Style Bloggers <3 Budgeting: Erin of Loop Looks
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Erin, a gal who loves putting together outfits from items in my closet, lifting heavy weights at the gym, running the occasional race, and going to the dog park with my pup and my husband.
In my day job I work at a software company where I manage our internal help center, document repository, and staff training.
I have a Master’s in Library Science and have also worked as a records manager at a courthouse and a university.
Believe it or not, I’ve never worked in an actual library!
I started my blog, Loop Looks, just over 4 years ago when I needed a creative outlet and it’s just kept going!
I love helping people in any way I can and I like to think that my blog helps women figure out how to wear the items they have in their closets in new ways.
I aim for approachable outfits, not looks you’d only see on the runway or in a magazine.
[Editor: I find looks on the runway or in the magazine are either (A) Unattainable for the common pleb like ourselves or (B) Unwearable even with just one piece here and there.
I am sure it is very difficult for fashion folk to get excited over a perfectly made, plain, simple, chic shirtdress that isn’t wild or plunging, but that is exactly what we need in our everyday lives. Can you tell I have shirt dresses on the brain right now!? 🙂 ]
What’s your money motto and where did you learn about budgeting?
I used to help my mom pay the bills.
We’d sit at the kitchen table and she’d show me how to fill out the check (remember when you had to send a check to pay a bill??), she’d sign it, and I’d put it in the envelope and put on the stamp.
[Editor: Er…. I actually can’t even remember the day I had to use my personal chequebook to pay for anything. I do it for my business but for real life?!? I usually pull out my personal chequebook and have to dust it off. Haha.]
Then she’d show me how to balance the checkbook.
Seeing the numbers like that made a big impact on me.
Growing up I was always the only one of our siblings that had money to spend.
I’d save my allowance, money I got as gifts, etc. I always wanted to have a cushion “just in case.” As an adult, I’m the same way. I don’t spend down to zero. I always have an amount in my mind that I won’t let the bank account go below.
[Editor: You sound so responsible. Unlike me when I was a kid. I bet you saved your favourite chocolate to eat until the end. You must have eaten all the ones you hated first.]
Do you create a clothing/wardrobe budget and how did you come about the method?
For years I’ve had $200 from each of my paychecks go into my own personal “fun money” account. And also for years I tried to stick to a budget of $150 per month for clothing.
I found, though, that especially with blogging it’s easy to fall into the “see something pretty and buy it” mindset.
[Editor: GUILTY AS CHARGED!!!]
Because of that I didn’t always stick to my budget.
So, for 2016 I made a goal to only shop when I had A. store credit from blog sponsors or B. gift cards I earned from doing surveys, etc.
So far I’ve done really well and only spent $30 out of pocket for the whole year!
What do you like to shop for and why?
SHOES! I love to shop for shoes. I get this from my mother.
When we’re out together we almost always end up in the shoe section of a store. I have more shoes than I know what to do with and I love all of them.
Shoes are just so pretty.
[Editor: Annnnnnnd they always fit even if your clothes don’t.
The only time this is not true is during or after a pregnancy for some women. I was lucky to keep my size 7 but a lot of women had to start over…]
Even if I’m not going to wear 4 inch stiletto heels I still like looking at them. They’re like pieces of art.
[Editor: I have actually learned that 3.5″ is my perfect heel height for comfort but I can do 4″ if it is a cage heel or a bootie that secures & hugs the shoe to my foot as I walk.
Otherwise, a pump at 4″ is just asking for trouble. I also hate anything with a platform as I discovered with my L.K. Bennett pumps, I would prefer to have my foot flat on the ground.]
I also like to jewelry shop for my mom.
She’s told me she has enough jewelry, though, so I’m trying to cut back.
But she loves unique items or items that mix gold and silver and it’s just such fun for me to keep an eye out for items like, especially at all the markets and festivals we have in Chicago.
Is there anything you hate shopping for? Why?
Jeans are my least favorite. So far I’m a total cliche, right?
Love shoe shopping, hate jeans shopping.
Since I’ve been focused on weight training and building muscle for the past year and a half jeans have become difficult to buy.
If they fit in thighs they’re too big in the waist. However, I recently discovered jeggings after years of poo-pooing them and they solved that problem!
Right now I only own two pairs but I see many more in my future.
What is the all-time best and worst item(s) you’ve purchased and what have you learned from its purchases?
Let’s start with the worst because that’s easy.
I was lusting after one from Express but they kept selling out of my size and I refused to pay full price when my size was in stock.
Finally it popped up in my size during a Black Friday sale and I ordered it. Of course, how often do you wear a white vest in the winter?
It sat in my closet all winter and spring with the tags on and when I went to wear it I found out I’d lost 10 pounds and it was now too big.
I found another white vest at Shopbop and ordered that as a replacement. I wore it once and decided I didn’t like the style or the fabric. It was linen and unlined and just not what I wanted. Of course, it was final sale so I couldn’t return it.
Finally, I ordered one from Nordstrom that was on sale and it was perfect.
I’ve already worn it several times. Basically, I learned patience. Don’t buy something until you’re going to wear it and don’t buy something just because it’s close to what you want.
[Editor: Amen. Buy the exact item you want. Don’t buy substitutes. Becky Bloomwood taught me this with her Denny & George scarf adventures…]
The best item is a leopard print scarf I bought on a whim for $5 from a street vendor when I was in New York City in 2012 and it’s been a staple in my wardrobe ever since. I wear it all the time. I even wrote a post featuring different ways I’ve worn it.
Do you ever go off track from your budget? If so, how do you recover from it and fix the situation (if at all)?
As I mentioned earlier, I got a little consumed with “keeping up with the Joneses” for a year or two so this year is all about getting back on track.
I’m shopping my closet more and taking advantage of my $50 Le Tote membership to keep from getting bored with my closet instead of shopping every month.
Spending $50 each month is much better than the $150+ per month I was spending.
[Editor: An interesting concept. My problem would be sending stuff back.]
Your 1-3 favourite outfits and how much each item cost in each photo.
Even though I pick my favorite outfit and showcase it on my blog at the end of each month, the toughest part for me about picking favorites from those was that in many of them items I was wearing were so old there was no way I knew how much I spent on them!
Quite a few of the items in my closet are pre-blog so I don’t have a record of what I spent.
Having a blog where I keep track of those things has actually been great!
I tried to go with favorite outfits that contained a mix of items about which I knew the cost and some items that were older.
Outfit #1 = $38 + shoes (??)
- Red Sweater (Similar)
- Black Shirt (Similar)
- AE Jeans (Similar)
- Shoes (Similar)
- Plaid Scarf (Similar)
Outfit #2 = $39
Outfit #3 = $177
Your 5 favourite places to shop (offline and online)
- The Limited – I love that most of their items can easily go from the office to the weekend.
- Old Navy – Old Navy is a great place to try a trend without spending a lot of money.
- Shopbop – Their customer service is amazing and they have super fast shipping.
- Le Tote – not traditional “shopping” since it’s a clothing rental service, but if you rent something you end up loving you can keep it at a discounted price. I love using it so much I became an ambassador for them!
- The Daily Tay Etsy Shop – Her shirts are not only hilarious they are REALLY comfy. Plus, 20% of the proceeds from her “I just want to hang with my dog” tee go to animal shelters.
What is the one best piece of advice you can give to someone starting out in budgeting?
Decide where your priorities are, because not everything can be a priority.
Do you want to spend your money on one high quality shoes or do you prefer to buy lots of clothes you can wear to work?
Do you want to get in shape but can’t justify spending the money on a gym membership or a trainer?
Take a look at your budget and see if there are other things that aren’t as high of a priority.
You can’t always do everything so deciding where to focus your energy (and money) is key.
[Editor: I always say this. Prioritize your purchases.]
Thank you so much for participating, Erin!
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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.