One of the challenges of the super-strict budget we’ve needed to impose (to get ourselves out of the crater of debt we’ve dug) has been that I’ve had to cut out about 98% of our unnecessary expenses. That includes beauty expenses.
It’s tempting to feel sorry for myself and just let my appearance go by the wayside for a couple of years, but fortunately for my husband, I’m much too vain for that. 🙂
So I’ve needed to create a Frugal Beauty Routine. Here’s how I do it:
1. A healthy body. Since gym memberships are out of the question, as is buying any gym equipment for the house, I’ve adopted a “Fitness on the Cheap” program, very similar to the great one featured here at Tackling Our Debt.
Working out using your own body weight as resistance is every bit as good as any workout equipment you’ll find. I start with a good stretch routine that I do daily. This is not a precursor to my workouts so much as it is a workout in itself. Stretching enhances every other part of my exercise routine, and gives me the strength and flexibility I need to perform the heavy lifting required to run a hobby farm.
I also try and sneak in pushups, leg lifts and other types of resistance training, as well as cardiovascular fitness activities such as running, walking and hiking. My only cost? A good pair of running shoes.
Healthy food choices are also a big part of my beauty on the cheap plan. Eating good protein sources and healthy fats keep my skin healthy, my organs functioning at optimal levels and also helps to keep healthcare costs to a minimum. Although I’m far from perfect as far as eating choices go, I try to eat a diet mainly of fresh fruits and veggies, and lean proteins, buying or growing organic whenver possible. A truly beautiful body starts on the inside, and I’ve found that the right food choices are more important than ever, since my metabolism came to a screeching halt when I turned 40 :-(.
Beverage choices. My main choice of beverage is fresh, clean water. Consuming too much coffee, pop, alcohol etc., will fill your body with toxins, and the results will show not only in how you feel, but in how you look.
Clothing. Here are some tips for looking your best clothing-wise without spending tons of money:
– buy 3 or 4 basic, interchangeable outfits
– shop thrift and consignment stores, along with garage sales
– check the clearance racks. I just picked up two decent quality basic long sleeve cotton shirts for $5 each on the clearance rack.
– do a clothing swap. Got a friend or relative that’s the same size you are? If you like each other’s clothing style, see if there’s a thing or two you each have that you’re sick of wearing and can swap out.
2. Beautiful skin. (all links here are affiliate links). My skin care routine is pretty basic. My good friend Kris over at Etsy’s BathNBeads has a wonderful cold process soap that works well on my skin. A $4.95 bar lasts me at least 3 months (I use it on my face only), and if you use the code CMLBL you’ll get free shipping. On my body, I use regular Lever brand bar soap. It’s the best cheap bar soap I’ve found when looking for both low price and quality. Curel Ultra Healing lotion is also good quality for the price and will do for a body/face lotion, but another terrific option for moisturizing your skin is Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Since you need only use a bit, a jar can last up to a year, depending on your skin type.
DIY. Do it yourself manicures, pedicures and eyebrow maintenance can save LOTS of money.
For DIY eyebrow mainenance, start with a good professional brow wax, and then maintain yourself, checking every other day or so for strays, and pluck them out. I’ve been doing this for about 2 years now. But you must have a quality tweezers to get the best results. I wouldn’t trade my Tweezerman tweezers for anything. They’re a crucial part of my beauty on the cheap routine.
DIY manicures and pedicures are a breeze with a good manicure/pedicure set and some emery boards. I leave my nails bare most of the time in order to save on polish and remover and to keep my nails looking clear, but OPI brand is my fave polish. It lasts forever, and they’ve got great colors. It is more expensive, but since I don’t use it often, I don’t feel guilty about buying a bottle or two each year.
3. Beautiful hair. Expense shampoo and conditioner isn’t in the budget right now, although I wish it was. I buy the cheap stuff, but I have some ways that I can minimize the damage to my hair, such as shampooing every other day instead of every day, and minimizing blow dryer usage. These techniques make sure not too much of the natural moisture is stripped out of my hair by less-than-great shampoos and conditioners.
Also, since highlights are out of the question, healthy hair is all the more important, to help my dishwater-y colored hair look the best it can look. Sitting out in the sun with lemon juice on your hair still works for adding highlights too. 🙂
DIY haircuts. Yep, I do it myself. Youtube has lots of instructional videos on cutting your own hair. This works best with long hair, though. Another option? Find a licensed beautician who does it cheap from her home, or barter with her for something you have to offer such as babysitting, etc. (See your state laws for tax requirements re: bartering).
Lesson learned? You can look and feel beautiful, even on a budget.
Readers: What are your “Beauty on the Cheap” tips?