Tag Archives: being a girl

How Much Did I Spend on Beauty in 2015?

Inspired by last week’s Wall Street Journal article “The High Price of Beauty: 4 Women Reveal Their Annual Costs,” I wanted to add up my 2015 so-called beauty costs to see if I’m as ridiculous as these women who spend around $20k average of their looks every year (and that isn’t even counting clothing!)

Even though that amount sounds crazy, beauty-related costs do add up. Some of them can be avoided (no one “needs” to visit an expensive salon to have their hair done every month), but some are just part of what it costs to be a woman with a successful career. As the resident hot mess who tries to play dress up as an executive, I feel at this stage of my life/career/et al, I should be investing more in looking the part. For better or worse I look rather young for my age, which means less respect from anyone who is older – or younger – but more hope that I’ll age gracefully. There’s that.

The women interviewed in the WSJ are certainly well enough to do that these expenses are just part of their lives. They’re all New York City women, and NY is an expensive place to fit in. Ranging from mid 30s to late 40s, these women shell out hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for facial treatments, intravenous vitamin therapy, regular blow drys, yoga, hair styles, skin-friendly juices, serums, energy healing (not sure how this is beauty related, but it’s in their calculations) — and for each of them the total annual cost ranges from $10k – $20k. That’s a lot of ca-ching for something so superficial (sans the yoga and health club memberships, which I don’t think should count towards “beauty” but whatever, to be fair I’ll include my health stuff as well so the numbers match up.)

My 2015 Beauty Costs ($5,672)

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 6.32.48 PM

$6000 a year is too much to spend on beauty, but at least it’s not $20,000. My total amount is a little wonky as I’m including these diet bets I’m doing – where I’m betting on my weight loss, and theoretically a chunk of that can be earned back if I drop 20lbs in the next 4 months, so that isn’t real spending. It also includes the second payment for my braces, and about $212 spent on personal training towards the end of the year.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 6.32.55 PM

Really, my worst spending comes in the form of food and shopping (I put makeup into the ‘personal care’ category. I’m going to whip up another post on my 2015 spending because I’m ashamed of it, and maybe that shame will make me not spend as much this year (spoiler: my annual spending was ~ $50k last year.)

Laser Hair Removal Update

I’ve been writing a lot about laser hair removal lately because it’s one of the largest purchases I’ve ever made in my life, outside of my $7000 car. Part of me still feels like I shouldn’t be spending the money — it’s much smarter to invest it, deal with shaving twice a day all my life, and that’s that. But, I’ve come to the decision that now I am going to spend some money on myself, within reason. And of everything in the world I can spend it on — vacations, jewelry, etc, I choose to spend my money on laser hair removal.

The one place I’ve been considering is giving me a really amazing package rate. $4000 for six treatments of basically everything except my face and arms. Which is like 76% off their single treatment rate. The normal discount as these places is maybe 40% off or for a special 50% off. All other places I looked at, at the cheapest for the same treatments, cost $5000 – $7000.

At first, I was very skeptical about this place. Why so cheap? That’s always something I’m cautious about when paying people lots of money to burn my hair follicles. So I went in for a full treatment — bikini and buttock (yes, there’s hair there. I’m a fairly attractive girl but my hormones make me look like Godzilla without an OCD maintenance program.) I got them to give me a 20% discount off the price of the two treatments — $460 total. That will apply to the full $4000 package if I decide to go for it, which I likely will. I just want to make sure my skin doesn’t melt off in the next two weeks, and that the hair sheds properly.

I was impressed with the quality of treatment at this place. I’ve been to a more expensive laser spa and the nurse was like a typical doctor — in and out, no time to waste. Not only that, but she burned me under my arm (I now have purple spots there the size of the laser, I hope they’ll fade.) So I’m not sold that cost has anything to do with quality when it comes to laser hair removal.

Ultimately, it’s how comfortable you are with the RN, and how comfortable the RN is with the laser. So this RN was really nice about everything, which was necessary when she was lasering in such delicate places. Yes, it was painful, esp behind the upper leg and inner thigh (youch!) but it’s so worth it. For me, anyway. Even for all that pain, knowing I’ll need 5+ more treatments in the same area for it to really do anything significant, and the reduction in savings I’ll have this year. It’s so worth it. I’m excited about the $4000 package and hope in the end I don’t regret it. I haven’t signed on the dotted line yet, but I’ve pretty much already paid 1/8th of it so it’s silly not to go all in if I like the place and I’m going to get it done anyway. Right?

They do have Care Credit — which gives 18 months free financing. I don’t need it, but I might be better off paying a few hundred bucks a month vs all at once. I can also put it on my credit card and get air mileage, which could be nice too. I’ll probably do that since I have the cash.

Top 100 Female Personal Finance Bloggers 2009

Over the past few years, as a personal finance blogger, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the other main bloggers writing on the topic of personal finance. In fact, it was a random search leading me to a post on An English Major’s Money that inspired me to start blogging about finance in the first place. There have been lists compiled of the best PF bloggers, but never a good, recent one of the list of the best female personal finance bloggers. So, I decided to change that here.

(If you’re a personal finance blogger, also consider adding yourself to The Personal Finance Reader; e-mail me at hereverycentcounts@yahoo.com for details.)

***list has been edited because I accidentally included two males bloggers the first go round. So I need 2 more female personal finance bloggers to add to the list. Any suggestions? Please post as a comment and I’ll update.

TOP 100 FEMALE PERSONAL FINANCE BLOGGERS
1. Boston Gal’s Open Wallet: the ongoing chronicle of a single 30-something Bostonian
2. Mrs. Micah: Finance for a Freelance Life: a 20 something freelancer planning for grad school
3. The Digerati Life: Money and Personal Finance Blog in Silicon Valley
4. Well-Heeled With a Mission: PF Nerd, shoe aficionada, food lover…
5. HowISaveMoney.net: Tips and tricks to save money, manage credit and reduce debt
6. Krystal at Work: a journey out of debt into the sexy world of financial independence
7. Frugal for Life: Send less. Waste less. Save more.
8. Saving 4 Later: Day to day spending, saving and living.
9. Chief Family Officer: Find tips of food, finances, and fulfillment
10. Penny Foolish: the life of a girl bad with the pennies
11. My Open Wallet: An New York tells the world how much money she earns, spends and saves
12. Fabulously Broke in the City: Trying to find balance between being a Shopaholic & Saver
13. Little Miss Money Bags: a 20-something living in NYC working in publishing
14. Almost Frugal: learning about frugality
15. Beach Girl’s Budget Blog: DC-based blogger paying off law school debts
16. Brown Eyed Girl and Money: a Canadian girl working hard for her money
17. Brunette on a Budget: 27 year old writer / journalist living in DC
18. SF Money Musings: 20-something girl in San Francisco on the road to happiness
19. Blogging Away Debt: female construction worker seeking to pay of debts
20. Counting My Pennies: a blog about saving for the future and spending today
21. Dog Ate My Finances: 20-something, debt-free, married and laid off
22. Feminist Finance: Sex, Gender, Cash.
23. Frugal Babe: A rich life without a lot of money
24. The Frugal Duchess: a finance journalist with fine tastes and a small budget
25. Cents to Save: Saving money is enjoyable
26. Ginger Won’t Snap: 20-something gal on personal finance
27. Frugal Zeitgeist: Money, saving, personal finance, and being happy with what you have
28. Grad Money Matters: Filling up the holes left behind by the grad curriculum
29. Living Almost Large: a 30-something women searching for true financial freedom
30. Gluten Free Frugal: a family with gluten-free kids’s quest to pay off debt
31. Stinkykat’s PF Blog: 30-something’s journey to happy spinsterdom
32. Mrs. Nespy’s Frugal World: Georgia-based mother and engineer
33. Mapgirls’ Fiscal Challenge: Tidbits about money and finance
34. Living Off Dividends: Make your money work hard, so you don’t have to
35. Poorer than You: Money issue massage s for college students and 20-somethings
36. FruGal: A FruGal’s musings on money…
37. MoneyMate Kate: tales of a self employed therapist in NYC
38. The Frugalista Files: The frugal side of fabulous (Miami Herald)
39. Sallie’s Niece: paying back college debt
40. Stacking Pennies: 20-something L.A. gal navigating the perplexing world of PF
41. Miss Thrifty Blog: Saving money with frugal tips
42. Single Broke Female: incessant ramblings of an indebted single 20 something
44. Shopaholly: her shopping ban is finally over
45. QuarterLife Finances: just a girl in the world, taking charge of her life
46. Paranoid Asteroid: mid-20s female engineer, married, blogging about saving
47. The Baglady: a “secret baglady” 20-something managing money like she’s about to retire
48. Money Magpie: For a richer life
49. The World of Wealth: a blog about wealth-getting it, having it, and sharing it.
50. A Gai Shan Life: Continuous improvement: in life, in finances
51. One Frugal Girl: a married girl keeping things frugal
52: GRACEful retirement: single mom, aged 60, getting a late start on retirement
53. Debt Free Kid: 30 something Canadian, single mom, seeking to get rid of debt by 2010
54. Frugal Chick: misadventures in life, one cloth napkin and penny at a time
55. You Have More Than You Think: A reality check to financial freedom
56. Musings of a Midlife Mom: trying to stay free of debt and to live simply, raising 4 kids
57. 2 Nickels Making a Dollar: making money online
58. Amelia’s Health Life: Exploring intuitive eating and personal finance
59. Seattle Girl: Adventures in Life and Finance
60. Berry Makes Cents: one girl’s journey to pay off student loan debt by making money online
61. Carrie… On the Cheap: A Personal Finance Lover in Kansas City
62. Reconciling My Gross Habits: Champagne Taste meets beer budget
63. Reality Cheque: reclaiming her emaciated dreams of financial freedom
64. The Budgeting Babe: Illinois-based 29-year old PR professional
65. My Crazy Debt: Blog about life and getting out of debt
66. Don’t Mess with Taxes: Texas journalist helps explain how taxes effect you
67. Savvy Saver: Making smart money decisions
68. Common Sense with Money: Better Living Through Wiser Spending
69. CalGirlFinance: 20 something’s journey to being free from the corporate world
70. Manisha Thakor, CFA: blog of an author, speaker, and financial literary advocate
71. The Grocery Cart Challenge: feeding a family on $60 a week
72. Living on a Dime: Making the most of what you have
73. All Doors Considered: tales of a middle-aged multimillionaire
74. Ugly Debty: one girl’s journey to freedom from an evil amount of personal debt
75. Saving Veronica: A debt blog of a single 40-something
76. Debt Hater: She’s gotten out of debt, now on to her dreams
77. Money Saving Mom: Helping you be a better home economist
78. No More Spending: Getting debt free
79. Notes from the Frugal Trenches: A Downshifting Journey
80. Squawkfox: Where frugal living is sexy, delicious, and fun.
81. The Hustle of Sistah Ant: Woman in debt in her late 20s living in Philadelphia
82. Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy: Going through bankruptcy and reclaiming her life
83. Fighting Foreclosure: her goal to fight foreclosure by earning $900 more per month
84. Modern Gal: Healthy living without breaking the bank
85. Gailvazoxlade.com: The value of money is that with it you can tell anyone to go to hell.
86. Moneymonk: 34 year old Capitalist saving 30% of her gross income
87. Bargain Briana: Because bargains don’t find themselves
88. Fabulous Financials: 30 something single mom building a $MM net worth
89. Alpha Consumer: Kimberly Palmer writes about PF (from U.S. News & World Report)
90. The Grass is Greener: a mother or two that is in debt no more
91. Little Miss Fortune: Living Large on a Budget (@Glamour)
92. plonkee money: an english-er’s thoughts on personal finance
93. All About Appearances: high class, low cost.
94. The Mother Load: The MomAdvice.com blog
95. Penny Golightly: the guide to the nicer things in life for less
96. Savings not Shoes: a blog about not spending your life savings on Manolos
97. Saving to Pay Down My Home: (formerly Saving For a Home) 20-something grad student paying for a condo
98. My Frugal Freedom: a girl, a cat, a stationary RV, and a frugal dream
99. Paying Off My Future: Working a little harder now to play a little harder later
100. Girls Just Wanna Have Funds: Breaking financial ceilings one stiletto at at time

Runners Up…
(Because not everyone can make the top 100, but there are a lot of great female personal finance writers out there. These are definitely worth a read too! Next year I’m going to try to have a reader vote for the best female personal finance blogs because they’re all so good and it’s hard to rank ’em on my own.)

** Her Every Cent Counts (yes, I’m female, and I’m all about shameless self promotion)
** Mrs. Accountability @ Out of Debt Again
** Me in Millions
** Always the Planner
** Daria @ Daily Money Dish
** Jessica @ PennyWise Family
** Lucia @ Money Strands
Any others I’m missing? Please comment on this post if you are a female personal finance blogger or know of any that should be on the list. There are some older lists floating around on the Interwebs, but many are out of date and include bloggers that haven’t updated since 2007! All of the authors on this list have updated after July 2009, with most updating even more recently than that.

10 Ways to Save Money on Laser Hair Removal

The last post I wrote was supposed to be about 10 ways to save money on laser hair removal, but turned into more of a ramble about my last year shopping around for the best prices. Thought it’d be best for my readers if I summarized exactly how to save money on laser hair removal treatments…


1.
Free Consults are Your Friend
Go to at least 3 places for a free consultation. If you can, go to 5+ places for a free consult.

2. Get it in Writing
Get everything in writing, especially prices and package deals. Find out how long they’re good for.

3. Paying Up Front? Ask About Discounts
Ask about financing plans. Places that offer financing plans pay a ridiculous fee to the medical credit companies. See if you can get that fee discounted off your price if you pay up front (one clinic offered to take another 10% off each package if I paid cash up front.)

4. Play Hard to Get

Let the clinic know you’re shopping around. Make them have to sell you on why you should pick them, instead of letting them take you for all you’re worth.


5. Negotiate Your Package
Find out if you can purchase a package of 6-7 treatments, instead of the normal 5. Even though this will cost more up front, this will save you money in the long run. You will need more than 5 treatments unless you don’t have a lot of hair, in which case, why are you bothering with laser hair removal to begin with?

6. Research Your Laser

Make sure you go somewhere that has a laser that’s right for your skin type. The Alexandrite, Diode and YAG lasers are all good for different skin & hair color combinations. Use the wrong one, and at worst you can hurt your skin, at best you’re not getting the most effective treatment, which means you’ll be disappointed with the results and have to pay for even more treatments for it work to your expectations.

7. Wait for Specials
After you get full pricing information in writing, wait for package deals. Most spas tend to offer good deals in the early summer, as this is when their clinics slow down. Sign up for mailing lists so you know when the deal is available. There are sometimes good deals at other times throughout the year, depending on how the economy is doing. I’ve seen some great deals lately, in the fall.

8. Purchase Multiple Packages for Best Savings

Buy multiple packages at once. You have a lot more wiggle room in terms of negotiating price this way. Only do this if you feel like you can pay up front and know you like the place and who will be doing the treatment on you. I recommend purchasing a single package or just one treatment to get a real idea of what the treatments are like before diving into packages costing thousands of dollars.

9. Follow Treatment Timing

Make sure to go back for your follow-up treatments in the right intervals. Waiting too long or not long enough will make your treatment less effective. Ask your practitioner how long you should wait for each body part.

10. Get a Free Zap or Two

You can’t get your legs free if you buy arms, but you might be able to negotiate your feet and toes and bikini line in a “full legs” package. My underarm hair removal package now, unofficially, includes the small bit of hair between my breasts in the center of my chest. It’s only about 10 hairs, but it’s the worst as it shows up in all my outfits. I mentioned this to the RN doing my armpits while she was treating me and she said “I’ll just zap them for you.” Even if the clinic does not condone freebies, you might be able to get a little more for your money by asking. Do this before paying for your package and then it’s official, and make sure to get it in writing. Note – this won’t work for places that charge by the laser pulse or for time spent on treating.

How to Save Money Shopping for Laser Hair Removal

I’m not one to splurge on treatments at any place referring to itself as a “spa,” so the fact that the past week or so included visits to about 5 different of these establishments might seem perplexing to anyone who knows me. But for the first time in my life, I can afford to purchase laser hair removal.
It’s not cheap. It’s not even close to cheap. It sets me further away from the seemingly-impossible dream of one day owning a house. To get everything done that I want to get treated, it will likely add up to about $7000. And that’s probably only considered half done. I won’t be completely hair free. But even a 50% reduction is worth it. Or at least I feel like it is.
But spending $7000 is better than spending $10k for the same treatment, and the only way to figure out how to get the best price is to shop around and really haggle. I hate haggling, especially with anyone who, if hired for the job, will soon be pointing a laser at my vagina. I’m hoping that these businesses are used to a hard sell, and they’ll treat me the same as someone paying more if I happen to “win” a more “affordable” package.
Still, it makes me nervous. I’ve been to consultations at 4 different medspas and I have one more set up this week. Besides the price difference, there’s also a ton of other variables — which laser do they use? Alexandrite? Diode? Yag? Is it Candela GentleLASE, Lumenis LightSheer, Cynosure Elite or Apogee? And then, who does the procedure? Do they know what they are doing? What if they leave half way through the treatment package (it takes about 1 year since you go back every 6-8 weeks for a treatment)? What if the medspa goes out of business? Do they offer financing? Does financing make sense? How do I know the practitioner isn’t jipping me — using too low of a setting so I will need to come back for many more treatments to finish up? What if they burn me and I still have $2000 of treatments left to follow up with? Ugh, too many variables, and that’s why this makes me so very nervous.
Last year, after going to two consultations I jumped on a package deal at one spa. I spent $420 for 5 underarm treatments (which is still, I feel, a good price for the area) and $1680 for 8 treatments for full face without my forehead (which is fine, I don’t have hair on my forehead at least, thank goodness.) The place I go to for these treatments uses the Candela GentleLASE, which I read is best for my type of skin (III – IV with dark hair) as the Alexandrite supposedly gets more of the finer hairs than the LightSheer, which I also considered. Oh, and I’ve also spent about $40 on numbing cream so far, can’t forget to add that into the total. So I’ve spent $2120 so far on my attempts to be hair free.
They say that after 6-10 treatments you should see about 80% reduction of hair growth, or more, or less, depending on how messed up you are hormonally. Since I’m pretty messed up, I’m concerned this won’t work at all in the long term.
So far I’ve had 3 treatments done on my underarms — and so far they are much easier to shave and I have to shave much less frequently. It’s really great because my underarm flesh is so pasty and my hair is so, so dark that it always looks like I haven’t shaved my pits even if I just cut them so close they’re bleeding. Underarms are definitely worth it. I’ve only had one treatment on my face so far and besides being quite painful in some sensitive areas (by my ear, upper sideburns, mustache right inside my nostrils (you don’t want to know what that smells like)). However, the results on my face thus far make it all worth it. I have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) so I have, well, somewhat of a beard. It isn’t exactly a beard, it’s more or less random spots where I have a patch of thick hair that grows in. Being OCD doesn’t help because I’m constantly tweezing out the hairs, leaving my skin a wreck. When I first was interested in doing laser hair removal, I wanted to do just my face. But I was worried about how my skin would react so I figured armpits would be a good place to test first, and it wouldn’t hurt to have less hair under there anyway.
Now, I’m ready to get zapped even more. But not without shopping around first. It’s really a pain in the ass to drive around the entire area to go to consult after consult, trying to get prices and figure out which clinic makes the most sense. There’s one spa, the one I went to my first consult at, where I like the RN and she really wants me to go there, I can tell. She’s willing to negotiate on price — likely she’ll match the price I find elsewhere if I can find somewhere that uses the same laser (LightSheer) with a lower price. Well, I did… I found another spa in the area that currently is running a 50% all packages deal if you buy 2 or more packages. The numbers add up nicely even though they still ain’t cheap.
I could just go to this place with the discount, but I kind of feel like I should at least let this first woman have a shot at giving me a good price. It also turns out that her spa is a block from my office so it’s much more convenient for going back for multiple treatments. But I don’t mind driving if it means saving hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Ultimately, though, it’s important to pick the right laser for me. I don’t want to spend $5000 instead of $7000, where the laser doesn’t get the fine hairs that the other one would have zapped for good.
There’s another clinic up in the city that has a decent price for certain body parts, I’m trying to figure out how I can mix and match different treatment sites and body areas so I get the best deal without driving myself too nuts (where was my appointment today? – I’d be asking myself as I drove 30 minutes in the wrong direction). But, in the end, it all comes down to playing hardball, and not being willing to settle. Laser Hair Removal “spas” or “medspas” or whatever you want to call the practices are really in it to make the most money off you that they can. They already spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their laser, and they need to use it as much as possible before the technology is obsolete. They sell a single treatment, they’re probably not going to see the person again. But they sell a package, that’s a good $1000 to pay off the machine and then profit on it. The more they can make off of you the better, but if they can get $5000 instead of $7000 they want vs. having to start from scratch courting another customer, some places may budge. If they’re too eager to budge, then you have to start wondering about quality. As long as you get a recommendation for the place (from someone you know or an online site like Yelp), you should be ok.
I still can’t believe I’m about to spend $5000 more on laser hair removal, but I also am fantasizing about the day I can wear a bathing suit and not worry about my full-body five o’clock shadow!

When to Get My Hair Cut

My hair is growing. It’s longer than it has ever been (as in, my mom never let it get this long as a kid with my trim every 6 weeks, so I just assumed it couldn’t grow past my shoulders). I like having it long, my boyfriend likes it long, but at some point it needs to be cut. I can’t figure out if I’m imagining these dead ends or not, but I’m getting to the point where I want to go get my $60 hair cut and be done with it.

Last time I posted about hair cutting costs – The Cost of Having Pretty Hair, I got quite a bit of feedback. Everyone debated whether that six week trim was worth it. For me, I tend to do a 20ish week trim. I try to get my overpriced hair cut twice a year to keep my mane in check. As a professional woman, I wonder if that is enough. Or do I look dowdy?

Given that my goal is to save $20k this year, every cent does count. If I can pick up a few more side projects I could offset the cost of a hair cut, easy. But I’m still already behind in my $20k quest. Makes me want to shave off my hair entirely.

So, ladies, how often is too long to go without a hair cut?

Makeup Settlement and free designer perfume? Yes, please.

My mom has a bad habit of forwarding me spam e-mails. So when I first got an e-mail about a “makeup settlement” I figured it was a fake. But I was intrigued, so I did a little Google research and found out that, indeed, department stores like Macys and Bloomingdales would be giving away free designer makeup… a $175M class action settlement that basically results in these companies giving away one free makeup item to anyone who wants it. Well, you’re supposed to have bought makeup at the store from 1994 to 2001 or something, but they aren’t checking.

So this morning, I went to Macys. I actually went to look for a new shirt for work, but I was also curious what this free makeup chaos would look like. It was, as I expected, chaotic. They had a line that went out into the mall when I arrived. So I decided to do my shopping first.

About an hour or so later, the line had died down. It was actually pretty short, about 15 people, so I got in line and was handed a “menu” of the free products. I had no idea which to get… they were mostly body wash and lotion and such. I decided on a 15ml bottle of Christian Dior d’adore perfume.

A lot of stores are giving away free goodies as long as supplies last all across the country. It’s probably not worth an hour wait in line, but if you can find a store with a short line, go for it.

Botox Bail Out

Every once in a while I find an article or study that makes me embarrassed to be human. At one point in our evolution we would have given an arm and a leg to be able to feed ourselves and our families for the day. These days, we equate wrinkles to starvation. Even with stocks down and job losses up, vanity beats out frugality.

According to a new study, nearly three out of four plastic surgeons reported that demand has increased or held steady for minimally invasive procedures, including the Botox antiwrinkle drug, dermal fillers used to plump up lips and smile lines, and skin-smoothing chemical peels, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a professional group representing 6,700 surgeons.


Case in point:

“Maralyn Burr of Omaha, Neb., in June lost her job as a district sales manager for bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. Ms. Burr, who is $140,000 in debt from her 22-year-old daughter’s musical education, says she has slashed spending and all but stopped eating out. But she hasn’t given up her Restylane and Botox injections. “It’s like comfort food,” she says.” – Keeping Up Appearances in a Downturn, Wall Street Journal 

Doesn’t that make you just a little sad to be human?

Beauty Trends, a Sephora Gift Certificate, and $200


After three years of avoiding makeup-superstore Sephora to spend my $40 gift certificate, I finally gave in and decided to splurge. The show I directed opened on Friday night and I had failed to find a blue sweater to match the dress I bought, so in desperation I headed over to Sephora for my final touches.

I meant to just spend about $40 on a new foundation. Not that I really needed a new foundation, but the colors I had for summer were looking silly on my now-pale skin (it’s ghostly, really) and I needed something a bit lighter.

Here’s the rub – the day before I go to Sephora I wrote some content for my job about spring and summer beauty trends. I’ve been avoiding following the trends for a while, given that I have a bunch of makeup and I usually just buy what I think looks good on ME and not what the trends are. But I got really, really into the beauty trends for this spring/summer. Neon pink lipstick? Why, I don’t own any neon pink lipstick, I thought. I also did some research on the best mascaras and despite knowing that the drug store brands are just fine I found myself longing for some Christian Dior Diorshow Blackout. All 20 some-odd dollars of it.

Well, I spent about 2 hours of “oohs” and “ahhs” in Sephora, browsing through the aisles, trying on makeup, and trying my darndest to avoid the sales people who kept asking “are you doing ok?” (Funny, when I finally needed help, a salesperson was nowhere to be found!)

Going to Sephora to buy “just a few” pieces of makeup is really a bad idea for anyone attempting to be somewhat frugal. After all was said and done I spent $200 – only $40 of that was covered by the gift certificate I went into spend. (Yea, yea, I know that’s the point of gift certificates.)

But, on a positive note, I love my new makeup. I’m still not going to be a trend whore, so I’ll wear it for years – until it gets really gross.

Then again, does that justify spending $25 on Dior lipstick? And then spending $10 on nearly-the-same-shade neon pink Sephora-brand lipstick that I now use to blend with the $25 Dior lipstick?

You all probably think I’m absolutely crazy, spending this much on makeup.

But I can’t be the only one – otherwise Sephora would go out of business. But that place sure is always busy. Maybe everyone else goes in and has some self-restraint. But I go in once a year or every two years and splurge. It makes me feel good. I like looking pretty, and the older I get, the less pretty I feel. It’s really sad that makeup – ie, face paint – helps me feel like I’m decent looking, but I’d rather spend a lot of money on makeup than my hair cuts. I mean, as I said in my last entry, I spend $60 on a cut, but I only do it twice a year. Some people are spending $60 every 6 weeks for their HAIR. So I end up spending that money on makeup. And I just love painting my face!

I worry about getting even older. Now, at 24, at least I don’t have massive amounts of wrinkles. But what about when I turn 30… or 40? Old women buy a lot of expensive, often misleading beauty products in a quest to look younger. Eeks.

For now, though, I’m happy with my purchases. My Lorac Cheek Stamp (it’s blush that’s like a stamp, which kind of works and kind of doesn’t, but it’s never been so fun to use blush), my Diorshow mascara, my $4 Sephora lipliner (if you want cheap good-quality lipliner, go into Sephora and buy their brand, it’s really nice, just don’t look at anything else), my $25 Dior lipstick, my $10 Sephora lipstick, my $40 Laura Mercier foundation stick (which may or may not be in the right color for me, foundations always look weird on my pale-ass skin), my $30 Laura Mercier foundation primer (oil free, of course), and the $20 eyebrow pencil in a color that’s actually right for my eyebrows (as opposed to the 10 $6 eyebrow pencils I’ve bought at drugstores over the years that are the wrong color for my brows!). I think that’s all I got. Does that add up to $200?

I guess it does, with taxes and all.

Geez, makeup is expensive. But I must admit, I feel happiest after buying new face paint.