That Time I Tried Stitch Fix

That Time I Tried Stitch Fix _

Have you heard of Stitch Fix? It is an online personal shopping service, and for a $20 styling fee your stylist will select five pieces of clothing that get mailed to your home. You can try the clothes on at home, keep what you want and send back what you don’t. If you buy something, the styling fee gets applied to your purchase. If you buy everything, you get a 25% discount.

I first heard about Stitch Fix a few years ago, and was always intrigued by the concept. I love the idea of someone else making style selections for me, since I tend to stick with a fairly narrow design aesthetic and like the idea of pushing outside of my fashion comfort zone. Recently, I’ve had a few friends give it a try, and I decided that it was finally time for me to take the plunge myself. My new job was is a bit more casual and funky than my old job, so I thought this might be the perfect way to spice up my wardrobe.

My biggest concern with Stitch Fix was the price. Since you can’t select your own pieces with Stitch Fix, the price is a bit out of your control. The website states that the average price per piece is $55, which is a bit higher than I’d prefer but wouldn’t be unreasonable for unique pieces that I can’t get elsewhere. But I figured I’d give it a try. The worst that could happen is I’d be out $20. Continue reading

Dining Out Without Breaking the Bank

Dining out without breaking the bank _

After learning just how bad my lifestyle inflation has gotten in the last few years, I’m trying to do what I can to cut back in certain areas. One area in which I noticed particularly egregious spending is in eating out. BF and I don’t indulge in too many luxuries, but we do really enjoy going out to eat regularly. This has come to cost me a pretty penny over the years (don’t even get me started on the madness that was our restaurant spending in France this summer). While I have no plans to cut out eating out entirely (it’s something we really enjoy and value), I have been thinking a lot lately about how we can get the same dining out experience without spending quite as much money.

Today I thought I would share my thoughts on how to dine out without spending a ton. You can still enjoy great food, atmosphere and company without going over your budget. Continue reading

Do You Really Need A Side Hustle?

Do you really need a side hustle _

Personal finance bloggers love to hustle

A big focus in the PF community is on creating multiple income streams. Sometimes this takes a passive form, through investing in stocks or real estate, and sometimes it takes a more active form, through side jobs, gigs, or a “hustle.” Many people are able to turn their blogs into income generators. Others work as virtual personal assistants, write content for other blogs, manage social media channels, etc.

While I deeply admire those who seek to pursue side jobs, I’ve come to see that it’s not for me. Since there is so much out there about the where, how and why of side hustles, today I thought I’d present the other side of the argument: why I don’t have a side hustle. That’s right, I work one job and have no plans to change that any time soon. Continue reading

Lifestyle Inflation Part 2: Key Drivers

Lifestyle Inflation Part 2, Key Drivers _

After looking at how my spending has changed over the past four years, I found that I had succumbed to the dreaded lifestyle inflation monster. I learned that two categories were especially troublesome for me: food/drink and “other,” a mashup category that I use to track all of my irregular spending. Today, I’ll look deeper into those two categories to see what is really driving the lifestyle inflation and if there is anything I can do to curb it. Continue reading

Lifestyle Inflation Illustrated

Do you know what lifestyle inflation is? Remember when you got a raise and decided that you could now afford a lease on a new car, instead of driving around your old junker? That is lifestyle inflation. Remember when you finally paid off that car loan and suddenly had extra money in your pocket each month, which you promptly spent going out more often with friends? That is lifestyle inflation.

lifestyle inflation illustrated-01

Lifestyle inflation is the easiest trap to fall into. It is also an extremely dangerous trap. If you fall prey to lifestyle inflation, you’ll never get ahead. You think you’ll be able to save more to reach your goals with each raise or debt payoff, but in reality your lifestyle just grows to fit into your new available income. You likely don’t even feel happier with your life and all your new stuff because you hardly realize that your spending has increased and that your lifestyle has inflated. Spending more becomes the new, subconscious normal. Continue reading