Monthly budget adventures (January 2016)

Time again for my monthly budget adventures! At the end of December, I had a few gift cards and was looking forward to some shopping in the new year.

An eShakti return

But before shopping, I had to return my new plaid dress from eShakti. (Insert sad trombone sound.) My other dress from eShakti, my navy-and-black houndstooth dress, fit perfectly, as seen here. But the white-and-silver plaid shirtdress I ordered — in the same size as the houndstooth dress — felt 2 sizes too big on top. Behold:
Librarian for Life + Style | eShakti dress return collage

I continue to be hit-or-miss when it comes to eShakti items fitting me, as I have written about before, most recently here. Fortunately, eShakti has instituted a much improved system of returns, so I first sent the dress back to see if it could be remade. They said they were out of fabric to remake it — guess they couldn’t just size down from the dress I sent back! — so that meant a refund. Boo. 😦

Replacing my black skinny jeans

I had donated my old pair of black skinny jeans to the fashion swap this past fall. I have been on the hunt for a replacement pair, as I have found black skinny jeans to be quite versatile in my wardrobe.

I had two $25 gift cards to Old Navy or affiliated stores (Gap, Banana Republic, etc.) for a total of $50, so I thought that was a good place to start searching. I tried on the curvy skinny jeans in black at Old Navy, but they had only tall and short options in my size at the store. Neither worked when I tried them on, and I was starting to feel like Goldilocks! This one is too long, this one is too short… 😉 Also, the stretchy denim fabric felt a bit too thin.

Next, we went to Banana Republic, and I was quite impressed with the sales guy, who gave me a quick intro to Banana Republic’s line of skinny jeans (a bit of stretch but more substantial denim so they don’t stretch out). He also helped convert sizes for me according to their sizing system, and voila, this pair of black skinny jeans fit just right. 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Shopping for black skinny jeans

  • Black skinny jeans, Banana Republic {exact}:  paid $14.50 (original price $89.50, applied $50 in gift cards + $25 Christmas cash)

And I’ve already worn this replacement pair of black skinny jeans multiple times, including in this post earlier this week:

Librarian for Life + Style | Layering textures and shades of grey + black

Thrifting adventures

I went thrifting twice at Here We Go Again, one of my favorite local resale boutiques, as I outlined in this post about my teal-and-faux-fur coat, and earlier this week in my thrifting adventures post.

Librarian for Life + Style | Thrifting adventures | Teal houndstooth coat with faux fur collar

Librarian for Life + Style | Thrift shopping adventures

And I still have a little over $6 left on my HWGA gift certificate! 🙂

Shoe shopping at Payless

On the same day that Sam and I shopped for black skinny jeans and thrifted at HWGA, we also stopped by Payless, as I had gotten a $25 Payless gift card for Christmas. I left with a very cute — and comfortable! — pair of black striped canvas flats, which has a fun lining of pin polka dots! I also got a pair of slipper socks that y’all saw earlier in my “A day in the life of an academic librarian” post. I have been LIVING in these socks since the night I brought them home.

Librarian for Life + Style | Shopping trip in January 2016

Librarian for Life + Style | Slipper socks from Payless

  • Black-and-white striped canvas flats, City Sneaks for Payless {similar} {polka dotted canvas flats}:  paid $0 (original price $19.99, used $25 Payless gift card)
  • Slipper socks, Payless {very similar}:  paid $1.99 (original price $10, additional 30% off sale, used remainder of Payless gift card)

New lipsticks

I have also gotten three new lip products, which I detailed in my earlier “A new lipstick era” post.

Librarian for Life + Style | New red lipsticks and lip liner

  • L’Oreal Infallible Le Rouge 10 hr Lip Colour in “Refined Ruby“: paid $9.99
  • Wet n Wild Megalast Lip Color in “Stoplight Red“:  paid $1.99
  • L’Oreal Colour Riche Lip Liner in “Always Red“:  paid $4.50 (original price $8.99, used 1/2 off coupon)

Budget recap

Total spent for this month:  $32.97
Total savings for this month:  $212.50

Total spent for this year:  $32.97
Total savings for this year:  $212.50

Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers!



10 thoughts on “Monthly budget adventures (January 2016)

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      It’s true, black jeans are more prone to fading. My old pair of black jeans (from Target) were still holding up pretty well, color-wise, after 3 years of almost weekly wearings. I always air-dry black jeans — actually, I air-dry all of my dark and colored denim — as I have found the dryer cycle the most, shall we say, destructive to color pigments? That strategy has worked out well so far! 🙂

  1. Laura

    I would have bought the “too long” jeans–for some reason I like to wear my pants a little on the long side (ditto for sleeves). But the length you chose looks excellent; very polished! And I think I may pick up that L’Oreal lipstick this afternoon. My visible-from-space-red Mary Kay lippie has gone walkabout just when I need it to wear at a dance competition this weekend. Glad to have a reliable recommendation from another pale gal. 🙂

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      I am LOVING the L’Oreal Infallible lipstick, so I hope that goes well for you! I have found that the lipstick goes on creamy and doesn’t dry out my lips but also keeps the color after multiple hours of wear. And the dark red color that I got still looks RED after several hours, and doesn’t turn into a pinkish color.

      And that’s funny about you choosing the “too long” jeans. I think it’s probably a PNW thing, that I go with the regular length — because I have found that the longer-length skinny jeans get bulky when I try to wear tall boots over them! But you don’t really have that problem living in the Deep South! 😉

  2. Meghan @ Hayes Days

    I’ve found some styles and cuts inconsistent at eshakti as well. Good to know they’ve changed their policy. I may bring my business back to them again. I’m in the market for black jeans too. I’ll have to take a look at those. They fit you so well!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Oh my goodness, THANK YOU — it’s so good to hear I am not the only one who has had sizing issues with eShakti clothing. It was actually the changes in the return policy that brought me back to them, but I’m still disappointed over the plaid dress. Especially since it was the SAME SIZE as the other dress I ordered. Ah well.

      Regarding jeans, I have also been considering NYDJ, which seem ideal for those of us with curvier hips. I really had no expectations going into Banana Republic, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their denim.

  3. yettie

    I like the long BR jeans – that’s how I would wear them. Banana Republic has been a huge disappointment to me in the past but I just may give them another shot because I do need black jeans

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      That is interesting to hear about your past experiences with Banana Republic. I really had no expectations or experience with BR before I went shopping for skinny jeans — it was motivated by my gift card! But I really do love these jeans, and I have been wearing them practically every other day since I bought them! I have also heard very good things about NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans), so I would try out that brand, as well.


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