It's time for another shopping + budget recap! August was the third month in my summer quarter and I had just over $75 left in my budget. Do you think I stayed within it?

What I Bought


what i bought august
Old Navy Boyfriend Pocket Tee for Women - $8.47 (sold out online, but still available in stores I think!)
Old Navy Cutoff Denim Shorts - $8.52 (not pictured, seen here)
H&M Denim Overalls - $34.99 (not pictured, seen here)
LuLaRoe Amelia Dress in Mustard - $70 (not pictured)

Monthly Total: 157.92
Quarterly Budget Spent: $579.88
Quarterly Budget Remaining: -$79.88

Even though I exceeded my quarterly budget for summer, this is significantly less than I went over in the winter ($181.73) and the spring ($252.63). Progress, y'all! Though, still, obviously not within budget. Consequently, I've done a lot of thinking in July and August about my spending, and especially about these public budget updates. When I was participating in these budget updates last year, I wasn't actually keeping a budget, just tracking my spending to learn about my shopping habits. After seeing how much I spent, I set a budget that I thought would work for me, while also reeling me in quite a bit. 

At the time, I thought that a quarterly budget made the most sense for me because I shop by season. Now that I'm three quarters into 2016, it's clear to me that I need to switch to a monthly budget format instead. Due to this realization, a raise that hasn't yet been factored into my budget, and because this is my own dang blog/budget (and I do what I want!), I've decided to switch from a $500 quarterly budget to a monthly budget of $250. $250 is meant to be a comfortable number. Some months I'll likely hit it, and occasionally surpass it (though hopefully not!), but I'd love to stay under it for the most part.

For the sake of transparency, and because I don't think I've ever mentioned it, I wanted to share a list of things that I, personally, don't include in my budget:

- intimates (bras, undies, socks, etc.)
- loungewear and pajamas
- swimwear
- vintage and locally-sourced pieces

It's the last one, in particular, that I wanted to make sure I noted here, since I've obviously added vintage and items from local shops to my closet this year, but you haven't seen them in my updates. This exclusion from my budget is an attempt to shop more ethically and support two communities I care deeply about -- vintage sellers and local makers. These are usually one-of-a-kind pieces that I'd hate to walk away from, and they honestly take up so little of my yearly spending that I prefer to keep it separate from my regular budget tracking.

So! How do I plan to spend my $250 in September? I've got my eye on a leather jacket, a pretty wrap dress, and a few blouses (though those may have to wait until October if it stays this hot!). I'm also hoping to give this dress a try so I can recreate outfits like this in the fall/winter.

Because I value transparency, I always want to share what I received from working with brands each month. 

What I Received


Mexico Sandals c/o Restricted Shoes* (sold out, seen here)
(*Don't forget to get 25% off regular priced styles at Restricted Shoes using the code GIRL25 until August 31!)

As always, I'm linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers. Don't forget to go see how everyone else spent their budget in August!

what i bought in august

linklove0826

Happy Friday! Or, at least I hope it's Friday! Assuming it is, here's some links!

♥ Your new favorite place to shop (especially if you love Texas + Louisiana!). Pro tip: 10% of every sale benefits those affected by the recent floods! 

♥ Love coloring books? Love giveaways? My darlin' friend Cathy is hosting a coloring book giveaway on her blog this week. These mandalas are seriously pretty and perfect for mid-week (or anytime) self-care! Go go go enter!

♥ This week in Stranger Things favs: loved this profile on Winona Ryder talking about things like Hollywood, motherhood (and lack-there-of), and anxiety.

♥ Implementing these tips has made me a rock star at working from home!

♥ Adina always helps me look at my closet in new ways, and this week's post about "the plantonic closet" got me thinking about the real MVPs in my wardrobe. What are yours?

♥ Two things I'm into: personality tests and stress management. This article breaks down stress by Myers-Briggs types, including ways for each type to handle their specific stress. Spoiler alert: it's crazy accurate.

♥ An outfit to copy tomorrow.

♥ Grab your tissues, this one's got a few levels of heartbreak. I don't know if y'all have read much of Buzzfeed's long-form investigative journalism, but their recent piece about a young woman who murdered her mother after a lifetime of medical abuse is an INCREDIBLE read.

♥ In lighter news, this is the exact outfit I want to wear well into our Texas "fall."

♥ A wishlist: another midi skirt I don't need, this cute little smock peplum blouse, these actually-perfect brown booties, this badass collar brooch, this totally Clueless-esque backback, and a gingham dress fit for fall.

What are you up to this weekend?

link love

lularoe madison floral skirt1 lularoe madison floral skirt2 lularoe madison floral skirt3 lularoe madison floral skirt7 lularoe madison floral skirt4 lularoe madison floral skirt10 lularoe madison floral skirt12
tank: old Forever 21 (similar) // skirt: Madison by LuLaRoe c/o Megan McClary // shoes: Old Navy // purse: Nordstrom (similar) // sunglasses: Forever 21 (similar)

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

When I was in the sixth grade, I got in trouble for being affiliated with a gang. You see, my middle school took gang paraphernalia very seriously, outlawing all sorts of things like colored shoelaces and bandanas. On one particular day, the school even threatened to send home anyone wearing red or blue. To be honest, I don't recall my school having a particular issue with gang violence, and in hindsight I think these precautions were racially motivated and extremely detrimental. However, that's a different story for a different day.

This story is about the single time I've been sent to the principal's office. My P.E. teacher was a sweet, round, old man named Mr. Culpepper. He did his best to get us shooting hoops or sending birdies over the net, but we preferred to spend our day walking the big oval track outside the gym. You might have called us a gang, in the sense that we were rarely seen associating with other students. But no more a gang than a gosling of ducks or herd of deer, or any other group of like-creatures (we were connected by our nerdom, trust).

You may remember the following trends from the early aughts: windbreaker pants and microfleece pullover sweaters. On the particular day I was sent to the principal's office, I wore a bubblegum pink pair of swishy pants and my favorite Pepto Bismol fleece (with the kangaroo pocket in the front, duh). Not one to skimp on the accessories, I wore a matching pink bandana tied around my short, poofy bob.

Mr. Culpepper took one look at me as I entered the gym -- unfazed by the fact that I wasn't "dressed out" in gym clothes, as I'd avoided them all semester -- and deemed the baby pink triangle of fabric a violent marker of my gang affiliation. Off to the principal I went, where the school receptionist phoned my parents. Baffled, they could hardly stop laughing, repeating "what, is she in the cotton candy gang?", to the administrator's dismay. My parents refused to retrieve me from school over such a bogus infraction, but the office insisted on holding my bandana until the end of the day so I wouldn't be tempted -- by acts of violence, I suppose?

Today's outfit is a bit of a tribute to my sixth grade self, a cotton candy gang member for life. After all these years, I guess Mr. Culpepper was right; there's nothing tougher than a pastel bandana.

pastel princess

theory blouse denim shorts3 theory blouse denim shorts1 theory blouse denim shorts7 theory blouse denim shorts9 theory blouse denim shorts2 theory blouse denim shorts10 theory blouse denim shorts12 theory blouse denim shorts11
top: Theory c/o thredUP // shorts: Old Navy (sold out, similar) // shoes: Forever 21 // purse: STRUT // earrings: Gudbling

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

If you read this blog back in the early days (hi Mom!), then you know that I had a bit of a thrifting habit. Until a couple of years ago, more than 75% of my closet was thrifted. While it's true that many of my clothes came from thrift stores out of necessity (hi student loans!), I truly enjoy the thrill of thrift store shopping. Searching through racks of clothes and discovering a gem -- a tweed Oscar de la Renta skirt, a Kate Spade blouse with tags, a pair of unworn Madewell flats -- gives me an unreal high.

As a full-time job, this ole side hustle, and general life happenings have become my everyday, I just don't have the time to scour thrift stores the way I used to. What used to be a weekend trip to Savers with Dago is now a quarterly (or semi-annual!) visit to the resale shop for a quick look. Enter thredUP. Now I can literally go thrifting from the comfort of my bed (thanks to their app!) and not even have to use hand sanitizer after I do it!

One of my secret shopping goals this year was to own a Theory blouse. I've been stalking them on Shopbop, but really don't feel comfortable dropping a couple hundred on one top. When I saw this beauty on thredUP for $33 instead of $170, I knew it was my time! That's what I love about thrifting; fashion doesn't have to be out of reach.

If you, too, have found that you've got less and less time to invest in going to thrift stores, thredUP is the answer you've been looking for. Here's a review of my experience so far.


PROS

Pieces You Love for Prices You Can Afford: Raise your hand if you've stalked an item online, just waiting for it to hit clearance. thredUP is like the world's largest clearance section! From pricey Boden and Madewell tops I've never pulled the trigger on to designer jeans I've been saving for forever, those name brands you say you love but have never owned are finally within your reach!

For instance,
Madewell Skinny Jeans - was $119, now $29.99
Marc Jacobs Faux Leather Jacket - was $286, now $52.99
J.Crew Cashmere Sweater - was $198, now $37.99
*P.S. use JCREW50 for 50% off first-time orders up to $50!

Popular Pieces in Multiple Sizes: Unlike a thrift store, you do actually have a chance of finding something in a few sizes. If there's something that a brand carries all the time, it's more likely that a lot of people have bought it and eventually sent it off to thredUP. For instance, I've seen J.Crew's most-coveted blazers in a whole variety of sizes.


CONS

Selection: Given the process in which thredUP obtains their clothing, I would have expected a higher quality selection of pieces to choose from. I feel that what's available is equal to most thrift stores, where you truly have to search for gems through a bunch of outdated, out-of-style and generally uninteresting pieces.

No Way to Save Your Favorites: I think if I could change one thing about thredUP, it would be the ability to save everything I'm interested in. With so many different kinds of items, a wishlist would have helped me shop way more easily than adding and removing things from my cart.

I'm already wishlisting items for my fall closet thanks to thredUP. What are you shopping for this season that you can score on thredUP?

I received product in exchange for this review of thredUP, but all opinions, as always, are my own. Thanks for supporting the businesses that support this blog!

get your thrifting kicks online with thredUP

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