Thursday, March 10

Bloggers & Budgets: Ashe, Dramatis Personae

While I'm off in NYC trying on some wedding dresses (eeeee!), check out this weeks edition of Bloggers & Budgets Featuring Ashe from Dramatis Personae. I first stumbled across Ashe's blog when this post was on IFB's Links Ala Mode. Naturally I instantly fell in love with her honesty about debt and of course her amazing eye for fashion and have been reading her blog ever since.

Ashe, 27 (though I think I'm 28), New Orleans, LA. I work full-time at a local university in theatre & dance, blog full-time at Dramatis Personae (and weekly at Independent Fashion Bloggers). My boyfriend of 6 years and I recently moved back in together, and we live with our precocious cat, Lottie.

The Questions

1. How would you describe your approach to personal finance: hands-on or hands-off?
I strive to live within my means, moreso now than ever. I check my banking almost daily, and since I'm paid monthly, that means I do HAVE to be incredibly hands on--otherwise I'll be out of money by the time the month is over!
2. How do you balance your finances with style blogging? (Buy everything on sale, remix, budgets?)
I had once read in In Style magazine, a quote that essentially said, "If you won't pay full price for it, you don't love it enough to buy it." To some degree, I really believe that. I believe in building a wardrobe with pieces that you love enough you'll save for, pay top dollar for, and love forever. But on the other hand, I really believe in patience, fate, and seeking out a sale or discount. Recently I fell in love with a Marc Jacobs bag-- it's hard to find, over $400, and sells out quickly. So I bought it--out of my bank account (not plastic!). But not before finding a 15% off discount. That basically covered the cost of tax, but it also saved me $60.
Having my partner move in with me has helped me balance my love of fashion with my financial goals. It helps having someone to keep me accountable and encourage me.

3. What do you want to accomplish [financially] in the next five years?
I'd like to have no credit card debt, and to only use them for travel, monthly bills (to be paid off each month), and emergencies. I'd like to purchase a car this year, and the Beau and I would like to save up a down payment so we can buy a home. We're working to jointly create a 6 month emergency savings account, and I know paying of his students loans is a priority for him.
4. Do you have any financial regrets? (something you wish you had done sooner, hadn't done at all?)
I wish I had just stopped myself. After Hurricane Katrina, shopping became an emotional escape and coping mechanism for me. Prior to Katrina I never had more than $1000 in debt. Now I have significantly more. I wish I had cared more and realized what I was doing.

5. Share with us your best/favorite tip for saving/spending/paying off debt.
Google search for the lowest price and coupon codes! Almost everyone online is having some kind of discount at any time--whether it's so little as free shipping or 10% off. Some people buy things the first place they find them-- I try to search out every possible location, gauge shipping vs. cost, and get the best deal I can.

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