Category Archives: Fashion

Tips for Buying Shoes Online from a Serial Shoe Returner

As I have mentioned before, I am trying to build up a more polished and professional wardrobe.  In building up my wardrobe, I’ve started to shop online a lot more.  With online shopping, on top of a great sale, I’ve got the entire warehouse inventory at my finger tips, and I can usually find online promotion codes with a quick Google search.

Some of you may recall my post where I ordered 10 pairs of shoes online.  Well, I did it again :).  Below is my spreadsheet (click to enlarge) that I use to track my purchases and returns.  This time, I ordered 10 pairs (again!), and kept one pair, so far.  I am still awaiting my last pair of shoes to arrive (*fingers crossed*).

Why So Many Pairs of Shoes?

If I were to go into a store and find a pair of shoes, I usually try on about 3 or 4 pairs.  Out of those 3 or 4 pairs, there may or may not be a winner.  And as we know, with sales and clearance items, the inventory at each store changes so often, that maybe the person just before you walked away with your shoe soul mate.

So, the way I see it, instead of going to the store to try on the shoes, the shoes come to me, and I get a much better selection of styles and sizes.  Some styles are only offered online, or certain styles may not be carried in all stores.

I’m Picky

I used to not wear high heels because they hurt my feet, then I didn’t like flats because there usually wasn’t enough arch support.  What I didn’t realize until recently is that heels can be (somewhat) comfortable, and flats can be even more comfortable.  It all depends on your shoe and how it fits your feet.

After buying so many pairs of shoes that were just kinda “okay”, I think I’ve come up with a fairly good checklist of my “must haves” when buying a pair of shoes.

Frugirl’s “must have” for heels:

  • leather, suede, or a comfortable material which does not hurt my feet
  • heel height between 2″ – 3″
  • classic shape
  • cushion for balls of feet
  • must not slip off
  • $100 – $150 or less

Frugirl’s “must have” for flats:

  • leather, suede, or a comfortable material which does not hurt my feet
  • have a solid and cushioned sole
  • have good arch support
  • must not be a “boxy” shape (emphasizes my already wide feet)
  • no frills or bling at the toe
  • $100 – $125 or less

Some Tips

A lot of what I learned is through trial and error (as with most things in life).  And, sometimes, you don’t know how a good shoe is supposed to feel until you’ve tried one.  When you find that special shoe, it really is love! 🙂

In-Store pick-up

Two of the shoe retailers I recently bought from are Soft Moc and Aldo.  Both these retailers have a free shipping option where you can pick up the shoes at a store location.  I prefer to have my shoes shipped to the store locations, so that I can try them on, return the ones that don’t work out, and just bring home the ones that fit me for further evaluation.

You usually have to make a trip to the store to return some shoes anyway (they never all work out for me), so why not save yourself some work.  Trust me, lugging back eight pairs of shoes to return is definitely not cool.

Return Policy

Always, always be very familiar with the return policy of where you are shopping (online or elsewhere).  I suggest reading the return policy prior to every check-out, because you never know when a store decides to change their return policy.  I pay extra attention to the return policy of sale or clearance items.

I also like to check that the refund is made in the original form payment, as opposed to a store credit.  The store credit may not be a big deal if you shop at that retailer often, but I just like to have the cash in my hand, as soon as I return an item.

Most of the retailers I shop at allow in-store returns; however, if in-store returns are not possible, make sure you are clear on who pays for the return shipping.  If you are responsible for paying the return shipping, know the cost, and perhaps re-evaluate if this purchase is still worth it.

Test out your Shoes!

This might be a no-brainer, but always give your shoes a good test run before taking them outdoors.  Most return policies give you up to 30 days (sometimes 45 –  90 days for online purchases) to return.  And as we all probably found out the hard way, standing in a pair of cute heels for 5 minutes in the store, can be very different than wearing them all day.

Since my work place is carpeted, I like to bring my “test” shoes to work with me, and walk in them for a day or two.  Make sure you’re careful not to walk outside or get them dirty, or else you can’t return them.

Other Thoughts

One of my friends told me that my behavior (returning a lot of items) doesn’t really “jive” well with retailers, as they are losing money from my returns.  I don’t really agree with this, as I mentioned that if I were to buy this item in a store, I would have to try it on, as well.  The only difference is that I now have purchased the item first, and then tried it on.  In fact, my argument is that it probably requires equal or less effort/cost to ship an order from a warehouse and process the return, than to have the expenses of  running a storefront and paying for your employees (cashier, changeroom, etc.) for the same result – making the sale.

Readers, what are your experiences with online shopping and returning items?  What are your thoughts regarding my “serial returns”?

Cheers,

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11 Comments

Filed under Budget, Fashion

Stuff I Bought (July & August 2012)

So, I’ve been spending bleeding money for the past two months and I have a lot to show for it.  This post was inspired by Mochi & Macaron’s monthly post of what she buys 🙂 [check out what she bought in August!].

I previously mentioned that I started a new job in June, and my new work place’s dress code is more business casual than the jeans I wore on a daily basis.  For the first month, I was alternating between 2 pencil skirts, and 1 pair of dress pants*.  I had a pair of white linen cropped pants which I wore on “casual” Fridays, but I felt it was too “casual” to wear between Monday – Thursday.  I needed an updated and more sophisticated wardrobe.

Anyway, there were just so many great deals in July and August for things that were on my “list” that I just went a little bonkers and bought  A LOT.  Keep reading below for an inventory! 🙂

Fashion/Clothes

Clarks Flats – $70 (on sale)

I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of basic, comfortable, black flats, since, well, FOREVER.  I love Clark’s shoes, even though a lot of their styles are a little “cloggish” to me, they also carry sleeker styles, which are really comfortable and quite affordable for amount of wear.  I would have preferred the flats without the bow, but these were just so comfortable, that I couldn’t walk away (no pun intended).

Clarks Brown Sandal – $70 (on sale)

I had a pair of beloved brown wedges from Clarks which I sadly left behind in a hotel last summer.  I called the hotel several times to ask them to send it back to me, but I never did receive it :(.  I don’t have many pairs of sandals (summers are short in Canada), but I prefer a brown strapped sandal over a black strapped sandal.  I stand at a towering 5’3″, and I find the brown sandal helps to lengthen my legs, as opposed to a black sandal which truncates my leg.

Payless Black Pumps – $25

The last time I bought a pair of shoes from Payless was in university, and I remember them not being very comfortable or of good quality, so I’ve stayed away.  Then, I was in Payless with my mom looking for a pair of running shoes (she wanted a specific pair my sister got there), and noticed their “Comfort Plus Basic” line.  These shoes were the exact classic, almond toed, 2.5″ basic black pump that I have been searching for!  I’ve been wearing them all week at work, and can attest that they are indeed a great work shoe at an awesome bargain!

Ann Taylor Patent Leather Skinny Belts $46USD (on sale)

I love leather skinny belts!  I experimented with a cheap H&M neon skinny belt, and I’ve been wearing it so much that it’s all frayed now.  So, when I saw an Ann Taylor patent neon yellow skinny on sale, I couldn’t resist!  Then, I saw the patent black leather on sale, and I couldn’t resist that either…

J Crew Minnie Wool Pants – $118 USD

I’ve been hearing so many rave reviews about the Minnies [thanks, Mochi!] that I had to try them out on my recent trip to the USA.  I walk about 2.5km to and from work every day, and I do it in flats, so I really wanted some nice tapered work pants, that wouldn’t drag on the ground in flats.  There were almost the perfect pair of work pants – they fit me very well, had belt loops (seriously, why make pants without belt loops?), and had a bit of stretch.  My only qualm is that I wish the wool was lined!!

Leopard Print Infinity Scarf $20

I’ve been searching for the perfect leopard print scarf, and I even bought one in Hong Kong, only to be unsatisfied.  So this one is really perfect.  The material is soft, and the print is perfect.

Gap Coral Jeans $30 (on sale)

I am completed in love with Duchess Kate’s wardrobe and I loved her coral jeans.  I had a pair of cobalt blue Gap jean leggings from February (but then I botched them in the washing machine – doh!), so when I came across these coral ones, I knew it was fate :).  These jeans are super comfy and bring some much needed colour in my boring vanilla wardrobe.

Talulu Navy Shorts $35 (on sale)

I don’t usually shop at Aritzia [how teenagers afford it is beyond me], but these shorts caught my eye and my co-worker talked me into it.  I’m glad I got them because these shorts are so comfy and chic.  I’ve worn them almost everyday since I got them!

Ralph Lauren Aviators $120 (on sale)

I’ve been craving a pair of aviators since last summer.  I love the lassez-faire, yet glamorous look to them, and I love that most of them come with polarized lens.  These pair of Ralphs are made for women, so they aren’t as overwhelmingly large as some unisex aviators were on my smaller framed face.

Beauty

Urban Decay Naked Palette – $60

I’ve been eyeing the Naked palette since it first came out, and haven’t been able to bite the bullet.  In fact, I bought several other palettes which were “dupes” (i.e., Sephora moonbaked, QUO smokey eye palettes, NYC, etc) for the Naked, but not quite.  So, I used a $25 gift card and scooped up the original Naked palette.  And as I paid for it, the SA mentioned that she’s seen me in the Shoppers Drugmart before petting looking at the palette…

Cover FX Concealer – $24

I have been having such a hard time with breakouts this summer.  I’ve heard great things about Cover FX, and I wanted to try their concealer.  I love it!  It’s got great coverage and I only use a tiny dot for my blemishes and under eyes.

Cover FX Blotting Powder – $22

I’ve been using the MAC blotting powder religiously for the past 4 years, but lately, I’ve been finding the powder falls apart as soon as I hit pan, and I wasted so much make-up that way.  *sigh*  I gave Cover FX a try, as I have been quite satisfied with their products and their price points are comparable to MAC.   So far, I really like this powder – I use it with the concealer and it’s awesome.

Home

IKEA Statement Full Length Mirror – $80

I haven’t had a (non-warped) full-length mirror, and I think that I will need one in order to work on my style.  I also think that large statement mirrors not only add a perception of more space in a room, but also just looks so elegant.

Used Wooden Dresser – $25

I haven’t owned a real dresser, ever.  I really needed a dresser  (my closet is pretty small), and I wanted to put my “vanity area” on the top surface of my dresser.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, I decided to use a used dresser as my project – I will need to sand down the dresser and paint it.  The dresser above is a similar dresser – I couldn’t find my camera to snap a pic.

Used Antique Mirror – $25

I saw a beautiful antique mirror as I was browsing for my dresser on Kijiji, so I picked it up, as well.  The mirror I got is a similar shape, but has been painted a mint green, so I will have a little project to strip the paint, sand it down, and repaint.

IKEA Step Stools (2) – $30

I saw these little guys and thought one would make a great little night stand – I asked BF to cut a piece of wood to fit in the bottom for a shelf.  The second step stool, I was use as a purse holder, since I tend to just drop by bag on the floor when I get home.

Shark Clothes Steamer – $65 (on sale)

I hate ironing.  And it was on sale for half price.  Fate, I tell you.

Shark Steam Mop – $50 (my half – on sale)

My new apartment has all hardwood floors, and as beautiful as it looks, it was tough to keep clean.  Not to mention  both my sister and I hate mopping.  This little guy is AMAZING, and it was also half off.  Done.

Miscellaneous hooks, filing, storage –  $100 (guestimate)

I bought a bunch of stuff to help organize my closet, including an extra rail to increase closet space, some velour hangers, purse holders and some hooks.

Gifts

Ray Ban Aviators $190 (on sale)Not only was a very generous to myself this month, I was also generous to others :). BF was going to do his MBA, and I’ve wanted to get him a pair of nice polarized sunglasses for the longest time [we’ve been quasi sharing my old banged up polarized pair for the past few years].  He wore them as soon as we got outdoors, and kept exclaiming how everything was so clear!  Adorable 🙂

GPS – $180 ($60 is my portion – on sale)

It was my dad’s birthday in August, and my sisters and I pitched in to get him a GPS.  Even though, my dad kept saying he didn’t need one, and listed out a gazillion reasons why he didn’t need one, he secretly wanted one.  So, we got him one that also speaks Cantonese (quite common), and he can use all over North America.  He loved it.

In conclusion

Total spent on “just stuff”, as Gail would say: $1,264 + taxes = $1,401.

Whew!  Even though this is a lot of money, it’s not so bad now that I have it written out.

Please note:  I assumed $1USD = $1CND, as the Canadian Dollar is basically at parity.  Items which I didn’t add a 13% tax are USD items and my used items.

Sooo… what did you buy in August and July?  I’d love to hear about your purchases 🙂

Cheers,

17 Comments

Filed under Budget, Fashion, PF Confession

Nice Ring!…. I think

With all the excitement of engagements and weddings in the air of my fellow bloggers and my friends/family, I have a confession to make.  I don’t really understand the hype behind the diamond engagement ring.  I mean, sure they look nice… but 3 months of salary worth “nice”?  *shrugs*

Polite Ring Admiration

From my experience, when co-workers/friends/other girls get engaged, they come into the office/lunch/wherever, all giddy and hold out their hand.  Everyone All the women tend to crowd around and “oooh and aaaah” over the ring, they tell the future bride her ring is beautiful.

Me?  Well, I do that, too.  But more out of social etiquette, since I have no idea what the difference is between different engagement rings.  They all kinda look the same to me.  Like this.

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I mean, I would do the same thing when someone shows me a picture of their ultra sound.  I would  probably doing a bit of “ooohing” and “aaahing” and tell the expectant mother her baby is so cute – when really, all I see is a weird blob on the snap shot.  It’s not that I’m not happy for the expectant mother – I am!  I just don’t see anything on the photograph!

The same goes for the ring.  I am happy for the couple – but I don’t see the big deal about it.  But I feel that it is polite to outwardly admire it.

But I Like Rings!

Before you think that I am a ring nazi, I want to make it clear that I like rings!  I think these beautiful rings can complete any outfit.

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Images via here, here and here.

I love how a statement ring can complete or add a fun twist to an outfit.  And I think that a wedding band can be a beautiful and elegant piece of jewelry that is a symbol of a couple’s commitment to one another.  I think Miss Minimalist’s wedding ring is amazing, and her attitude (and her ring!) are more in line with my ideal wedding band/engagement ring and price tag.

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What are your thoughts on engagement rings or wedding rings?  Do you admire them rings?

Cheers,

23 Comments

Filed under Fashion

On Packing Light(er)

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Some Background

I used to be a really heavy packer.  When I moved abroad to Southeast Asia for an exchange, I brought with me 2 huge 1960’s style full of … stuff.  Granted, I was going for 4 months, but that was definitely the days prior to the birth of minimalist Frugirl.

Traveling around in Asia with my friends, who were much more minimalistic than myself, I learned to pack only what was really important.  Some of my “high points” was a 3 week trip across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in just a school backpack, and also a 5-week trip across Egypt with by girl friends with a 50L pack.

Some Inspiration

Some great inspiration from the blogosphere are the very fashionable ladies at Extra Petite and Fabulously Broke.  They have a lot of great tips and posts on how one can pack lightly while staying stylish, so I encourage you to check them out, before packing for your next trip!

4-days, 3-nights Boston Trip

This weekend, BF and I are taking a last-minute trip to one of my favourite cities in the world – Boston.

I just finished packing my bags last night, and snapped a few pictures to share with you my packing experience. I tried to pack light and still keep my outfits fun and make-up. 🙂

BF will be going for a quasi-business trip, and we are making a mini-vacation out of it.  So most of my clothes are casual wear for comfort and (some) warmth.

Everything fits into my “Longchamp” look-alike brown (Roots – $35) gym bag and I will also be bringing along an over the shoulder purse.

What I Packed – Clothes

This is what I am bringing with me, and that indistinguishable pile at the back is what I will be wearing during the flight and our first day there.   The clothes that are rolled up will be packed and this includes:

  • 1 pair of  dark rinse skinny jeans
  • 2 cardigans
  • 3 short sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 skinny belts
  • 1 scarf (not shown)
  • 1 pair of ankle boots
  • 1 pair of knee high flat boots (not shown)
  • 4 sets of under garments and socks (not shown)
  • 1 sleeping shirt
  • 1 pair of yoga pants
  • cute hat (not shown)

What I Packed – Toiletries and Make-up

I got this wonderful make-up back just this weekend (for only $5!), and I am really happy with it.

For some reason, it’s really hard for me to find a make-up bag that can hold all my toiletries and my make-up.  The ones that I have are either too big, or too small, and usually not enough compartments to keep everything organized.

I thought it would also be a great time to test out the Marcelle BB Cream and Joe Fresh cheek tint to save some space.  I left my usual primer, tinted moisturizer, blotting powder, blush  and large brushes at home.

Here’s what’s in my make-up bag:

  • Small bottles of: cleanser, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen, acne medication, toothpaste, contact lens solution, and make-up remover
  • Marcelle BB cream, 3 eye shadows, 1 cheek tint, 3 lip glosses, 2 lip sticks,  1 brow palette, 1 liquid liner, 3 pencil liners.
  • Tools: 3 eye shadow brushes, 9 cotton pads, foldable brush, toothbrush.

Miscellaneous

I brought along another foldable (fake Longchamp by Chatelaine) bag for shopping :).  You can see it peaking from behind my make-up bag.   Most of the rest of the items are things I’d usually have in my purse anyway:

  • Sunglasses
  • Leather gloves
  • Ear muffs
  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Small digital camera
  • iPod Touch and charger
  • More lipglosses 🙂
  • Eye drops
  • Contact lens and glasses case

Since we were traveling to the US, we didn’t convert any currency, and just used our credit cards everywhere.  I did take out $60 cash from a bank machine –  TD has machines there you can use – but we didn’t really need the cash.

Conclusion

Here’s everything all packed away.

I really enjoy not checking any bags, and I feel kinda like a celebrity breezing through with my minimal baggage, while everyone else waits for their bags to be dropped off 🙂

I still brought a little too much – I could have re-worn some shirts, I really didn’t need two pair of shoes, and I definitely could have eased up on the lip sticks ;), but I’m on vacation and wearing lipstick is fun!

Stay tuned for What I Bought in Boston! 🙂  Any bets on if I blew my $250 budget?

Readers, how do you like to pack for vacation?

Cheers,

15 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Travel

2012 Portfolio Re-balance Part 2: Forgetting about Cash

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One of my February goals was to re-balance my portfolio.  If you haven’t read Part 1, you can catch up here.

Re-balancing my Portfolio – Take 1

I was really happy with myself after this re-balance and I was ready to make the transfers, after March 1st, since I wasn’t sure if moving out my funds would affect my contributions for my 2011 taxes.  I was happily chatting away with BF, feeling pretty darn good about myself and my re-balances portfolio until…

What about Cash??

BF pointed (in the kindest and most gentlest way), that I hadn’t taken into account cash in my portfolio. Since I kept a sizable amount of cash on-hand, I realized that by not counting my cash, my portfolio was actually a lot more conservative than it seemed.

I decided not to include my Emergency Fund Savings ($10,000) and my Travel Fund ($1,200) since I wanted to keep that cash on hand for anything that comes up.  I am also debating about what to do with my General Savings Fund ($15,000) – for now, I have left it out of my portfolio calculation.

Re-balance – Take 2

I calculated my actual asset allocation, including my cash. Sure enough, it was a lot more conservative than I had wanted it to be.  From the chart above, I actually have 50% of my portfolio in cash and bonds.  Waaay too conservative for my liking.

So, I tweaked my asset allocation to be 30% of bonds & cash, and 70% stocks.  Now, it looks a lot better.

Conclusion

This was a great exercise and a huge wake-up call that money sitting in my checking account is idle money that could otherwise be earning interest, or could be invested in something.  It was also a great reminder that I need to continuously tally up my $0 budget at the end of the month and put the “extra” money (if any) into something – TFSA or Travel Fund, or whatever, so that I know my money is working for me.

Readers, how much cash do you like to keep in your portfolio?  Do you account for cash as part of your portfolio?

Cheers,

4 Comments

Filed under Fashion

PF Confession: I Bought 10 Pairs of Shoes

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Blogs – I ❤ thee

I love reading blogs.  It’s so much fun to read, and I learn so much.

Before reading fashion blogs, I was never really interested in online shopping.  I am the type of girl who likes to try things on before I make the commitment, and unfortunately, online shopping doesn’t let me do that.  Until…

I realized that many bloggers buy things online – from sales, stacking coupon codes, etc, and then they try on the items in the comfort of their own home, and they can return the items if they don’t fit/like it.

Can I get a Hallelujah? 🙂

Shopping Online

I felt like I got a free pass with shopping online, whenever I had the option of getting a full refund for whatever it is I am buying.  It took the guess work out of ordering something online, and truly made the shopping process more enjoyable for me.

See a good sale and hate to rummage through piles of discarded clothes, only to find the only shirt in your size is ripped?  Why not shop online and have access to the store’s entire warehouse inventory?

Return Policies

In my small venture into the online shopping world, it is very important to understand the return policies of the stores you are shopping at.  Some stores have final sales on clearance/sale items, or perhaps you can only return for a store credit, as opposed to a full refund.

Make sure you read carefully and understand the return policy before checking out!

My 10 Pairs of Shoes

A couple weeks ago when I saw Red Flag Deals tweet an awesome shoe sale at MySpringShoes.com, I couldn’t help but take a peak.  They still had quite a selection left of shoes marked at 50 – 70% off regular price, with a coupon code for an additional 15% off.  Some of the shoes I got came to under $10 after taxes!!

I quickly checked Spring’s return policy, and it was exactly what I hoped for.  Full refund in the original form of payment for ALL items, including clearance items.  A few clicks, and $225 later, 10 pairs of shoes were enroute to me.

Of course, I didn’t keep all 10 pairs (what?  Did you think I was crazy?!).  I ended up keeping 2 pairs which I really liked.   These are the two I kept.  Cute, eh?  And the best part, they cost ~$65 total 🙂

Crazy?

Maybe buying 10 pairs of shoes was crazy of me.  I know that when BF saw my backseat full of shoe boxes, he thought I might have gone insane but I reassured him that I had a plan!

My plan also included parking at the mall entrance closest to the Spring shoe store, and him helping me carry back the 8 boxes of shoes to be returned. 😉

Conclusion

Next time, I may be more selective in ordering, since it was a pain to carry all the shoes back to the store.  But I did score a great deal on 2 pairs of shoes!

Readers, do you shop online?  And have you bought a lot of things, only to try them on and return the ones you don’t want?

Cheers,

23 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Finance, PF Confession

My Experience Buying “pre-owned” from Kijiji

In my January Recap, I mentioned that I bought my new-to-me winter jacket from Kijiji. Kijiji is an online classified website similar to Craigslist where people can list items to sell.

The last time I bought something off Craigslist/Kijiji was when I got some of my furniture for my apartment. At that time, I bought a couch ($200), a coffee table ($30), and a dining table set ($50).

But I’ve never bought clothes from Kijiji/Craigslist.

Why I Decided to buy Pre-owned

I’m not the best shopper and I don’t love rummaging through sales racks and picking at left-over… but I still want to get a good deal :).

Hat tip to Bridget for reminding me that people may be getting rid of unwanted gifts on Kijiji/Craigslist in January. I’ve had my eye on The North Face knee length parka for almost 2 years now, but I didn’t love the $400 price tag.

What I Bought

I wasn’t able to find The North Face jacket on Kijiji, but there were several TNA knee length parkas listed. I have heard great things about the TNA parkas, and also their not-so-lovely $300 price tag.

The jacket I bought was advertised as almost new. The lady was selling it because her daughter never wore it. I got the Aspen parka in my size for $160 – cash.

What I Learned

Know what you want and your budget

I knew that the jacket retailed at $275 and on sale for $250. If I were to buy the jacket new, I would also have to pay 13% tax for a total cost of ~$300. I would have been happy with getting this jacket for $200.

Be decisive and quick

When I saw the $180 list price, I immediately called the lady, and asked her for details.

I offered to come see the jacket within 2 days.

Negotiate

Since she was located out of town, I offered to come out to try on the jacket and pick up.

Even though I thought the $180 price was pretty good, I also asked if she could drop the price a bit, since I was driving out of town. She agreed to drop the price by $20 for a total of $160.

Safety, First

Since I was going to check out the jacket at the lady’s home, I brought BF along with me.

Always let someone know where you are going, and then check in with them when you get there and before you leave. If possible, send them the correspondence between yourself and the possible seller.

And always follow your instinct.

Double Check Everything

There are no return policies, so make sure you check everything for any damages or mal-functions. I checked that the jacket didn’t have any tears/rips at the interior lining, and the exterior, and I made sure all the zippers and buttons worked.

In general, make sure you ensure the item is the same condition as advertised.

There will be hits and misses

Even though this jacket was obviously a hit, I’ve also had misses when buying things off classified ads.

If an item is damaged, more worn/used than how you think it was advertised, say so. If it’s a miss for you, say so, and let it go. You are not obligated to buy something that you don’t want and won’t be happy with.

You win some, you lose some.

Boot Example

I saw a pair of Sorel boots online, listed as almost new for $90; however, when I got to see the boots in person, I noticed that the treads at the back heels were worn flat. I pointed this out to the seller, and he said that he was selling it for his fiance and she said that she barely wore it.

Even though I had a bad feeling and wasn’t completely happy with it, I gave him the money and took the boots. Then, when I got back in my car, I questioned why I did that. I obviously wasn’t happy with the boots.

So, I swallowed my pride, went back and asked if I could have my money back due to the condition of the boots. The seller obliged, accepted his boots, gave me my cash, and then shut the door in my face.

Conclusion

There are a lot of great deals that can be found by buying pre-owned of classified ads. Like anything else, I learned as I went along. I hope that the lessons I shared can help you on your next pre-owned purchase! 🙂

Readers, do you buy clothing from Kijiji or Craigslist? What has been you best find to date?

5 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Finance

Inspired by: Should I buy Chanel?

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I am a PF blogger at heart, but I also have a love/hate relationship with style and fashion blogs. Maybe I am naive, but whenever I see a picture of a celebrity carrying a Chanel/LV/Celine/other $$$ bag, I assume its because they are a celebrity. And I never really imagine that us, normal people can own those bags – at least not the real ones, anyway.

Personal Style Blogs

I really enjoy reading/ogling at fashion blogs because they are great inspiration for outfit ideas and some of they are super informative. Being a towering height of 5′ 3″, I have always found trouble finding clothes that fit and look good. Discovering petite style blogs has been a godsend for me. I learned that with a bit of tailoring, and looking for specific silhouettes – I can look more put together and (gasp!) stylish.

One thing that I’ve been noticing more of trend in some of the fashion blogs I follow, is acquiring classic (aka $$$$) items. Burberry trenches, Chanel bags, Louboutin shoes, etc. I’m not sure if that is the style blog equivalent of reaching a really high net worth, but it seems to be something that is celebrated and encouraged by the style blog community.

I LOVE pretty clothes and accessories. I mean, which girl who doesn’t? But I have trouble wrapping my head around a purse that costs more than $300, and I think $300 is a lot for a bag.

Should I buy Chanel?

This post was inspired by a reader question for Katherine over at Feather Factor. If you haven’t checked out Katherine’s blog, she has a great sense of style and a lot of great interviews with some amazingly stylish (and rich?) ladies with closets fit for a queen. A university student reader wrote into Katherine asking for her opinion on whether she should buy a Balenciaga City bag (800USD?) or a Chanel Classic Flap bag (4,300USD).

As I read through the post, what I found most interesting were the comments. The posts had almost 60 comments, and most ladies chimed in with their opinion of either going with the more cost effective Balenciaga City, whereas others encouraged the reader to get what she really wanted – the Chanel Classic.

For me, it was mind boggling. It wasn’t too long ago that I was a struggling university student, and I just cannot fathom how “university me” would have $4,000 lying around that can be spent on a bag. After paying for tuition, text books, rent, living expenses and the odd night out – I had little money left at the end of a semester.

My Thoughts

I know it’s none of my business how anyone else spends their money. The reader never asked for my opinion, and I’m not even answering the reader’s question. But my advice would be the following:

Dear University Student,

Please save your money. You never know when the opportunity might come up where that $4,000 can change your life. I think it’s important to have that flexibility as a student – where you have so many opportunities to learn and grow.

And even when you get your first full-time job, don’t blow your first pay check on a bag. In fact, unless your starting annual salary is over $200,000, your 2-week paycheck (after taxes) probably won’t even come close to the cost of a Chanel bag.

When you start working full-time, live within your means. Figure out your living expenses – they don’t call it “cost of living” for no reason. Figure out what you need to save for retirement. Then, have another saving fund for things that you LOVE – whether it be a trip abroad or a Chanel bag or whatever. Put money into this savings account and watch it grow.

When you can afford to pay for the bag in cash – go for it. And then, enjoy it.

All the best,

Frugirl

I didn’t have the guts to write this as a comment on the actual post because I was afraid that I’d come across as a PF nazi. I also didn’t want to get hate mail for shunning Chanel. But the reality for me is that even though it is a beautiful bag, so is my The It bag! 🙂

I honestly don’t understand why and how anyone could pay so much for a bag. Even after reading style blogs for 2 years, I still don’t get it. To me, it’s just a bag. But I also understand that everyone has different opinions and we are all free to spend our money as we see fit. I just wanted to share my $0.02 on my blog.

Readers, what are your opinions on expensive and classic items, such as the Chanel Classic flap purse or a Burberry Trench jacket? Do you own any of these items and do you think they are worth the high price tag?

I love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,

48 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Finance

Pinterest to my Rescue

I’ve recently gotten a Pinterest board and it’s SO COOL!!!

It’s like a virtual cork board where you can “pin” images from various websites on it.

I’ve been using it to put together ideas for my new and improved wardrobe.  From my experience with my shopping ban (so far), I’ve realized that I gravitate to the same pieces, and I also don’t look as put together as much as I’d like to be (photographs do not lie).

I’ve been consistently purging my closet this year, and I hope to have left the things that I really really like, or at least what I wear most.  I would like to determine what my style is and what I would like it to be.  And then I want to fill in the holes of my wardrobe next year.  But first, I need to know what those holes are, and I need to know what my style is.

So, this is some of my stuff from my Style Board.

The always stylish Fabulously Broke has kindly reviewed my style board and has come up with my style (thanks, girl!).  I feel like I am on an episode of TLC’s “What not to Wear” (except without the 360 degree mirror and the $5,000 credit card to spend on a new wardrobe… darn).

From what I have on my Pinterest Style Board, I like:

  • clean lines
  • streamlined shapes
  • black and white patterns and lace
  • stripes
  • classic shapes
  • trench jackets  (LOVE!!)
  • knee-high boots tucked in jeans with a blazer
  • colourful scarf with neutrals
  • chunky sweaters
  • belts
  • statement necklaces
  • Kate Middleton is my style goddess 🙂

And what do I have in my wardrobe right now?  Good question.  My fear is that after I finish purging, I won’t have anything left.

I’m just going to list the items I really love.

  • brown leather knee-high boots
  • black trench jacket
  • black flat strapped sandals
  • bronze wedged sandals
  • dark blue skinny jeans
  • lime green scarf
  • striped navy scarf
  • black and white patterned wrap dress
  • black blazer
  • grey open cardigan
  • black tulip skirt with pockets

Not all those items are perfect though.  My skinny jeans are a bit saggy in the butt and have started to fade.  My trench is a bit tight in the shoulders.  My black blazer have sleeves that need to be slimmed and shortened.  My open cardigan is pilling at the sides.  But it ‘s a good place to start!

If you would like to follow me on Pinterest, you can find me here.  I also have some pins for how I’d like to decorate my place, and hair styles I like :).

Have you tried Pinterest?  Or do you have a physical cork board with your ideas and inspirations? 

Cheers,

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My Home-made Toiletries

These are some of the concoctions that I have tried and worked for me.   They are usually things that I  already have around the house, or they are pretty cheap to purchase.

Castor oil for blackheads ($5)

I first read this on J$ blog, and thought to myself, this guy must be nuts! 😛

Turns out it worked out great for me.

I just apply the castor oil with a Q-tip to the areas on my face with blackheads.  Wait about 10 minutes, and then I lightly rub the areas.  I can feel the blackheads between my fingers!  Then, I wash my face with my cleanser and I’m done.

I can’t believe I wasted all those years (and money) on Biore strips and squeezing them.

Sour cream and honey mask ($2)

I was told by my esthetician that lactic acid was very good for my face.  Unfortunately, I did not want to spend $50+tax on the lactic acid at the spa.

So, I turned to my friend Mr. Google, and found that sour cream has a very high lactic acid content and mixed with honey is a great mask.  I have done this about 4 times so far.

I prefer to use sour cream over yogurt since it’s a little thicker and doesn’t slide off as easily.  I’m sure either is fine. It smells funny and it can be a bit messy, but my skin looks great afterwards.

I do this about twice a week. LOVE. IT.

Vaseline as lip balm and eye cream ($4)

I know that some of you will balk at me for using Vaseline on my eyes.  It’s a great eye make-up remover and I put on a bit afterwards for moisturizing.  I haven’t gotten any clogged pores or anything, and my skin is pretty oily.

I always go back to Vaseline despite all the different lip balms and glosses out there.

Baking soda to remove oil build up ($1)

The oil in my hair can build up after a few washes and days without shampooing.  The easiest way for me to remove the build up is to mix about a teaspoon of baking soda with a bit of water, and massage that into my hair after I shampoo (before rinsing).  I let that sit in my hair for a few minutes and then rinse out.

The build up is removed every time and my hair is soft and fluffy.   I do this about once every other week.

Baby oil and baby shampoo make-up remover ($9?)

I was tired of paying through the nose for make-up remover and couldn’t find one that I really liked.  Many of the make-up removers I’ve tried were super oily (Neutrogena eye make-up remover) and I wanted something that was more gentle.  I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but have since learned that I need to remove it all every night with a “proper” make-up remover and not just use my cleanser.

So I did some research and found some home-made recipes.  I use 1 squirt of baby oil, 2 squirts of baby shampoo and fill a 100mL container with water.  Shake, and voila!  If you use more make-up, try adjusting the quantities to find something that suits you.

A bottle of 100mL usually lasts me a month or 2.  So the bottle of baby oil and shampoo should last a very long time!

Normal shampoo to wash brushes ($2)

I used to buy normal shampoo on sale and I didn’t want to throw them out even though I didn’t use them to wash my hair anymore.  Now, I use it to wash my boar bristled brush and make-up brushes. Easy peasy 🙂 I have no idea what they have in those over priced “brush shampoo”.

So those are my cheap hacks that I use at home.  Feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt.  My skin is very oily and I have struggled with it for most of my life.  I am finally trying to embrace it and work with it, instead of against it.

What are some of your home-made concoctions?

Cheers,

12 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Health