Diary of a shopaholic: How to cut down your spending (and still shop)

Happy Monday!

After having shopped some of the Target sales over the weekend, I figured I’d share some tips on bargain shopping for all of those shopaholics out there. As much as I love high end brands, it’s not realistic for me to spend my money on them on a college budget. Don’t get me wrong, that hasn’t stopped me from shopping, it’s just stopped me from splurging on items I don’t need to splurge on. I wanted to share some tips because it can be hard sometimes to realize that you can get something that looks almost exactly the same, for less than half the price! If you’re already spending the money on something you don’t need, you might as well save and get the cheaper options! 

Don’t splurge on versatile, basic closet staples

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This is something I’ve learned working retail and keeping up with a lot of different bloggers. When it comes to versatile tops like this, why spend $40 when it is nothing extravagant? I bought a top similar to this one at Target for $10, and there are others like this that cost $40 or more. It makes much more sense to buy a top that you can’t get anything like, or can’t get similar for less. I really appreciate that $30 extra dollars – and the tops look almost identical anyways!

Stock up when there are big sales

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I just got two pairs of these wedges from Target in each color because they were only $9 and I could not believe it! I figure if I get more for less during sales, it’s better than splurging getting less for more when there aren’t sales.

 If you have something specific in mind, search for cheaper options that are almost identical 

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As much as I LOVE seven for all mankind jeans, I can’t afford to buy them. So if I’m searching for a pair of dark wash skinnies, I do my research or go to an H&M or Target. When I bought a pair of dark wash skinnies from Target that were on sale for $9, I didn’t expect much from them, but I ended up loving how they fit and got tons of compliments on them, people almost expected them to be a high end brand. The jeans pictured on the left are these from H&M and the ones on the right are these 7FAM from Nordstrom.

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I have these from Charlotte Russe and love them – they are really similar to these Steve Madden ones.

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Although these may look quite different, when you’re wearing them, they won’t be next to the designer pair and no one will be comparing them. I have a pair of OTK boots this color from Target and I love them! The ones on the left are these from Target and the ones on the right are Steve Madden OTK boots from Nordstrom.

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Target honestly has some of the cutest bags that look almost identical to some Celine bags and other designers. This one from Target looks really similar to this Rebecca Minkoff tote.

How to style your dorm room without breaking the bank

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I’ve done a post on my dorm decor before, but I wanted to write a more general post about styling your dorm in the most affordable way, especially because school is coming up and people are prepping for college. Although you may be googling “dorm room ideas” some of them just are not realistic – whether it’s all ridiculously expensive things, or just a huge dorm that you know yours won’t look like. After 3 years of living in a dorm room I have learned that there are ways to design your dorm room in a unique, cute, affordable way, here is how I style my dorm room without spending a TON of money! You’ll come to realize (if you haven’t already) that Target will literally be your BFF.

Wall Decor

For the past few years I’ve used the same wall decor and just styled it differently so that I could re use them each year. I definitely recommend this, wall decor can get pricey so if you get things you can re use each year, that saves you a lot of money. I still will probably use these wall butterflies (only $10 on amazon right now) for my upcoming senior year. These ones (that are only $7) come in different colors too! Wall stickers I also really like are these gold wall polka dots, but you wouldn’t be able to reuse them the following year. For decorative string lights, I wanted them to match my theme so I have used these globe string lights from target that are only $15 – and I’ll use these again this year! I also really like white basic Christmas lights, you can do so much with those in a dorm.

For frames and prints – I order from Etsy and buy cheap frames from target (which I also reuse). For example, I have one similar to this one and you can even download it yourself and just print it out. I really like how they placed these prints in their dorm (source unknown):

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Right now is the perfect time to shop Target’s dorm selections – they are having some sales and there are some super cute finds. Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 10.43.36 PM

Right now on their website, they have a tutorial on how to create a gallery wall. There are some great tips on how to style your room to match the perfect theme you want it to be, even if you’re working with a small space in a dorm! Target is seriously the BEST when it comes to getting great deals for your dorm.

Organization / Storage

The key to keeping your dorm room organized in the cutest way possible is to purchase stylish organizers and containers. I have a few of these and I love them, they’re only $6 and I use them for toiletries as well as miscellaneous items. I also really like this – its only $15 and you can definitely keep that to store under your bed or wherever you want it each year! Setting your bed on the highest notch is always a good idea so you can store your dresser (if it’s that short), fridge, and organization underneath so there is less clutter in your space! I took this off of google but I thought it was a pretty good representation of what I’m talking about (source unknown):

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Lighting

Let’s face it – some dorm rooms just do not have good lighting, and for the girls that do their make up each morning before classes like I do, you may want a desk lamp of some sort by your make up mirror. I chose to get a decorative table lamp versus a basic college lamp – I chose the lamp shade and chose the blue lamp because it went with the theme of my room perfectly. I definitely recommend shopping Targets lamp selections.

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I’m also obsessed with little decorations and trinkets that all contribute to the theme of your dorm room. Target also has a lot of cute decorations like this that aren’t too expensive!

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Other dorm room necessities

Something I also recommend you get is a rug – especially if the floors are tile. Definitely not a white rug (even though those are super pretty), that will show a lot of dirt and you may not be able to reuse it or wash it out, and a black rug may show the dirt as well. A happy medium that my roommates and I decided on a few years in a row is this gray rug.

Another necessity is a door mirror that you can hang onto the back of your door or command strip it to the back of your door.

Currently Target has some great sales on a lot of home/dorm items, including bedding. I mostly just have my comforter for looks, and I use throw blankets to put on my chair and my bed and just use those! I also recommend if you have extra space that you want to fill – extra seating is always a good idea for when friends are in your dorm! I bought this chair from Target and am planning on styling it just like I did last year (pictured below)

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I hope this helps show you a lot of cheaper options for your dorm that are still super cute and stylish! You can never go wrong with Target deals, and if things are cheaper on Amazon, definitely order them there as well!

When I’m all moved in to my dorm and all set up I’ll be posting the finished product as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save or splurge: Beauty products

SPLURGE: SKINCARE

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On a college budget I’ve learned what I should save money on, and what I should  splurge on. I’ve learned that you should always invest in your skin. Until a few weeks ago I still hadn’t found any skin care products that were friendly to my wallet that worked for me and did everything my skin needed without breaking me out. I recently attended a Caudalie workshop at the Equinox gym I work at. They gave us these free products and I was super excited to try them – not expecting them to work, I was really impressed when I woke up the next morning and my skin felt hydrated and moisturized (but not too oily.) I have sensitive/oily skin so I’ve never been able to moisturize without breaking out – but my skin reacted really well to all of these products!

In the shower, I cleanse with the Mario Bedescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – this is so gentle!

After I remove my eye make up with Neutrogena Oil Free Makeup Remover I use a cotton round to apply the Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water – and then I apply the Vine(Activ) Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum – this is super pricey, and I only use a tiny amount, a little goes a long way! I then apply the Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet.

Of course none of this is cheap – but it has been a game changer for my skin. If you were to buy only one of these products – I would definitely invest in the Mario Bedescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser!!

SAVE: DRUGSTORE MAKE UP

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Face – Originally I found myself always splurging on foundation and concealer, but on a college budget, paying for a $40 foundation was just too much, and I knew I could probably find a drugstore foundation that was equally as great. I use Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation that is only $9, it’s super lightweight and I only use a little bit and blend it with a beauty blender. I’ve realized that less is more with foundation. My favorite powder that I have used for YEARS now is the Rimmel London Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder, which is only $6!  Because I have oily skin, this keeps my skin looking matte and less shiny. Something I do still splurge on is concealer – I figure I should splurge on either foundation and get a cheaper concealer, or a higher end concealer with a cheaper foundation. So, I settled for investing in a thick concealer that could work if I just want to wear concealer and powder. My new favorite concealer is the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer – it’s very thick so a little goes a long way. It’s a life saver for under eye circles, and comparatively $26 is not bad for high end concealer. For contouring, I use the Lorac Pro Contour Palette, this is pricey, but I’ve found that it’s lasted me SO long. For a setting spray, I use NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray – this is a life saver especially in the summertime.

Eyes – More recently I’ve started buying single colors of eye shadow from Walgreens or Target when I run out of my favorites in the Naked palettes, I don’t want to purchase an entire o palette to only use a few colors. I use the individual L’Oreal Paris Infallible Shadows as a base, and apply a little bit of Revlon Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow to brighten my eyes. For mascara I use Maybelline’s Lash Sensation,  this has been my favorite for years now. I have never been one to splurge on mascara.

SPLURGE: HAIR

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Along with skincare, I believe it’s also important to splurge on hair products. Ever since Emily Gemma shared that her favorite shampoo was the Caviar Anti-Aging Shampoo, I of course had to invest in it, it is by far my favorite shampoo I have ever tried. It immediately makes my hair shiner and softer after one wash. I recently realized that after getting highlights and balayage that my hair was extremely damaged, the Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair is another game changer. I put it especially on the ends of my hair where my hair seems to be the most damaged.

OR SAVE..

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Although it’s good to splurge on really nice hair products, on a college budget it’s not realistic to consistently purchase them, recently I’ve become obsessed with a more budget friendly option, the Tresemme Expert Selection Botanique Damage Recovery Shampoo – not only does it smell SO GOOD but it makes my hair extremely soft. The conditioner is also a must have.

Overall, there are obviously cheaper alternatives to everything, but I think investing in your skincare products and hair products is extremely important for healthier skin and healthier hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite photo editing apps

unnamedPicMonkey Image-4The Airbrush app is by far my favorite – I think I literally use it for every single one of my pictures whether it’s a filter or brightening/smoothing. This one is especially best for selfies or close ups. I use the “Brighten” effect (which is technically for eye brightening) for brightening the background or brightening anything I really want to stand out. This app has a lot of features, their filters are some of my favorites. I like that you can edit to whatever extreme you prefer for a more natural looking photo!

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The Darkroom app  is my favorite app specifically for filtering, sharpening and coloring. I’ve definitely caved and bought some of their filter packs (oops!) The app has a lot of tools (some of which I don’t understand, but I love to play around!) In my opinion, the sharpness and clarity of a photo is extremely important. I like that you can select a filter, but alter it if you aren’t loving it!

 

vsco

 

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As basic as VSCO may be, it’s definitely a favorite! In my opinion the filters work for really any type of photo – a selfie, group photo or landscape like the one I edited! It also has tools similar to other apps such as sharpening & etc. I like that VSCO is a more relaxed version of Instagram – people post more consistently mainly to edit their photos. I also like that you can see what other people are using for filters!

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PicMonkey Collage-2I use Rookie Cam mainly for the technical aspects of photo editing – saturation/contrast/sharpening and all of the boring stuff, some of their filters are good too! They have a bunch. I really like when the colors in my photos are bright and enhanced – this app is definitely perfect for adjusting color!

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I use MuseCam mainly for photos just like this one, their filters are perfect for landscape/nature photos, with selfies their filters can be a bit much. Even though it may not change the photo a bunch, it adds just enough of a warm filter for summertime. This one has a lot of technical tools as well. I recommend this one if you find yourself editing landscape/nature photographs a lot!

A pop of pink

Blog19Blog20Blog17Blog18Cardigan / Jeans / Tory Burch Flip Flops

This is by far one of my favorite pieces of clothing I own – it is the comfiest cashmere cardigan that you can wear in any season. Along with my favorite white jeans that are so worth every penny! I usually don’t wear white on white, but with a pop of pink I love this combo!

 

Casual and comfy summer look

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Cardigan (similar) / Shirt / Jean shorts / Shoes

I just recently bought these jean shorts at Von Maur because I realized I had NONE, and that is such a necessary closet staple. They were only $38 and they are seriously the comfiest shorts EVER, they are so stretchy. This cardigan was only $12 at Forever 21 but I couldn’t find it online, so I linked one very similar. This is the perfect look that doesn’t require much effort, is so comfortable yet cute at the same time. I literally live in these shoes – they’re so comfy and they go with everything!

Casual summer evening out

Blog7Blog8Blog9Blog10Blog11Blog12 Tank topBlack ripped jeans / Heels / Michael Kors Hamilton Tote / Ray Bans

I put my black jeans away when it started to get warmer, but I recently realized they are perfect for a casual dinner out or date night – and totally doable with a light colored top for summertime. They are by far one of the comfiest pair of jeans I own. With basic rips and a versatile style, this jean can be paired with any color top any season. With new trends in the new year, something I’ve loved this season is mixing metals. Whether it be I’m mixing my rings or my bracelets, I have found that it can really tie together an outfit. With this look I wanted to try mixing my metals in a different way. So I decided to mix the metals from my purse with the metals in my jewelry. The black Michael Kors bag features gold chains and buckles, along with a versatile shoulder strap for a more casual business or daytime look. Throw on a pair of pumps and you’re ready for a night out or if you want to dress up your look 🙂