To Splurge or To Save?



If you’ve been around since last summer, you may recall that I won this fabulous leather jacket through a giveaway on Instagram (check out Gracie’s Boutique!). Of course I was extremely excited, but I was even MORE excited to realize this jacket retails for more than $300… and I only had to pay the $7 to ship it. But guess what? The first day I wore it, my hair ripped out one of the studs on the shoulders. It just goes to show that more expensive does not always equal better. Which is what inspired today’s post—a round-up of items I would recommend splurging on, and a round-up of items I would never splurge on.


You all know by now that I’m a very budget-friendly shopper (aka cheap). Yes, the word ‘cheap’ seems to have a negative connotation, but when it comes to purchasing clothing, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing! I rarely pay full price for items because a) I am very patient and capable of waiting for sales and b) there’s a certain thrill to purchasing something at a fraction of its original price. But, I also recognize the value in spending a little extra mula for higher quality pieces once in a while. So if you’re also a budget shopper and looking for a little advice on when to splurge and when to save, here are my general rules of thumb:

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DO splurge on belts. In my mind, belts are firstly for functional purposes and secondly for style. While I love a good trendy pearl or leopard print belt, I usually regret spending only $10 on them—inexpensive belts are flimsy, poor quality, and don’t do their job very well. Not to mention, the loop holes usually stretch out or rip within a few wears. Hardly any of my pants fit correctly around my waist, so I NEED a good belt. The brown one I’m wearing in today’s post is from Cabi, and while it was expensive at $76, the cost per wear is less than $0.80 because I wear it so much (and it’s still in pristine condition!).

DO splurge on certain shoes, particularly snow boots. Shoes can get pretty pricey, and while I don’t recommend spending a fortune on them every time, certain pairs are worth coughing up a little extra dough. For example, cute walking shoes (like my $60 Steve Madden quilted sneakers) are worth it if you know you’re going to wear them constantly. My white mules were also a hefty price at $70, but I wear them so much that a lesser quality shoe would have surely fallen apart by now. And snow boots! Boy oh boy, do I wish I had splurged on snow boots. I got $40 snow boots a few winters ago because I was cheap, and they stink. They don’t keep my feet warm at all! When it comes to snow boots, I definitely recommend splurging on Sorels—they’re super cute and will last you a lifetime!

DO splurge on staple jewelry. I love costume jewelry and highly recommend inexpensive places like Francesca’s for bold statement necklaces or fun rings. But if you’re looking for a piece of jewelry to wear every day, I recommend something a little more durable (though it doesn’t have to be insanely expensive, either!—Kendra Scott has super cute options). I have a few small necklaces from Francesca’s that I wear almost daily, but they’ve all tarnished now and changed from their original rose gold hue to a dirty grey shade. Investing in those staple pieces (or better yet, asking for them as gifts) is worth it!

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DON’T splurge on sunglasses. I’m really bad at taking care of sunglasses, so I prefer buying super cheap pairs. That way, I’m not too upset if I accidentally sit on them or if they get scratched in my purse! The blush tortoise ones I’m wearing in today’s post are less than $13 from Loft (buy HERE).

DON’T splurge on purses. I have a few Kate Spade purses that were gifts that I absolutely adore. However, when it comes to spending my own money, I usually prefer inexpensive bags from Francesca’s or even DSW. I don’t use the same purse enough (nor do I stuff them full of things) that the quality noticeably degrades over time. But, if you’re a one-purse kinda gal, investing in something a little nicer is probably the move!

DON’T splurge on formal attire. I can’t stress this one enough! Prom dresses (and other gowns) can get SO expensive for something you’ll probably only wear once. That’s why I recommend checking out local thrift or consignment shops instead. Consignment stores are usually a little nicer with higher-end pieces, and you can find amazing deals on dresses. I bought this black Calvin Klein dress for one of my Homecoming dances for only $50 (and have worn it several times since), and this mauve tulle gown was also $50 from a consignment shop in Las Vegas. And if you see a fabulous gown in a regular store that’s steeply discounted, consider buying it! You may not have an occasion to wear it right now, but when you’re invited to a wedding (or whatever) in the future, you’ll be glad you snagged that piece while it was on sale.

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All in all, the most important thing that guides my spending is use. I am willing to splurge on pieces like belts, shoes, and everyday jewelry because I know I’ll be wearing it constantly (and will get my money’s worth). Trendy pieces or items that are meant only for special occasions are a good reason to save money instead. Not that I ever would, but I’m so glad I didn’t spend the $300+ this jacket is worth! Of course it’s so stinking cute, but it’s not worth that price tag.

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If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my Cost Per Wear blog post and my post about creating your own cost per wear spreadsheet!

What’s your best advice for splurging versus saving? Are there any expensive purchases you regret, or any cheap purchases you wish you had splurged more on? I’d love to hear all your thoughts and advice in the comments! As always, thanks for reading today’s post.


Miles of smiles,


Olive Green Bodysuit: Francesca’s, $20, last worn here, buy exact HERE | Leather Studded Jacket: Won in a giveaway, $7, last worn here | Skinny Jeans: JCPenney, $25, last worn here | Black Booties: DSW, $45, last worn here | Blush Tortoise Sunglasses: Loft, gift, buy exact HERE | Brown Belt: Cabi, $76, last worn here | Maroon Circle Purse: Nordstrom Rack, $50, last worn here

20 comments on “To Splurge or To Save?”

  1. Smart gal!! I have splurged on a pair of zella leggings and zella joggers and not regrets: wear them all the time! Same with some shoes. I really don’t have any regrets on things that i jave spent more because I think i have gotten better at shopping: if i am spending more on it I make sure it is something i will wear over an over again! And like you I do lkve a good sale! Today i was pleasantly surprised with realizing I had $11 on a target gift card! Every little bit counts! Just like the 3 haircuts i gave my boys: $45 saved this week!

    1. That’s awesome Mireille!! And yes that’s such a good point, becoming a good shopper really does take practice. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I completely agree with you , Grace on not splurging on formal attire. Many people get caught in the trap of overspending on something they’ll only wear once. I usually don’t mind splurging a little on jeans, because high-quality denim can be nearly indestructible, especially considering jeans don’t require washing after every wear. Or blazers – not only are these types of pieces instant outfit makers, it’s an area where quality is really readily visible. Thanks for sharing and take care. Aiva 🙂

    1. So true Aiva! Denim and blazers are both great additions to this list. I really should invest in better jeans because several of mine are kind of flimsy!

  3. What a very cool look! That jacket is fabulous, but a pity about the lost stud. I agree that some items shouldn’t be bought cheap. Better pre loved for quality then new and cheap. Hope to see you on my Fancy Friday linkup party. Have a great weekend!

  4. This are great tips Grace and I love your jacket. So unique and you absolutely look great in it! I agree with you too on formal attire. My lifestyle doesn’t involve a lot of galas or formal parties especially nowadays when most of my friends are all married and have families of their own. I also agree that we should invest in items we would use on a daily basis and not dependent on other people’s list. I have gone down this path before and those items are now no longer in use because my taste have changed and/or I was not really into them. For example, jewelry. I hope you had a great week. All I know is I am SO ready for the weekend. Wishing you a beautiful one.

    Maureen |

    1. Thank you so much Maureen!! And that all totally makes sense. I hope to have lots of galas and parties to attend one day, haha, but even then I wouldn’t splurge on fancy pieces! I’m frugal through and through. 🙂

    1. That totally makes sense! I rarely use purses right now since I’m still in school, but I imagine I’ll start investing in better ones once I start using them everyday. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Love the stud detailing on your jacket! These are great tips for saving and splurging! I always splurge on shoes and handbags. I never buy belts because they are so expensive – but when you think about cost per wear, it makes sense to splurge on them!

    Jill – Doused in Pink

    1. I know, belts can get so pricey! I still try to find them on sale, naturally. I imagine I’ll start spending more on handbags once I have more of a need for them! In school I rarely ever use a purse, unless I make a run to the grocery store.

  6. Grace, I love this cool edgy look on you! What a fabulous jacket! It is a bummer that one of the studs came off. Hopefully you can fix it or it is just not very noticeable. You know I am a bargain shopper, too. I agree completely that you should splurge on belts! I have so many junky ones that clutter up space but I plan to replace them all at some point with quality belts. My most worn belt is a wide black leather one that rom Bed Stu that I paid around $50 for and it has held up for years. For so long I was having to replace my $20 belts every 6 months or so because they fell apart. I do not splurge on snow boots though because where I live, all boots get ruined in winter time so I would rather buy cheaper for the weather where I live. One other thing that I splurge on is bras. Never underestimate the transformative power of a good bra. They can make cheap clothing look so much better! This was a fun post and really great splurge vs save tips!


    1. Thank you Shelbee! Belts are something I’ve only recently started thinking about and purchasing more of, and as cute as the cheap ones are, they’re useless! That makes sense about the snow boots considering where you live. And oooh I didn’t even think about bras, that’s a good one!

  7. This is good advice, although I completely disagree with you on the purses point, haha! I think that accessories are always worth investing in! I find that anything pleather gets destroyed really quickly here with the heat and humidity so I can much better justify scoring a $150 leather bag on sale than a $50 pleather one that won’t last a year. I have leather handbags over 30 years old in my wardrobe, they are must splurge items for me! 🙂 I am a bag person though so maybe I’m biased haha!

    Thanks so much for joining the #WeekdayWearLinkup! Hope that you are having a good weekend 🙂 Another hot one here, we had to leave the park as it was just too warm!

    1. Haha I totally understand that! The weather is a good point that I hadn’t thought of before. I think once I start using purses more regularly (and not just for photos), I will probably have a change of heart! I do love my Kate Spade bags. 🙂

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