Monday, November 30, 2015

November Shopping Reflections

Oh boy, this was an extremely shopping-heavy month, particularly as a matter of total dollars spent. I did get two coats out of it, both of which meet actual wardrobe "needs," which makes the spending not entirely crazy. The only problem is that I'm didn't really find the "perfect" trench or down coat. The items in question have some definite issues, but most of my uncertainty likely comes from my having become an excessively nitpicky shopper with unrealistic expectations, especially given my budget constraints. 

Somewhat accurate, as I knew what I was getting into, but not the exact numbers.

I'm also increasingly conscious of how my spending interacts with my other financial obligations, which makes me suspicious of just about anything I buy. It's difficult to guarantee that something is "worth it" when so many other things are clamoring for my dollars: saving for my emergency fund, retirement, travel and bridesmaid-related expenses, and finally, paying down student loans. I finally had enough information this month to do more concrete repayment calculations, and the numbers are sobering. I have six-figures in graduate student loan debt, all in US federal loans with interest rates ranging from 5% to 7.9%. Refinancing is not an option in the near future due to some reliance on federal protections like income-based repayment. My balance currently accrues interest of roughly $33/day. It's not fun, though it isn't quite as horrific as it sounds because my income is at a level that can pay it down completely by the seven-year mark, but it is also no small thing. I went to graduate school knowing full well that this was the financial life I was signing up for, but well, it is a long, slow road.

Sorry to be such a downer in a monthly shopping post! I'm satisfied with my career choice, it's just that I'm probably at one of the more difficult stages of that path. At some point, if I want to continue writing about this, I probably should just disclose the field I'm in to give an accurate picture, but at this point I'm still feeling a little shy about that. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $504.29)
  • Equipment Lynn Blouse, Peacoat Multi - $103.20 - This print is maybe a bit "much" by most standards, but I enjoy it. I'm wearing it under a trench coat in this post. I find Equipment's sizing to be on the slightly generous side of true-to-size, such that the S doesn't gap despite my being a bit chest. I got it at Equipment's site, but the main link goes to Nordstrom Rack, which has it for a little less than I paid. 
  • Everlane Trench, Tan - $189.00* - Detailed review here. From how often I've worn it, it is looking like I'll get excellent cost-per-wear from this, despite my quibbles with it. I haven't had a chance to bring it to a tailor yet, but now that the season for it is ending, I'll probably get a chance to go soon. 
  • Elie Tahari Paula Down Coat, Black - $212.09* - Detailed review here. It isn't truly cold enough yet to wear it, but the price I got on it was pretty good. If this coat ends up not being warm enough, I'll update on that later on...

Beauty - (TOTAL: $173.52) 
  • Sephora (with 20% off VIB sale): $116.71* - This might well be my last year shopping the VIB sale because I'm still a little less than $100 off from renewing my VIB status.
    • Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof 12-Hour Concealer, Medium - I accidentally ordered the wrong color from Dermstore a while back, but they were very nice about allowing the return. I ended up getting my replacement during the Sephora VIB sale. My makeup technique is not great, but out of all the concealers I've tried, this one is the best. It's the easiest to work with and has decent coverage. 
    • Josie Maran Argan Oil Light - My favorite face oil. I'm not actually sure how this differs from other argan oils including the "regular" Josie Maran argan oil, but I seem to get the best results from this one. 
    • Cover FX Liquid Foundation Brush - I used a similar flat-top brush from the Sonia Kashuk line at Target for years, but would occasionally get a streaky finish from it. This Cover FX brush is better. I can't guarantee that it's the best brush for liquid foundations, like the Nars Tinted Moisturizer I currently use, because of my aforementioned lack of makeup skill, but I like the results I get with this. 
    • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Espresso Ink - It has been... a fairly long time since I replaced my eyeliner. This is a good gel eyeliner and it stays put very well. 
  • Dermstore (with return credit): $56.81*
    • DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask - DDF discontinued this item for a long while around 2011, but it's back! I use sulfur masks as an overnight treatment for some of my most annoying breakouts to try to encourage those larger, icky bumps to come to a head. I don't recommend this strategy for sensitive skin though. I'd actually prefer a smaller package of this and packaged in a tube instead of a pot because it dries out easily. (Olay had a sulfur mask in a tube way back when. It wasn't a better value, but it was cheaper because it contained less product. Sadly, that one was discontinued too.) 
    • Dermalogica AGE Smart Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque - Trying this out on a friend's recommendation, but I probably have a few too many face masks of various types in my "to try" queue right now... 
* indicates that price includes extra costs such as shipping, New York sales tax, etc. 

Linking to Franish and the other Budgeting Bloggers again this month. Be sure to check out what everyone else bought!

With this month's spending, I've now spent $2534.47 of the $3000 I set as my absolute upper limit for the year, which leaves me able to spend $465.34 for December without truly going over. (The goal, however, is to spend much less than that because I don't really need anything for the fall/winter season.) 

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