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15th November 2019

Accounting for Style #2: Expensive taste and no control

A final year English Language student anonymously logs all of their fashion and beauty purchases for the month of October including a first date panic buy, splurging on fancy dress and a trip to Liverpool for the perfect pair of trousers
Accounting for Style #2: Expensive taste and no control

Accounting for Style is a new series at the Mancunion Fashion & Beauty section in which anonymous Manchester students track all of their fashion and beauty purchases over the period of a month. Get a glimpse into the way your peers spend their money on their style, the splurges and the savings…

A final year English Language student tries her hand at saving money but gives in to temptation at the last minute.

Age: 24

Degree: English Language and Linguistics

Degree year: 3

Yearly student maintenance loan: £3,875.00 (minimum)

Rent: £177/week – paid for by parents

Part-time job? I’m a freelance writer for a number of websites, earning £70-£100 per article. I also work for Bumble, making an hourly wage for assisting at events they host in the city.

Any extra cash? My parents sporadically give me extra money to spend on groceries and to help fund my participation in the university cheerleading society.

Monthly budget: £400

Fashion & beauty spending habits: I probably spend about 80 per cent of my money on fashion purchases. I have no control when it comes to beautiful things. My parents have had to bail me out of my overdraft on multiple occasions so I’m trying to cut back on taxis, takeaways and alcohol to put myself in a better financial position.

Monthly estimated spend on fashion & beauty: Ideally no more than £300. I’m already in a bit of a financial pickle following an impulse purchase last month of a pair of Prada boots that I later realised couldn’t be returned. I’m also heading to Orlando, Florida in April for the ICU World Cheerleading Championships with Team England and really need to stay out of my overdraft so I have money to spend while I’m there.

1st October: I’m going on my first date in over a year and I panic that I have nothing to wear, so I head into town for inspiration. I head to my favourite store – & Other Stories – and spot an incredible pair of green and black checked trousers. They weren’t cheap but at least I had 10 per cent student discount, right? £67.50

2nd October: I have a day off from lectures and there are a pair of faux leather trousers in Marks & Spencer that I love. But, I have a problem. I saw them in the Liverpool store a week ago, they’re not available online, and they weren’t in stock in Manchester. Am I willing to take a two-hour roundtrip to Merseyside to buy them? Absolutely. I call up at opening time and have them reserved in my size before going to pick them up. They’re perfect and well worth the excessive journey. £39.50

4th October: It’s not the most exciting purchase but I’m in dire need of some new underwear. Marks & Spencer doesn’t stock the style I like so I head to Victoria’s Secret PINK and find a decent alternative. £25.99 for five pairs of underwear feels a little ridiculous but I’m really picky, and nowhere else seems to sell the exact style I like, so I don’t really have a choice. £25.99

13th October: My first online purchase of the month. Urban Outfitters has released their latest exclusive collection with Laura Ashley, which includes a cotton puff sleeve dress that’ll be perfect for my trip to the USA next year. It’s only available online and I decide to purchase it before it sells out (the last collection did quite quickly). I have a £5 UO Rewards code and shipping is free, bringing the cost to £40.

16th October: It’s ‘welcome drinks’ for a society I’m in next week and I need to dress as a princess. I find the perfect Princess Jasmine-inspired Arabian dance costume on Dance Direct. It’s really expensive but I don’t go on nights out very often so, I think, why not? I also buy a pair of Capezio arch supports to help with strength and stability for pom dance. £87.94

21st October: I’ve finally got all my team placements for cheerleading for the year and will be training more frequently than I’d anticipated. I don’t have enough sports tops so I buy a basic crewneck t-shirt from Victoria’s Secret PINK. It’s on offer for £10.

25th October: The princess costume didn’t arrive in time and, as much as I love it, I can’t afford to keep it for the sake of it. I make the heartbreaking decision to return it. £79.19

31st October: I’ve messed up. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and came across a Hypebae article about a newly-released shearling headband by Fendi. It’s over-the-top, impractical, and very expensive, but I love it. I’m on the train home from Manchester and notice it’s low in stock at and sold out everywhere else. So, I make a panic purchase and now have to wait patiently for 3-5 business days to see if it’s as perfect as I imagine in my head. £220

Total spend: £411.74

Overall verdict: What can I say? I have no control when it comes to buying clothing and am once again hurtling towards my overdraft. For the most part, my purchases were pretty practical. Underwear and sportswear are essential, and both pairs of trousers are versatile and fit perfectly into my wardrobe.

However, my habit of making impulse purchases of designer goods and spending far too much money on fancy dress outfits needs to stop. I think I’ll be able to return the headband (thank God), taking my overall spend for the month to a much more palatable £191.74 – but I should’ve never bought it in the first place.

Given my 2020 trip to the USA and the fact that Christmas is quickly approaching, I really need to start saving money, but buying clothes (particularly those that don’t fit with my student budget) is my biggest vice.

Would you like to anonymously track your fashion & beauty purchases for the period of a month for The Cost of Student Style? Email [email protected] to express your interest or come along to our meetings every Monday at 6:15pm in The Hive.

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