Spending Diet

Today I’m going to talk about something that I haven’t before on this blog, and that topic is money.

Since the beginning of the year especially, and after reading The No Spend Year, I’ve been attempting to become more conscious with where my money is going and what I’m putting into savings every month. In the last week, I’ve accepted an offer for a masters degree, which although is a really exciting opportunity, comes with a whole host of new financial worries. With my fees for one year of study coming to just over £6k, and the government loan for postgraduates stuck at £10k, there will have to be some serious lifestyle changes that come with my next round of studies. That’s not even including this summer, where I will be getting no support from student finance, and even with working extra hours will have nothing left over once the essentials have been paid.

I will be keeping my current part time job in order to help pay the bills, and luckily with the loan and my income combined, all the basics will be covered during term time, leaving about £60 a month spare. Although this is much more than I ever had ‘spare’ for the majority of my life (and even the majority of my degree), since having a little extra income my spending choices have adapted to meet my disposable income.

So, in light of this, I’ve decided to put myself on a spending diet, from now until graduation. Instead of doing the tempting thing, which would be to ‘make the most’ of my spare money while I still have it, I will bring down my spending to what it will have to be over the next year. Everything that I have coming in that is ‘extra’ will go straight into my savings account, meaning that if I do desperately need more than what I have coming in next year, I can feel more comfortable dipping into what I’ve put aside.

I’m also hoping that choosing to reduce my spending now, as opposed to being forced to come September, will make the transition easier and that I won’t feel tempted to over spend or use up my savings.

I’m hoping to keep a mini weekly diary of my spending in order to keep track of it, as well as little ways that I’ve managed to save money on day to day costs.

My Capsule Wardrobe Inspiration

As part of my quest for less, I’ve started with culling my wardrobe with brute force. Three bin bags later and a lot of folding, I’m down to significantly less that 100 items of clothing, most of which are pieces I completely love. I’ve began to notice where I go wrong with shopping – impulse buys, trendy, and ‘not quite perfect but near enough’ pieces being the most discarded ones – so I’ve managed to narrow down exactly what works for me, and more importantly, the difference between what I find aesthetically pleasing and what I will actually wear day to day.

 

Things I’ve Learned:

  1. Most of my favourite items are navy, light blue, black, and grey, which for the longest time I’ve fought against and constantly attempted to add colour to no avail. I think I need to accept that I feel my best in neutrals, and that I feel more confident in mixing pattern and layering with items like these than I ever do in bright colours and prints.
  2. I have a uniform of flats, skinny jeans, and a loose button up shirt, and whenever I deviate from it is when I feel the most self-conscious. Being plus sized means that the oversized shirts hide my least favourite body parts (my breasts and my stomach), whereas the skinny jeans highlight my favourite (legs). I also love the effortless look, which can easily be altered by a blazer or jumper over the shirt, and can easily be dressed up or down.
  3. I love more masculine clothes when it comes to my casual outfits – aside from skinny jeans, most of my wardrobe is tailored items, smart flat shoes, and fitted jackets and plain jumpers.

 

Current Capsule Wishlist:

  1. Some LK Bennett ballet flats in black – my only black flats at the moment are some lovely but rather clumpy tassel loafers
  2. A navy silk shirt – I have my eye on a particular one from work with a delicate floral pattern
  3. A black/ herringbone unstructured blazer – I have a thrifted navy blazer that I live in during spring, but I think something more casual would go with even more in my wardrobe
  4. A white linen t-shirt – despite owning a lot of plain basics, I’m distinctly lacking in a good white t-shirt, and I think linen will be a great fabric to layer with in spring and keep me cool in summer

 

Style Inspiration:

  1. Clemence Poesy – fabulous boyish French chic. I can’t get enough of her outfits and natural make-up look.
  2. This blog – the blogger lives between Paris and Amsterdam, and shares my love for oversized shirts. I’ve read her blog from beginning to end several times.
  3. My own Pinterest board – I’ve finally started collecting all of my wardrobe basics inspiration in one place, and hey, I’m not afraid to say I’m occasionally inspired by myself.

 

If you have a capsule wardrobe, what are your inspirations and motivations? If not, would you ever try one?

Why We’re Not Buying Valentine’s Day Gifts This Year

As January is finally drawing to a close, almost every shop on the high street right now is filled with red and pink Valentine’s displays. With giant A3 cards, pointless teddy bears, flowers that won’t last the week, and ‘sexy’ lingerie being advertised to ‘give him a night to remember’ (don’t even get me started on how awful these campaigns are) staring out of shop windows, I suggested that this year, the boyfriend and I take a break from buying each other cards and presents.

Luckily this year, the boyfriend has been able to get the 14th off from work, and it falls on a day where I don’t need to be at university, so the fact that we’d already be spending the day together got me thinking about what I really want to spend my money on. We’ve planned a day out in Leeds to go to their Valentine’s Fair, with lunch at our favourite sushi place, then home to a bottle of wine and a film. In my head I had already started adding: with the cost of rides, a nice lunch, and petrol money, that’s already double what I would normally spend on a gift and card!

Not only that, neither myself nor the boyfriend has anything we particularly want at the moment – so not only is there the upfront cost on top of our day out, but also we’d just be bringing more clutter into the house for the sake of giving. After some thought (and I small initial protest of ‘but I like getting presents!’) we decided that the day would be much more enjoyable if we spent the money from presents and a card on food, activities, and a rare day off together.

Have you done anything to cut costs with your partner this Valentine’s Day? Let me know in the comments!