Saturday, February 23, 2013

Basics on a Budget...

Do you adhere to a budget?
I do, sort of...
it's a bit willy nilly but I do TRY!

My favourite shop for basics that do not break the budget 
they are not "cheap" 
 the CPW (cost per wearing) is what makes them a great buy.
I can ALWAYS find something that will work with my wardrobe here.

When sales are at 50% or better I only browse for the basics...
I am NEVER wooed by rampant patterns of may sound boring but when I did this in the past they were the buys that were worn once and then they hung sadly passed over forever after in the closet until they were purged by me in disgust!
The basics are neutral and are the workhorses in my wardrobe that I wear over and over again.
They are the backdrop to accessories...
think of them as a blank canvas waiting for a dab of colour or a smattering of sparkle!

I found one new basic today when getting out of the house to ease the cobwebs of inactivity and a release from the domestic chores that have taken most of my morning. In case you think I am complaining I am not...domestics are a big part of my life here in The Humble Bungalow and I truly enjoy pottering about getting things done.

Carilyn Vaile 
(made in the USA)
basic black Tee top in a weight that is flattering 
(especially great for those of us who are not comfortable wearing Spanx!)

This top looks really large but in fact it is not
the sleeves are a bit on the dolman style and 3/4 length which I like to wear at the elbow
it is very sheer and hangs close to the torso
it needs to be worn over a tank top.
This "Splendid" top was not on sale as it is Spring Stock but I liked it so much so I bought it anyway!

I love this lacy "Atmosphere" vest and it is a nice layer over top a white top
not too hot for summer either...

loose weave and it drapes wonderfully
longer in the back than in the front
I think this neutral shade that I would call oatmeal is a great option for a variety of reasons
it's so versatile for starters
can be worn over a dress
capri's or a skirt

it makes total sense when one opts for less rather than more clothes.

Have you been aware of the popularity of dots lately?
I m seeing them every where...

I love the cardigans at J Crew and some of the pretty dresses and scarves in the shops are all dotty.
I might splurge on a dotted scarf too but for now I opted for some cute dotty sox.

In keeping an eye on my expenditures I chose a simple Skimmia posy

which was under $10 and I later divided in two vases
one for the kitchen and one for the powder room.

I got this sweet vase from my BFF as a gift a few years ago
I love the swirly pattern on the matte white background.

Skimmia lasts weeks looking fresh
so it's a great way to stretch the budget.

My orchids are the "go to performers"
 when the Humble Bungalow Roses are not ready for picking.
Orchids are budding out but not in bloom just yet and I do so love having something in a vase to perk me up.

Orchids are budget friendly and re-bloom again and again.

What measures do you take to live within your income?
Are you a budget conscious consumer or do you spend with wild abandon?

Just thinking it might be fun to have you all chime in on this topic 
as it is one that I have been considering quite a lot of late...
what with retirement on the horizon.

I really could use some of your ideas...


  1. I just tailor my spending to my income:). Moderation in all things...I like your new gear. 'Twill suit you well!

    1. Me too. I'm careful about what I buy. I budget sort of loosely, depending on the year. And I do buy good to very good quality, but not super high end. I wish I liked to shop.

      And, Lisa, moderation in all things...including moderation! You know...

    2. I so agree Lisa...Living within ones means is critical and fiscally responsible...

      Swissy shopping can be fun but it can also be an addiction...balance is key.

  2. I think, "Where will I put this?" Or I think, "Sheree, should you buy this?"

    1. I know what you mean...
      if I run out of hangers I know something is amiss!

  3. Those are smart picks, hostess. Like you, I've recommitted to sticking with the simple pieces and adding accessories for panache. I'm afraid I've gone a little over my budget in the past few weeks, but honestly did need to replenish some things that were too big and have put on the brakes for now. I find that packing our lunches saves a LOT of money each week!

    1. You had a NEED to shop and what a great reason!
      Who would not want to have great fitting clothing after a substantial weight loss?

  4. Like Lisa, I cut my coat according to my cloth. I usually buy a few things in Spring and then again in the Autumn, I don't go in for monthly shopping.Your kitchen cabinets look stunning.

    1. Mr. HB made them to look like the original arts and crafts style cupboards...that fact that you took note will please him.

  5. I have written before, that I am able to save on small things. Having a washing machine, like everyone else, I need very little of even the basics.
    I don´t buy flowers, they are expensive here. I don´t have spa treatments, and I never actually " go shopping ".
    Whatever I buy, must be of good quality.
    In reality, I buy very little of anything these days.

    1. You do have a great eye for design...
      is there anything on your buy list for the spring and summer season?

  6. I've cut back on shopping and find I save by just staying out of the shops. If it don't see it I don't buy it. I use my accessories for variety and stick to basic staples in neutral colours. I definitely splurge at times, but find that shopping can become a hobby if not careful.

    1. I feel a little vulnerable and reckless when I go into HomesSense!

  7. I have all the clothes I need for the cold UK weather.My buys are mostly in the Spring/Autumn with the odd splurges at other times. I do have a yearly budget.Ida

    1. You sound very savvy ida, and the fact that you allow yourself the occasional splurge is comforting.

  8. I too just don't go shopping. Being in the well retired bracket I find I don't need a lot of new items these days. I tend to bring out the good old trusted outfit, that I always feel good in & make it look different with accessories.

    1. As a French Femme you must be very creative and chic with your savvy and undoubtably chic.

  9. I've been working on the wardrobe in fits and starts with the wisdom of the lovelies DaniBP, Janice at Vivienne Files, Janet at The Gardener's Cottage and the wise author (don't know her name) at Project 333. I just recently had the time to make up--by memory--30 outfits using only what is in my closet. I agree with the other commenters that staying out of the shops and keeping my eyes away from ebay, jcrew and other online retailers is key.

    My other thrifty area is food and menu planning. My mother always had a month of dinners planned in advance. I resisted for many years but now that I work full time I have found the menus and shopping list saves not only money but time as well. There is a certain comfort that comes from knowing what's for dinner--for the whole family. My sweet husband is usually home first and gets it all going (often has it waiting for me).

    I've also decided that I should say NO to myself more often. Second glass of wine? NO. Second latte? NO. Splurge on lunch out at work when I could have made it? NO There are times for frivolity and festivity. But I certainly need to practice FRUGALITY!

    1. Your Mother's planning skills must have rubbed off on you.
      Working full time requires many skills on the domestic front...
      among them planning, organization as well as time management...I bet you are a good employee too.

  10. Your new basics are going to look great on you. I like the way you stay neutral in tones, but update the styles in a fun way. I am much too basic, I know.

    In retirement I find I don't spend very much except on my house and garden. I cook because I love to, and only spend what's considered almost poverty level in our state. But I buy local food, good food, entertain at least twice a month and rarely feel crimped.

  11. Such lovely flowers that adorn your house....great idea of breaking them into two vases :)
    I wholeheartly agree with "A Well Styled Life". Of late I have discovered accessories and this afternoon I was at Sears and on the display table they had the most darling hats and matching scarves by Jessica.
    I too enjoy getting my "domestics" done...just feels good to have my home clean and orderly.
    p.s "A Well Styled Life" is one of my fave blogs along with yours :)

    1. Thank you!
      I noticed that Sears have a fashion style publication in the newspaper this week.
      The jewelry looks very much like those seen in the JCrew catalogue.

  12. Hello Hostess, I've not commented for awhile but always read to keep up with your goings on.
    I am on the cusp of purging the more colorful garments lurking in my wardrobe, the ones that were a diversion in moments of feeling blah only to realize I rarely take off the coat hanger. In my heart I'm a neutral girl and aim to use colour in my accessories more. I suppose I'm aiming to buy less but of good quality and think harder about putting an outfit together with the use of a pretty scarf and beautiful jewellery.
    And guess what..last week I chose my first Hermes twilly which I adore and I suspect my wish to concentrate on basics is so I can flaunt my pretty new scarf. I do believe I now understand the allure of a Hermes scarf!
    As others have noted refraining from visiting stores works wonders and I don't buy goods online which is a massive help when trying budget.
    Flowers in my town are quite expensive but are a treat I allow myself occasionally because a lovely bunch brings me joy.

    1. Annie- Thanks for stopping by.
      How are you doing?
      Congratulations on your Hermes scarf! You will love wearing it and find excuses to wear it often.
      Oh I am having a cup of tea...where's my Hermes scarf!
      I do miss your blog posts.

    2. Thank you Hostess. I'm doing ok and keeping busy. I spend my time now over on Instagram, it's really a form of micro blogging I suppose. Have you tried it? xx

  13. I am not great with budgeting but I pay off any credit cards each month because I don't want debt in retirement.
    I think that your vest will go with just about any other neutral clothing. Oatmeal is my neutral for layering but I wear a lot of orange and coral as my pop of colour. Flowers or branches are great for brightening February days.

    1. Forcing branches is fun. One of my staff members found a great branch after the recent windstorm and brought it into school and was going to take it home and pop it in water. I'll bet it will look spectacular when it blooms.

  14. Your new vest is lovely. I used to buy most of my items when on sale, but found that they were the odd ones that I seldom worn. So now at the beginning of the season I try and make a list of what I need, and buy those items and a couple of full outfits, tops and pants that go together. So with autumn coming here in NZ, I know this year I need a pair of work and casual pants, a couple of jumpers and tops and a jacket. A new pair of shoes and that should be it for the next six months.

    Julie Q

  15. Your new vest is a standout, interesting without being overdesigned- and am glad you found things that are 'you'. I have the same experience with pattern; it's like a sugar rush, at first feels zingy but wears off quickly.

    Because we no longer have a garden, I buy flowers occasionally because I miss them. But I find flowering plants like cyclamen or an orchid a much better buy than cut flowers.

    1. Buying those plants is like having an indoor garden...
      they look especially effective when you mass them in groupings.
      My cats love to eat mine and the orchids seem to be safe so far!

  16. Staying out of stores helps me to budget. When I look at catlogue, if there is a piece I'm longing to buy I tell my self" You can have that as a reward wjhen ou lose that 15..20..25 pounds. By the time I lose the weight my desire for that piece has vanished! I love color, so when "they" proclaim the new color of the year, I might buy a long sleeve top in that color if it a color I love. I seldom wear patterns.

  17. Thank you for future shopping advice, Leslie. I need to start saving my purchases for 'time and time again' pieces instead of, "oh, it's on sale". I am 'supposed' to be on a budget since I'm no longer working and my mat leave benefits ran out ages ago (sigh). The saving grace for me is my new country town doesn't have much in the way of fashion -- or should I say what I would be after -- and not a lot of time for internet shopping (yet!) ;-) I'm learning to get creative with what's available ... does that count for something? xxx

  18. Yes it does count!
    You are a busy mom in a new town.
    I do not know what a country town wardrobe would look like but I am sure that there are some fashionable women living there. When I visited a snowy northern BC mill town back in the mid 1970's I was surprised to see a smartly dressed woman in a navy dress and a mink jacket...My SIL advised me that she was the bank managers wife.
    You know what they say...necessity is the mother of invention!
    Being creative sound about right.