Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Practicality and Penny Pinching

I’m a bit anxious to write this as the beauty blogging and vlogging community is often subject to censure when the apparently taboo subjects of money or purchasing are discussed. Quite frankly though, I think it’s important to broadcast that it’s not necessary to purchase everything to get the same look, keep up with limited edition releases or to feel fulfilled. Addressing this cannot be done without discussing these "taboo" subjects. I also need to preface this post by saying that I haven’t always been “behaved” as far as purchasing habits are concerned. Ask any of my blogging friends and they will tell you that I'm never able to stick to a "no buy" once I've announced that I'm doing it. 

I’ve been into makeup for as long as I can remember. Quite literally forever as evidenced by an ill fated episode as a child during which I drew magic marker on my eyelids in the hopes of recreating the look of eye shadow. As a teenager makeup and clothing were indulgences I spent on equally, and this habit continued into my early years of college. In early 2009 I not only discovered the world of beauty blogs and videos, but also lived in France. This combination led to a sort of frenzy—mostly focused on MAC products—that induced me to buy just about every limited edition item I could get my hands on. Ironically, when I started my own blog I became more capable of looking at my own habits more critically. I’ve grown less interested in the constant deluge of limited edition items and I’m able to consider whether I really need the umpteenth peach blusher before I purchase. You can imagine what’s become of my collection. The products I love (most of which are now high end, call me a makeup snob if you like) are used frequently and used up while the other items purchased in a frenzy sit unloved. I’ve recently started to whittle down my collection, a decision prompted as much by my desire to be reasonable as my new found love for skin care.

Most of all this experience and subsequent reformation has given me perspective. I certainly do still purchase things—I have a beauty blog that is full of new product purchases and reviews—but I do so with more thought, care and moderation than before. Here are my tips that my help you save a buck or two!

Write lists, revise them, and stick to them.
It may seem a bit backwards to be writing lists about what you want to buy when you’re attempting to keep your purchasing habits in check. Yet for just about anyone, not just those prone to making impulsive purchases, a list can serve as a way to stay on track. I’ve found that if I keep a wish list in the journal I carry in my purse or on my phone I’m more able to focus on what I’ve wanted for ages, or on what I need. I divide my list into categories: cosmetics, skin care, nail polish and fragrance and I often jot a few notes down about clothing. Many stores, such as Sephora, also offer smart phone apps that enable you to keep a store specific list with you at all times.

Consider what you already have before purchasing.
How many of us truly need five pink blushes of the exact same tone? Is it absolutely necessary to have seven mascaras open at once? While some duplicate purchases may be necessary others such as buying multiple shades in the exact same family can be a bit of a waste of money. While weeding through my collection the other evening I noticed just how many similar shades of blush I own. I love peach as much as the next girl, but MAC’s My Highland Honey and Immortal Flower are just too close in color to justify owning both. 

Use up your products!
I’m a bit of a cosmetic collector. There are certainly things that I have just to have that I no longer use—in the same way that a stamp collector might hold on to certain items. However, hoarding products just for the sake of having them is counter-intuitive and ultimately wasteful. Use up your sample size completely before purchasing the full size, avoid buying back up unless you’re absolutely certain you can’t live without a shade and use up skincare products before purchasing another.

And, as they say, everything in moderation including moderation.
Putting yourself on too strict a regime is never a good thing. It is always wonderful to cut back on spending and save a little money, but completely restricting yourself from your passion is not at all necessary. Do you have a weakness for blusher? Purchase as you like but buy other items more sparingly. I absolutely adore skin care and can’t resist purchasing a shedload when I’m in France, but I attempt to moderate what I'm buying in other areas.

What are your tips for cutting back on spending and getting the most out of what you own?