Cheapskate is the new Black: How I'm cutting back on my fashion and beauty spending

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I was getting dressed for work this morning when I saw that my sandals were showing off my gnarly toes.  I had a pedicure (minus the manicure) in late spring when I began wearing sandals again, but I can't afford to go back often.  My solution?  Put on my sandals, size up the direness of the situation, and then touch-up where needed.  I figure that my feet are rarely still anyhow, so the polish doesn't need to be perfect, just passing.  I may splurge for a special occasion (like that outdoor wedding I'm going to next weekend) but, this year the pedicures will be home-administered.  Maybe you're more talented than I am, and can always DIY your toes, but it really helped me to have the initial job done by a pro.  If you've got a friend or loved one who's game, you can always do each other's toes while you catch up or watch a movie (free, on the internet, natch).

As I filled in the polish chips this morning, I started thinking about other ways I've cut back on my bodily care and upkeep expenses.  Off the top of my head I could think of several changes I've made:

  • Last year's bikini wax has become this year's razor.  And I've got a pair of $12.50 board shorts for back up.
  • I added a week to the time between appoinments for eyebrow waxing, as this will be cut from my budget approximately never.  (We all have our issues.)
  • I found a face moisturizer with a higher SPF, so I don't need to get a separate sunblock for my face.  I also buy moisturizer at the grocery store lately, and look for discounts.
  • I gave away a couple of bags of dry clean only clothes that I didn't want to have to pay to wear again, and I tried laundering the rest myself.  The results were great, but I only experimented with items that I figured the manufacturer was being overly cautious in labeling "dry clean only."  Also, in my laundry room "hand wash" equals "wash in a pillowcase with a knot tied in the top."
  • To stretch my wardrobe, I spent a couple of hours adjusting waistlines and mending some sweaters and skirts that had been in my fix pile so long that no one I currently spend time with would recognize them.
  • I'm hoping to attend another clothing swap party this summer, like the one that Anna hosted recently.  I went to one a few years ago and can attest that they are super fun.  In addition to clothes, you can bring shoes, accessories, jewelry, handbags, and sunglasses to trade.  New To Me is still new, you know?  
  • In the hair department, I decided to use up all the products I have before buying anything new.  I discovered that a couple of products I gave up on after one or two uses are actually pretty great (dry wax, I'm looking at you), and I shouldn't have to buy anything new until the fall, when the economy has made a full recovery.  (I'm thinking positive.  It certainly can't hurt any.)
  • I buy really cheap shampoo that smells good (from Trader Joe's) and, wow -- I've never admitted this to anyone -- I'm SO cheap that I water it down.  Same with liquid hand soap.  I figure if it still bubbles, it's still doing its job.
  • I get my hair cut by a licensed professional who I've been going to since we were both 18 (that's ::cough cough:: 20 years now ::cough cough::) but I've added more time between visits there, too, and may attempt to do my own color, under her guidance.  We shall see.
  • On the fitness front I finally, reluctantly, let go of my yoga studio membership and bought a couple of second-hand DVDs so I can have a structured practice at home.  This was a really tough change for me, but probably accounts for my biggest monthly savings.

It's astonishing how quickly all those cut corners add up to real money every month.  I'd still like to cut back further, though, so if you've got some tried and true cheapskate methods for looking good, feeling good, or smelling good, I'd love to hear them!


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