Hey y’all! I have been thinking a lot about money recently as we’re coming to the end of 2013 and I review my spending habits from the past 12 months. Unfortunately, I haven’t done so great in the area of moderation when it comes to purchasing clothes (sure they were cheap! I just bought a TON of them, which adds up. :P). I am aiming to change that in the new year, but that will be a different post. πŸ™‚

I have received many questions about how much I think it’s okay to spend on different care/ wardrobe items. As I prepare my budget for the upcoming year, I thought it might be good to share my oh-so-subjective and totally personal preference “goal range” for clothing and beauty products. Below I have listed what I’m willing to spend (or maybe I should say, “I try really hard not to go over this amount for these items”) on things. I thought I’d break up the text a little bit with silly pictures from August 2011 when my friends and I went grocery shopping since they sort of kind of go with the “buying” theme. πŸ˜›

Under $5:
  • Lip products. I know some girls will spend a ton on these, but on the rare occasion I buy a lip balm or chapstick, I go for the cheapest all-natural product I can find.
  • Belts. These are so plentiful at thrift stores that paying retail for them seems silly to me.
  • Nail polish. Because I only paint my toenails every couple weeks, I don’t see a reason to buy expensive polish. I did finally talk myself into buying a little better than Walmart’s cheapest as I have gotten older and have started caring about quality, but never more than $3 a bottle.
  • Earrings. I have something of an obsession with these, so in order to make sure I don’t go broke on them, I’ve limited myself to rarely more than $5 a pair.
  • Tanks. Because I’m happy with Forever21’s tanks, I try not to buy more expensive ones. However. Tank tops are a huuuuge blessing to the modesty cause and I would be okay with buying more specialty ones if I hadn’t found Forever21’s to work for me. Halftees, for example, are very worth the money.
  • Cheap flip-flops. For muddy walks and need-cushion-on-my-feet laundry days, I prefer Old Navy’s inexpensive flip flops because they are pretty comfortable. πŸ™‚ 
  • Scarves for headcoverings. The thrift store is the best place to find these. Because it’s so easy to make my own from nicely cut fabric, I can’t see spending more than $3 on a fabric headcovering. πŸ™‚

Under $10:
  • Bracelets. Because I have small wrists, I can’t wear most bracelets comfortably. So, when I find one I like and that fits, I’m willing to pay up to $8 for it.
  • Underwear. I get teased in my family because I am very picky about my undergarments and I’m willing to pay more for what I want. I’ve been known to spend up to $5 a pair on underwear, but I usually buy packages of 3 pair for $8 or $12. And I replace it yearly.
  • Scarves. When I went to Paris for my 16th birthday several years ago, I found and bought a dozen nice fabric-type scarves for myself that later that year became *very* popular here in the states. I got them for $7.50 a piece (at the time that was 5euros). I haven’t really bought any scarves since then (though I have been given some as gifts) because they’ve served me so well. I’ve looked at buying a floral scarf or two though and decided that for the amount I would wear it and for the purpose it serves, if I were to find one on sale for less than $10 I would purchase it. So far I haven’t so I am still floral-scarf-less despite loving the look. πŸ™‚
  • Shirts. Because I love to have a lot of styles and colors of these, I try to keep how much I spend per item down. So, thrift store shirts definitely never pay more than $5, and for new I try to hit sales and rarely buy any top for more than $8 or $10.
  • Leggings. I really like Forever21’s leggings (can’t vouch for their tights) which I can usually get on sale for about $5 a pair. They have all different lengths and colors online. They’re also thin enough to wear two pair if you need to under jeans but warm enough that you only need one pair under skirts for general wear. πŸ™‚
  • Make-up. Mascara, cover-up, powder, shadow, etc can all be found for under $10 each at Walmart, which I’m okay with for now. Maybe when I’m a millionaire one day I’ll spend money on the good stuff. πŸ™‚ 
Under $15:
  • Pretty flip-flops. I buy a new “nice” pair every year to wear “out” that’s prettier than Old Navy’s $1 pairs that I beat up around the house. I’m willing to pay about $12 for a pair because of how often I wear them. I try to find a pair that is comfortable and doesn’t look dirty quickly. πŸ™‚
  • Slippers. Letting y’all in on something that until now only my family and long-time friends knew: I have a “weird slippers” collection even though I hardly ever wear slippers. These are something that it’s gross to buy used, hard to find retail on super sale, and hard to justify spending a lot on since they’re usually worn with PJ’s, although I am a huge supporter of beautiful pajamas. πŸ™‚
  • Necklaces. Because the quality of these is pretty obvious as you’re wearing it, I’m okay spending a little bit more on these than on earrings, for example.
  • Summer church sandals. If I need to buy a new pair (although I’ve been doing well thrifting these lately!), I try to buy them on clearance for the next year. Payless Shoe Source is my go-to store for shoes and I can usually get a clearance pair for about $8, sometimes $12.
  • Skirts. Except for denim skirts, I try to spend less than $15 for a skirt and unless I REALLY love the skirt, I usually will only spend about $5 on one.
  • Flats. I don’t actually wear flats, but if I did, I wouldn’t pay more than $15. Usually see them on clearance for about $13. 
  • “Fashion” pieces. I allow myself one or two “this season” items (that usually end up looking stylish still next season, too) that are a little bit more than my normal thrift store prices and are more trendy than my classics. These help me give life to my wardrobe and I have such a fun time wearing them. For instance, this season I bought a blaze orange high-low sheer tunic and camo leggings: not to be worn together (unless I go hunting?). πŸ˜‰ Thankfully I got them both for super cheap, ($4 and $7) but I would have paid up to $12 for each. 
Under $25:
  • Cardigans. These get worn all the time and the quality really is noticeable, so I try to get nice brands for as cheap as possible, which is still usually about $23. These last a couple seasons for me so I don’t mind. 
  • Denim Skirt fabric, to make my own. These last and last and last and last, so $25 for fabric is a no-brainer for me. 
  • Leather gloves. I usually buy Target’s $20 pair and keep them for as long as possible until the dog gets to one. πŸ˜› 
  • Hats. If I  know I’m going to get a lot of use out of a hat, then I’m willing to spend $20 on one (or ask for it for it as a gift). If it’s not a structured hat or is more casual, I usually don’t get it unless it’s under $10. 
  • Purses/Backpacks. I started carrying a purse at age 10, when it became “cool” for my friends and I. We traded them like playing cards. Somewhere along the way I decided that fad was over so I stopped carrying one, but this year I finally got back into it out of necessity and boy, it is handy. πŸ˜› So, I splurged and got myself one that I really like. I also bought a backpack that I’d been wanting/needing for a while. These aren’t frequent purchases for me, but like a good pair of shoes, it’s worth paying more for quality. πŸ™‚ 
  • Heels. If I’m looking for a specific kind of heel for a particular dress, I expect to pay about $20-$25 because I don’t usually have time to shop around or be flexible. 
  • Pajamas. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually bought myself pj’s because we get a new pair every Christmas Eve and my pairs have lasted yeeeears, but I often pick out the pj’s for the occasion and Target has a great, affordable selection. 
Up up and away– over $25:
  • Jeans. I usually get them on sale from American Eagle for about $35 and they last several years. It’s important to me to have a really well-fitting pair of jeans that don’t need any fussing because I usually pull them on in a rush. 
  • Fashion boots. I’m talking heeled suede or fake leather boots that you wear to church. I am willing to pay $35 for these because I get so much use out of them. 
  • Swimsuit material. I have gotten my costs down to about $25 per suit some years, but other years I want a specific look/material so I pay up to $35 in fabric for it. Still reasonable for a custom modest swimsuit.
  • Stylish, practical walking shoes, for wearing with skirts and not looking like a homeschooler. I spent $120 on two pair of Sperry’s because I was hurting my feet wearing flip-flips all the time and was tired of cheap shoes looking nasty within a few days of wearing them. It hurt at the time to spend that much money, but now I don’t regret it a bit. They’re great. 
  • That Perfect Dress. Either in fabric or from an online store like eShakti or Shabby Apple, every girl should have a dress that is a go-to for special occasions. I think I spent ~$40 on fabric for my Blue Lace Dress last year and again, it was so worth it. 
  • Winter coat. Everyone needs one they love wearing. I pay between $40-$80 every 4 years or so for a new one. 
  • Leather Boots. Whether work boots for around the farm or beautiful dark leather boots for going to town, if you want durability+comfort, you’ll have to pay. My work boots and new flat boots were both about $180 a pair. 
I’m sure of left some things out by accident– let me know if there are any other items you would like me to mention. Hopefully this was helpful for a couple readers! What do you think about these prices? How do your budgets for these things differ from mine? Blessings!

50 thoughts on “The Price List | What I Spend On Stuff”

  1. This was great Olivia!
    Since I have been buying more of my own things lately- it was wonderful to see how much you spend on stuff! πŸ™‚
    I think that we have just about the same guidelines….
    I was wondering, about how old were you when you started buying most of your own clothes etc. ?
    Thank you ever so much!


    1. Great question! I started doing my own shopping (as opposed to my mom just picking stuff out for me) when I was about 11 I guess (my mom would still be with me obviously). I would be given a set amount (usually $100 or $200) to spend and anything over that I would have to pay for myself. At that age, when $20 was as much as I had in my piggie bank, I wasn't about to buy anything on my own. Now it's more just "If you have the money to buy it yourself, do, because the other siblings could use clothes too" kind of deal. πŸ˜‰ Which, as I've gotten older and grown my business, I've transitioned to mostly buying my own and some of my sister's, as a help to the family. Sorry that doesn't really give an "age"… since there's never really been a "switch", it's hard to say. πŸ™‚

    2. Hi Olivia and the Shashaguay sisters! I have been an "independent" shopper for a long time. Since we shop mostly thrift, I can afford to shop on my own most of the time. I think that allowing kids to shop on their own gives them a good sense of how to spend and save money.
      At this point, most of the things I buy are under ten bucks. Of course, as I get older, I might need to start spending more in certain areas…. like makeup. Lately I have had an oily forehead, and am getting tired of feeling like a greased cookie sheet :p I'm thinking the makeup I wear might be linked to it. I don't wear much makeup, so I've used the cheaper brands. Do ya'll have any tricks for greasy foreheads?
      By for now and God Bless,

    3. Thanks for your two bits ladies! πŸ™‚
      Natalie, I have been using Burt's Bee's Acne Solutions Toner for a while now and love it! The only thing that has been frustrating is that they have changed the prices about five times since I started using it at least 6 months ago. I love using natural whenever I can! Though spending up to ten dollars on this kind of product is not very fun, it is well worth it!
      AND I just found out adding a few drops of lavender to this is really soothing!

      much love to you sisters in Christ,

    4. I use honey to wash my face, it's really helped with oily skin! First, wet your face, then spread on a very small amount of raw honey. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse off. I do this about every other day, the rest of the time I wash with a microfiber face cloth and water only. Hope that helps you!

    5. I actually use olive oil πŸ™‚ It might sound weird, but I thought that if I planned to spend more time on makeup in the coming years, I should have a face wash that doubled as a makeup remover. I really like it–it makes my skin feel so soft and, no, it doesn't cause acne!

  2. I've gotten leather boots for about $60-$80. a few Christmases ago, my hubby bought me black leather tall dress boots on sale at JCPenny. Rick's Ranchwear has great deals on western and work boots, I got a pair of dark pink/maroon Ariat brand cowgirl boots for $60, I think. I also found a cute pair of suede leather, faux fur lined boots at Goodwill for under $10. They are Bare Traps brand, very comfy and cute. I wear them constantly,so they're worth it. So check out those places if you can.

    1. Hey! Yes, I believe those are the ones I get. The price has gone up. :-/ They stay up pretty well, although I've also gotten in the habit of pulling them up a lot without me realizing so I can't say for sure. πŸ˜› My sisters will also tie the straps up (I'm too lazy to sew them shorter) so they stay up better. Also, if you get the size that's on the smaller end for you, they stay up better, but then you can't really wear them with like an open cardigan because they're so tight. I actually got two sizes of mustard yellow– one for under shirts and one that's looser for more wear as like a shirt. They've lasted pretty long so far! Occasionally a thread will pop if I stretch it weird taking it off, but that doesn't bother me… just trim and keep wearing. πŸ™‚ Hope that answers your question! Blessings!

  3. Thanks for sharing Olivia!
    Quick question: What age did you start wearing makeup?
    I'm wondering because I'm getting 'older' and I'd like to know what ideas I could get for that issue. πŸ™‚

    1. I personally started wearing concealer when I was 12.5, mascara at 13, eyeliner at 15, and then blush, eyeshadow, and lipgloss at 19/20. I would wear those last few on special occasions when I was younger, but now I wear it all on a regular basis. Honestly, this is something that is very different for each family. Since I was the oldest, this was just the natural progression as I would play around with it around the house and my mom would say, "oh, yes, that's pretty. You can wear that out". πŸ™‚ My younger sisters though have started wearing all that a little earlier. We just try to look our age. πŸ™‚ Hope that helps!

  4. I wish I could copy every one of your posts! But, you know I wouldn't be so mean. πŸ™‚
    We share some things in common.. I've got small wrists and I'm picky about underwear and such. I never wear slippers (and yet own them?) and I love cheap flip flops for early morning milkings and laundry days. Keep it up!

  5. Okay, these are often my favorite posts on blogs, because I think you learn so much about someone by seeing what they splurge vs. save on. I definitely agree with you on the boots; you learn the hard way on a farm not to buy the cheap stuff, even for work boots. I recently bought a pair of L.L. Bean boots as my husband and I are taking up some pretty messy homestead-y hobbies and I want to make sure I'm waterproof head-to-toe. They were a little price-y ($130ish) but once I had them in my hands, they were definitely worth the cost; also made in the USA and with bison leather uppers sourced in the USA, so I felt pretty good about the purchase.

    I am with you 100% on tanks. I wear them under EVERYTHING, so I mostly go to Old Navy when they have a crazy sale and run out the door with like 20 of them in every single color for a dollar or 2 apiece. I go a little crazy.

    Thanks for this post! Definitely interesting to read.

  6. Things down there are a whole lot cheaper than in Canada!!! If you want REALLY nice stuff be prepared to buy a $50 hat, $10 scarves, and $8 nail polish. I like nice brands that are good in quality, like Forever21, G27, Bench, Essie, and so forth.
    You are pretty good at limiting yourself. I'd never be that good. Sometimes. LOL!

  7. This is awesome i really enjoy reading your blog Oliva. You have been such an encouragement to me. I've been on a long and hard journey in modesty. So helpful! May the Lord bless you and your family.

  8. Most of my wardrobe is made up of awesome thrift stores finds, but my Mom seems to have a knack for walking up to a rack and finding the most high end thing on there. It's kind of scary, but she does. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Emma! My name's Natalie, and I couldn't help but to reply to your post because your Mom sounds like my mom! We are big thrift store shoppers, and when I shop I'll kind of scan the racks instead of going through them… I'm not too patient, you see πŸ™‚ I'll be trying on skirts and such that I don't like and Mom will come up and go "I found some stuff you might like," and they end up being my favorite clothes! I think mothers have SXRV…. Shopper's X-Ray Vision! God Bless and Merry Christmas!

  9. Thanks ever so much for sharing, Olivia! It's great to see young women like you thinking carefully about how you spend your money! Thanks for the great tips!

    Blessings in Him,

    The eldest sister and singer

  10. Do jeans from American Eagle shrink? I usually get my jeans from Old Navy but they shrink so much and I grow really fast so I can usually only wear them for a month or two.

    1. They shrink a little bit, but I find if I just pull/stretch them a little bit before drying that helps them stay long enough. I haven't grown in a decade so that's not an issue for me. πŸ˜›

  11. These are great guidelines, mine are similar (although I'm a *bit* cheaper–probably because I'm not yet 16 and don't have a job. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing! =) I recently got 6 shirts brand-new (on sale, of course) for about 35 dollars. I think I did pretty good. =) I hope to check out Forever 21 (I've never been there) soon to get some tanks and leggings. =)

  12. Wow, I have to second another Canadian's comment. Your prices are MUCH lower than we have up here. But then again, we generally get a higher income. It's just shocking to see such low prices! No wonder so many people I know go to the States to shop! Anyway, loved your post, if I just up the prices a bit, the categories still work! πŸ™‚

  13. Hey, Olivia,

    I had a question about buying belts at thrift stores. I've only done that once (it was a straw belt) and the result was not good–it fell apart almost instantly. Do you know how to tell when a belt is higher-quality so that I wouldn't have this problem?


    1. Hmmm… that's hard. I don't usually go for straw belts anyway because they've always fallen apart sooner than others, even new ones. I generally just tug on the belts and check for any hints of too-much wear. sorry that happened!

  14. Hi Olivia, I've been discribed as the king of bargins so appreiate what your doing. I found an interesting site during the year. http://www.aliexpress.com as I was looking for some leggings for a friend of mine for a fancy dress. My logic for using the site is that most things are made in China so why not buy from the wholesaler. I need to save so this is a great place to buy. I may end up picking up a tuxedo for US$130 rather than $800 if I walked into a store here & got the same thing. I do Rock n Roll dancing & it's all about dress. We pay US$220. I find online I can get simular shoes for US$120 some even cheaper. Offen it also includes free shipping. I would encourage you to have a look (window shop) & see if there is anything that grabs your attention. There are bargins to be found. I have only just started using the site so can't give you many more examples of savings. I've been using it more for a friend of mine. All the best! Jon πŸ™‚

  15. Hi Olivia,

    Just wondering if you have a budget or set amount or "goal" of how much money you spend each year for clothing, shoes & accessories? For myself, I find it helpful to set a specific amount at the beginning of the year, that way I really do think carefully about my purchases throughout the year. Each year I also try to decrease my budget from the previous year.



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