financial habits can put a strain on your personal/social relationships, your self-esteem, and ultimately your future. It’s probably hard to save up for a new car or house when you have $5,000 in credit card debt with 15% APR looming over your head, right? Obviously, writing a fashion blog requires you to be on trend and up to date as far as fashion goes (duh), but it also takes good financial habits and a lot of self-control so that it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life.

This new Ballin’ on a Budget series is a way for me to be accountable to myself and anyone who reads my blog. It’s a way to track my progress, share my goals and hopefully give you some inspiration to get yourself on track with whatever goals you have. What’s that old saying? Old habits die hard? I don’t think that’s right, but it’s going to be right because that’s what I’m using in this post. This process will take me a lot of time and patience because these things can’t change overnight even if I wanted them to (because I get paid bi-weekly lol). However, I think that by working on them consistently and reminding myself of my end goal every day I can make a lot more progress than if I didn’t.

So, I’m going to share my first set of goals and tactics with you so I can have some progress information to share with you next month!

Goals:

  1. Pay off credit card balance in full by September 13, 2018 (July & August Statements)
  2. Reduce credit card balance to less than $300 by September 30, 2018.
  3. Have $500 in savings account by September 30, 2018
  4. Have $500 in emergency account by September 30, 2018

Plan:

  1. Use credit card only for gas and vitamin subscription (because it’s an automatic subscription and as long as I pay it, it’s beneficial to my credit!!)
  2. Transition to paying with cash only if possible (only use debit card if cash is not a payment option)
  3. All bills (Student Loans, Credit Card & Phone Bill) must be accounted for before paying for anything else (money should be in the proper bank account or payment must be submitted prior to paying for food/clothes/recreation/etc.)
  4. Moving money to Expense account, Savings Account & Emergency Accounts is the priority and will be done on pay-day.

I want to get past my mindset of overspending just because I have a credit card. I hope that this can be helpful to someone out there and I am looking forward to checking back in on my progress next month. I have a lot at stake, but I truly believe that I can make this happen!

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