Beauty on a Budget

As much as I have tried to keep my De-Frumpiness Project from deeply impacting my wallet, not spending in this department has been impossible. And you know what? That’s the frickin point.

There are so many ways we put ourselves on the back-burner and spending on other things is definitely the easiest for many of us. In my case, I will justify the purchase of clothing and shoes for my kids when theirs shows wear or is ill-fitting or I just find a really good deal. Not so much for me.

I have found great deals on all sorts of things this year, and even with the De-Frumpiness Project, I have more often than not left the item on the shelf or rack muttering something about not having money right now and then spending the money I don’t have on something else for someone else.

The past couple of months I’ve been forcing that to change. It doesn’t always feel as great as it sounds like it would. Yes, you would think I’d be all excited by the idea of giving myself permission to spend on myself but I just don’t. I stress and moan, “But what about the children?”

Lately I’ve been a bit tough on that whiny part of me and have rebuked her with a sharp, “The children have more than plenty and they don’t even take care of it properly!” Which is kind of true. Ok fine, it’s a lot true. My kids are really lucky because they are part of a very big family that lives in the same city as they do. The very big family is of Cuban heritage mostly and is therefore quite fond of gifts for children. We’re the type of culture that firmly believes if you can’t afford gifts for everyone, at least make sure you get the children gifts. Always, the children.

So my children are inundated. They get clothes and toys and toys and more toys and clothes. Do they get all the clothes they need? No. They don’t get shoes for instance or underwear or socks. But they get a lot of the other stuff– shirts and shorts and skirts and dresses and on and on.

The point is, the kids get a lot more gifts than I do. And that is awesome. That is totally fine. That is the way it should be. BUT that is also the fact I have to remind myself of when I’m talking myself out of buying something for myself that is 1) a great deal, 2) that I can afford at that moment in time and 3) that fills a gap in my diminishing wardrobe. Well, mentally it’s diminishing. I’m having a hard time physically purging my closet this year but that’s another roller coaster post waiting to happen.

Anyhow, here are a few things I have been spending on lately and how I’ve been doing just that.

Clothes: I keep trying Goodwill and keep getting mixed results. Ok, honestly? I don’t find much for me. First of all, the Goodwill by my house is huge in an overwhelming way. It attempts to be organized, but let’s face it, it’s Goodwill. It’s not organized. I just don’t have much shopping time and the past couple of months, I’ve had even less as the kids have been spending more and more Wednesdays and weekends with me instead of their dad (also another post). When I’ve gone and browsed, I’ve found a lot of things that look good until I pull them out and take a look at them. They are the wrong size, stained, faded, or just not what I thought they were when I saw them on the hanger. Repeatedly having this happen to me is insanely discouraging. And when I have found something that is the right size, is not faded, is a good brand, it’s about a couple dollars less than I’d pay for it at a store like Ross.

That doesn’t mean I’ve been striking out in the clothes department completely. I’ve actually scored some major hits– at Ross and Marshalls. Surprisingly, moreso at Ross than Marshalls but I had a great haul last weekend so I can’t complain about Marshalls too much. Although I will complain a little bit. When did Marshalls get so expensive? I was strolling through their shoe section and OUCH. I couldn’t find a nice pair of shoes for under $40.

While Marshalls kills Ross in selection, organization, and brands it’s just not that great in the dollar aspect and that is way more important to me right now than anything else. Why? As much as I am mentally in a hurry to get my wardrobe revamped already, I’m not monetarily in a hurry to do so. I’m not even monetarily able actually. So I have time. I have time to go to the Ross by my house (closer than the nearest Marshalls too and with less nerve-wracking parking than the cramped garage the Marshalls is housed in). I have time to wander the clearance racks. I have time to wander the other racks. I have time to try things on. I have time to not take anything because none of it fits me right. And although that IS slightly depressing I am really tired of not looking quite right in my clothes.

This has actually been my savior. My shape has changed a lot in the past year and a half. While this has wreaked havoc on my wardrobe and my options at home, it has really slowed down my shopping. Before, I used to have the type of shape that was pretty standard for a size Small. Ok so not everything fit perfectly but more often than not things fit the way I expected them to.

Not so anymore. And so this means I force myself into the dressing room every single time no matter what the item is. I never used to use fitting rooms, that’s how standard I was. Fitting rooms slow me down. And fitting rooms make me really question and inspect my prospective purchases. So while my wardrobe overhaul is not going as smoothly or as quickly as I’d want it to, I’m more pleased with where it’s going.

Beauty Products: It is all about the drug store sales. Well, it’s mostly about the drug store sales. It’s almost entirely about the drug store sales. If you haven’t figured this out yet, and you really do enjoy the occasional new lipstick, nail polish, eye shadow, whatever, it’s high time you got on this.

For me, CVS is king. Their coupon policy is easy-peasy. Their ExtraCare Bucks are generous. Their Beauty Club makes it even more generous. The fact they’re all over the place makes them easy to access and you can even shop multiple ones in the same day. I learned all about CVS at Southern Savers. Yes, coupons make CVSing even more rewarding but you can get by without them. You’re just not going to save as much money.

This week alone you can score free facial care products, free deodorant, and free floss (perfect for June’s De-Frumpiness project). You can also get a pretty good deal on razors, face wash, and makeup.

The thing with CVS is patience. Stick to the sales and you’ll be a-ok. Also, don’t be afraid to use their return policy. I had a makeup shopping spree a couple of months ago during a particularly good sale week and bought a powder that was supposed to shimmer. I got home and realized what I got was not what was listed on the rack it was in. The packaging on the products was identical despite the fact they had four different finishes. More than a month later, I finally got the chance to go back to CVS with the product and receipt and was able to exchange it for the right one– even with the first product already being open and used. In other words, be unafraid to purchase makeup you can’t try. If, when you get home, the shade makes you look freshly dead, exchange it for a different shade. Easy!

Walgreens is also quite popular with the savings crowd. I can’t suggest them as strongly as I can CVS because they have so many stupid rules and restrictions with their Register Rewards and coupons it’s a true labor to get things done. My suggestion? Don’t put Walgreens on the list of places you regularly shop at but DO make sure you check out their ad if you find you have to go there for whatever reason (prescription, ATM, medicine, etc.). I had to go to my Walgreens last night for their ATM (ING Direct-friendly!), checked their ad real quick and found they have a deal on Goody hair accessories this week– $2 in Register Rewards when you buy certain $2 hair accessories. That means free hair accessories– IF I have to buy something from Walgreens by June 21st. Turns out I do need some saline drops that never go on sale.So I’m wearing my cute little headband today and in the next few days I’ll go by and pick up the saline drops. Free hair stuff!

Of course, it’s also about keeping an eye out. I ventured into Sally Beauty Supply the other day in search of nail tip guides to find they are having a pretty big sale this month which includes a lot of Buy 1 Get 1 Free deals– even on nail art items (currently a thing). I’d honestly never been much of a Sally girl but rest assured I’ll be checking in on their ads more often now. They have lots of specialty items there you just can’t get at CVS and they’re not afraid to mark them down.

Lastly, there’s the internet. Today I purchased the June Mystery Box from Julep. Julep is a nail care company and every now and then they offer mystery boxes for $60. Each mystery box includes anywhere from $60 to $200 worth of merchandise. This month, you can get a limited edition mystery nail color OR the entire collection of Julep nail polish. Um yeah that’s pretty amazing right? But $60? Ouch. Well, use the code JUNEMYSTERY and your box is $19.99 with free shipping. I indulged. It’s $19.99. I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $19.99 on my kids. Each of Julep’s nail polishes go for $14 each and the mystery boxes include at least three of them from what I’ve seen in previous month’s reveals. Julep is a beauty company to watch. They have a nail polish subscription as well and they occasionally offer the chance to try a box for a penny. I’ve always talked myself out of trying it but next time I won’t, especially if the Mystery Box doesn’t disappoint.

Beauty boxes are very popular right now. I keep seeing mentions of them all over the place. Julep’s the only one though that seems to be willing to offer great deals. I’ve heard great deals on Glossybox but a $21 monthly subscription is out of the question. I might buy myself one month’s box for my birthday in August to try it out and then, if it’s as good as I’ve been seeing I’ll probably use Tinsel’s guts towards the purchase of another one in December or January. The value of the box’s contents tend to be much higher than the $21 so it’s worth it if the money is set aside for it. Definitely a great Treat Yo Self type of purchase, eh Nikki?

So there you have it. Some of the ways I’ve been spending on myself this year. I wish I could say spending and not stressing but it’s just not true. I still have issues spending on myself and I wonder if in a way I always will. I didn’t have this problem when I was single (no kids, no nobody) but as soon as the loves of my life started making appearances, this went out the window and what was once a fun thing to do turned into a guilt-ridden experience.

What about you? Do you like spending on yourself? What about on things that are outside the Needs Zone but not in the Communal Wants Zone? Things only you want that no one else would really enjoy?

18 thoughts on “Beauty on a Budget

  1. One friend of mine has lived with a nice person for several years now and d they are on a tight budget. At pay day she needs to go shopping. He asks what are you going to get . She has no answer. Then he asks what do we need . She has no answer. Then he asks why are you going shopping. She has no answer.

    PS I did not use question marks because they are declarative sentences. I would have used them if I had put the statements as interrogatives in quotes. Just sayin…….

  2. If you send me your information to my email (spanishprof02 at gmail dot com), I’ll treat you to a beauty box. You deserve it, for being so amazing and for everything you went through. I am subscribe to a few of them. Objectively, they probably are not worth the money. But it is fun to receive them and open the package. Is there any particular box that you prefer, or should I choose?

    Don’t you dare say no, by the way. You know how we Hispanics like to give gifts (well, I don’t know if that’s true as a generality, but I love doing it).

    • LOL I was totally going to politely decline until I read the last paragraph. BUSTED. Yes I know how we love to gifts. Do you really get them? I want to know more!! I’ll email you because that’s seriously sweet of you and because I cannot as a Hispanic say no in good conscience LOL

  3. My problem is I go to buy something for myself and wind up buying for the kids. But now that I am loosing weight there are some things I have to buy for myself :)

    • I know what you mean. I really try and avoid the kids’ sections but I ALWAYS end up going by right at the end!! That’s one of the best side effects of losing weight isn’t it? Good for you!

  4. For me it’s more about the time and effort than the money… still haven’t called the dentist. Still need a haircut. Still ought to call the laser hair place to (forcefully) ask if I can go back for my remaining 3 treatments after delivering even though it will be a year since I prepaid… We did get a breast-pump last week and sometime before July I’ll buy a carseat from amazon.

    If I get skinny right after the baby is born I’ll have a bunch of barely worn or never worn ann taylor loft outlet stuff from my last shopping excursion– something about doing one huge shopping trip at an outlet mall causes me to get pregnant. I guess I will have to be very careful in the future– spread things out a little more.

    • You need an assistant!! I would make the best assistant for you :)

      Hmm shopping = pregnancy. That would be seriously problematic for many women. But at least you have incentive for getting back to pre-pregnancy weight when you’re ready. If not, I’m a size sixish eightish :P just in case you happen to have anything in that range. I love the loft stuff

  5. CVS (at least in Chicago) takes expired coupons as long as the other rules of the coupon are met. Keep your receipt, as some stores will not accept returns for non-CVS brands without a receipt. Any CVS item, however, is guaranteed money back with or without a receipt (although you will probably get store credit for it, not cash).

    • YES!
      Mine doesn’t take expired coupons BUT they have reinstated ExtraCare Bucks I either lost or expired. I don’t abuse that but it’s been nice every now and then.

    • which cvs that you go to in Chicago takes expired coupons? Would really like to know please!! Have a bunch stashed in my bag that I really want to use and can’t let myself throw them away!

  6. When I splurge for myself on something I don’t need it’s usually yarn or a gourmet food product or a fancy meal out. I just don’t get into makeup, but I’m glad you’re treating yourself in a way that’s meaningful for you. Although, now that I think about it I do regularly get manicures, pedicures, and waxing. I usually just consider it part of my budget so I forget. If I ever needed to cut back in spending, though, that would be one of the first places to go. No kids means I never have the problem of spending on them rather than myself.

    • I love fancy meals so much. I honestly think if I could figure out a way to get them really cheap the way I do makeup I’d do it more often. The online coupons just haven’t worked out well for me. We do have Miami Spice down here but even that’s pretty steep

  7. I never spent a lot on myself (I tended to spend on the kids, my hubby, and our home – oh, books…). I will admit, I always shopped sales – especially for shoes. (Yes, I am a shoe maven.) But since divorce and the UnBudget and the escalating kid costs, year after year? It just wasn’t fun except for very rare occasions.

    That said, on those occasions, I still shopped smartly… and I admit, when I get lucky on some fab shoes at DSW or Marshall’s (or occasionally Ross) – and even major department store sales (the great ones) – I’m walking on air…

    In part, I don’t spend much on myself because there’s little I genuinely need (we could all do with focusing on “need vs want” – and, I think about things my kids do need. Spending on me would make me feel guilty, to be frank…

    • I need shoes in the worst way and can’t find anything. I’m getting pickier as I get older, I can feel it.
      I do feel guilty when I spend on myself. But I also tell myself to SHUSH. I really need to purge my clothes again and get a grip on what’s there and what’s missing. My basics are in horrible shape or nonexistent.

  8. Have you shopped at Plato’s Closet? There’s one in Kendall! It’s the best thrift store I have ever encountered. Much better options than Goodwill and sooo cheap. Just a side note in terms of clothing and accessories (and shoes). <3

  9. Pingback: REALLY good Julep deal & Shopping Spree Total | Mutant Supermodel

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