Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fiscal Matters

Today Meghan over at Faking Good Breeding posed the question, "Are fashion and beauty blogs contributing to overspending?" She then goes on to discuss the trend of higher prices for luxury items in stores and the blogs that make a pricey bag seem like a food/shelter necessity which can make the average girl go a little luxe-crazy. Even when her lust exceeds her means.

I think Meghan makes some excellent points, and I started to think out the products I feature.

First, I would like to say that most of the people I know work for the government or are similarly enslaved to a price fixed salary system by which they make just enough to live in DC, not look like a slob at work, and afford a weekly binge drinking session at whatever dive bar is happening at the time (somehow last week was Millie and Al's?)

Second, I would say that, while I love drooling over the pages of Vogue and fantasizing about a life where dollar Jello shots are not a way of life, I certainly splurge a lot when it comes to beauty and fashion.

So, in honor of the upcoming end of the fiscal year, I present some tenets of my personal budget balancing philosophy, and how I choose products for my blog so as not to drive you all to the poorhouse.

Try before you buy. I think this is essential. Not only could you have some horrific allergic reaction to things, it could look just plain awful. I wholeheartedly endorse companies that are liberal with the free samples (hence the multiple references to Kiehl's products in my blog) and I am never shy about asking for a tester to take with me.

Know what's important. Don't ever scrimp on stuff like sunscreen. You may think you are being frugal by saving money by applying teensy amounts of sunscreen and splurging on Creme de la Mer, but the joke will be on you when you have spend all that money on reconstructive surgery after they take out that melanoma and half your head.

Also know what is important to you. I love lip gloss. Love it. And I like expensive ones. And I'm willing to cheap it out a lot of other things to get the fancy lip gloss.

Buy drugstore mascara. I know people rave about DiorShow. I love bloggers who swoon over Lancome. But honestly, the best way to save money is to spend less on the thing you are (hopefully) throwing away every three months. However, refer to the aforementioned rule if mascaras make you weak in the knees with lust and maybe use Chapstick instead of Chanel on your mouth.

Body wash. Honestly? It's soap. I don't fuss around here. There are some sick ass generic moisturizing washes that are just as nice as the expensive stuff. It just doesn't look as pretty in your shower.

Shampoo and conditioner. Ditto. Pantene is God's gift to my head.

Forever 21. When it comes to clothes, I swear to all that is holy, I get more compliments on the stuff I bought here than anything I picked up at Barney's.

Lastly, I would like it to be known that I do actually buy and use many of the products on my blog (which might explain the lack of posting lately). I try to keep in mind that not everyone has access to a Sephora, 24 hour drugstores, and relatives who know me well enough to give beauty gift certificates at every possible holiday (well, Starbucks too) and promote products accordingly.

So...let me know...do you carry a Balenciaga bag and wear Payless shoes? Use Wet n Wild exclusively on your face but get weekly manicures? What is your biggest beauty or fashion splurge and where do you pinch your pennies?


Anonymous said...

Splurges: Foundation/Concealer/Powder (making the face look as perfect as possible seems to make the rest of the makeup routine less necessary), Mascara, Shampoo and Conditioner

Scrimps: Eyeshadow, Eyeliner, Hair Deep Conditioning (Olive oil works best! Work it through hair, tie it back in a cotton scarf, even overnight. Shampoo out.)

Kiki said...

Splurges: NARS makeup (specifically blush and eyeshadow duos- they last forever, though!), haircut and color, Dior Show, Aveda hair goodies, MAC Lipglass.

Scrimps: DIY mani/pedis, eyeliner (cover girl is the best!), lotion and moisturizer.

I'll admit it. I splurge a lot. But I work two jobs to make up for it!

Anonymous said...

I spend money on haircut and color, hand lotion, blush, , mineral foundation, toothpaste/toothbrush, nail polish, and cotton swabs. I can scrimp everywhere else and find a cheap substitute that works just as well. Since I have discovered the Boots line of skincare at Target I am saving lots of money on expensive skincare products from the dermatologist.

CHIC NOIR said...

I only buy high end and mid priced handbags unless it is a cute cloth tote. I love forever 21, and I shop the sale rack at Banana Republic and Macys(for Raplh by Raplh Lauren). I use clean and clear moisteriser and a more expensive cleanser. Lipglosses can be cheap or expensive but I usually get them on sale. I've found that cheap eye shadows are a no no.

Shoes are always purchased when they are on sale usually from NIne west. I plan on slpurging on a pair of channel flats very soon.

Gossip Lush said...

you have a good point. its too much $$$ we are THROWING AWAY!!

splurge - diorshow, deep conditioners & makeup brushes & im always willing to semi splurge on a fantastic pair of jeans..although they dont have to be too pricey!

scrimps - moisturizer (thank you jergens, neutrogena & nivea), body wash - as long as it smells good, vaseline is a great buy! and i tend to buy tons of chapsticks instead of one pricey gloss...i buy A LOT of my makeup at cvs/duane reed but will find myself walking out with $12 bottle of shampoo..so its not always scrimping even if it is a drugstore. i get into the most trouble at whites pharmacy in sag harbor, ny where yves saint laurent and stila is next to neutrogena and wet n wild...dangerous!

Cari said...

i definitely splurge on jeans. i've fallen in love with lucky brand jeans and nothing makes me look or feel better. I also splurge on my hair coloring (never DIY for me!!), and my skin creams, but they are prescription so i don't have a choice! i do make a month's supply last a good 3 months though.

i scrimp on everything else. i'm a huge bargain shopper. i hardly even buy at GAP regular price (i kno that it will go on sale eventually so i stalk it online). I'll rarely buy regular price at jcrew unless it's a must-have, and same with banana. I have a few coach purses, and don't mind splurging on them, but most of mine are cheapie, unique ones or basics. i also love love love h&m. make up is almost always from a drug store.

BabsieD said...


Splurges: one RIDICULOUS item a year (last year, it was the Balenciaga B bag), La Mer or Chantecaille foundation (repeatedly and mistakenly thinking that purchasing the later will make me look like Olivia), weekly pedicures (though they are the $25 ones), and a rule of only good shoes.

Scrimps: eyeshadow (Wet 'N Wild. There. I said it), Aveeno face products, H&M and Old Navy to fill in the wardrobe and estate sales for accessories.

Johanna said...

-swing jackets (I heart Rebecca Taylor)
-jeans (Joe's/Rich & Skinny)
-cocktail dresses (one can NEVER have too many)
-face wash (Murad)
-face lotion (M.D. Skincare)
-conditioner (B&B Alojoba)
-glossing cream (Frederic Fekkai)
-biweekly pedicures (at PIAF with Jennifer)
-alcohol (even after a Rebecca Taylor purchase has drained my checking account, I'd still never turn down a pint of Stella)

-mascara (Cover Girl Marathon)
-lip care (Kiehl's lip balm)
-eyeliner (Revlon)
-bags (I'm just not a bag girl - I blow it all on the outfit)
-jewelery (other than the seven gold bangles that never come off, I rarely if ever wear anything else)

Anonymous said...

great topic!

splurges: foundation, SHOES, handbags, jewelry, all Work clothes. I mean proper splurge ie: neimans or nordies sales. shampoo (got oily hair and pantene just doesnt cut it)

Scrimps: haircuts (hair is always pinned up so i dont care and when down it looks great too), save $ and buy great moisturizer at Marshalls or TJ Max (I'm talking elizabeth arden etc) and I also hit those stores up for panty hose, body wash, fancy soap, underwear and bras. ( i own a dozen VS bras and the dept store discount ones are better), blush, nail polish. Hands up best hand lotion is Nivea in the blue bottle.

my biggest secret scrimp is deodorant. I use Arm&Hammer baking soda and I SWEAR it is better than any Secret or Degree ever!

Cha said...

I splurge a lot and my bank balance likes to remind me of that. My general rule (that I break often and willfully) is to save on stuff I'll wash off: cleanser (baby wipes have revolutionized my skin), soap/body wash, and usually shampoo (though I was recently totally suckered into the Pureology line. Haven't noticed a difference). Stuff that stays on my skin, I'll spend more on, especially serums, moisturizers and styling products.

And all that other makeup...sadly, I am equal opportunity spender on whatever catches my eye and promises to make me pretty, from Neiman Marcus to Wal-Mart. That's true beauty love, right there.

KatieGirlBlue said...

Timeless classics are key for me: a black cashmere wrap (ahem, minus the dog hair), cableknit sweaters, tall boots and nice pumps.

But the trendy stuff, including jeans (one day it's wide-leg high-waist, the next it's low-slung skinny), are always bargain purchases. I refuse to spend money on something that will end up in my Clothing Swap pile in two months.

(That's another way to come upon great fashion finds for free - the Clothing Swap!)

Anonymous said...

My biggest splurges - Foundation (BE), LipGloss (I Love DiorKiss), Bronzer (Too Faced Snow Bunny - it's fabulous!), I also love MAke up Forever lipliner in 3c (it's waterproof) Moisturizer (Philosophy Hope in a jar), and Oscar Blandi Jasmine oil serum for my hair.
I also get weekly massages and biweekly pedis
I know this seems like a ton but, I too work 2 jobs and I feel like I should have fabulous things - Oh, I can't forget my Chanel sunglasses - I love them!

Scrimps - I use HErbal Essences shampoo and comdition - I have tried all kinda of expensive ones and I like this one the best. I use drugstore shower gel and body lotion, cheap eyeline (I love L'oreal) and Vouluminus mascara, I buy most of my clothes from Target, Walmart, JcPennys, Forever 21, ect (and I get compliments all the time - people are shocked when I tell them where I shop) I buy cheap shoes (because I'm hard on them) and cheap bags because I change my mind so much. I also color my own hair and trim it myself too!

Anonymous said...

I actually like to mix and match. I have some high end body creams but then I augment them with a fragrance oil to amp up the scent factor. I DO love Dior Show mascara because I wear rigid lenses and it doesn't flake off in my eyes.

Splurge: Nail polish, mani-pedis, face powder, bronzer, hair products (my hair needs strapping down and I have tried everything on the planet and located one that works...if they ever stop making it I will surely die),

Scrimp: Body cream, shower gel, mascara, shampoo/conditioner, blowdryer (Vidal Sassoon), Blowout/trim/deep condition ($35 at the Dominican salon), eyeliner (L'Oreal), Lipgloss (love CG Slicks and wet n wild)

It's all about balance ladies!!

Anonymous said...

splurge - Mascara (Bourjois), foundation (Bare Minerals), shoes (but I usually try to find them at DSW or Loehmann's - yay Prada pumps for $100!), coats

scrimps - shampoo (herbal essences), eyeshadow/liner since a good mascara means I don't use them very often anyhow, moisturizer (yay Dove!), tops (family buys me expensive stuff but I swear the thing about Forever 21 is true, it gets tons of compliments and I don't feel bad if someone spills some of their drink on me at a bar)

Miss Kim said...

Great post!!!
Splurge: Shoes, bags, lipgloss, Becca foundation (I found my perfect match with this brand) weekly hair appointments, weekly manicures, nail polish,

Scrimps: Mascara, lotion Olay Quench and Aveeno Positively Radiant are fine by me, body wash,

I live in Forever 21!!! Great store and even better prices. I try to only buy on slae at my favorite stores like Ann Taylor, AT Loft, Gap, Banana Republic, Express, and the Limited. Usually if I break down and buy when things aren't on sale, I save my receipt for a price adjustment when the things do go on sale.

DC Celine said...


Splurge: if it's really, really amazing, fits beautifully, and I'm still thinking about it three weeks later.

Scrimp: if it works. CVS brand face wipes (I'm lazy and won't wash my face otherwise), and purpose moisturizer/sunscreen. why spend a bazillion on those things, especially if I'm going to be slathering them on. OR if it's super-duper trendy, and I won't want to see it ever again after this season, there's always a box store version ready to snap up. Target bags rock.

webcowgirl said...

Splurge -

Hair color and cut: I found an amazing lady at red door in Tysons, and it's so worth it.
She turns my lifeless brown into a Jennifer Anniston wonder!

Suits: I don't have many but the few I do have are great.

Running Shoes & Good Athletic Socks: Have to take care of your feet

Purses: A new coach once a year.

House: It costs a fortune to live in or near D.C.

Manicures/Pedicures: It looks like a bad accident when I try to pain my own nails.
Although I usually only do them once a month it's worth it to me to leave it to a pro.

Good Wine: Once or twice a week my husband and I will consume a bottle of red over $20.

Brunch: Bring on the mimosas

Save -

Shoes: DSW, Nine West

Moisturizer: Oil of Olay! learned this from mom.

Casual Clothes: I'm just as happy in somehting from Old Navy or H&M as I am in designer.
I'm careful though and always check for quality and wont buy something that looks like it
will fall apart after one wash.

Makeup: CVS.

Car: It's paid off, and I have no intentions of buying another one until the wheels fall off of this one.

capitulatenow said...

Damn, ladies! This comment thread makes me feel better about (what I now see as) my miserly ways. But it also makes me want to run out and spend money someplace that's not CVS or Target. Or maybe get a gd raise.

My only brand-specific essentials: Dan Kern's benzoyl peroxide gel; foundation from Everyday Minerals; Garnier Fructis' volume spray and shine serum.

And free bang trims at Fiddleheads. Word.

Kelly said...

Splurge: Jeans, Bras & Professional hair color. Gotta make the booty and boosty look their best. And beautiful shiny hair to top it all off! I also spend more on concealer & foundation. Nothing beats a good makeup brush either.

Scrimps: Everyday shampoo & conditioner (and washing my hair in general...only every-other-day saves on product use and water!), eyeliner, lipgloss

And this is off topic, but does anyone know a good place to get a facial in the District?

Chelo Doll said...

I manage my fiscal needs by working a part time at Sephora...people sometimes ask why would a DC public interest attorney need to work on the weekend at Sephora. If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand. I am literally addicted to good skincare, and the color and fragrance and gratis is absolutely worth the time I spend on the weekends and at trainings.

What do I skimp on then, the things I can't getat Sephora-pedicures and brazilian bikini waxes-I am a kickass waxer now!

product junkie said...

So fun!

Splurge: No one category, but generally, if an items fits fabulously or is somehow transformative, no price is too high. I have become a Kerastase addict. Other splurges: bags, outerwear, bras, serums, hairbrushes, and foundation/concealer.

Scrimp: jeans (yeah, Zara!)panties, moisturizer and soaps. Club Monaco & the Limited have terrific sales and the clothes look more high-end than they really are. I rarely get salon treatments, though I do maintain my eyebrows meticulously.

Mark said...

Splurges: Haircut. Spending $45 on my haircut is always worth it, no matter how short I get it cut.

Dress shirts. I love french cuffs, and even without french cuffs, a cheap dress shirt looks like, well, a cheap dress shirt.

Scrimps: Trousers and jackets. At least for the time being. It's hard tell the difference between the $40 jacket I picked up on sale at the Gap and the identical three hundred dollar Bill Blass jacket an attorney was wearing next to me in an elevator once. We both agreed we had very good taste.

Princess Poochie said...

I splurge on shoes - quality and quantity, meaning I buy a lot of shoes and many of them are really really nice. But if I like the style I don't care where they are from.

I also have to get my hair professionally colored and I buy the prescriptives custom blended base (luckily it lasts me for months). I also like Chanel lipsticks and Glossimers.

I save on clothes - lots of Target. And on most other beauty products including Shampoo and conditioner - which is usually organic with no sulfides (salts) added.

Is Proactive a splurge or a spend. Etierh way it is totally worth it. I only use it once a day and it is worth every penny. My skin has never looked better in my life.


Megan said...

Scrimp: Eyeliner (Revlon), Shampoo/Conditioner (Panteen), Tights/Socks (Target) Leggings (Target) Manis/Pedis (Dream Nail in Atlanta $23.00 for mani and spa pedi), Trendy tunics (Forever 21), Fabric Softener sheets (Target brand),Mascara (Loreal Telescopic), Blotting Papers (Clean and Clear)

Splurge: Jeans, Eyeshadow (MAC) Facial Powder (MAC), Shoes (love me some zappos.com),Dresses (love me some shopbop.com) Lip gloss (Chanel)

Anonymous said...

I'm an equal opportunity spluger and saver. I have coach bags and target bags, coach shoes and payless...and I definitely wear the payless shoes more often.

I spend hundreds of dollars on makeup a year, and I have to say, there aren't many eyeshadows out there that are better than wet and wild. The colors look great on, last all day, and don't crease. I bought a wet and wild eyeshadow pallete at the same time I bought 5 MAC shadows...and I haven't even touched the MAC.

Anonymous said...

It's really important to pick the best foundation for your skin type!

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