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5 under $50: Wear to Work Staples

Some people think you have to spend a lot of money to have a great career wardrobe, others don't. Beauty and the Budget here says you don't have to spend tons of money on high end clothing to get the job you want--no matter what kind of job you have. And here is my case in point, summed up with these five essential items:

  • Asos always carries great trousers, and they come in a wide range of sizes and styles. These are perfect for just about any career, and the cut allows you to wear them with flats or heels. ASOS High Waist Belted Pants In Skinny Fit ($42.43 at Asos)
  • Blazers are pretty much a staple, and while it's great to have a quality one that will last a while, you may have to go with the more affordable route if you're just getting started in your career. Plus, no one is going to see that label. If you need to go cheap, this option is fantastic! Kate Young For Target® Satin Blazer -Cream ($49.99 at Target)
  • The career woman needs a great bag to carry all of her essentials. Aldo always carries great shoes and bags that are perfect for professional women! This amazing bag speaks volumes to me. How about you? Lamountain ($40.00 at Aldo)
  • Since your career wardrobe can get a little boring, punch it up with some leopard flats! And, again, you don't have to shell out a lot of cash for the perfect pair. Nasty Gal has them--Pretty Prowl Flat ($50.00 at Nasty Gal)
  • A pencil skirt is a classic around the office--and you can easily take it to those after five cocktails. The Limited naturally has great selections on career outfits, and this skirt just happens to be under $50! High-Waist Pegged Pencil Skirt ($34.99$26.24 at The Limited)

Where do you shop for your career wardrobe? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 9:18AM | Permalink | 0 Comments
Filed in: Fashion | Related: five under 50, finances, career, budget, style

Women Spend HOW Much on Makeup in a Lifetime?!

It's probably no surprise to you, but women definitely aren't scared to shell out the cash for beauty products. However, you may be surprised at how much the average woman spends on makeup. Curious? According to MintLife, the average woman will spend $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime! And while you may think that's a lot of trips to the MAC counter, a good portion of that money is probably spent on top performing drugstore brands like Olay, L'Oreal, and Neutrogena. 

Personally, I could pay off a huge chunk of my student loan debt if I'd just stop wearing makeup, but four out of five women will agree with me when I say that makeup is a necessity in our culture. I take pride in my appearance, and if I can be totally honest with you, it totally boosts my confidence level when I'm all fixed up with a nice foundation, lip color, and false lashes. 

So while I don't suggest giving up makeup, I can provide a few helpful tips from personal experience that will help you keep a watchful eye on your beauty spending.

  • Beauty products will not make you look perfect. Nobody is perfect, remember? That cellulite cream? It probably isn't going to get rid of your cellulite, but rather slightly reduce the appearance. (Trust me, if I find a cream that gets rid of cellulite, I'll be the first to let you know!) Be more cautious when you're shopping for beauty products and discover why you're shopping for those products. Skincare products and beauty products are intended to enhance your appearance, not make you look like the photoshopped celebrity endorsing it. Don't overspend on products just because you're feeling insecure about your looks. 
  • Skip those beauty impulse buys. You should always be conscious of impulse buying, but definitely be cautious of impulse beauty buys because they can really rack up. There have been many ocassions when I've been perusing the makeup aisle for skin cream and ended up adding other products into my shopping cart. Women spend an average of $43 per shopping trip on beauty products, which adds up to around $216 per year. If you keep adding impulse buys, you can quickly exceed that amount. 
  • Don't overbuy too much of a product. Nail polish and lipstick are super popular beauty products, especially during a recession since they can quickly revamp your look at an affordable price range. But really, how many shades of red lipstick or polish do you need? If you're using them all the way up then great, but (speaking from experience) I have an entire medicine cabinet full of nail polish that I rarely ever use. 

About how much do you think you spend on beauty products? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments

Fancy Finances: When Is the Best Time to Buy Everything?

Often times we find that the product we just bought a week ago is now marked down! Don't get bummed. Learn when is the best time to buy everything from the chart above!

What are some of your shopping tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments

Fancy Finances: 3 Ways to Wear 1 Dress

Remember that $15.50 FOREVER 21 Maxi Slip Dress I posted about yesterday? Well that fabulous piece was the sole inspiration for today's post! Every summer we're always looking for the perfect summer dress for Spring Break, summer vacay, brunches, weddings, etc., but wouldn't it be fabulous if just one dress fit all of our needs? A simple maxi dress is the perfect solution. No matter what the occasion, a maxi dress serves as something versatile, chic, and totally appropriate. Plus, this maxi dress comes in a variety of different colors--so you can choose what color is best for you!

Here are three ways to wear a maxi dress for every occasion this summer.

Shopping: Throw on the Petite denim stud jacket ($57.00 at Dorothy Perkins) over the maxi and pair with Cupcake Contest Shoulder Bag ($42.99 at ModCloth) and the Pierre Dumas Debby-1 ($29.00 at Piperlime). 

Wedding: Take the maxi to the next level with the Fragments Multi-Stone Clear Bib Necklace ($30.00 at Last Call by Neiman Marcus). Remove the tie and replace it with the Rhinestone Stretch Belt ($39.50 at LOFT), then add the Tasha Hexagonal Clutch ($48.00 by Tasha at Nordstrom) and the 

Anne Klein Zya ($39.97 at Piperlime). 

Spring Break: This is my absolute favorite look! Throw the Tennessee Wyatt Parker 'Skull & Roses' Muscle Tee ($36.00 at Nordstrom) over the dress. To cinch in the waist, knot it on the side. For extra flair add a pop of yellow with this Le Piaget Neon and Crystals Stretch Bracelet (Hematite) - Jewelry ($24.99 at 6pm.com) and these Two Strap Heeled Sandal ($29.90 at Express). Tie your hair back with the Emi-Jay 'Crystal Bead' Hair Tie ($17.99 at Nordstrom). 

Which look is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments

Fancy Finances: Have You Ever Gone on a Shopping Fast?

A shopping fast is a pretty foreign concept to me. Of course I understand the concept, but actually not buying anything exciting for an extended amount of time seems really hard. But in all honesty a shopping fast seems like a great way to rapidly change your spending habits, and it operates just like a diet fast--you cut out all of the good stuff. 

How It Works: 
When on a shopping fast, you only buy the essentials: food, soap, fuel, toiletries. This means no new appliciances, no new clothing, no new decor, etc. You can do it for as long as you like--a week, a month, a year. The time frame is up to you, but in order to really notice a difference in your bank statement a month would probably give you the best indication of how much you've saved. 

Shopping Fast Tips: 
From the research I've done, the best way to stay on track with a shopping fast it to really hone in on that age old question, "Do I really need it?" There are other options to buying as well--borrowing from a close friend or hosting a clothing swap. And, of course, fixing your lunch is the best way to avoid going out to dinner during a shopping fast. Even though you can buy food on a shopping fast, we all know that going out to eat is never the most frugal option. 

I'd be interested to know if shopping fasts work for a lot of people, or, if like dieting, you go on spending binges after a bad day at the office or whenever the fast is up. 

Have you ever gone on a shopping fast? 

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments
Filed in: budget | Related: shopping fast, finances, spending

Fancy Finances: Three Money Habits That are Holding You Back

Bad Habit #1: Not Wanting to Give Up Small Luxuries

When it comes to downgrading your budget, these money habits might be holding you back from reaching your financial goals. A recent study by STORES Magazine found that Americans are still splurging on small luxures--like satellite television and professional haircuts.

We all say we are in the worst economy ever right now and claim that money is super tight, which is completely true, but we are still living with some pretty amazing small luxuries that we could probably do without. I mean you can actually live without an iPhone or satellite television. And (can I say this one more time?) you don't need a professional manicure every week. 

When it comes to professional haircuts, I will say that I don't spend too much on this luxury considering I live in Mississippi where a great haircut runs between $40-$60 (it's twice as much in Manhattan). While I would never tell you to skip out on a professional cut--I actually think it's a necessary luxury--you can limit how often you go. 

Bad Habit #2: You Never Use Cash

Okay, first of all, I am totally and completely guilty of this! I mean, I hardly ever carry cash. It's just so much easier to use a debit card--you just swipe it and enter your pin number and BOOM! your purchases are complete! But here's what I've found in multiple studies: People who pay with cash spend less. Bottom line: Always swiping your debit or credit card can be a dangerous habit since you aren't physically keeping track of your money.

Bad Habit #3: You Aren't Paying Attention to Your Paycheck

Were you aware that the recent payroll taxes have decreased your paycheck by at least two percent? I immediately noticed a decrease on my check, and I wasn't happy about it at all. If you don't adjust your spending habits according to your pay decrease, what may not seem like a lot taken out can really add up over time. 

Do you have any bad money habits? Let me know below!

Posted on March 06, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments

Fancy Finances: Do Women Rely Too Much on Others When It Comes to Money?

Do you have a "head in the sand" approach when it comes to money? 

I do. Money doesn't interest me, and for a while I actually skipped over all of the financial posts I'd planned for my blog simply because I didn't have the time to do the research for each topic nor did I want to. 

I don't know a lot about long-term financial planning. I have a 401K but don't know a lot about it. I don't have any investments nor do I have an emergency fund. I can tell you where to find cheap clothing, how to dress like a celebrity for a lot less, and where to buy great drugstore makeup. I know how to save money and when to stop spending, but I haven't made any long-term investments--like a retirement fund or that Roth IRA that I planned on starting. 

I rely on my fiance to make the financial decisions. He's fantastic with money--very levelheaded and prepared with stock investments and two CDs. 

So when I read that experts have found that women rely too heavily on others for financial know-how, I wasn't surprised. According to an article from Real Simple, a lot of women weren't taught financial responsibilities growing up and some women under 30 have grown up "with the idea that they would be secondary earners and a man would be responsible for investing and long-term saving." And, unfortunately, women are ignoring these responsibilities until a life-changing event--like divorce or death--forces them to pay attention to it. 

If you feel like you're in the same boat as I am, let me know in the comments below! And for those of you who don't rely on others when it comes to long term investments and other financial decisions, feel free to share your advice in the comments below! I'm open to reading any advice you have on the matter!

Do you rely too much on others when it comes to money?

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments
Filed in: budget, finance | Related: spending, Investing, money, budget, women

Wallet Wednesday: Top Fashion Blogger Creates a Collection for Walmart

Here's to pinching your pennies on your next LBD! Penny Chic blogger, Shauna Miller, has created a collection exclusively for Walmart. Penny Chic's Little Black Dress collection is now available online at Walmart.com and consists of five pieces designed in 5 different silhouettes with women of all shapes and sizes in mind!

The collection is really cute--my personal favorites being the Peplum, the Classic, and the Utility. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Shauna has been helping women look chic on the cheap since she started her blog in November 2010 using only Walmart apparel. She was working at a fashion house in Paris when she realized there was nothing epic about making a model look stylish on a $10,000 budget. It was then that she came up with the idea to style real women in clothes from stores that are accessible to everyone in the country. By placing America’s cheapest discount store on a fashion pedestal, Shauna quickly gained recognition by top media outlets including Good Morning America,CNN,Time,Wall Street Journal, and Glamour. Props to her! Dresses available at walmart.com.

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments

Have You Found Your Financial Soul Mate?

Love and money: how does it all come together? 

Spending habits and financial responsibilities are often overlooked when it comes to relationships, but it's actually one of the most important! When it comes to finding your financial soul mate, you should look for subtle clues about their spending habits to determine if they are identical to yours or if they annoy you. If you're both financially responsible, then you'll probably have few disagreements. Of course, that's not saying that it can't work out if you and your significant other are different types of spenders, but you will eventually have to learn to find balance in the relationship.

Personally, my fiance is financially responsible. He pays off his credit card debt every month, has zero student loans (thanks so community college and full paid scholarship to a private university), has stocks, a savings, and is pretty much set up for retirement. Of course, when we first started dating, I couldn't come right out and ask him all of these questions about his finances to see if he was a good financial match. (Honestly, at the time, I didn't even care.) I had to look at his behavior. Since he was responsible in all other areas of his life and extremely organized, it became a pretty clear indication to me that he was financially responsible. In fact, it was one of the first things I really noticed about his personality. 

However, I've been with the financially irresponsible, too. (In fact, I've even been the financially irresponsible one in the relationship before! Though eventually I learned to control my spending habits.) You can tell when someone is financially irresponsible by how they live, too. Are they living out of their means? This is a huge indicator that financial problems may be underway. Looking back on past relationships with guys who couldn't control their spending--it's actually kind of a turn off. You want a responsible man who has everything under control, and if his budget is out of line, he probably isn't very responsible in other areas of his life either. (And to be perfectly honest with you, men want women who are in control of their finances too.)

Either way it's important for both parties to get their finances under control because once you're together, it isn't just about you anymore. It's about "we." 

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I want to know: Have you found your financial soul mate yet?

Posted on February 06, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments

7 Things You Don't Really Need (and How Much You Can Save by Not Buying Them)

Unfortunately, not all of us have friends who are honest enough to tell us, "You don't really need that." Luckily, I'm here to be a girlfriend and fill you in on seven things you don't really need. And guess how much you'll save by not buying them? Read on for the deets! 
  1. Starbucks Coffee. I'm not a fan of coffee, so this one is any easy one for me, but honestly, why do you really need to pay $7 for a latte? Buy a coffee maker and make it from home. You'll save: $780 a year on average.
  2. Going out for lunch. I can get groceries for the week at the store which only costs me between $50 and $60, and that's breakfast lunch and dinner! If you simply bring your lunch to work, you can save: $2,500 a year on average
  3. Professional Manicures. You don't need to get your nails done every week. Instead, you can paint them from home following my at-home manicure tutorial. If you avoid getting a manicure each week at the salon, you can save: approximately $700 a year. 
  4. Sodas. Coke gives you cellulite--enough said. Cut back on the Coke and drink water from the tap, and you can save: $850 a year on average, depending on household size. 
  5. Those impulse buys at the cash register. Last minute purchasing decisions (like lip gloss, accessories, candy, etc.) can really eat away at your income. Skip the impulse buys, and you can save: 20-30% of your income!
  6. Cable. I know you probably think you just can't live without watching Gossip Girl or whatever show Kim Kardashian has out now, but actually you can watch most programs on Hulu and Netflix. A friend of mine found her favorite shows on these alternative outlets, and she will save up to $1200 a year just by canceling her cable. 
  7. Alcoholic beverages at restaurants or bars. Sometimes, it's perfectly fine to have an after 5 cocktail or two with your girlfriends, but if you keep this tradition up every weekend it could cost you a lot of money over time! Depending on how much you drink, if you mix your own cocktails at home, you can save: $435 a year on average. 

What would you do with all of this extra money? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 9:00AM | Permalink | 0 Comments