Tales from the Wallet: Leave Room in Your Budget to Take Advantage of Sale Prices

leave room in your budget for salesI just saw a great study on this, so I thought we’d discuss — do you leave room in your budget to take advantage of sale prices?  Do you do it in a disciplined way (“I have $300 to spend for fun purchases, no more!”) or is it just part of your budgetary cushion? Which sales do you splurge on? 

This seems like a great follow up on our recent post about how to make a budget: Of course it’s great to be aggressive with your savings, student loan payments, and investments — but be wary of trying to live on too tight of a budget if you don’t have to. Probably the biggest long-lasting effect the recession had on my money habits is that I leave enough room in my budget for unexpected sales on household items. When I’m in the grocery store or the pharmacy, I look for items with good sale prices and then purchase them even if we don’t need the item immediately (provided we have the storage space). The headline of the HuffPo article I saw about a relevant study says it all: “Poor People Have To Spend More On Toilet Paper Than The Rich: Study.” The study found that low-income households don’t have the cash to buy in bulk, so they end up paying higher per-item prices; the article also mentions that poorer people often end up paying more for “discount” toilet paper than richer people do on “premium” toilet paper. (A lot of readers agreed with me when we talked about everyday splurges: sale prices or no, life is too short for cheap toilet paper!)

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Reader Mail – How to Dress if You’re Busty and on a Budget

how-to-dress-professionally-if-youre-bustyWe’re catching up on reader mail this week…

I am a first year in law school, consequently I am broke. In reading your advice about dressing professionally for busty ladies, I met the same problem I always do. I am aware Neiman’s and Nordstrom’s have the better underwear departments, in terms of selection and fittings; but I still can’t afford it. Are there any suggestions for a wide selection in a more affordable price range? Again thanks for all your great advice!

First, go to Neiman’s and Nordstrom’s or specialty shops to get fitted anyway, even if you can’t afford to fill your entire lingerie drawer there. You may feel required to buy one bra to compensate the woman for her time, but it shouldn’t run more than $50-$75 (TOPS), and you shouldn’t feel obligated to buy more than one. The reason for this is that they have a broader selection than the cheaper stores — for example, it’s next to impossible to find anything below a band size 34 in Victoria Secret’s or Macy’s, or a cup size higher than a DD, and that may be where you fall. [Read more…]

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