Style Bloggers <3 Budgeting: Cassie of The Minute Glass
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m Cassie, a thirty-one year old soon to be mother of one living in Alberta, Canada who blogs over at The Minute Glass.
My background is in Engineering, which at various points has seen me working in oil & gas, heavy duty construction, and manufacturing.
Not exactly the most feminine of career choices.
[ Editor: I hear that. Starting out? There’s some good Engineering career advice here. ]
Fashion is my feminine outlet of choice, whether it’s through participation (hello blogging!), or simply reading about it when participation isn’t an option (as is the case in some work settings).
I love clothes that are feminine, but not in an overt, bubble gum pink kinda way.
“My position on bubble gum pink is subject to change.”
What’s your money motto and where did you learn about budgeting?
To be honest, I don’t really have a money motto. I probably should, but I’ve really never given a lot of thought to it.
“I learned about budgeting from the school of hard knocks.”
Throughout university I was always able to make enough money in the summer to pay off any debts I incurred the previous year. It allowed me to slip into the mindset that debt was okay, because I never had a problem paying it off.
Fast forward a couple years and I had a car payment on a lemon of a vehicle, a mortgage on a house that needed a ton of work, an income that had recently decreased by about 40%, and a debt level that I was dangerously close to not being able to pay off. I had bitten off way more than I could chew.
After a couple months of anxiety, I logged into my bank accounts and wrote everything down so I could see it in one spot.
“It wasn’t pretty.”
The next month I did it again, and compared the two. I did this month after month, having little epiphanies along the way. It was initially a slow process, but it made a lasting impression on me.
I read A LOT about budgeting and frugal living. I learned from others who had successfully paid off large sums of debt (see Sherry’s story), and started actually using the skills I had learned growing up on a farm, such as growing my own food and fixing my own clothes.
[ Editor: I love this. I wish I knew how to fix my own clothes. ]
I made budgets, screwed them up, and then made new ones. There was a lot of trial and error involved.
Ultimately I came out of the experience with zero debt, some new skills, and a healthy respect for my money.
Do you create a clothing/wardrobe budget and how did you come about the method?
I spent a long time neglecting my wardrobe while I was paying off my debt, and to be honest I was a little bit hesitant to start letting myself spend money on things I enjoyed again rather than on things I needed.
I came across one of Franziska’s earlier posts on how she set her budget using a percentage of her net income (5-8%).
I liked her methodology, and I ended up applying the same percentage to my net income. I found that $250 a month was a nice round number that fit in that range.
I don’t use my bonus or income tax return in that calculation, because there’s no guarantee any given year that those will materialize. I don’t want to be counting on money I don’t necessarily have when it comes to wardrobe shopping.
[ Editor: Not to mention lifestyle inflation can creep up on you. ]
What do you like to shop for and why?
Does window shopping for books and pretty knick-knacks count?
” Chapters is my crack.”
On the clothing front there isn’t really one item in particular that I enjoy shopping for.
It really depends on the mood I’m in on a particular day, as well as what’s up on offer. If the current style doesn’t fit my body type or aesthetic, I kinda hate shopping.
If I’m having one of those rare days where everything fits and looks great, I love shopping.
Shoes have been reasonably good to me in recent years. My husband would argue a little too good.
I also enjoy shopping for coats, though given the price point I gravitate towards on those they’re much fewer and further in between.
Also, my hall closet is becoming limited on space.
[ Editor: Mine too. It is crammed full of boots and coats. ]
Is there anything you hate shopping for? Why?
Dear god I hate shopping for shirts.
[ Editor: *gasp* ME TOO. I forgot about shirts. ]
There’s too many sizing variables, and most brands’ fit models are shaped differently than I am. This is what I’m working with:
- long arms
- narrow shoulders
- large breasts
- small waist and ribcage
- short torso
- high hip bones
“Trying to find a shirt that fits everywhere is like finding a needle in a haystack.”
Some things can be solved with tailoring if most areas fit correctly, but not everything. The hardest items are woven shirts – it’s near impossible to find something that’s narrow enough at the shoulders without pulling and gaping at the chest.
Most times it’s easier to layer shirts that I only have to match a couple measurements on, like a sleeveless blouse with an open cardigan.
What is the all-time best and worst item(s) you’ve purchased and what have you learned from its purchases?
They’re both coats, funny enough, and apparently I have a thing for Kensington…
My best purchase hands down was my red Canada Goose Kensington parka. I get cold really, really easily, and this was the first coat I’ve ever had where I could go outside at -20 and not feel it.
The quality of the coat is fantastic.
I’ve had it for a couple years now, and don’t regret the purchase even a little.
It really drove home that if I’m having a consistent problem (being cold), spending a chunk of money up front to solve the problem is better than spending little bits over time and never having the problem go away. You usually end up spending more money in little chunks anyway.
“My worst purchase, sadly, was my tan Burberry Kensington trench.”
[ Editor: *gasp*! ]
I purchased it at a time that I really couldn’t afford it, and for the longest time it served as a reminder of my fiscal stupidity.
It went unworn for the longest time because I couldn’t deal with the emotions I had towards it.
Now that I’m wearing it again, I’ve noticed certain details I’d change if I were to do it again. The sleeves need to be shortened a touch, the belt loops need to be a little higher on the waist, and a shorter length would be much more versatile on me.
I’m outside the window where Burberry offers free tailoring on their products, but a lot of the issues could be solved with exactly that.
Fortunately, it’s still a classic. I could probably sell it today and recoup what I originally paid for it. I’m considering doing exactly that, and putting the proceeds towards a similar trench that fits my frame better.
[ Editor: My advice would be to first figure out how much it would cost to tailor the trench coat over having to resell it to stores who will more than likely take 50% of the coat’s earnings.
Weigh the tailoring cost against the consignment gains you might get, and see which one wins. ]
Do you ever go off track from your budget? If so, how do you recover from it and fix the situation (if at all)?
I do go over budget from time to time.
I also fall far under budget from time to time as well.
A big thing to keep in mind is that my clothing budget is at a level that is well below what would worry me financially.
I know there’s a lot of people out there that look at how much money they have in their account, and consider that their spending money.
Either that or they look at how much their have coming in, subtract their known bills, and whatever is left over is their budget.
Doing it that way added an unnecessary layer of stress to wardrobe spending, and I found doing it that way stripped a lot of enjoyment out of buying clothes for me. Setting my budget well below what I can afford eases that burden.
“If I go over budget, I go over budget.”
A little less money goes into savings and investments that month and the next month I start over fresh.
Last December I spent twice my monthly budget buying a few quality maternity items. It didn’t break me, and I didn’t lose any sleep over it because they were items that I needed and wear often.
Your 1-3 favourite outfits are?
Urban Safari = $506
- Wilfred Utility Jacket from Aritzia – $110 (~2 Years Old)
- Twik T-shirt from Simons – $10 (~2 Years Old)
- Tweed pencil skirt from Banana Republic – $65 (~1 Year Old)
- Belt from Anthropologie – $21 (~1 Year Old)
- Calvin Klein pumps – $160 (~8 Years Old)
- Necklace from Santorini – $140 (~2 Years Old)
- Oakley Sunglasses – Borrowed $0
All Wrapped Up = $713
- Printed Wrap from Winners – $42 (~1.5 Years Old)
- Black turtleneck from Simons – $21 (~1.5 Years Old)
- Belt from Express – $32 (~1.5 Years Old)
- Seven For All Mankind skinny jeans – $218 (~5 Years Old)
- Frye Boots – $400 (~2.5 Years Old)
Purple Chambray = $132
- Purple Chambray from Old Navy – Swapped $0 (~1 Year Old)
- White jeans from Seven For All Mankind – $87 (~1 Year Old)
- White tank from H&M – $10 (~4 Years Old)
- Mulberry Alexa purse – Gift $0 (~1 Year Old)
- Sandals from Santorini, Greece – $35 (~2 Years Old)
Your 5 favourite places to shop (offline and online)
- Banana Republic
- Value Village
- Holt Renfrew
What is the one best piece of advice you can give to someone starting out in budgeting?
This will be a tough one to swallow at first, especially for someone who loves shopping for clothes.
Figure out what your budget will allow, and cut it in half (at minimum).
This will do a couple things.
First, it will give you breathing room to make mistakes. If you go over budget one month, it won’t cripple you financially. The second thing it does, is it gives your budget room for splurges.
Let’s say your budget can accommodate $160 a month.
Instead of actually spending $160 every month, you allow yourself $80 a month instead and plan to put the other $80 in a splurge account.
Learning how to shop with a budget you screw up royally a few times at the beginning of the year, and you blow over your $80 budget.
By the end of the year you’ve figured out how to stay on budget, but you still ended up spending an average of $100 a month over the course of the year.
Instead of dealing with the headache of a credit card balance, you actually have $720 in your splurge account that you can use to reward yourself with that designer purse/coat/boots you’ve always loved but could never afford.
Thank you so much for participating, Cassie!
Want to read more interviews?
About “Style Bloggers <3 Budgeting”:
I love shopping. I love budgeting.
I love the idea of the two marrying.
Thus, Style Bloggers <3 Budgeting was born.
I want to bring to you different viewpoints of people who love fashion & style (like myself) but also want to make it work on a budget.
We all have different budgets, shopping personalities, styles and ways of looking at things, and it is fascinating to peer into the mind of others and to maybe grab some inspiration & sneak a peek into their wardrobe.
Are you a style blogger who would like to participate?
Contact me here or leave a comment.
The only pre-requisite is you must be a style blogger of some sort, whether you post outfits on Instagram only (like me) or do it on your blog itself.