When I first started University I was so excited to start being more independent! Had absolutely everything planned out! Until I got there and had to do my first food shop.
But, what should I buy?!
If you’re the same, or if you just want some advice on what your fridge should be stocked with to ensure you stay away from the notorious ready meal then read ahead! I’ve tried to keep it as clean/healthy as possible but it’s totally adaptable to whatever you want/need :)
Fruit and veggies:
Berries (frozen berries are cheaper than fresh!)
Lemons (great as condiments or sliced up in hot water, too)
Grapes (Try freezing them as a summer snack, too!)
Onions (I always have onions in my cupboard!)
Basically any fruit or veg you like that’s in season! Click here for a great info sheet about when food is in what season!
Nuts and nut butters
Grains and ‘good carbs’
Any bread you want, make sure it’s brown/wholemeal at least. Ezekiel bread is also great
Fats and oils
All natural nut butters (no sugar and no added salt)
Extra virgin olive oil
Dairy and non-dairy alternatives
(If you eat dairy, obviously)
Peanuts/peanut butter (yep, peanuts are technically a legume!)
Condiments and seasonings
Low salt soy sauce
Apple cider vinegar
Mixed dried herbs
Flour (any type you like)
Other general tips about shopping
Keep an extra loaf of bread in the freezer just in case
Keep a spare pint of milk in the freezer just in case
Start a weekly food planner to make sure you’re eating healthily and saving money on your food shop
If you’re having leftovers, it’s best not to re-heat pork, bacon or shellfish
If you’re not vegan/veggie, buy a whole chicken and cook it. You can use the meat for several meals such as sandwiches, curries, risottos, baked potatoes, salads etc.
Click here for a bunch of posts dedicated to help you with your shopping lists!
Q and Answer: How Can I Get an Office-Appropriate Wardrobe for $500?
americastoppushing writes: I just got a job at a major publishing house in NYC and the whole staff here is very well dressed. I need to jump from grad school clothes to stylish office clothes quickly. I have about $500 to spare right now and I need to make some significant changes to my wardrobe, including shoes, a laptop bag, and at least a few shirts and pairs of pants. Where can I get the most for my money? I’d like to get things that are fairly versatile.
First, congratulations on the new job and for graduating grad school. I’m actually finishing up a grad program myself, so I can appreciate what a grind it can be.
As for your wardrobe, I’m afraid $500 won’t going to get you very much, especially if you need it soon. But let’s see if we can’t give it a try.
For shoes, I recommend a pair of brown derbys (also known as bluchers). Derbys have “open lacing,“ which means the shoelace eyelet tabs are sewn on top of the part of the shoe that covers your toes and instep. This differs from the more elegant and formal oxford, which has the eyelet tabs sewn underneath. Oxfords are considered more formal because they make you feet look more “dressed.” However, since you can’t afford suits and sport coats at this time, you should embrace the inherent casualness of what you’re wearing by getting derbys. These can be worn with anything from cotton chinos to wool trousers.
Getting them in brown will mean that you can wear them with trouser color (except black, which you shouldn’t be wearing anyway). I recommend a plain toe design for your first pair, but if that’s too boring for you, you can also get them with a perforated or non-perforated toecap. Any of these will be acceptable in an office environment. You can get a pair at Meermin for about $150.
For dress shirts, you really ought to have at least ten, so that you can get through two work weeks before having to do laundry. However, ten will almost wipe out the rest of your budget and leave you pants-less, so I recommend getting five for now. As soon as you can, pick up another five.
Your first five should include three solids and two stripes in a mix of white and light blues. These colors flatter the complexion of any man, and they’ll set a good foundation for when you’re ready to wear suits, sport coats, and ties. You can read Jesse’s post about this subject here. I agree with what he said, and would just add that in your situation, it would avoid having people think “here comes that guy in the bright pink shirt again.” You are going to be wearing each of these often, so best to make them look fairly non-descript.
Design wise, choose the following if you can: semi-spread collars (they look good on every guy); French placket with no pocket (as a proper dress shirt should be); and barrel cuffs (not French cuffs, as you won’t be wearing these with a suit for now). You can browse TM Lewin’s clearance section to see what they have. Their “slim fits” fit decently well on the average sized guy. At $32 a pop, this should set you back $160.
For pants, I’m going to fudge here and assume you at least have a pair of khaki chinos you can use for casual Friday. To add to this, I recommend two pairs of wool trousers, one solid mid-grey and another slightly darker. If you must choose a pair of non-grey pants (and only if you absolutely must), I recommend brown. Pick whatever weave you’d like (from flannel to sharkskin), but just make sure the fabric doesn’t look too shiny. You don’t want to look like you forgot your suit jacket at home. Sign up for Land’s End’s newsletter and wait for a coupon code to come up. You can then score a pair of their Tailored Fit wool trousers for about $60.
Finally, we have the laptop bag. Muji has a canvas and leather shoulder option as well as a “3-Way” bag (an unfortunate name) for $80 and $90, respectively. These aren’t the most professional looking of bags, and there are certainly better options out there, but this slides us in at about $515, just fifteen dollars more than the budget you allocated.
Of course, a basic business wardrobe should have at least double what I’ve listed above – two pairs of shoes so that you can rotate between them (wearing the same pair everyday will quickly ruin the leather), ten dress shirts, and four trousers. Depending on your office environment, you may also want to get a few suits or sport coats at some point. These will make you much more professional looking, but they’ll be considerably more expensive.
Remember that you can lower your outlay by acquiring things over time instead of buying everything at once. Try thrifting, using eBay, and waiting for sales. Jesse’s guide to thrifting can help you with the first, our eBay roundups the second, and my sales announcements here and at the Inside Track the third. Give yourself a year or two to acquire a decent, basic wardrobe, and perhaps another five to six years to perfect it. It takes a while to acquire what you need and learn how to dress well, but the process itself can be very fun and rewarding.
Edit: This is mostly women’s, mainly because I haven’t been able to find any decent online thrift stores for men, but please, please, please message me with any suggestions!
Let’s start with some great online thrift stores. Using the credits offered, you can even possibly snag some free clothes. When you’re shopping online, it’s probably best to figure out how much wear is on the item and also do a search for a sizing guide for the brand you’re buying.
If you find any item you’re interested in and it’s from a popular brand, I highly suggest comparing prices on a couple different sites if you can. Sometimes you will find the same item a couple dollars cheaper on a different site. Feel free to message me if you want help with this - just include link of the item you’re thinking of buying. It may take a few days for me to respond.
Ebay- Takes a lot of searching, but I’d suggest looking for brands you know you like; that will make it a lot easier. You can customize your search limits a lot, including by total price. By wary of items Buy It Now Prices because a lot of them are jacked up. If it’s from a popular brand, try cross-searching for the same item on Poshmark/Vinted, as you may find it cheaper there and vice versa.
Threadflip - This one has free shipping and one of the best search engines that you can choose size/style/price/etc. If you use my link, you’ll get a $5 credit just for signing up. If you have trouble getting the credit, just message the site and they should fix it.
ThredUp - Using this link will get both of us a$10 credit. Lots of clothes for low prices and juniors and kids as well.
Poshmark - This is where I’ve found the best stuff, with the largest selection, 4.99 for shipping.
Storenvy - A little more expensive, shipping for each item is separate, not too much selection.
Vinted - this is probably where you’ll find the cheapest clothes. It has tons of cheap clothes, especially cute shirts. You may get a free credit when signing up; it’s randomized. Shipping is the biggest worry here - but it depends on the weight/location of the item. Shoes/Coats are probably going to cost more to ship here than on Poshmark, but lighter items will be cheaper
Target - If you get a RED debit card, you get 5% off and free shipping on a lot of the clothing. It may be better to just see what they have in store though.
Forever21 - Usually pretty cheap, but not always great quality. Shipping online probably isn’t worth it.
H&M - Has lots good clearance and has free shipping specials often.
In Store Thrift Shops - probably going to be your cheapest option
Plato’s Closet - usually has lots of cute clothes for cheap, along with really cheap accessories.
Do a search for nearby thrift stores and if there’s a wealthy/big city near you, check stores out there because they generally have better quality/bigger selections. One near me has brands like Free People and J. Crew for under $10.
Looking for specific items
Polyvore - Use the price rank to see the cheaper options
Most people want to dress well, but they don’t care to spend a small fortune or an inordinate amount of time searching for deals. That means no fancy boutiques or thrift stores, just readily available things that can be quickly purchased for not too much money.
Obviously, if you want the best things, you have to spend either time or money. If you just want to look decent without too much fuss, however, here are my recommendations for where you can get affordable basics.
Shirts:TM Lewin sells decent dress shirts for $32 in their clearance section or $160 for four in non-clearance. Their “slim fit” fits reasonably well (neither too blousy nor skin tight), and their collar is big enough to hold a necktie well. For oxford cloth button downs, Lands End Canvas’ Heritage line is passable, though the collars are short and skimpy. If you can afford to, get Brooks Brothers instead. They’re better made and designed. Both Land’s End and Brooks will discount things by about 40% at the end of each season.
Jeans: Decent pairs can be bought at Levis, Gap (selvedge denim line only), and Uniqlo (“Made in Japan” line is especially nice). All three are holding sales right now. Note that if you want to shop at Uniqlo, you either have to visit their stores in NYC or go through Suddenlee (which you can learn how to do here).
Rain coats: If you’re on a budget, rain coats are perhaps best bought second hand, but if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, TM Lewin’s mac is fairly nice.
Wallets: I prefer the slim profile of a card case over a thick bi-fold. Chester Mox makes some nice ones starting at $39 and they’re offering free monogramming right now as part of a Father’s Day promotion. Saddleback also has a very simple and affordable option at $15.
Finally, don’t forget to set aside a portion of your budget to have things tailored. Things such as suits, sport coats, shirts, and trousers rarely fit perfectly off-the-rack, but if you bring them to a good alterations tailor, you can make them look twice as good and three times as expensive.
I know a lot of first time college goers are going to be really stressed out as they prepare to move. I’ve compiled a huge masterpost that may help you with some things. Hopefully instead of stressing out, you’ll feel more equipped for the move and be able to enjoy the excitement!!! :-)
Look SugarBaby Chic without Breaking Your Bank Account
So I’ve come across a lot of questions in the past on how to look good without compromising your bank balance. Sugaring is competitive, and as much as we love our sugar sisters… We’re all in the same bowl. There’s sugar babies who are stunting in red bottoms flaunting Rolex arm candy, and there’s sugar babies running around in denim and tops. (Totally not looking down on either.) We often forget that men are visual creatures, and most of them are attracted to a woman that knows how to dress well. If you want to be a rich man’s choicest arm candy, then you best start dressing the part. You can’t expect to have the Ritz Carlton experience with a Holiday Inn & Suites package. Money attracts money. Starting out not many of us have designer this and designer that. I certainly didn’t own anything designer starting out. Other than a few presents from family & vanilla men. So here’s how I started out… Firstly I got myself a vanilla job. Retail is great for this, plus one for those employee perks! I worked a few months to save some money for a decent wardrobe. I shopped at places like: Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshals, Nordstrom Rack, Plato’s Closet, Amiclubwear, HotMiamiStyles & Tradesy. This allowed me to purchase new, previously loved, and discounted clothing at a fraction of the MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price). I purchased dresses, ankle pants, chiffon tops, blazers, accessories, & lingerie (new of course). The key is to avoid anything flashy for instance a black top with Boss B#%* or something like that written on it. The key is to dress professional, chic, & keep versatility in mind. When I say versatile, I mean a blazer that can be professional with a collared shirt but still look chill with a pink chiffon top when you roll up the sleeves. As a sugar baby you’ll be exposed to things women your age aren’t. Things like flying private or taking weekend/ day trips with your SD for pleasure or work. Each and every occasion needs to have an appropriate outfit. Think of all the scenarios you could possibly be in and purchase outfits accordingly. A sugar baby can never be over dressed. These men are willing to pay top dollar for women out there. Your first few sugar daddies are like your foundation pillars. Make sure you sift the salt daddies away! The first few ones need to be taking you shopping for items you cannot buy without breaking your bank account. For example, it’s Cocoa Cathy’s 22nd birthday, and her daddy asks her what she wants. Cocoa Cathy should be saying, “Well Daddy, for my birthday I’d like my allowance as usual, but I would absolutely love it if you’d be able to get me a handbag I’ve been eyeing for quite a while!” If Daddy is pure sugar he will say, “I’d be more than happy to buy you that handbag! Look it up & I’ll forward you my card details.” This is sugar! Cocoa Cathy knows that this daddy just went through a brutal divorce so she knows not to ask for a Celine. She instead opts for two handbags from the $800-1K range. She lets Daddy pick which one would look better, and of course daddy goes for the expensive one. This shows how much Daddy enjoys Cocoa Cathy’s company, and he knows that Cocoa Cathy has sophisticated taste. (just an example) You should utilize your allowance to purchase staple sugar clothing items like palazzo pants or cardigans. There’s no need for a sugar baby to be a brand ambassador wearing 20 different designer labels. Often, this gives your sugar daddy the vibe that you already have it all. Be smart when purchasing your initial sugar wardrobe. You don’t have to break your bank account doing so. We all know we’re sugaring to one day run into a Whale Daddy, but until then those 2-3K/ month daddies aren’t bad! Also make sure you still have personality! Your wardrobe can only sell you so much! Your personality really signs seals and delivers your arrangement. For my new babies, please do not wear your heart on your wrist. These men are brutal and will try to talk down to you. They will try to make you feel like you’re not worth that 2-3K allowance. That’s a huge red flag for you to move on! Never compromise your allowance range.
Since writing at Put This On, I’ve made an effort to talk about how men can build wardrobes on tight budgets. My posts on strategic spending and affordable basics, for example, were written in that spirit. With so many blogs and magazines focusing on outrageously expensive items, I think it’s important to talk about more realistic acquisitions. Men can still look well dressed without spending thousands of dollars a year on clothes.
If you want the most affordable deals, companies such as Land’s End and J. Crew are probably good places to start. J. Crew is a bit expensive at full retail, but much of their company branded inventory (i.e. non-third party stock) is discounted by 50% or so at the end of the season.
For something a bit better, you’ll have to turn to online discount houses. This is where higher-end brands tend to be sold for 10-40% of their retail value. Granted, given that these items are extremely expensive in the first place, the sale prices can still be somewhat hefty. However, if you’re looking for high quality items at a better price, these are the places to search.
Flash sites: This model is perhaps the most well known - discounted items are offered at some site for a limited time only. The biggest flash site is Gilt Groupe, but there are many others. Check MyHabit, Jack Threads, Belle & Clive, Ru La La, Ideeli, and HauteLook. The stock at these places really range. There’s a lot of junk, but also everything from Jack Spade to Finamore. If you sign up for an account, some sites give you the option of receiving emails from them, which means you can more easily stay on top of their sales each week.
Clearance houses: Things that couldn’t sell at retail are often sent here for clearance. Yoox and Three Different are two of the bigger online clearance houses. Again, there’s a lot of junk, and they apparently style their models blindly, but if you know your brands, you can pick up some very good deals. If you don’t, do a little research on StyleForum.
Online discount boutiques: In addition to the big clearance houses, there are smaller boutiques that acquire their stock through a variety of different means. Malford of London, Virtual Clothes Horse, Shop the Finest, and eHaberdasher are very good ones. There’s also Exquisite Trimmings, which focuses on neckties, pocket squares, and scarves. The inventory at these places tend to be better selected than the big discount houses.
Discounted footwear:A Fine Pair of Shoes and eBay seller sausages234 are two very good sources for discounted shoes. Grapevinehill is mostly unremarkable, but they carry Ralph Lauren footwear, some of which is decent. Finally, there's Classic Shoes for Men. The photos there aren’t as nice as the ones at the aforementioned sites, but the stock is just as good (if not better). The proprietor, Mr. Sevan Minasian, noted that he’ll throw in a free gift with your order if you mention our site.
Us: Kind of goes without saying, but there’s also our eBay roundups and Inside Track newsletter. The first includes customized search links to help you find deals on eBay and the second has sales announcements every week. But you already knew that.
Now, I’m sure few people will remember all those sites next time they’re shopping for something specific, so I suggest you bookmark them somewhere and save them for later. You could save yourself some considerable money if you do.
(Photo above: An inside look at Gilt Groupe’s warehouse, taken by Notcot)
I’ve been wanting to make a post like this for a while to talk about how to shop for vegan food if you are on a budget (like me) and you live in an area that has a good amount of produce but doesn’t have a whole lot of specialty vegan options (like me!) I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half now out here in the midwest and I’ve found that contrary to popular belief, going vegan has saved me money and actually helped me develop a decent stockpile of food in my cabinets. Check it out!
Economic times are hard and most fitness and health bloggers here on Tumblr are either in college or going to be in college sometime in the future. It’s important to know how to shop on a budget and ESPECIALLY how to shop for healthy items on a budget. Have no fear, Kayla and Casey are here!
Plan out your meals. Write out a schedule of meals you plan to have for the next week or so and write all the food you need for these meals before you go shopping. Making a list will help you stick with it once you get to the store.
Never shop hungry… You’ll buy more food than you need!
Make your own homemade snacks! The prices of pre-packaged snacks are cringe-worthy. Buying ingredients and throwing together your own snacks won’t only save you money, but it’ll give you MORE for your money too! See recipes below.
Buy in bulk (when/if you can). Yes, items in bulk can be more expensive BUT a different way to look at it is that they’ll last longer for you.
Look for sales! BOGO sales and such should be taken advantage of!
(If you eat meat) Buy the full bird instead of pre-packaged chicken breasts or thighs (just using chicken as an example). It’s much more expensive buying everything already cut.
Grow your own garden! It doesn’t have to be a full size garden, especially if you’re in college, but even planting little herbs in flower pots can save you money!
Cut up your own food. Soooo many stores sell pre-cut fruits and veggies, which are more expensive than ones you can just cut up yourself.
Cut out soda and sweetened drinks (if you buy them).
Drink water from the tap! There is no need to buy water bottles all of the time! Tap water is typically just as good or you can get a filtered pitcher which will save you money in the long run! Bottled water adds up and it gets to be expensive and wasteful!
Price match. Look at various stores to see their prices.
Buy store brand items.. While it is true that you probably shouldn’t buy certain store-brand things, the majority of items won’t kill you to buy. For example, I (I being Kayla) typically buy Safeway K-Cups instead of Starbucks. Cheaper and still tastes good!
Shop at farmers markets and pick your own when you can! The prices are typically cheaper and it is a lot of fun!
Take advantage of rewards programs from various supermarkets. Some give you great deals on various items throughout the store, some give you coupons, some even help you save on gas!
From time to time a reader will write in saying that they recently discovered that they prefer men’s clothing, but don’t know how to transform their wardrobes on a small budget. For an experiment Sonny decided to take their new favorite online shopping destination, Frank & Oak and figure out how much it would cost to get a new wardrobe in a year.