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Saving money without letting yourself go to hell

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
Okay, I know this is an NFL board and just so you all know, I went through several years where I didn't shave my legs or armpits, wore handmade patchwork or thrift finds all the time, and ratty birks were my only pair of shoes. I had natural ratty dreads and I don't think I wore more makeup than tinted moisturizer with some burts bees lip balm.

Things have changed a little over the years though. Now that I'm in my thirties I like to wear makeup more often, have pretty shoes, and clothes that flatter my body. I like to get my manicures and pedicures every so often. It just lifts my mood so I don't get in a rut and feel like a frumpy SAHM.

I'm finding though as I try to save money and pay things that need to be paid that I have no money leftover for these things that I can really justify. I know, not surprising, right? For instance, I was thinking about going to VS to buy some pretty bras. The ones I have now are ratty secondhand nursing bras I've been using since DD was born. Yet there are so many other more important things that need to be paid. When I look at the bigger picture I wonder how or if I will ever have money leftover for things like makeup, pretty nightgowns, bras, and pedicures. I don't buy these things often but even a $60 expediture once a month can be a big deal along with everything else.

So I'm wondering do I just let myself go to being crunchy hippie girl again to save money or is there a way to look and feel good without going broke? A lot of you ladies seem to be very frugal and I'm just wondering if you've let your appearance go to hell for the sake of frugality or if you have found some secrets to balancing it all out?

I understand that not everyone is interested in vanity and that is fine. I'm not looking for psychological reasons why I might care about wearing makeup or how I need to look within and see where I'm not being fulfilled. I'm just looking for some practical solutions here.
post #2 of 83
No advise, but I'm right there with you.

I've skimped on really spending any money on myself for haircuts/clothes, etc. I figured since I was staying home anyway, it didn't matter as much. I've always shaved (somewhat sporadically with kids), but my only makup has been chapstick and I wear flip flops all summer or no shoes at all.

But you are right that it does make you feel frumpy. I'm tired of it.

I'm going back to school on campus this fall, so I'm going to go spend some money on myself this week when dh gets paid. I'm getting my hair cut, some dye (I do this myself, but my hair is long and need 2 boxes), new clothes, and a comfy bra (I haven't found one since before my last child). I can't wear these tank top/shelf bra shirts that I wear around the house to school.

I think I'm just going to have to prioritize. I won't be able to do everything I'd like. I'd love to get a pedicure, but that's at the bottom of my list. I am going to get some good shampoo & conditioner (I usually just use whatever is around), some attractive NEW clothes (I have no luck at thrift shops), a bra, and haircuts on a regular basis. Maybe I'll try some of that mineral makeup.

I'd love to buy this $140 hair straightener. It sounds crazy even to me, but the last time I had my hair cut, she used it and I am not kidding - my hair looked so smooth and shiny like a models. The cheap ones just tore my hair so I threw it out and now just pull my long hair back in a pony EVERY day. Maybe that can be a Christmas present.
post #3 of 83
I am very frugal. My family (esp.DH) call me the Queen of Cheap, and I'm actually kind of proud of that. I do not let myself go, though. I just find better deals! I know, it's much easier said than done.

I watch sales carefully, I don't ever shop at VS, I buy my bras when they go buy one get one free (or at least half off) at one of the local dept stores. You can get just as good quality for less than half the price. I also buy a lot of my clothes at discount stores and I've scored some great stuff at our local Goodwill, nobody has guessed yet that my clothes don't come straight from the mall. It takesa little more time and planning to shop this way, but it's worth it.

For makeup, if you don't mind mainstream brands, a lot them run coupons for a dollar or two off, and then the drugstores put them on sale buy one get one, so you can get good deals there. For the pampering, my mom and I have given each other mani/pedicures before, basically free, just as fun. Or if there is a beauty school in your area that teaches that stuff, you can get them super cheap there (hair cuts, too).
post #4 of 83
There's a middle ground, definitely. While I'm not the most girliest girl of them all, I'm totally with you on needing those little luxuries.

For the manicures and other salon type services, check and see if there is a beauty college/school in your area.

For bras and lingerie, check out Target. If you fall into their size range, they really do have some nice stuff that is pretty affordable. The other place that I've found that is surprisingly affordable is Fredericks of Hollywood. Both also carry a wider range of sizes than VS does.

Shoes... other than my sneakers (asics), I'm pretty flexible. I shop sales and at places like Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory. For shoes that I'm not going to wear often, or wear for only one season, I stick to Payless.

I tend to shop sales for my clothes... I buy a lot of my clothes at Kohls lately as they have really good sales.
post #5 of 83
I'm very frugal- I have to be- but I still make room in the budget for myself.

I shop at thrift stores, but I DO spend the time trying on clothing in my size and get something "new" every few months. It's not $60 for clothing, it's $5 or $10 or mabye $20 if I find a lot of things, but it all fits me and is flattering on me and makes me feel good to wear it- or I won't even spend a penny on it. I've gotten flattering clothes and even pretty nightgowns this way. When I had a baby or two in the stroller, we'd often go to the mall just to walk around and I'd check the clearance racks at various stores, snatching up good deals on items I needed.

New bras are an absolute requirement for my health- I get awful neck and back pain with insufficient support. And bras tend to wear out quickly because of all the weight they're supporting. I can't shop at Victoria's Secret (they don't carry my size) but it's still something I make a point to budget for.

Paying somebody else to do my toes seems like a complete waste of money to me. I can use a pumice on my own feet without much trouble; if I cared about nail polish it's not that hard or expensive to put it on yourself.

I've never "let my appearance go to hell for frugality" although some may think that from the outside. I've made a conscious choice to stop shaving my legs, for example. That's not about "being too cheap to buy razors" but about doing it for myself because I'm embracing my natural womanly hair. I feel similarly about wearing makeup- I don't wear it because I feel good about myself when I don't wear it. It's a conscious, positive choice, that has the bonus of being good for the environment and free of charge.

The kinds of choices I make out of "I can't afford it" have to do with missing out on activities due to lack of gas money; or cooking dinner when we all feel like eating out.
post #6 of 83
Thread Starter 
Well, I'm glad to see I'm not alone here. I guess part of my issue with trying to embrace frugality is seeing style coincide with it...and I'm not saying that has to be a "mainstream" style either but something that seems stylish to me. I know it is a stereotype but when I think of true "frugality" I think of women wearing secondhand clothes that aren't stylish or up to date, plain tote bags, plain sandals or boots...basically a plain jane I guess! Isn't it terrible of me to think that way? If some of you gals could help me break that stereotype maybe I could ease into this a little better.

I used to loooove shopping thrift and vintage stores. Then two things happened. I had kids and my body got bigger. Now I don't have the time I used to for scouring the racks to find a bargain so I end up buying something only to get it home and find a stain I didn't see in the store or that it doesn't hang right or something else and it just sits in the closet. Hmmm....this has got me to thinking that maybe instead of hitting the mall when I actually get out of the house alone or T.J Maxx, I should consider the thrift store. It could be a better experience without the kids in tow. I just always convince myself that the mall is way more glamorous and better escapism when I get the chance.

As for the manis and pedis, I didn't use to buy into that either but now with kids there is no way for me to do either without getting interrupted and ruining my wet nails. Even after DD is asleep she will wake up to nurse.

As for the bra thing, I haven't really shopped VS in years. I know that stuff all uses sweatshop labor and whatnot. I just battle between continuing to buy soft cup organic cotton bras which do nothing for my figure or going to the darkside and buying a VS bra with some push up padding which I desperately need these days. That one is a battle of ethics in addition to battle of finances, haha....as is everything else I suppose.
post #7 of 83
i think a new bra every 6 months or so is a neccesity. VS does often have sale bins where I have found bras for 15$ a pop. we have a great maternity/baby designer outlet here where i got a nummies brand nursing bra for 15$ and bellabumbum panties for 10$ a pop. i feel hot when i where them and for 25$ this is worth it every few months. also i have read information that an ill fitting bra is actually bad for your health, like if its pinching at all or warped it can increase risks of breast infections while nursing. so get a bra if you can afford it!
post #8 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by zersha View Post
I'd love to buy this $140 hair straightener. It sounds crazy even to me, but the last time I had my hair cut, she used it and I am not kidding - my hair looked so smooth and shiny like a models. The cheap ones just tore my hair so I threw it out and now just pull my long hair back in a pony EVERY day. Maybe that can be a Christmas present.
the fancy ionic hair straiteners are amazing. at least for folks like me with thick eastern european hair that gets puffy and frizzy in any kind of humidity. i bought a 30$ one from walgreens and had to throw it out. it said it was ceramic but thats probly bull cause it didnt work at all.
post #9 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiewytch View Post
As for the bra thing, I haven't really shopped VS in years. I know that stuff all uses sweatshop labor and whatnot. I just battle between continuing to buy soft cup organic cotton bras which do nothing for my figure or going to the darkside and buying a VS bra with some push up padding which I desperately need these days. That one is a battle of ethics in addition to battle of finances, haha....as is everything else I suppose.
Dude, there is totally middle ground there!!! I think a pp mentioned Target already, they do have nice stuff, supportive and cute, and wayyyy cheaper than VS! JC Penney and Sears are a little pricier than Target, but still cheaper than VS and again you can find some seriously cute stuff that is also supportive and good quality.

It is hard to break the stereotype of the frugal mom. Most people don't believe I'm as cheap as I am just because I don't "look" cheap. Do have Ross, Marshalls or TJ Maxx near you? Those are all great places to get brand new stylish clothes for a good price. You might have better luck at a clothing consignment store than at a regular thrift store, because consignment places are pickier about what they sell. I also do a fair amount of shopping at Old Navy, I got an Old Navy credit card a few years ago, and I decided to keep it open because they send me 20% off coupons and even $10 gift cards every so often. Then I use the discounts on clearance items, and usually end up paying less than half the original tagged price.
post #10 of 83
I shopt at Salvation army on 1/2 off days and get some really nice (name brand) clothes and shoes for unbelievably low prices. I was able to get 2 pairs of shorts, a skirt, and 2 pairs of shoes for under $8! This stuff would have cost over $200 new -and the money is going toward a good cause. I buy makeup at CVS and use coupons and combine it with their extra bucks deals. I usually end up paying $1 or less for makeup, sometimes I just pay the sales tax.

You can still live frugally without looking poor!
post #11 of 83
I second the pp who suggested Ross and TJ Maxx...TJ is great for bras, esp on clearance. Do you have a Nordstrom Rack? They have great bras at decent prices, too. Great selection of styles and sizes, too. Same with Kohls...
post #12 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmkrueger View Post
I second the pp who suggested Ross and TJ Maxx...TJ is great for bras, esp on clearance. Do you have a Nordstrom Rack? They have great bras at decent prices, too. Great selection of styles and sizes, too. Same with Kohls...
Ooh, I forgot about Kohls! If you look you can get some seriously awesome deals there. Also- do you have a Fred Meyer in your area? I love the one here, they have great sales, and they run 10% or 15% off coupons in the sunday paper pretty regularly, I've gotten some nice deals there, too.
post #13 of 83
VS has a semi annual sale(which unfortunately just happened), but it does happen again after Christmas. The best part about this is that if you sign up to their annoying e-mail you can get some smoking hot deals on bras. I know because I just did, I can't wear other cheapy bras I'm a 36 DD, plus BBV are the only bras that fit me right, they make me umm "perky".

The deal is they sent me an e-mail and for about a week my favorite bras were $24, which by some may be expensive, but they are normally $48. So for a few days they were 50% off, that's when I ordered, plus I only like their panties so I got those too. I used a CC that is for online purchases that we pay off every month, or you could start a bra savings fund. I will not wear cheap bras, I also do second going to JC penny's a few years ago I got over $500 worth of bras, underwear and clothes for like $60. Oh and Ross they have great expensive bras for like $5.

I became a SAHM and I was a hairstylist, so I have had some real problems with trying to look nice and not spend money. For makeup, I love ELF products, they are online or at Target and they are cheap. I buy shaving cream at the Dollar store, it's the same stuff that you can get somewhere else but a buck. I also have to have mascara, I know that Great Lash has 2 for 1 packs every summer, so I stock up and buy enough for a year.

I used to also go get pedicures, if you live somewhere where there is a beauty school go there and get them done. When I was in beauty school it seriously cost like $10 for a pedi, a mani was like $5.

For clothes I wear almost all Old Navy, I really like their clothes. A couple months ago I went to our nearest "big town"(I live in the country) and went to Old Navy, I got the cutest outfit for about $15, which was a great deal and I look hot in it, so worth it. Another place I love is Ross again, you can get really cute outfits there and some stuff is less than a 2nd hand store.

You don't have to let your looks go to hell, you just need to shop smart.
post #14 of 83
pixiewytch, if you have larger breasts, you really do need something more supportive than most of the organic cotton softcup bras I've seen.

A correctly fitting, supportive bra is NOT a luxury in my books. Bra burning feminists might disagree with me there, but they're not in my body. I'm much happier when I'm not dealing with back and neck pain because "the girls" are hanging loose.

Edited to add, there's an important distinction between being frugal and being ascetic, and being frugal and being cheap.
post #15 of 83
Thread Starter 
We have Ross, T.J Maxx, Marshalls, and Kohls. I love all of them! I guess I just don't find them all that "frugal" and I end up spending more money at those places than I would at a department store with nothing on sale. For instance, I recently went to T.J Maxx and bought a Michael Kors bag for $60. Sure, it was half off and a great deal for the bag, but nevertheless I wouldn't call that very frugal.

I already have a sort of shopping issue so sending me in those stores is like a kid in a candy store thing. I love designer stuff. I just can't get out of those places spending more than $50 because it seems like at least five things I absolutely need are on sale. You know how that goes....you say you are only going in to buy one thing but then you see this and that, and it all goes downhill in no time.

About the bras, I'm really looking for something that "enhances" a smaller cup. I'm a B cup and I'm looking for some lift and padding. I hear that VS has some really amazing ones in the $40 range which is already too pricey for me. If anybody knows about something similar at Target or someplace else for cheaper, let me know. I'm pretty small up top so I don't need the heavy duty support so much as the lift and va va voom.
post #16 of 83
As far as bras go I used to manufacture lingerie before kids. I made bras for VS, TJ Maxx and for Mervyn's and Target. I can tell you the bras I made for TJ Maxx and Target were every bit as well made as the ones made for VS. The only difference was my profit margin.
post #17 of 83
Do you live near a Fredericks of Hollywood? You should check out the bras there. Most of their styles are very good for enhancing the cleavage, and are very well made. I'm on the bigger end of the size spectrum, and Freddies is one of the few places I can find bras in my size that are supportive but don't look like some freakish orthopedic device.

I have a general rule that I won't spend more than $25 on a bra unless it's an emergency.
post #18 of 83
:

Don't tell, but I managed to hide away a couple of hundred bucks for getting a good cut and color.
post #19 of 83
i buy things on ebay. i buy nearly everything on ebay. i like how you have time to browse through the clothes and ask questions about them and if youre looking for that its not all the same things everyone else is wearing.
some people may have issues buying bras on ebay but im not one of them.
especially since they have rules about it now.
sometimes you can find lots of awesome undies at low prices because people get so squeamish about it.

also the area in which your thrift shop of choice is located matters alot.
i find salvation armys in nicer neighborhoods have nicer and pricer things than a generic named thrift store in an iffy neighborhood.

on makeup theres a list online somewhere that tells you what goes bad first and how long youre supposed to have something. i think lipstick is near infinte as long as you keep stirring the oils back in like peanut butter. be truthfull with yourself on what is a necessity for your main looks. i always find i only 'need' to buy concealer, foundation, powder(rarely) eyeliner, mascara(more often) and when i run out i buy lipliner but i only allow myself one colour(merlot). i have overestimated the ammount of eyeshadow, lipstick and lipgloss one woman 'needs'
there are some cheap brands that hold out better and look nicer than some of the pricier crap, er stuff...
in nailpolish i stick to revlon(god i hope thats still animal friendly) because of all the stuff ive tried nothing has that staying power. it wont make you feel classy but your pocketbook will thank you.
post #20 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiewytch View Post
As for the bra thing, I haven't really shopped VS in years. I know that stuff all uses sweatshop labor and whatnot. I just battle between continuing to buy soft cup organic cotton bras which do nothing for my figure or going to the darkside and buying a VS bra with some push up padding which I desperately need these days. That one is a battle of ethics in addition to battle of finances, haha....as is everything else I suppose.
There's a middle ground here too. There are bras made in the USA or Europe (ie: sweatshop free) but not with organic materials. I can't wear cotton bras anyway- they just don't provide the same support as nylon and cotton's more expensive anyway! I could go organic cotton for a sleep bra, but not for a "real bra".
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