Sometimes Beautiful Ain’t Frugal…Coming To Terms With Your Spending

August 21, 2011

I have had to cut back on my spending simply as a matter of necessity.  In late summer of 2010, I moved across the country to start graduate school (expensive!) and I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel there for awhile just to get by.  Though I desperately needed to revamp my wardrobe ( read: city life in a new climate changes EVERYTHING!)   I simply couldn’t afford it- and honestly, as a writer about frugality who was trying to convince other young women to think seriously about their finances and save some moolah for their future, it was hard to justify any triple digit purchases in the name of “looking good.”  Needless to say, though my work pants were saggy and ill-fitting, and my jeans  didn’t flatter my figure I thought I could just…you with it. 


The sad fact of the matter was though- I looked awful and felt pretty bad too.  My change in lifestyle necessitated a change in wardrobe.     My whole life had changed, and my wardrobe was still stuck in a time warp, and to top it off- it simply didn’t fit.  My jeans (read: low rise doesn’t work for curvy girls!) fit/didn’t fit in all the wrong places and would fall down when I walked. My work clothes were showing some serious wear and tear and didn’t exemplify the new understanding of professionalism I hoped to convey, so I was in a frugal fashion funk.

When I was getting ready for the 20-sb Summit that was taking place in Chicago, I realized that I was dreading meeting people because I didn’t have anything that fit the occasion (classy but casual) or even fit my newly slimmed down body.  Here was an amazing opportunity to meet other bloggers doing what I was doing, and I was embarrassed and ashamed that I ran a blog called and I didn’t even have slacks that fit right or jeans that were age appropriate.

I knew something had to be done, so I forgave myself ahead of time and allowed myself to buy a few pieces that would fit the bill:  Classy, Comfortable and Gorgeous.


This is the dress I wore to the opening social sponsored by Murphy-Goode Winery (btw, it was great, thank you!) at the Crimson Lounge.

 I was so glad I invested in a dress because it was swanky and I got so many compliments!

I also got two pairs of Express Jeans which are NOT low-rise and are great for curvy girls (yay, adult jeans!)  and some fabulous Steve Madden flats with adorable bows… on sale of course!


Did I feel guilty about it?  Yes and no.  Did I hate to spend money when I wish I had reached a consumerist zen or could rock a burlap sack and still feel confident? Well, yes…but  did I forgive myself and buy something that I truly loved, that fit like a dream, that was on sale and made me feel professional, put together and totally fabulous?  You bet your @$$ I did.  

I have learned the hard way, you have to embrace what makes you happy- let go of the shame and fund what brings you bliss…the frivolous and the frugal.

 I want to take this time to remind everyone reading this, because lord knows, I the blogger of this fair site, had to be reminded of it too- that frugality is a mechanism to live your best life, not to deprive yourself just to save a buck.  Frugality clears out the clutter and helps you focus any income you have to things you truly, wholeheartedly get excited about (yes, even if it’s jeans that finally fit or Betsey Johnson earrings) while still putting that little extra saved towards your sustainable future.

So, when you “do frugal,” don’t let it mandate how you live your life or spend your money.  Use your frugal to fuel the beautiful.  Whether you are beautifully frugal in the fact that you can take thrift store creations to create a gorgeous vintage wardrobe, or you save up to buy a designer handbag that makes you just glow with excitement, neither is better than the other- they’re just different.  Being beautifully frugal is about focusing your money to fund things you truly love, regardless of what anyone else thinks.  

So honestly, I don’t care what anyone thinks about my brand of frugal- you shouldn’t either.    Put your money where your heart is, and your frugal tactics will be so much more powerful.  You won’t mind cutting back in certain areas to fund others.  Don’t feel guilty if you insist on using expensive shampoo or like me, you just couldn’t STAND your wardrobe anymore and needed an update-  this is exactly why we are frugal:  spend less on the other stuff to better fund your bliss **(and of course, fund your future by putting some cash aside for retirement!)

Previously I would have gotten ill over the idea of spending $80 on a pair of jeans.  For a time, that’s what I thought “frugal” was- but I was wrong.  When you do frugal right, you wait for the perfect pair of jeans, at just the right cut (and on sale) to come along, and you buy only the best pair that hugs your curves and makes you feel gorgeous, even if they are categorized as “expensive.”


 Frugal is the new beautiful, and here at this blog, frugal is getting a facelift.  It’s going to be modern, stylish, totally your own unique, tailored money management tactic to get whatever you want in life (yes, even if you insist on expensive jeans!)

So, how do you do your frugal-beautiful?  What do you use your unique frugality for?

15 comments so far.

15 responses to “Sometimes Beautiful Ain’t Frugal…Coming To Terms With Your Spending”

  1. Alexis says:

    I LOVE everything about this post. I have been in the same predicament (having lost weight and needing a whole new wardrobe, not to mention moving into a new life and needing to let go of the clothes of my old life) so I totally feel you! And I too, was pinching pennies and thinking I should only go to Payless to shop for shoes because "that's what I could afford". But I realized that I needed quality, not just cheap. My life's quality was raising, so why shouldn't my clothes? So I went to DSW to get designer shoes ON SALE and felt amazing about it. I am still enjoying the quality in my cute shoes (rather than dealing with the uncomfortable feel, just for them to fall apart way too soon). So yes, customizing my frugal to fit my new lifestyle has been beautiful!

  2. Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

    High five Alexis! I knew we were on the same wavelength! I know today I went back to Express and since I had another coupon was able to get another pair of those fabulous work slacks in a different color (that fit like a dream) that I spoke about in the post, and I got a free belt with it, but I felt AWFUL for a bit.

    I realized that I felt like a frugal hypocrite..I was working hard and trying to be smart about my spending to save money to put it towards my bliss, and where was my bliss?? Well, this time I was able to fund my wardrobe and feel fabulous. I spent nearly $375 on everything and while that's a LOT of money for a grad student, I think I'm feeling pretty solid in my decision. My jeans make me feel fierce- and in moderation, a bit of fashionably frugal spending can really make gorgeous, happy shockwaves in your life!

  3. Jessica says:

    I'm glad I got a chance to meet you and find out about your blog this weekend! I completely understand what you mean here. I just did a post last month about how I can't just always be trying to be more and more frugal, because it's impossible to save ALL my money and no one's going to give me a gold star if I did! So I have to be OK with spending the money I've worked hard to save. I completely agree that you have to find your own boundaries–where you can make compromises, and where you need to splurge a little to truly be happy.

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      Jessica! It was fabulous meeting you too! Your blog is so adorable, and what you stand for resonates so much with me! Your header is just too darn cute and your content is lovely- totally digging what you say and your enthusiasm of The Happiness Project! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, we totally need to keep in touch!

  4. Lacey Bean says:

    I love this! And you looked ADORABLE all weekend (and I still love those pumps you had on!) You've reminded me that I need to keep adding to my professional work clothes – I wear jeans to work usually, but when we have events, I have to wear business dress. I hadn't REALLY bought new items since I left my last job in 2007! Slowly I'm adding new things in – thank god for the GAP, they've got some great items I've incorporated.

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      Lacey, thank you! It was so nice to be in an environment where everyone was so nice and complimentary…and I kept seeing such AWESOME style being sported like others (like you!) I have to head over to the Gap and get those jeans…and I'm thinking of finding a good blazer (just because they're cute and who can't feel snazzy sporting a "blazer?")

      BTW I went to Threadless to find that adorable Muppets shirt ,and as I suspected, they're no longer being produced, but……I put in a request for a reprint and might start my own campaign to bring 'em back! Muahaha

      And for anyone else unaware of the adorableness that is this shirt:

      Thanks again Lacey- btw your blog is adorable and I'm so glad I found it! I applied for the Clever Network…it looked interesting!

  5. That outfit for the 20-sb summit is gorgeous! Investing in quality wardrobe pieces is, in my view, a form of being frugal (not to mention beautiful!). Buying piles of cheaper tat is not. And I completely agree- punishing yourself financially isn't what being frugal is all about.

    Glad you found a killer pair of jeans! You know that they're going to stand the test of time and look fabulous (I like to think of some of my killer purchases on a how much they cost per wear basis- I'll bet these jeans work out pretty well on that front). Definitely think a great blazer is a good investment too.

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      Thanks Harri! I am psyched about the jeans that fit and am totally happy I've seemed to find a sweet spot in balancing my frugality with my love of lookin' good! I am ALL ABOUT the cost per wear comparison. I am trying to curb impulse purchases and buy things I really love that will be classic, adaptable and stand the test of time.

      Thank you Harri- I will see you back at the Totally Money blog! 🙂

  6. Abi says:

    Shannyn- you completely hit the nail on the head! I struggle with "budgets" in that way, and have to remind myself that it's something to bring out the best in me, not confine me and not allow me to buy things or spend my money on things that make me feel beautiful or excite me. Budgets/frugal doesn't mean not spending money. It a way to help you achieve financial goals you've set for yourself–whatever they may be.

    And when you find a pair of jeans that fit–it's a good purchase! And the dress looks beautiful on you!

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      Thank you so much and thank you for stopping by my blog! I'm all for jeans that fit, especially after months of finding not-so-flattering pairs so I'm totally stoked!

  7. Tracy says:

    I love this comment! "Put your money where your heart is, and your frugal tactics will be so much more powerful" – Well said!

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  11. QuiteLight says:

    I just wandered into your blog (thank Ash in Fashion), and am delighted! We see frugality the same way. (Although I seldom use the word “frugal” since it has “cheap” connotations for me I can’t get rid of.)

    I am coming out of a place of very limited finances, and facing the same clothing challenges! I have lost about 15 pounds, and my worn work pants just hang on me. I can’t shop just anywhere to start with, since I’m tall enough (5′ 10″) that many stores don’t carry pants that are long enough & fit! It’s $70 GAP jeans/pants or nothing many times, & I AGONIZE over it! But they fit, they look smokin’ on me, and I don’t look like my pants shrunk. I will start saving now!


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