In the not so distant past, I enjoyed spending money on various products week after week, even though I already had one variation or another of the same thing. Oh look, an amazing new foundation came out? I have to buy it, even though I’m still trying to use up the two I have!
Every time I walked into Target, I headed for the cosmetics section to see what new items they had in stock. This was a bad habit that formed out of watching YouTube videos, of all things. Let’s rewind.
Entering the Workforce – I Have to Upgrade!
It was January 2012 and I was just entering the workforce. I needed to upgrade my wardrobe, big time, especially since I was notorious for wearing hoodies during the winter (comfy and cozy, what can beat that?), and that was what my college clothing consisted of. I did this in an inexpensive way, shopping clearance racks, and going to department stores. I didn’t want to spend $20 for a top, but it’s also important to realize that most clothes should last you a long time, so it can be worth it to splurge on quality clothing occasionally.
I also began to realize that maybe I should wear my make-up more professionally. I had been using pink, blue, and purple eye shadow, and I definitely didn’t want to be wearing that at work. Upon inspection of the other girls working in my office, everyone was well dressed and had neutral make-up on, if any at all. I wasn’t willing to go bare-faced as I’m self-conscious about my skin (plus I’m really pale and just look like a ghost; most people ask me if I am sick when I don’t wear make-up), so I decided to look around.
The World of YouTube Videos
This search eventually led me to looking through make-up tutorials on YouTube, which subsequently led to my interest in beauty products. I blame all the “beauty gurus” that were showing off their purchases in “haul” videos, where they featured all the products they got in one shopping trip (at least worth $100+ every time), which made me envious.
I wanted to be like these girls. Most were around my age, and YouTube was their main source of income. They did videos, and stayed home. What a life! While I realize it’s quite similar to blogging (and definitely not effortless), I actually contemplated starting my own channel. This is the justification I used as I bought mascara after foundation after concealer.
Every time I went to Target or Walmart, I would head to the cosmetics section to see if they had anything new in stock. If I had just watched a “favorites” video from a guru, I would go and see if they had that product. If they loved it so much, it was worth a try!
My boyfriend was constantly telling me how stupid I was being, that I should be putting this money toward student loans. “Don’t you have enough already?” “Yeah, but…” That was how it went. Every time. Plus, he obviously didn’t like spending time looking at make-up =). I never put myself in debt with any of these purchases, but at the same time, a lot of money was spent here and there, and I definitely could have been putting it to better use.
Reality Check & Getting Priorities Straight
Work got really busy around November of last year, and I got into reading personal finance blogs, so I slowly stopped watching YouTube videos. My craving for new beauty products waned as I stopped watching, and now I only make purchases as I run out of products.
I am committed to not making any “extra” purchases for ANYTHING. I want the large majority of my money to go toward necessities (food, rent, gas, insurance), and I want as much as possible after that to go toward debt. No more buying and trying things. I have chosen the path as a blogger, and while I could probably blog about beauty products, I like the community here better. Where would I end up with an endless pile of beauty products? Not getting my student loans paid off quicker, that’s for sure!
Lesson learned: take away the temptation! Essentially, I stopped spending so much on beauty products because I wasn’t coming in contact with them as much. The cause of all this was my watching the videos in the first place, and trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I wasn’t a beauty guru making money off of my purchases. I had to realize that most of these girls were either getting paid for their reviews, receiving generous amounts of products for free, or living paycheck to paycheck (as some admitted).
That wasn’t the life for me, plus I like remaining anonymous (for now). Those girls get judged a lot. Once I stopped watching, I stopped caring, it was as simple as that. While my coworkers continue to upgrade their wardrobe, wearing new pieces every week, I wear the same things and try to get the most out of the clothes I have.
I have not made any clothing related purchases in a WHILE, at least since February. The past two months have seen a dramatic decrease in my beauty purchases. I have more than enough to last me for years to come, and the sad thing is, many of these girls have outrageous makeup collections (they take 20 minutes to give a “tour” of them), and the majority of products expire. Such a waste! I don’t like waste of any kind, and I’m trying to cut down on it as much as possible.
I think the biggest takeaway is that you can’t buy beauty. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars only to end up as miserable as you were before. Don’t put your faith in the cosmetics industry, put your faith in yourself! It’s cliché, but it’s true. If you have self-esteem issues, at the end of the day when you take your “face” off, you’re still going to be left with yourself. You can’t rely on products to keep you happy forever.
Is there anything you’ve ever spent a lot of money on routinely, only to realize that you should stop funding it? What was it, and how did you stop spending?1