So, I fell off the wagon this month. I spent about $45 on cosmetics, about $150 on clothing whilst in Singapore. I can ‘justify’ it in many ways, but it is a combination of things;
– I shopped while tired. That is, I shopped for things I needed to get like sunscreen and walked out of the pharmacy with things I did not need like bb cream.
– I am tired because my kids aren’t sleeping which means I don’t get down time. One of the cosmetics companies has a slogan of ‘Because you’re worth it’ and they tap into a really powerful bit of pyschology. Women tend to be the carers in families and we struggle to carve out time and energy for ourselves. Makeup is purely for ourselves and is sold as treat, a way of rewarding ourselves that doesn’t take that much time or resources and doesn’t take us away from our caring duties in any meaningful way. Caitlin Moran touches on it in How to be a Woman, where she talks about the reason woman look for the high that comes from over eating rather than other addiction because it still allows us to be carers.
– I was travelling and my usual ways of coping with stress where not as available to me. These include the need for downtime, books to read, gym time and so on. I am a creature of habit.
– I start to wonder if blogging is helping or not. I keep reading about the new product people are using or seeing new colours and finishes of products… and wanting them. Yet being accountable is helpful, so I have to weigh the positives against the negatives. I will be dwelling on this one a bit….
Anyway, all I can do is start again next month. I have a few new reviews/comparisons to show you this month (as well as cleaning out of the closet to do…). Let’s see how it goes!
I was in in Target picking up some odds and sods and ran into their wall of high wedge sneakers (including some that are deeply ‘inspired’ by the Isabel Marant Wila ones I have lusted over for months). They had a rainbow of colours and sizes and they were on special.
I walked away. Sigh. Target, why you torture me so?
So as of the end of January I have not gotten any new makeup or clothing. I have ordered some new runners (ASICs Kayanos) as a replacement for my current ones, which are extremely close to death. I have paid for the sneakers but are still enroute *cough* via hopshopgo.com – even with the postage these are about half the price of any of the local sports stores in Australia ($123 vs $199) and I am calling those neutral on the no spend front. Do you think I’m cheating?
I haven’t used that much up yet – I have a lipstick and bb cream which are looking emptyish but will probably last another week or so? More worrying though is the low levels of my clinique makeup remover. I threw out a pair of workout pants that were a bit dire looking. That’s kind of a big thing for me, the storage at a house is at overflow point.
I am also blogging regularly and deciding a few things – I will never again buy a BYS nail polish haha, I need to try some other top coats for nail polishes that are quick drying. I’m reading more to try and replace my online shopping time. I am using the library and discovering new TV series (True Blood! where has it been all my life!). I am wearing more creative outfits now that buying new clothes is not an option and I’m feeling happier for it.
On the face of it there is a disconnect between writing a beauty blog and talking about not spending and donating time and money to the homeless shelter. However there is not as much distance as you might think initially.
A lot of the discrimination and isolation that the homeless face is around how they look. How many times have you heard some one complain about getting stuck next to a smelly homeless person on the bus? Now imagine how that odour comes about. How easy is it to shower and wash without a house, to control body if you can’t afford housing let alone toiletries, how you would smell if you slept in shop fronts, where drunks would urinate on their way home from bars? How easy is to transport toiletries if you need to carry all your possessions with you? How do you condition your hair and afford haircuts and shaving implements? How can you wash and maintain your clothing?
Then imagine that you want to connect with people but they avoid you before you can talk to them. You feel less than everyone, less than human. You are alone and vulnerable. Maybe you start to numb the pain with alcohol or other drugs.
How do you reconnect with people? How do you get a job? How do you make a first impression other than homeless? The rituals around beauty are culture-based of course, there were times when washing was not considered hygienic. But in this time and place pulling yourself out of homelessness often requires an ability to fake not being homeless to passersby. And I have to thank my stars that I have the abilility, the resources and the social capital to be able to pass that first impression test and to read as deserving of basic courtesies and respect. Not everyone can.
I was left wondering how my $1200ish in makeup compares to the average woman so I started cruising around the internet. Bellasugar has an article suggesting it’s about $200 a year, while a 2008 report in the US suggests it’s more like $100 a month. My cosmetic spending is probably closer to the second figure, with a similar amount for clothes, then I go to the beauty salon for about $50 a month and also get a hair cut and foils every 6-8 weeks. So a long story short, beauty and grooming take up a chunk of my spending money.
What does it mean to me in real terms though
- While I can afford this amount going forward, I don’t have enough money for big ticket items I want.
- Having this money tied up in cosmetics is the equivalent of around $10,000 when I retire. If I only buy as I use I’ll be more financial secure later in life.
- I need to store all of this stuff (and it does take up more room than I’d like).
- Because I spend a lot of my spending money on cosmetics I also spend a fair bit of time looking for deals on the cosmetics I like. That is time I can spend elsewhere, and probably enjoy more.
- The amount above is the equivalent of 5 weeks on the newstart allowance (unemployment benefit). So people could live for 5 weeks on what I have tied up in nail polish. So if I buy as I use I can donate more to charity as well.
I suspect that my spending is partially a habit, like nail biting and by going cold turkey I’ll have a bad few weeks then not miss it as much. At least I hope so *she says quivering in ASOS withdrawals*.