Saturday, March 29, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers ~ March

Hey friends!  It's that time again!

J.Crew Merino Boyfriend Sweater - $36
I have to admit that I've purchased 3 of these sweaters since the fall (as well as the "side panel" version, which really it almost exactly the same fit).  I'm in love with the slouchy sweater and skinny jeans look right now.  When this one went on an extra 40% off, I decided to grab it since it's fairly lightweight and a neon coral color that transitions into spring.

J.Crew Factory Printed Pencil Skirt - $19 (after gift card)
Factory printed pencil skirt in stretch cotton
Image via J.Crew Factory
I've professed a few times how I don't do pencil skirts...  Well, I saw this one in the store last month and thought, "I've lost some weight.  I love this pattern.  What the heck, I'll give it a try!"  I really liked it, but didn't get it.  I still found myself thinking about it each time I saw a sale e-mail pop up and so I decided to take the plunge and get my first pencil skirt!  I may have started something bad for my budget...

Navy Crochet Toms (via Zulily) - $36
I had a friend introduce me to Zulily this month when she called to ask how I liked my other crochet Toms.  (Yes, I have these in black and silver.)  When she told me the price, I had her send me an invite.  I'm not sure I'll do a ton of shopping on there, but I was super excited to snatch these up at a good price, since I've wanted to add the navy to my collection since last year.  These are some of my favorite spring and summer shoes and are perfect for those days when your pedicure isn't quite in tip-top shape.

Image via Banana Republic
My gray v-neck cardigan was in desperate need of replacement.  It was pretty shabby and had definitely lived a good life.  Sure, I have other gray cardis, but for me this is a wardrobe staple.

Loft Dress - $42
Image via Loft
Loft has definitely become a favorite store since it opened in town last fall...  It's a great store for cute "teacher clothes" that can still transition easily to the weekend.  Even better, they always seem to be running awesome sales like 40% off!  I love dresses like this!

Loft Stretch Lace Tee - $30
Image via Loft
I've been trying to make less impulse buys and let myself think about purchases before making them.  I tried this one on the same day I bought the dress, but didn't make the purchase at first.  I ended up going back the next day for it.  (I don't know if living 5 minutes from the shopping center is a good thing or a bad thing...)  My warm weather work wardrobe is kind of lacking, so I decided this was a good addition.  Even with the 40% discount I think it was a little pricey, but I'm glad I've added it to my wardrobe as it goes well with skirts, dress pants, and jeans.

Loft Scalloped Neck Cotton Sweater - $36 & $24

If you can't tell, I really like brights and neons, so this sweater is a little out of my current element.  I tried it on Loft trip #2 after eyeing it the day before.  It's so soft, pretty, feminine and is different from most of my other sweaters.

And then a few days later I went back and bought the light gray one on clearance.  I have a habit of buying things in multiple colors.

Express Essential Cami (x2) - $10
I've been on a major cami and layering kick again recently and have fallen back in love with these camis from Express.  The quality is really good and they're some of the few that I've found that fit my body the right way.  (I have issues with the built-in bras being too small and the body being too big.)  I was lucky enough to score these with a $15 off coupon while they were already 40% off!  They normally retail for $19.50 each, so to get 2 for $10 (navy and light gray) was awesome.

Target Belt - $5 (after gift card)

I tried on this ADORABLE dress at American Eagle, but was super disappointed when it was too short...  If something is short on me, you know it's really short.  Anyway, I loved the embroidery detail and colors and so I was excited to find this belt at Target.  I think it's going to be good for spicing up some of my basic dresses during the spring and summer.

Michael Kors Purse - $180

I've been itching to get a new purse for some time now and struck out when I hit the outlets last month...  Coach didn't strike me to have anything I had to have and Michael Kors seemed to still be fairly pricey for the outlet.  I've been on a basic purse kick for a few years and wanted something that was classy, but still fun.  When I saw this beauty at TJ Maxx I knew she had to be mine.  In good taste, though, I waited a day to think it over and make sure that I wanted to make this investment.  Let's just say the next morning the thought of going to get my new baby from the store got me out of bed.  Sometimes being patient is well worth the wait!  (PS ~ The original MK tag showed a retail price of $368!)

Total = $455

Yikes!  Even if you take out the purse (which was from my tax refund "fun money") I was still well over my $150 monthly budget.  This may be a lame cop out, but I had A LOT of extra income this month from a grant program I am in for school and the 40+ hours I worked at my part-time job over spring break.  A girl is allowed to treat herself, right!?!  This is also one of those months where I look back at what I bought and really love everything I picked up.  I may not have scored amazing dirt-cheap deals, but I feel like everything I bought was well worth the money.  Well, I certainly did, but rest assured I won't do this very often and a good chunk of that extra money went to other things (like a new desk / workspace) and into savings.

April Shopping Plan:
Since my spending was *cough cough* a bit high for March I plan on trying to stick closer to my budget for April.  I'm allowed to start buying makeup and nail polish again in April and also plan on updating some of my shoe collection.  (I did a MAJOR closet clean out over spring break and really weeded through my shoe collection!)

Head over to Fran's blog to see how all of the other budgeting bloggers did this month and join in on the party!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Getting Started on Teachers Pay Teachers

Back in January I took a workshop from our awesome and talented music teacher who had become a total TpT rock star.  She's been at it for just about a year now and has made a TON of extra income from this venture.  She spends a lot of time creating products and has a lot of really great wisdom to share.  TpT has been something I've wanted to get into for a while now, but I just didn't know where to start.  After that workshop, I totally had the groundwork laid.  Now, I just need to really get this venture up and running!

TeachersPayTeachers  - Lesson Plans,Teaching Materials and Other Teacher-Created Resources
Image Via Teachers Pay Teachers
I was super excited about working on TpT products right after the workshop, but I soon lost steam.  I've been very overwhelmed and slightly unmotivated with school stuff recently and so thinking about school stuff when I don't have to has been hard.  I've also found myself overwhelmed by the awesomeness of other Tpt'ers and how amazing their products are.  As much as I want this to be a success, I don't want to live, breathe, and eat TpT.  

So, I want to get some feedback and advice from those of you who have products on TpT (or Teacher's Notebook).  Please comment below with your own insights and advice!

How much time do you spend per day / per week on creating projects (particularly during the school year)?  How do you balance this with your regular school duties and workload?

How do you decide what products to create?  Do you make things exclusively that you will use in your own classroom or do you make other resources as well?

I'd really love to hear the feedback of more people.  I'm part of a Facebook group, but most of us are just starting out.  I figured I'd take to the blogging world since I know some of you are seasoned pros!

You can check out my store here:  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers ~ February

I might as well warn you now that I really didn't plan on sticking to my normal $150 a month clothing / makeup / jewelry / nail polish budget.  I knew going into the month that I'd be going out of town on a shopping trip and I always allow myself a portion of my tax refund as some extra "fun money."

Merino side-panel V-neck sweater
Image via J.Crew
This was my splurge of the month, but for good reason.  I've wanted a bright pink sweater like this for over a year and every time I saw one online (usually from J.Crew), I'd wait and then miss out on it.  I decided to take the plunge and snatch it up during their 25% off promo.  This is A LOT for me to spend on a single item, but it's something that I knew would be worth it and was something I'd been wanting for a long time.

This is an Honorable Mention.  I really wanted to love this tote, but when it (finally!) came in the mail I just wasn't feeling it.  It's cute, but I knew I could put my $25 towards something I loved.  I consider the fact that I returned this a shopping win.

J.Crew Factory Scalloped Shift Dress - $52
Factory scalloped shift dress
Image via J.Crew Factory
Wedding season is just around the corner and I've already got several on the calendar.  I don't really own that many nice dresses (most of mine are more casual), so I decided that investing in a nice dress wouldn't hurt.  I love this dress!  I almost passed on it, but my mom liked it and so I decided to go back and give it a try.  The scallop detail is adorable and I love that it's navy instead of black.  I'm super excited to accessorize this one!  I love that J.Crew lets you combine the teacher / student discount with their sales...  I wish more stores were like that!

J.Crew Factory Printed Draped Tank - $25
Factory printed draped tank
Image via J.Crew Factory
Can a person ever say no to navy and white stripes?!?  I'm not normally a fan of this neckline, but I really liked the fit of this top and see a lot of versatility with it wearing it alone or with jackets or cardigans.

Gap Outlet Cardigan - $16
I think this one sucked me in because I'd just bought the above shirt and thought it would be a cute combination.  It's a fun color and I will be nice going into spring.

Forever 21 Retro Polka Dot Scarf - $10
Let's take a moment to discuss how much my local Forever 21 sucks.  I've probably been to 6 or 7 of those stores in different cities and the one in my city is by far the suckiest one.  I think every other store I've been to has a ROOM of accessories...  Mine has 2 little TABLES.  Scarves?  Good luck.  Anyway, my mom spotted this scarf and I immediately informed her that even if she was getting it, I was getting one too.  (This isn't our first mother / daughter matching scarf...  We share a leopard one as well.  And of course the one time that we wore to the same place was the first time she was meeting the guy I was dating.  I reassured him that my mom and I don't always dress like twins. LOL)

Forever 21 Sugar Cluster Stud Set - $5
Among other things I have weaknesses for...  Cute, cheap earrings.

Francesca's Collection Earrings - $12 and $5
You know those days when the only things that will make you not go insane are shopping and wine?  I had one of those days and it just so happened to be when Francesca's was running a buy one get one half sale on jewelry.  Let's just say I could have spend A LOT more.

Charlotte Russe Necklace - $13
Charlotte has really impressed me with their jewelry lately.  I don't really shop there for clothing, but I pop in every now and then when I'm working at the mall to check out their accessories.  They've got some really great knockoffs and statement pieces at reasonable prices.  I've been pleasantly surprised with the quality as well!

Total = $201

In all honesty, at the beginning of the month I was thinking my total would be more around the $400 range.  I had actually planned to get a new (nice) purse at the outlets, but didn't find one that I loved.  I've managed to stick with my no makeup / no nail polish challenge and haven't even cheated with my gift cards!  I've been really into accessories lately, though, and think that may end up being a ban later in the year.

March Shopping Plan:  
I've been cleaning out my closet a bit and finding some items that need to be upgraded or replaced.  My shoe collection is next on the cleaning agenda.  I know that I need some new dressy shoes for the weddings I'll be attending I also need to upgrade some of my sandal collection.  I'm really in a spring shopping mood, but I type this as I stare at the snow outside.  Ugh!

How did you do with your budget this month?  
Don't forget to check out Fran and the other Budgeting Bloggers over on her page!