saving ALL THE MONEY - personal upkeep

Once upon a time I was the girl with the expensive shampoo. Really, the expensive everything within the realm of toiletries, but the shampoo was really the defining moment. I was leaving home for university and of course defining myself and I distinctly remember buying the $30 bottle of shampoo and thinking THIS IS WHO I AM NOW. Scary, right? But I think some of you know what I'm talking about. Something about becoming mature, living on my own, starting a fresh chapter, becoming an independent woman (who was still solely dependent on her parents and student loans, but hey!), suggested that I start paying the big bucks for my shampoo. And my make up. And my hair cuts and colour. And my everything.

Why was I suddenly only satisfied with $28 concealer from a department store and $150 highlights from the nicest salon? Because culture tells us that being a woman means having and doing expensive things and I bought that lie hook line and sinker. Somehow I felt more grown up and more valuable because I had these expensive things. If I'm honest, the vast majority of the expensive personal products I had were no better than their affordable counterparts, but they felt better. What does the Bible say to these notions?

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness

1 Timothy 6:6-12 covers it all. Why was I buying these expensive things? I was looking for contentment in them. Desiring to be rich. Senseless and harmful desires. Loving money. And God says FLEE. 

There are always idols to worship, on any side of any debate, so I won't pretend that minimalism is the solution to the world's problems or to sin in general. It's not. Saving money is great, but that can be obsessive for some people. Some people reading this need to hold their finances with a looser hand, to give more than they're saving, to stop putting their every hope in their savings account. 

But that was definitely not my problem when I cut myself off from expensive personal items, so for me it was freeing to let them go. The added bonus was that we saved a whole lot of money! And along the way, in my heart, I saw the idols I was worshiping. My makeup bag was not my identity, Jesus was! Here's a break down, if you're interested in saving money in the realm of personal upkeep. As always, what works for me may not work for you and this is just one girl's journey.

Shampoo/Conditioner (Savings: $180/year) 
Before: Salon brand products $20/month.  Now: grocery store, cheapo bottle. $5/month.
Hair still seems healthy, soft, smells nice, easy to brush through after a shower.

Other Hair Products (Savings: $40/year)
Before: Salon brand products $50/year. Now: Aussie products $10/year.  
Hair seems identical, and I love the smell of Aussie. Can't tell a difference at all.

Makeup (Savings $80/year) 
Before: MAC makeup: $100/year. Now: Joe Fresh makeup: $20/year. 
The MAC concealer was great, especially for acne which I no longer have, but everything else is identical in quality.

Highlights/Hair colour (Savings: $550/year)
Before: approximately $100 every 2 months. Now: I'm back to my natural colour with ombre tips ($50, once) to lighten things up which were a one-time-only expense as I don't cut my hair often. Ombre is the most low maintenance hair style out there, aside from doing nothing to your hair. It gives colour and interest and brightens up your hair, but as your hair grows you don't need to keep it up. I loved being a bleach blonde, but it was too expensive!

Manicure/Pedicure (Savings: $100/year)
I have never paid for these but I know they're popular, so I figured I'd throw them in. Even if you only get them a couple times a year, you could save a lot by cutting them out!

Eyebrow Waxing (Savings: $50/year)
Before: $8 every other month. After: I do them at home.
At $8 per visit this seemed super affordable, until I started waxing my eyebrows at home. $45/year isn't the largest savings but it's still a nice dinner out!

These are just some ideas to cut back. There are a million ways to save, but I found I was consistently spending a lot of money on personal upkeep even once I began cutting back in other areas. So much of the spending was careless and tired to the root lie that it was more womanly or mature to have these expensive products. On top of this beautiful realization, I also saved $1,000/year by making these changes!



  1. This is actually one area I prefer to spend money on. With young kids it can be rare to spend money on myself. My husband has his clothes and his hair. He is very particular and is only satisfied with expensive gel, and he has always dressed well and I guess I can't complain (now he jobs at h&m and the gap outlet). For me: I am very dark so I need to get my eyebrows waxed, and my hair is dark dark brown naturally and I just don't like it so I try and go every 3-4 months to get highlights. I pay about $100-$140,

    There's lots of other things I'm cheap about! Also, your estimates are pretty low for people who would actually spend money on these things. Some people likely spend $500+ a year on pedicures and manicures and $1,000+ on makeup. I only know these things because I happen to be married in to some beautifully well kept ladies with whom even my estimates are probably very very low.

    1. These aren't general estimates, they're actually what I was spending, so if they seem low to you (or high to others), just keep that in mind. I saved $1,000 by cutting these habits but others would save much more (or less).

  2. Clothes not jobs!!! Lol!!

  3. Everyone has their areas of splurging and saving, this was just a big one for me that needed to change. $1,000 a year plus heart change was amazing. I still use hair products, just the cheapo ones because I wrongly thought I needed the best of the best. There's honestly no difference in my hair and we have hundreds more per year. Again, just my journey and not what you need to do :)

  4. Anonymous9.10.15

    It is so sad to me that our culture tells us we need to spend money on so much stuff to be beautiful, such a lie. I like how you add up your "savings", good motivation factor,I will try this. Neisha