It’s the start of a new semester here in PA school, and you know what that means – financial aid has dropped! As someone in school full time and not working, I’m completely dependent on government loans. I do a monthly budget for rent/utilities, food, gas, and other living expenses, but I thought it would be a lot more realistic to do a semesterly shopping budget. And part of the reason why I’ve decided to this is that for most of my rotations, I’m wearing business professional rather than scrubs. I’ve noticed that I’m reaching for the same 10-15 tops in my closet, and that there are some missing staple items that I should get. So I needed to make and stick to a budget that would allow me to fill in some of the gaps in my closet, and put my best foot forward during Clinical Year.
Right now, I’ve decided to go with a budget that is 5% of my income for Fall Semester – $800. Realistically I think that this is probably a lot more money than I need to spend, but it’s going to be spread out over 4 months, and I’ve decided that anything I have left over in this budget will go into savings. After I finish this semester, I should have a much better idea of what kind of budget I should set for Spring.
How did I come up with 5% ? After doing some research online, most finance sites seem to recommend that you spend 3-5% of your monthly income on shopping. Since I knew that there are staples missing from my closet right now, and that I haven’t been serious clothes shopping in over a year, I felt like going with the higher end of 5% would work well for me.
I’m also a serious bargain shopper, and I have a really hard time paying full price for anything! My style tends to lean a lot more towards the preppy side – I love florals, stripes, and classic colors.
One thing I do have to say about myself: I tend to hoard clothes. I’m horrible at going through my closet and realizing what I wear and what I need to throw away. So one of the first steps I did when I decided that I needed to expand my wardrobe was come up with a system that would help me do this. Since June, I’ve flipped around all of the hangers for my clothes in the closet, and every time I wear something, I return it to the closet with the hanger in the correct way. In December, I’m going to go through all of the clothes with backwards hangers, and force myself to really evaluate whether or not I actually need the item. So far, it’s really helped me realize that I tend to wear the same items, and that there’s a lot of clothes in my closet I haven’t worn in months and probably won’t wear for months. And, it’s really helped me discover the things in my closet that I wish I had!
Staple Items I need for business wear:
- Black Cardigan
- Colored Cardigan – pink, navy, or Burgundy would go well with a lot of the items I already have in my closet
- Button-up long-sleeve shirt
- Long, plain navy trousers – I have pinstriped ones right now, and I think adding a plain navy would really open up what tops I could wear with it
- Navy Tieks – I find myself wanting to reach for this color on almost a daily basis
- Colored trousers – wine colored or Burgundy
- Plain black work dress
Staple Items I need for casual life:
- ripped “boyfriend” jeans
- white jeans
- new sandals – I’m leaning more towards the band style of sandals that’s popular right now
- black riding boots – my current pair is falling apart!
- tan riding boots – my last pair didn’t survive last winter, but I’m really particular on the kind of coloring I want. I really want something that is a Carmel color and less brown.
My plan for this new addition of the blog is to show you guys what I’ve bought and how I’m sticking to my budget during school. Depending on how often I go shopping will dictate how often I do these kinds of posts. I’m also definitely going to review my thoughts on the hanger method once December rolls around. And, at the end of Fall semester, I’m going to share how well I stuck to my budget and what out of my Staple Items I ended up finding.