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…
Degree: English Literature and Spanish
Rent: About £110 per week, including bills
Extra cash: I don’t currently have a part time job, but I’m embarrassingly frugal with almost everything (I only have a weakness for clothes). However, I’m a thrifty shopper, so I always manage to stay within the boundaries of my student loan.
Monthly budget: I don’t do typical budgeting, but I do make sure to keep spending to a minimum.
Fashion and beauty spending habits: I rarely buy brand new clothes, I’d say less than 10% of my clothes are straight from the retailer, the rest are Depop, Vinted, eBay or charity shops. I don’t like to give money to the fast fashion industry, so if I see something I love from a brand, I wait until it filters onto second hand apps. It’s cheaper (especially if, like me, you enjoy agreeing on a great bargain with sellers) and it also gives me peace of mind to know I’m not supporting a harmful industry. I only overspend when I’m having a bad day, retail therapy is the most effective way to cheer me up. The thought of having something arriving soon makes me feel less pessimistic about the future. On the beauty side of things, I’d say I don’t spend too much. My base makeup and eyeshadows are good quality and on the pricey side, but I don’t have to repurchase them often. I’ve found my perfect product rotation, so I don’t buy many new products, I just have to replace my trusted favourites once in a while.
Monthly estimated spend on fashion and beauty: I’m going to guess £60, as I’ve bought way more pieces than I usually would. My spending really varies, some months I spend nothing, and some months I majorly give into the temptation of my Depop likes.
Sunday 3rd April: £50.00 – I started off the month pretty badly. I had a sad girl Sunday right after arriving home for the Easter holidays and went on Depop and Vinted for a hit of dopamine. Since its release I’ve been so close to buying the white long sleeve top from Missguided’s Ed Hardy collection. However, I did not like the price tag (£32 for one top is way out of my budget) and I didn’t feel comfortable directly giving money to Missguided. I had been scouring the second hand apps for a while, and managed to find someone selling it for £15. Not only did they have the white top, but also the black baby tee. I offered the seller £25 for both. Ka-ching. A saving of £35!
On the same day I also browsed through Jaded London jeans on Vinted. I am a sucker for the graphic patterns and fit of Jaded jeans (perfect for tall girls like me), but again, they cost upwards of £60 brand new. I found the super cute Honey Bum Print Low Rise jeans listed for £30 on Vinted, but the seller and I settled for £25 including postage. For me, a good bargain doubles the satisfaction of retail therapy. I went to sleep that night looking forward to receiving my new clothes, and knowing I hadn’t damaged my bank account too badly.
Tuesday 5th April: £12.00 – Just two days later I bought another item on Depop. This is already pretty bad in comparison with my usual habits. I found this pink mini skirt during my Sunday Depop browse and managed to stave off the urge to buy it. Well, at least until Tuesday. In my defence, it is a dupe of the £40 I.AM.GIA Philomena skirt, so I made a huge saving, and even got the seller to give me a £4 discount on their original price. Even though it was an impulsive buy, I don’t regret the purchase. I have since used it to create the Paris Hilton inspired outfit of my dreams, so I think the spend has already been justified.
Friday 22nd April: £12.00 – I did some real damage in the Cancer Research Superstore in Salford after a sixteen day break from any shopping. You might be thinking, real damage? For £12? But yes, I did buy five items for just over a tenner. I got four new tops and a dress. The great thing about this charity shop is that none of the clothes are over £3 and as a superstore, they’ve got a huge amount of stock. I spent a long time sorting through the racks and ended up with a big pile of possible purchases. I did some deciding and left behind a pinstripe shirt, an Effy-from-Skins-esque dress and a really interesting lace up sheer white top which I adored, but thought someone else might wear more. What I did take home was: a white top with really cute green flower appliques, a raglan top with pink sleeves that says ‘I am a princess’ (perfect for my ironic baby tee loving self), a blue polo, a black and white plaid mesh top and a printed dress with butterflies.
Monday 25th April: £8.00 – On Monday I needed some more retail therapy. My mood dipped really low again, so I went back to the pages of Vinted and Depop for some much needed comfort. I was already thinking of green corduroy trousers because I had envisioned an outfit with them when I bought the white and green top from the charity shop. As I browsed, I realised that my ideal pair, in colour and fit, were from Urban Outfitters. I found many listings for the trousers, but haven’t purchased them yet as I only found one pair in my size and am still waiting for the seller to reply. I am hoping to pay £15 for them. After I failed to buy the green cords, my shopping desire still needed to be satisfied. I browsed all my usual searches and found some flared velour Lipsy joggers on Vinted. I was over the moon as I’ve been searching for the bottoms to complete the set, of which I already have the matching hoodie, for the longest time. I bartered with the seller and ended up paying £8 for them.
Total Spend: £82.00
Overall verdict: I definitely bought a lot more than I do in a normal month and spent £22 over my estimation. Despite my big spend, I’m not too upset with myself because I’ve been having a difficult time recently and I needed something to look forward to, as sad as it sounds. I’m really pleased with all of my purchases, the things I’ve bought fit me perfectly, which can be risky when buying second hand. I also know that I will get a lot of wear out of the pieces I’ve bought as they go well with the other items in my wardrobe. I am very aware that I could be consuming less, and probably should be consuming less, but I find some comfort in knowing that I didn’t buy anything brand new from the retailer and donated through my charity shopping.
Read our last edition of accounting for style: Long term broke student finally has money
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 Tuesday at 5:30pm.