I don’t think I have expensive taste, but I have a taste that is always a little more expensive than my budget allows. In college, I wanted fancier food (and alcohol) and clothes that didn’t come from just Target. Now, I love my crazy expensive Barefoot Dreams cardigan and paying for more convenient parking. I have always found a want to balance my bougie taste with my less-than-bougie income and I have a few ideas for how you can too.
Step 1: Go Through Last Year’s Expenses
This will be easy if you already put all your purchases on a debit or credit card because you can just look back at your statements. If you use cash a lot, try to remember all that you can. It’s okay if it’s not perfect, just try to get as much information as you can.
This will take a long time and it will feel like so much work but it is worth it. This way, you can track how much you spent each month and on what. Did you spend $400 on black Friday? You should know that so you can budget for that. Do you like to go to brunch every Sunday but don’t care if you eat the same brown-bag lunch every day at work? You need to know how you are currently spending money so you can better prepare for the following year.
Step 2: Make a Calendar
Make a calendar of all the major sales/times of year you buy clothes and beauty. Some of the obvious times you might buy could be Black Friday, Christmas sales, day after Christmas sales, Sephora VIB sales, Nordstrom Anniversary Sales, Shopbop sales, Amazon Prime Day, etc. If you don’t normally follow sales, but know you always buy new outfits for events like spring break or for a yearly Christmas party you will want to put that event on the calendar.
Step 3: Create your Budget
Now that you have your calendar, add how much you spent on each of those things last year so you can have a rough budget for the next year. No shame here, if you spent $500 on new summer clothes because you changed sizes or just because you wanted to, then that’s what you did and should decide if that’s how much you should plan for next year too. Adding up the real totals can be shocking if you don’t already track your purchases, so remember to not shame yourself during this process. You are already making strides to improve your finances there is no need to dwell on past mistakes you can’t fix.
Add up the total of these purchases for the year and divide that out either by 12 if you do monthly budgeting or by the number of paychecks you get if you do budgeting per paycheck.
Step 4: Now that you have your budget, use it!
Save that money each month for those purchases! You know when the next sale is coming so it should be easier to trick yourself into saving the money because you have an upcoming sale to buy things at! If you something you buy regularly is on sale for a good price, you can stock up because you have the money for it!
Decide what bougie items are most important to you and make sure to budget for those first. If you’re spending more than you make you have to make cuts in your spending and bougie items normally are the first to be cut. Maybe you can cut out brunch by making food at home for your friends, but you can’t imagine living without your skincare routine or your bath bombs from Lush. Make sure that it all balances out in the end so you’re able to save a little money at the end of the month.
Buy bougie and drugstore items and alternate. I have a variety of fancy shampoo and conditioner bottles in my shower and I alternate between those and Sauve Professionals Conditioner and L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Shampoo. This makes the nice products last longer so I can still enjoy them but not need to buy them as often.
Keep a wardrobe full of basics and accessorize with bougie pieces. Save your money for high-quality finishing pieces jewelry and bags that can be used over and over again. They will dress up an outfit of basics so you don’t need to have as complicated of a wardrobe.
Find alternate retailers to get the same products for less. There are so many retailers online now where you can just search google for a product and probably find one that has a sale or better shipping prices. No matter what product I’m buying I often will check Amazon and Costco to see if they have better pricing.