Author Topic: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?  (Read 3816 times)

elizabethin907

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Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« on: December 31, 2015, 11:35:32 AM »
The good news: I attend a low cost public university and I get  boatloads of financial aid so I am graduating in a year with zero debt and a pot of money which I hope to use towards my wedding.

The bad news: I have a serious spending issue with beauty/hair products and clothes. Looking my best is incredibly important to me (for professional and personal reasons) so I don't see any way of cutting these costs. I did the math and I spend about $300 a month on make-up, clothes, waxing, hair, etc. I fund this with my two jobs, so I have no credit card debt or anything. But I do feel a bit guilty that I am spending so much on this habit.

So should I drastically change my lifestyle or am I ok for a 20 something college student? Is graduating with zero debt of any kind enough to put me on a road towards early retirement?

Thanks all! I am excited to hear any feedback.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 11:46:43 AM »
Age will get us all, $300/month or not.

onlykelsey

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 11:48:40 AM »
I'm a Manhattan-living professional woman in my late 20s, for what it's worth, and my two cents:

1. Make sure you're not using beauty as some sort of crutch. It's a great hobby, but it shouldn't be a requirement for a fulfilling life, and I think being comfortable with yourself bare skinned and unwaxed and unprimped is incredibly important.  You probably have more time and money to invest in yourself at this point in your life than at any other point... which ties to the next point.
2.  Don't get too used to these spending levels.  I agree that it doesn't seem like it's hurting you much (but see point 3), but a. you may not always have this sort of flexibility to prioritize these costs and b. you may end up in a career, city, or general life situation where what's expected of your appearance is different, and you'll have to adjust.  I spent decades with my long strawberry blonde hair and didn't realize how invested I'd become before my professional career pushed me to cut it.  Of course you can always resist norms that require you to change your appearance, but I decided to save my fights for things that were ultimately more beneficial.
3. You are spending a LOT of money on your appearance.  If you plug in the effects of dropping your beauty expenses from 3600 to 500 in to an early retirement calculator with some basic numbers (try networthify ), you'll be appalled.  I plugged in a basic 40K salary and took you from saving 10K a year to 3100, and it literally added nine years to your working life.  Maybe that trade off is worth it for you, but I'd definitely play around with calculators and find a trade off that is worth it to you.  You have a unique situation with no debt, and you could reach FIRE at 30 if you made it your focus, but probably not with those expenses.
4. See how you can pare down your routine to significantly cheaper levels.  Even if you don't do it now, it'll be a good skill to have, and probably teach you some skills outside your comfort zone.
5. Do you invest in anti-aging treatments?  Not something I see discussed here very often, but holy crap is there a serious disadvantage to being over 35 as a woman.  I'm not there yet but I see it over and over and over.  I think investing in anti-aging moisturizers and sunscreen is a serious investment in your future.  I am a diehard feminist and don't think that men should be valued MORE highly as they get older, and women should be valued significantly less, but that is the world we live in right now.  Something to consider.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 11:52:12 AM »
Being mustachian does not mean you are frugal about everything. You can spend money on things that are important to you.

You have made great mustachian choices till now. Graduating with a stache,  and zero  debt  is a great achievement.

You could probably cut down some of your other expenses to compensate. Create a case study to find out where you could improve.
 http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/

You could cut down some of the beauty product costs using some of the hacks in this thread
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/'pretty'-mustachians-share-your-beauty-hacks/

Some other conversations which may help
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/ladies-can-we-talk-makeupproducts/

Best of luck and congratulations on the wedding.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 11:54:36 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

okits

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 02:24:57 PM »
Spending on anything delays FIRE.  Some costs may be inevitable (if you don't have a source of free food you'll have to buy it), some costs are not critical to maintain life and function as a biological organism. 

For the non-critical spending, you have to decide if it is worth it to you, either because it provides a sufficient monetary return on investment, or it is important enough to you, personally.  If it is the latter, it is useful to be aware how much longer you will need to work to fund this spending. 

As for the guilt you describe feeling, it may be useful to contemplate the source of that.  That feeling, as much as anything, suggests you need to consider changing something.

lbmustache

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2015, 03:11:03 PM »
I love makeup/beauty too. I could spend my life savings at Sephora!!.. but $300 sounds crazy high per month. I wear makeup almost every day and don't go through it that quickly so I am going to guess the bulk of this expense is salon visits (waxing, hair, nails)? A few general tips:

- Look for/take advantage of sales. For example, Sephora just had a 20% off sale for members - great! I stocked up on expensive beauty items that are normally not on sale.
- Look for cheaper alternatives. I use a Revlon foundation and Neutrogena face wash. I just bought glycolic pads from CVS that were only $15 and work great (other brands like Peter Thomas Roth were like $40, and very similar).
- Try to do some stuff your self. I do my own mani/pedis with the occasional "treat" at a salon. That's probably like 3x a year though. I wax my legs myself (it's easier than it sounds, promise. The VEET wax strips are a lifesaver) and I can do my bikini area, although I haven't tried a brazilian or anything myself :O haha. Are you getting blow outs, hair color, etc? Can this be done at home?

Zero debt is a start, but play with online calculators and see how much even $200 a month will accelerate your path to RE. Do you have any retirement accounts - ROTH, IRA, etc.?

bridget

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2015, 03:18:55 PM »
The good news: I attend a low cost public university and I get  boatloads of financial aid so I am graduating in a year with zero debt and a pot of money which I hope to use towards my wedding.

The bad news: I have a serious spending issue with beauty/hair products and clothes. Looking my best is incredibly important to me (for professional and personal reasons) so I don't see any way of cutting these costs. I did the math and I spend about $300 a month on make-up, clothes, waxing, hair, etc. I fund this with my two jobs, so I have no credit card debt or anything. But I do feel a bit guilty that I am spending so much on this habit.

So should I drastically change my lifestyle or am I ok for a 20 something college student? Is graduating with zero debt of any kind enough to put me on a road towards early retirement?

Thanks all! I am excited to hear any feedback.

Unless your profession is being a model or actress, you're using this line on yourself to justify what you want to do. If at the end of the day, you want to keep spending this much on your appearance, that's fine, but be honest with yourself. You do not need this level of appearance-maintenance for professional reasons. I am a 20-something professional woman, and I can and do get by on MUCH less money. I stick with 1) nice haircut, 2) minimal neutral makeup [mascara/foundation/powder/chapstick, combination of Sephora and drugstore] 3) decent but not extravagant skin products, 4) a reasonable number of good-quality work basics that last a long time, and 4) good, long lasting shoes. Anything more than that is for me, not for professional reasons. Plenty of very successful women I work with wear no makeup at all.

Is all of this part of an established beauty routine that works for you, or do you continue to try new things/order subscription boxes? If the latter, that's not so much having a high value on your appearance, that's a shopping habit. I think any of those should be recognized and controlled as early in one's life as possible.

Midcenturymater

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2015, 03:37:23 PM »
Hmmmm...oh would get your appetite for this in check

It is your perception that you need to look a way these products make you look, to be successful and happy in your skin. I have not spent $300 in my life on beauty products. But I don't derive that much happiness from how I look. It just does not feature as a priority.

You already know you are spending a lot more than most. If this is where most of your happiness comes from, you may already be in bondage to it, but
You can change your appetite for anything if you want to.

smella

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2015, 03:48:20 PM »
I used to spend bags of money on waxing.  The problem with waxing is that you just have to keep going back forever.

Invest in a groupon deal for laser hair removal.  It doesn't work for everyone (nor does it work for all body parts-no eyebrows bc of proximity to eyeball), but it was one of the best investments I've ever made. 

MrsDinero

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2015, 04:12:20 PM »
What are you trying to achieve by being here on MMM?

If someone asked you if it was ok if they worked 2 jobs to afford their $300/month beauty habit, what would you tell them?

icemodeled

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2015, 06:57:27 PM »
In my 20s and feel similar, very much so 5 years ago. I think having a small allowance per month is fine, but 300 is a lot. How could you need so much or go through it that quickly.. I loved the high end makeup, more then hair products.  It could be very costly but since go for lower end brands that are still nice quality.  I learned quickly that the cost wasnt worth it and looked for alternatives. If you want to focus on early retirement at all, yes you should drastically change. Im not saying all or nothing. Theres no reason you cannot be beautiful without spending that much a month. Try to buy on sale or think what is more important, saving for future or more makeup.

excellent job on graduating with no debt.  Sounds like you are starting off great! Just take a hard look at goals, spending and budget. That extra 300 a month can go a long way in investments.

With This Herring

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2015, 07:32:21 PM »
That seems like a lot.  I don't think I spend more than $100 per year...  Would you give us a breakdown of the approximate per-month or per-year amounts?

Replace waxing with an epilator (for everything except eyebrows). It's a one-time purchase (or maybe once every decade), and if you are already waxing regularly, then your pain tolerance is high enough and your hair roots small enough.

I would be very interested to know what your profession is that you spend this much.  I'm a professional, and my minimum level of makeup is just curl eyelashes + cover spots.

Shampoos mostly have sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate as the active ingredients.  Those are the same whether you buy high-end salon products or dollar-a-bottle Suave.

esq

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2015, 09:41:38 PM »
I don't think you have to change your whole lifestyle.  If you're buying expensive makeup, I would suggest going to www.cosmeticscop.com and learning about makeup and skincare from someone who has been busting the beauty industry for two decades now.  Paula Begoun started her business with just a book, when she tested and reviewed thousands of products and published many editions of "Don't Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me".  She finally started her own line of reasonably priced makeup and (very superior) skincare products, but even more importantly, her reviews are now on her website www.beautypedia.com, which took the place of her books. 

An example of something I learned from Beautypedia is that E.L.F. (Eyes Lips Face) makes fantastic eyeshadow, every bit as good as high end brands, but it costs $2 instead of $32. I also learned that many high end, fancily packaged products have non-impressive, boring formulations that haven't been updated in years.  "Beauty junkie" suggests to me you need to buy lots of products, but there's no need to buy high end. 

As far as clothes, you can go to the nice thrift shops or off price places.

Someone suggested you might have a shopping problem.  Only you can answer this, but if this is the case, you might want to take a hard look at what pain you're avoiding by shopping. 

There's no reason you should spend more than $50 combined on clothes and makeup per month.  (And in case you don't know, I can tell you for certain that for the vast majority of people who talk here, $50 a month on clothes and beauty products is outrageous.)   Think of all the good you could do with that extra $250.  You've got your whole life and you're already that much ahead by having no debt.

Roll with the punches - after all, this is MMM and you asked!  Best of luck to you.

Jschange

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Re: Any advice for a beauty junkie/college student?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2015, 09:59:13 PM »
I think that as long as you save money, and are happy with your savings rate, you can budget for whatever you want.

But those numbers seem high. I'm guessing that as a 22 year old you might still be building your professional wardrobe. If so, look at some seasonal capsule wardrobe plans online, and make sure you're buying timeless, well made pieces and that you stop when you have enough.

For hair, skin and makeup, decide where your money should go and stop at enough. I use basic bar soaps, store brand natural shampoo and conditioner (and toothpaste and deodorant) that are dirt cheap. I buy good makeup, but I don't have duplicates. Learn your look and research so you limit extra purchases. Get samples, try a friend's shampoo etc and buy on sale.

For services, I spend less. Look at the mmm columns on in vs outsourcing. I remove any hair by myself, I do my own fingers and toes. I get a $30-$40 haircut 1-3 times a year. I might get one or two pedicures a year, but only as a social event, and it comes out of my entertainment budget.