Monday, December 22, 2008

How to not spend any money, ever. Installment 1: 'Maintenance'

As we all now know, rich women are celebrating the recession (sort of like 'celebrating' Yom Kippur) by cutting back on beautification procedures. Articles on such themes never fail to focus on this one woman they found who spends a trillion dollars a year on pedicures, thereby eliciting comments from women who will not have such decadence, who 'only' get the occasional facial/mani-pedi/lipo and who therefore get to declare themselves relatively low-maintenance.

I do not fault women (or men) for wanting to look good. We all do, and not all of us are lucky enough to be in some subculture where looking good means no grooming whatsoever. So, how to cut back:

1) If you haven't tried it, don't. This goes for facials, waxing, professional nail care, and, of course, cosmetic surgery. Just assume a wide range of 'upgrades' might make you look better, but might not. Drawing the line with where you're already at, maintenance-wide, is a good starting point.

2) Do not assume any procedure (beyond bathing and tooth-brushing, of course!) is necessary, on account of 'society'. I used to think you had to get a professional haircut, that DIY was for a) bald men, b) families of 20, or c) self-destructive lunatics. So a few times a year, I'd pay up, because that's what's done. But then I realized that if I know exactly how I want my hair, there's no good reason to pay someone else $70 to make it not quite right, or $30 to screw it up beyond repair. (Photographic evidence of DIY success to follow.) That's money better spent on superior hair products/equipment. Which leads me to...

3) If a procedure/product strikes you as essential for you personally, and doesn't cost that much, you will make yourself miserable giving it up just for the sake of it. I could, as a matter of principle, give up hair goop and the accompanying flat-iron. If I did, the left side of my hair would be wavy and the right side stick-straight. Or vice versa, depending how I sleep. This would make teaching, and leaving the house generally, less pleasant.

4) Do not buy tons of different shades of nail polish, justifying it to yourself as, at least one bottle is cheaper than one manicure, and lasts much longer. You will still end up spending far too much on nonsense. (I have yet to learn this lesson.)

5) Tangentially related, this image is amazing. That is all.

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