When it comes to buying beauty and skin care products, how do you know when to save and when it's safe to splurge? If you're working with a very tight household budget in the first place, buying beauty products is probably low on the priority list. However, you don't have to sacrifice those beauty treats when you have a plan.
I interviewed finance and lifestyle expert Nicole Lapin recently. Nicole is the founder and editor of Recessionista.com, which teaches women how to manage their finances successfully in today's economy. I wanted to know how the Recessionista herself creates a beauty budget and what she's willing to splurge on. Here's the scoop:
Saving Money on Beauty Essentials
Investing in some high-quality basic items - and multi-purpose beauty products - is the best way to save on those beauty purchases. Nicole says, "Master the transitions. Unless you have the fortune of living in a place that's sunny year round, you probably go through several shades of foundation to wear throughout the year at different levels of tan. Invest in a good, clean powder in a neutral shade between your lightest and darkest foundations to ease the transition between, and avoid having to replace foundation every season."
It's also a good idea to hit the beauty department with a good friend. Shopping with a friend can make it easier for both of you to scope out some good deals and save money when you cash in on those "buy one get one free" offers. Nicole says you should, "Bring along a friend for major savings - and to get feedback on what works and what doesn't."
Another great way to save money on high-end beauty products is to head to the makeup counter. Nicole says the makeup counter is "a great option for a special date or event. All you have to do is approach most makeup counters in department stores 'looking' to buy something and they'll offer a free touch-up. Show some interest in a new product - like a shiny new lip gloss - and they're almost guaranteed to smack that on, too, and maybe even give you a free sample."
Nicole even recommends going without makeup so you can get a quick skin consultation.
Creating a Beauty Budget
Doing the drudge work of creating an actual beauty "budget" may not be at the top of your agenda, but it's a good idea to have one anyway. Your budget is actually a spending plan and gives you a chance to estimate how much you can really afford to spend on the basics - and what's left over to splurge on.
Nicole says to start by thinking about your basic items: "Think about what you wear on your lightest makeup days. These staples are like what your white t-shirt and jeans are to your wardrobe; moisturizer, foundation or powder, mascara, and maybe a sheer lip gloss. Invest in these items first."
You'll want to spend the most money on these essentials. They're your standby products and skimping on quality here could mean breakouts, adverse skin reactions, and just a poor quality finish. Nicole also says it's a good idea to hold off on splurging on "special event" items like smoky eyeshadow, false lashes, and bold lipstick until you actually have a reason for wearing them. Don't waste your money on passing trends that you "might" wear someday and remember that all makeup has an expiration date!
Interview with Nicole Lapin of Recessionista.comMore content from this contributor: