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11th November 2021

Accounting for style #10 – Serial spender on a budget

For the month of October, an English Literature student tries to curb her spending habits and stick to a budget. Will she manage?
Accounting for style #10 – Serial spender on a budget
Photo: Alice Henderson @ The Mancunion

Accounting for Style is a 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…

Age: 20

Degree: English Literature with a French minor

Rent: About £140/week, including bills

Part-time job: Retail Assistant 

Extra cash: Not unless it’s my birthday or Christmas

Monthly budget: I’ve just started a new job and am trying to save up some money. It’s a new challenge for me – my first year at university was a year of splurging and spontaneous spends. I didn’t have any concept of budgeting and frittered away my savings I’d earned during my gap year. It’s certainly not something I want to do again. This year, I’m determined to curb my spending habits and be more conscious of where my money is going. So, at the moment, impulse buys are a definite no. My spending is to be kept to a minimum.

Fashion and beauty spending habits: My personal style is focussed mainly around streetwear and sneaker culture. So normally my spending is fuelled by drops by brands like Nike and Jordan, or The Named Collective and Unknown London for clothing. Other than that, I’m much more likely to buy individual statement pieces – often from lesser known or sustainable brands, than basics. 

Monthly estimated spend on fashion and beauty: It should be low, or at least I hope so, since I didn’t make any big purchases this month. 

Monthly Spending: 

Friday 1st October: £63.55 – I started off the month with having to repurchase some of my go-to makeup products. I always find that, somehow, everything in my makeup bag seems to run out at the same time! It made for a fairly costly, but essential, beauty order in which I bought a replacement foundation, setting spray, and bronzer. I use Urban Decay’s ‘Stay Naked Foundation’, their ‘All Nighter’ setting spray and theBalm’s ‘Bahama Mama’ bronzer. I’m vegan, so as much as possible I like to buy products which aren’t tested on animals and don’t contain any animal products. All of these get my approval and have been staples in my makeup bag for a few years now. 

Photo: The Mancunion

Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October: When I go to work at the weekend, I usually have time to kill in town before starting my shift. Generally, this results in me having a look around the shops on Market Street or in The Arndale. On this particular weekend, I was looking for inspiration before buying a new jacket, and came across a selection of brown and beige fur trimmed jackets in Urban Outfitters. I’m a fan of fur coats (faux of course), and particularly liked the piped seam detailing on one of them. I managed to restrain myself from making the purchase, however, and saved myself almost £90. Now, I’m glad I didn’t buy it, since there are definitely other coats I’d prefer.

Photo: The Mancunion

Thursday 14th October: £8 – Starting to think about Halloween, I began looking at costume ideas online. As boring as it sounds, fancy dress isn’t really my thing, so I wasn’t looking to spend that much. Some of the clothes I already own are quite extravagant, so I was hoping to form the basis of at least one of the outfits from something I already own. I’m in need of two outfits this year, and ideas spanned all the way from a simple bunny outfit – with just some rabbit ears needed to be purchased, to going as Vivian from Pretty Woman. The latter would require much more thought – and probably an expensive hand-made version of the cut-out O-ring dress she wears. Not to mention, some thigh-high black boots that I’d probably never wear again. I opted for a rabbit, which I am aware is incredibly dull, and so just bought some plain black ears for £8. I’ll have to use some of my other clothes to craft a second costume.

Friday 15th – Sunday 31st October: Contrary to my expectations at the beginning of October, I have succeeded in not making any impulse purchases or big spends. I have however, got a few pieces on my wish list:

I’m still on the lookout for a new coat, and now have my eye on a black trench from Weekday. Although it’s very different to the fur-trimmed jackets I was looking at in Urban Outfitters, I think it will be a better addition to my wardrobe, since I already own a couple of different fur and fake leather options. Weekday is also a sustainable brand, something I always try to consider when shopping, and offers an alternative aesthetic to Urban Outfitters’, which is becoming increasingly popular at the moment. I have several pieces from them already, and have found the quality to be of a high quality consistently, especially in tailored pieces and denim. 

As for sneaker drops, there haven’t been any recently that I’ve felt I missed out on massively. I like Jordan 4s, and have been keeping my eye on Stock X over the past couple of weeks to monitor fluctuations in price of a couple of models. My favourite at the moment is the Jordan 4 Retro ‘Taupe Haze’ colourway. Luckily, Nike make my size in the Grade School collection, so I can find shoes that will fit me at a lower cost. Currently, they’re reselling at £263.

Total Spend: £71.55

Overall verdict: I’m incredibly surprised at how little I’ve spent across the month. The purchases I did make were essential or served a particular purpose. I’m hoping I can continue to control my shopping habits for the foreseeable future, and learn to make practical buys only. The stand-out, more expensive pieces that I love should be bought as treats only. 

Read last month’s accounting for style: ‘Online sales and wedding bells‘.

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

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