Several years ago, before kids and this goal of living a simpler life, I was pretty self-conscious about how I looked, and would pay a nice price to improve myself. I wouldn’t say I was conceited at all, actually I would say it was more of a problem with low self-esteem. But I never ever thought of myself as “high maintenance”. Looking back I see that I definitely spent more than was necessary.
Over the years I’ve decided to let the extra superficial go. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still care about my appearance. It’s not like I’ve just become a lazy slob when it comes to my looks, I’ve just learned to maintain an image that I am happy with (and that my husband is happy with) without breaking the bank.
If you are wanting to learn to live more within your means, and begin to save instead of squander your money, you might be wise to consider making some changes to the price of your personal upkeep. Here are some things that I’ve done to save my family big bucks:
- Manicures/Pedicures: I used to get acrylic French Manicures done at least every two weeks. The cost of this, cheaply done, was about $40/mo.
Now I keep my natural nails a little shorter, and paint them myself when I feel like a manicure!
- Tanning Salon: I wasn’t tanning all of the time, but I would go to the tanning bed for the Summer, usually for about 4 months in a row. My cost $60/mo. Plus a good tanning lotion for about $40.
Now I may use something like Jergens Natural Glow, or some kind of lotion with a gradual building tint if I feel like I need a little color.
- Teeth Whitening: I won’t count the $250 cost of the custom fit trays that I got as a birthday present, but to buy the bleach gel from the dentist cost me about $30 every 3 mos.
Now I just use a whitening toothpaste. I don’t smoke or drink coffee, so that probably helps too!
- Brows Waxed: Yes, I did this too every now and then. Probably every couple months. Cost $15.
Now I tweeze. With frequent grooming in good lighting, you’ll never know the difference.
- Hair: For many years I permed my hair. I usually did it twice a year, for about $100 a pop. Then I had my hair straightened, and started highlighting and layering it, about every 3-4 months. That cost me around $100 each time as well (my hair has always been pretty long, so it costs a lot to do anything to it).
I finally decided that it’s ridiculous for me to be spending so much money on my hair… and for what? So people can look at me and think to themselves that they like my hair? It just wasn’t worth it to me anymore. So, I had my hair colored one last time, back to my natural sandy blonde, and had one last cut. I haven’t been back to the salon in two years! My sister has trimmed my hair for me, for FREE 🙂
If you have short hair, consider growing it out long. Longer really is lower maintenance, and much cheaper! Plus, the guys dig it.
- Clothing/Shoes: I used to buy the cute stuff a the mall, and not blink at paying over $30 for just a shirt, or $50 for shoes. Even that wasn’t excessive. I never did go overboard buying “designer” stuff, but buying at full price was normal.
Now I hardly ever go to the mall, and I definitely don’t go there to do random shopping for myself! I only shop good sales, and try to keep it around $5-$10 per item. I much prefer to buy at local Thrift stores for a fraction of the price without sacrificing quality. I’ve also really re-evaluated how much clothing I really need, and have kept it to a minimum.
So, just by making these changes in my life I’ve been able to save my family over $2650 per year. And this is a very conservative figure. I’m not even counting how much less make-up and hair products I am using.
I guess this is my frugal living food for thought for the day. What do you think… can you do any of these things? Can you do all of these things? If you are in the habit of frivolous spending then perhaps you can slowly cut one of these things out at a time. And now is a great time to start saving those extra dollars!
I’d love to hear what you are doing to become a lower maintenance woman!