An Easy Way to Control Your Beauty Spending

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This post inspired by reddit, a community of beauty lovers who like all of us, can sometimes get carried away.

Speaking of being Carried away, Carrie Bradshaw once stated that she likes to keep her money where she can see it, hanging in her closet. I know plenty of people (myself included) who feel the same way about their money, only they prefer to see it neatly organized on a well-lit vanity! But let's be honest, life is not a TV show and we all have other priorities to deal with. You know, things like bills, food, etc. So this blog post is dedicated to introducing a fresh, new way to manage your beauty spending, before you end up joining a real rehab group like Appearance Accentuaters Anonymous. (Boo that was a bit try hard. Also, accentuater, not a word. We'll deal.) So what is this new method I'm proposing?


If you don't know what a capsule wardrobe is, it is a consumption philosophy for clothing where one decides to own a limited collection of essential items that will probably stay in fashion through the ages. The capsule wardrobe can also include some seasonal accent pieces to keep your closet current.

The capsule wardrobe mostly consists of two types of garments.
(1) Things that are absolutely timeless like the leather jacket, the equivalent of which would be the red lip in the beauty world.
(2) Things that are perfectly suited for your coloring and your body type. (Beauty equivalent = undertones and face shapes).

I'll be talking more about how to apply the capsule wardrobe concept to your beauty collection... from here on referred to as just your "beauty wardrobe". I'll walk through how to implement your beauty wardrobe, and then cover the benefits you'll reap from creating one.


We've covered the basics of what a beauty wardrobe is, and you probably already have an idea of what products you'd like to include in yours. An easy way to solidify your beauty wardrobe is to jot it down in Excel.  Next, you can use the spreadsheet to track your purchases, against what you had determined as your ideal beauty wardrobe. It is extremely important to be able to see your ideal collection juxtaposed with things you already own, and things that are on your wishlist. You will see why shortly.

So let's dive right in to the details. Here are the steps you might take to implement this newfangled notion of a beauty wardrobe.

STEP 1. The Vision. In the visioning phase, brainstorm what your ideal beauty wardrobe would look like. What items are your essentials? Things that may factor into your decision may be your skin type, your undertone, and just your personal taste. Determine your preferred shades and finishes.

STEP 2. The Outline. Here's where the Excel comes in. Jot down your list. If Excel is not your thing, I've created one for readers to use as a starting point here. List the products you already know are your essentials. In addition, list out all of the products you would like to own even if you don't have a specific product in mind yet. For example, you want a pinky-nude cream finish lipstick. Jot that down as well.

Beauty Spending Tracker Template
This actually exists IRL. Link to sheet here

STEP 3. Benchmarking. Benchmark your current collection against your ideal beauty wardrobe. This is where we determine how well you're tracking to your stated beauty goals. Write down all of the products you already own in the spreadsheet.  At this point in the process you will be able to identify where you have CLEARLY overspent. For example, maybe your idea of a beauty wardrobe includes room for a couple nude lipsticks, and you find that you own 20. Now you know you are not in the market for a nude for a loooong time. It can work in the other direction as well, you will be able to identify where you have gaps in your collection, leading you to branch out and add some experimental elements to your look.

In this step, make sure to mark down the price you paid for each product. This is just because sometimes just understanding the sheer dollar amount you have already sunk into your collection is enough to help you control your spending.

STEP 4. Maintain Wishlist. As a beauty addict, you probably have some limited "haul exposure" from following some beauty blogs or YouTube gurus. Unchecked, this could lead to a very serious condition called impulse shopping :p In order to remain true to your goals and become a prudent shopper, track all of the items you are considering purchasing in your tracking spreadsheet.

While maintaining this wishlist, make sure to do the following:

-Be brutal. Ideally, you should try to own only one product per category/shade/finish so if you really want NARS Luxembourg and Maybelline Coral Crush but they're both watermelon pinks, remember that this is a Battle Royale, and you must make a choice.

-Next, make sure to do your research to determine which product is best suited for you. Use to view ratings from a huge pool of reviews. See the product up close by swatching it live, or viewing blogs like Limit your haul exposure by following only bloggers that match your skin tone or share your taste.

-Do not dupe. Check to see if you already own a product like it. Avoid purchasing a similar product until you use up what you already own. 

-Stick to the plan. If your desired product is not a dupe, check to see if you were looking for a shade/finish like this product in the first place. Think back to why it was or was not included. Maybe you know in your heart of hearts that this shade is unflattering, or too trendy.

STEP 5. MONITOR. Continually refine your collection. Keep detailed notes like whether you would repurchase the item, or whether you prefer a different formula or price point.

So you're finished! You have your own personal beauty wardrobe. Now you can reap the benefits... which include the following:


-Sticker Shocked into a No-Buy:  When you see the total value of your beauty/personal care items, you may be shocked into a no-buy which is ultimately the type of behavior we're trying to reinforce.

-Dupe-less in Seattle or Wherever You May Be: You'll stop buying the same thing over and over again.

-Pan Pr0n - Who doesn't love a little sexy pan porn? By editing your collection, you will use up your products more often.

-Avoid Expiry: Yup, makeup expires. Use it up before it gets the chance to. If you have 10 mascaras, it's like figuratively flushing your paycheck down the toilet.

-Experience Less Buyer's Remorse:You already planned for your purchases so you'll feel more justified when you do finally buy something.

-LASTLY, SAVE MONEY! Who wouldn't want to redirect some of their hard earned cash into a savings account or a trip to Italy?

Will you be trying this tactic out?
Do you have any tips and tricks to curbing your addiction? Do share!



Elise Tessin said...

This is AWESOME! I've been experiencing overbuying of makeup lately and I will definitely use some of these techniques to help control my spending and maintain focus on what I really want. Thank you!

Joan Lee said...

You're welcome! I have the same problem... my stash kept growing like crazy. Hopefully this helps us both keep ourselves in check!

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