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Save or Splurge? TCE edition May 7, 2010

Filed under: saving — raffydarko @ 4:50 pm
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Personal finance/frugal sites abound with comprehensive lists of the Save vs Splurge variety. I do have some personal guidelines myself and would like to share them – actually, my splurge is not an actual splurge, more like “choose well, buy good brands but find cheap ways to get them”. eBay in this matter is a good friend of mine! No need to ever break the bank.

Do you agree with my “rules”?

cotton tops: save

jeans: splurge – cheap jeans often are a sloppy fit, hems get “wrinkled” soon, the cotton is thin

wool sweaters: splurge – I’m extra-picky about winter sweaters, since I can’t stand itchy wool but also synthetics, also in blends; so I just own a limited number of sweaters and cardigans in cashmere and merinos which are lovely and last years

bra: splurge – small or big, your breasts deserve to be held and shaped by the best bras! A good one really makes the difference even under a simple T-shirt (wink wink)… and lasts long

panties: save

socks: save – hell, some of my best socks were bought at the supermarket

stockings: splurge

shoes: splurge – it’s a given, no? I’ve had my share of hurt, bleeding feet, something that can ruin anybody’s day. Not just flats and heels, but also cheap sneakers can hold bad surprises

makeup brushes: splurge – try applying powders using the softest and thickest brushes and see

hair brushes: save – I don’t think those overpriced, luxury brushes really make the difference. Or do they?

body lotions etc: splurge – no need to explain my cosmetic choices again

scrub: save – or do it yourself with salt and body lotion/oils!

umbrellas: who knows? I’ve had fancy umbrellas which broke soon, fancy umbrellas lasting forever, cheap umbrellas of poor quality, cheap umbrellas which just were indestructible…

eyeglasses: splurge – I’m not fond of designer stuff, but designer frames are just another world, and since eyeglasses have to stay on my face during all my waking hours, they better be the best

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Confessions May 4, 2010

Filed under: TCE — raffydarko @ 4:54 pm
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In 2009 I’ve been really good. I spent 400 euros for new clothing, shoes and accessories – totally. Never been so virtuous before, considering that I really like to shop for clothes. In 2010 I’ve been… less good, since I’ve spent more or less 400 euros, again – but it’s only May the 5th! Actually 1/5 of this sum was spent on my new padded jacket alone, which was a great buy and a much needed one also – I found it on sale in an outlet. The rest were mostly tops and a pair of flats ’cause, well, I just needed something nice.

No shopping for now, just swapping – trying to hold on as long as possible. Ah, temptations…

 

Someday fashion April 13, 2010

Filed under: psychology — raffydarko @ 11:01 am
Tags: , ,

Mild temperatures, sun shining, a gentle breeze. It’s the best time of the year, before the heat is too much and mosquitoes come in heaps. I feel reborn, after all the snow and the grey winter, and I’m celebrating it by running in the park. Erm, ok, I will go running in the park – but for now I celebrate by decluttering my closet. Not that there’s much left to declutter: during the years it has become a habit for me to do it regularly (and I even enjoy it), and besides 6 months ago I had to move. It feels great to have less stuff, less unnecessary stuff – and yet there is always something which is left parked in the closet. I just put in the Red Cross bin 3 worn out T-shirts and a bag I’ve had for years – cheap, cute, but too weird-looking and unpractical. This was one of those infamous someday items. We all own some. They are good quality, right? It’s a pity not to use them and sure someday we’ll do. But the day never comes, strangely enough.

My mother believes in keeping stuff. She’s one of those people who always comments “it’s still good”, but doesn’t wonder: for whom? for what? for when? The pied-de-poul wool suit she found in my old bedroom closet looked good to her and I vaguely promised I’d take it home with me soon, only because I didn’t want to argue. But:

– it is 10 years old – I might have liked it back then, now I don’t anymore

– I never wear suits

– I don’t like pied-de-poule

– the jacket has shoulder pads!

It may be good quality, but if I’m uncomfortable in it, if it’s not “me”, there’s no point in keeping it. On the contrary, it’s a good thing to learn by past wardrobe mistakes.

(Why do we keep such things, really? We have barely worn them so there should be no emotional attachment. Or maybe any thing we buy is felt as a link to the past, weak as it can be. If you’re like me, it makes sense!)

 

I love swapping April 5, 2010

Filed under: saving — raffydarko @ 4:42 pm
Tags: , , ,

Swapping is the new shopping, they say. Oh yeah!

I found in a drawer a diary I had never used, they gave me a T-shirt for it. A body lotion was replaced by mineral foundation. In place of a book I got a DVD. These and many other swaps happened through two sites, http://www.bigwardrobe.com/ and http://www.makeupalley.com/swap and cost me nothing – except those few euros needed to post my things.

The first is the best one: BigWardrobe (UK-based) was created for swapping exclusively and trades work as on eBay. You can contact a user to offer a swap, then make a formal offer for the item and after trade is completed (which means both parts have received their ends) you leave feedback. It’s free, though you can have your address verified (thus becoming a more trustworthy swapper) by the site admins, after paying a small sum through PayPal. Each user has a virtual notice board and can build a network by adding friends as on Facebook. Clothes and accessories are the most swapped items, but almost any kind of item can be found on the site. Oh, and one can choose to swap or sell or be open to both options.

MakeUpAlley (US-based) is great for finding cosmetic brands from other countries or trying new stuff without the guilt of spending money on it. Just don’t be fastidious about used m.u.: lipsticks can be cleaned, eyepencils sharpened and brushes washed. The downsize of the site is that it is about reviews and forum debates rather than swapping: users list their items, contact other users, make a private agreement, leave a token (feedback) and that’s all. Site admins don’t meddle in swaps, home addresses can’t be verified and anybody could leave tokens to anybody, even if no swap had ever occurred between the two parts. As a result, swaplifters (people who get items, especially from new users, and send nothing in return) abound. That said, I was swaplifted just once and my experience in general is very good. If I buy a product which I then find out is not right for me, I put it up for swap right away instead of hiding it in my drawer until it expires.

Thanks to swapping, I was able to find a new home for some nice things which I wasn’t using anymore, which made decluttering a more pleasant experience. I discovered my favourite mineral m.u. brand, Everyday Minerals, through a swap. I could try the fabulous eyepencils by Urban Decay. I got organic skincare products, Abercrombie and Fitch tops, great books, nice shoes… And the best swappers also include some extras in their packets, be them cosmetic samples or teabags. I once swapped for a green eyepencil and I received *three* eyepencils in different shades of green! And yes, I love green eyepencils.