If you’re anything like me, you sometimes allow yourself to walk down memory lane and wistfully look back at those bygone days when blowing your entire paycheck on a new purse, a pair of jeans and a Mexican pizza combo seemed like a great idea. At age 24, spending $480 on a Louis Vuitton bag was completely acceptable. I’m pretty sure that I even convinced early 20’s Heather that this was an investment – it’s a bag you’ll be wearing 30 years from now! Worth every penny!
Well, its 11 years later and I sold the bag on eBay (at a loss!) to pay for something much more necessary – mortgage? Vet bills for my million dollar Mimacat? A sectional sofa? I’m not sure. But when you’re a real full grown adult you think twice about dropping a car-payment sized chunk of change on something like shoes. So, again, if you’re like me you probably have to do some penny pinching, liquidating and some scaling back of your expenses.
I recently tried to impose an all-out shopping ban on myself.
I lasted 48 hours.
So, I’ve made it my new quest in life to bargain shop and find the cheapest possible version of things that I love, covet, and just have to have. I’m going to report some of my findings to you, below. While I no longer allow myself to blow hundreds of dollars on a shopping spree the way pre-mortgage, pre-marriage, pre-cat Heather might have, there’s no good reason why I can’t take, say, $15 a week and have a little fun. That’s right – ALL of my “bargain” items below were under $15 each. They make me feel like I can still treat myself but not risk foreclosure and bankruptcy in the process.
Journey with me, fellow paupers.
When it comes to makeup and beauty I will admit to you that I am a total moron. Clothes are my thing, but knowing what to do with my face (and my hair, but that’s another story) has always eluded me. I’ve always defaulted to Clinique products because of my allergies, and because who doesn’t love BONUS TIME?? (caps necessary) Anyone who doesn’t appreciate a free makeup bag full of treats is a communist, in my opinion. Well, I’m on the precipice of running out of my moisturizer ($26!!) powder foundation ($25!!) and mascara ($16!) That’s $67 worth of items that you probably won’t even notice that I have sitting on my face!
I made an executive decision and I decided to research drug store brands, and I made the switch. Now, I have horrible allergies, so I was limited to which brands I was able to try. After some internet research, I’ve settled on Neutrogena. Allow me to compare and contrast my new, cheaper items with my prior, more expensive choices.
Moisturizer. I know that many of you use Dramatically Different Lotion. I think 87% of the free world does. I do enjoy it in the winter, but to be honest, its been making me break out lately when coupled with the horrible heat & humidity. Because of this, in combination with its price tag, I made the switch to an Oil Free formula from the good old drug store.. I chose the Oil Free bottle, below, from Neutrogena. $9.99! So far, I’m happy to report that my skin is supple and my breakouts have gone away. Its not as thick as CDDM, but it has a cooling feeling and barely any scent, which I appreciate.
Foundation. I use a powder foundation because I feel like liquid just settles into all of the cracks on your face and looks awful after two hours. There is barely a difference between the Perfectly Real Powder foundation from Clinique and the Mineral Sheers powder foundation from Neutrogena. They both offer light to medium coverage. They both went on evenly. And Neutrogena was only $14.99, plus I had a $2 off coupon (go to their website and print it out!)
Mascara. Truth be told, I usually I just use whichever free one comes in the Clinique BONUS TIME bag. This last bonus, I received Clinique High Lengths Mascara. I have to be honest: it sucks. SUCKS. It has a dumb long brush that would be better suited for scratching my inner ear (also, another story). My lashes didn’t really even seem longer. But, it was free, so I went with it. Now its almost dried up, so I was forced to make a purchase. I went with Neutrogena Healthy Lengths mascara. I’ve always been vehemently opposed to drug store brand mascara. I feel like every formula I’ve tried is thick and clumpy. Maybe I’m on some weird Neutrogena high, but this mascara is just excellent. Not thick, not clumpy. My lashes felt long and feathery. A curler prior to application is a must, but it was really worth the $10.49.
So, my Neutrogena purchases, with the use of my coupon, cost me about $34 total, as compared to the $67 that I would have spent on comparable products from Clinique. That’s nearly a savings of 50%!! Sounds like I can afford that Mexican pizza after all.
But I’m not truly happy unless I can shop for items to stock my pride-and-joy-walk-in-closet. Even with a $15 week budget, you CAN allow yourself some new, stylish items.
Do you own Tory Burch flip flops? Well, color me jealous. I just can’t spend $50 on a pair of rubber shoes that might someday come into contact with dog poop. That being said, if my lovely friend who happens to work at TB wanted to leave a pair on my doorstep (size 7) I wouldn’t complain. Anyhow, I can’t bring myself to purchase a pair like these:
So, as a consolation prize I bought these adorable Havaianas at Marshalls for 12.99. I think they look pretty darned similar if I do say so myself.
I know. You are asking, “Heather, I want some new clothes that I can wear now, but also Autumn-up when October comes around.” Well, me too, my friend… me too. You simply MUST lean on Marshalls in your time of poverty. Two items that I really want for the fall are new skinny jeans in an almost-black wash, and a paisley-type printed shell. I am certainly coveting the items below, from LOFT, but these days I can’t shop in my beloved store unless I have a gift card or an 80% off coupon, which I’ve yet to see on this Earth.
Fear not, I found and purchased these two very comparable items, from Marshalls – for $14.99 each. Jeans for less than $15?? Amen, sista. They exist! (shell by Olive & Oak; Jeans by dJeans)
The moral of the story? You can have nice things on a budget. And you thought you’d have to start shopping at Rainbow Shops!
PS – I’m totally bringing back the 80’s style charm holder necklace. I want you all on board w/this one.