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Finance & the Fashion Blogger: Things I Won’t Give Up to Save Money

by Ashley on May 4, 2011

Image by éloe

 

This post idea is directly stolen from Fabulously Broke in the City– but with a fashion blogger twist.  I love seeing more and more bloggers talk about finance, budgets & their buying habits.  We all cut corners where we can, but within the realm of fashion & beauty, what won’t you give up?

  • Quality Shoes. We all spend so much time on our feet, what’s the point of not treating them well? I’m hard on my shoes & my jeans above all.  So I’m not going to skimp on buying higher quality ones that will last longer.
  • A quality purse. Long gone are the days of vinyl purses scored at TJ Maxx on the cheap.  They tear within days, and are an overall waste of my money.  I’d much rather drop a few hundred dollars on a great purse–my go to is Hayden Harnett– that I’m going to have forever. (Which reminds me– just because it’s designer doesn’t mean it’s going to last! My Marc Jacobs Petal to the Metal bag is showing wear VERY early on…. which is sorely disappointing!)
  • Good fitting jeans. Finding great jeans sucks no matter what size you are, but I’m convinced that the more pounds you have, the harder it is to find a good pair.  Which is why I’ll drop some dough on jeans that fit well enough– though luckily it hasn’t capped over $70 (yet).  A local shop, the Voluptuous Vixen, carries Svoboda jeans– can’t wait to check them out in person!
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow & primer. I love my eyeshadow super pigmented, even for my light every day colors. Considering New Orleans is humid and hot 70% of the year, I want to make sure it stays PUT too. So I drop my dough on Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer & eyeshadow. They’re my absolute favorite. If I wore eyeliner more, UD would be my go-to eye liner too.  (Well, if I REALLY had to save money, I’d prob give them up too. But they’d be the last of my beauty products to go!)
  • My toothpaste. I’m a Tom’s of Maine addict, through and through.  I even have it in travel size tubes!  No matter where I have to get it or what the cost, no other toothpaste will satisfy me.
  • A haircut. Since moving back to New Orleans (and trying to grow out my hair), I’ve had horrible haircut (as in a year to grow out) followed by multiple unimpressive ones, followed by another bad one.  Right now.  Choppy, chunky layers, uneven bangs.  I paid good money for these?  In the past few years, and giving up fun colored hair, I’ve realized how tied to my identity, style, and sense of self my hair is.  Bad hair makes me feel awful.  (You want to damn me for my haircut? I don’t spend more than $50 bucks.)
  • Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Stick. At $4 a pop, they’re not a horrible strain on my bank account.  But when I carry 2-3 on me at any time (for my purse, the car, my desk), they quickly add up.  But no other lip balm will do!
  • Lots of fresh, clean water. Which isn’t easy to come by in New Orleans, when our major water sources are the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.  Whether in big bottles, Kentwood machines, or filters, I make sure I’m putting the best water I can in to my body.  In college bio our teacher showed us the pollution and crap that came out of her water filter… and it was a thick sludge that looked similar to dulce de leche.  At that point, I swore not to drink New Orleans tap water unless I had to.

I’m not saying I won’t shop for a deal, look online for discount codes & promo codes.  If I have to though, I’ll spill full price on the above.  Everywhere else?  I can can shop around.  I’ll use Wal-mart’s brand of Oil of Olay and Cetaphil, and I can skimp on designer foundation for L’Oreal’s True Match while stocking up on drugstore, discount body wash.

What are the things you won’t give up (or skimp on) to save money?

{ 76 comments }

Mrs Bossa May 4, 2011 at 9:18 am

I am with you on bags and haircuts in particular; I have had so many underwhelming haircuts that I wish I’d just left it to do its own thing, and saved up for someone sh*t hot. I shan’t make that mistake again! And although I can rarely afford expensive bags, I do always look out for leather ones at car boot sales and charity shops – my more recent one cost 50p and it just looks better with age… I hate scrimping on foundation though – I really notice the difference when I don’t get my Clinique, and I couldn’t cope without my Shu Uemura facial cleanser.

Rachael May 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

Foundation is probably the number one item for me! I’ve been using Clinique since I was an acne-covered girl and no other foundation has done it for me. I’m willing to use $1 eye liner pencils and wear Forever 21, but foundation is a non-starter!

Bras and underwear are probably the others. I just can’t wear cheap bras because good undergarmets make you look and feel spectacular!

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Clinique makes such good foundation! It was my go-to for years… I’m not so crazy about Smashbox anymore…. maybe I’ll go back to them.

Bridget May 4, 2011 at 9:42 am

Good food! Stuff that’s organic and not filled with preservatives and crap DOES cost more, but I feel it’s worth it for my health. Especially now that my baby is eating everything I eat. And actually, since I went vegan I rarely go out to eat, so I actually save money. Relatively expensive groceries still end up being cheaper than the take-out and restaurant food I used to buy.

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

While I do eat out still, I think I’m over fast food. It’s expensive and makes you feel like crap! And I’m certain that my weight and skin were better when I didn’t eat it.

Franca May 4, 2011 at 10:00 am

Bags, definitely. I will not buy a faux leather bag ever again. I have two expensive (for me) leather ones which have lasted for years and have aged beautifully. I also spend fair amounts on haircuts, and face creams, but I don’t think there’s anything fashion or beauty related I absolutely couldn’t live without if push came to shove.

And that’s because the thing I spend most on isn’t fashion related: it’s food. I love cooking and baking and I will always buy the ingredients I need for interesting, delicious and healthy food. It’s not that I am completely splurgey, but I could never live off cheese toasties and pasta and pesto to save money, like many of my friends used to do. Food would be the last luxury to go!

Also – how scary about the water! No wonder you are refusing to drink tap water!

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I think the point that sold me on the bags was buying a cheap pleather bag at TJ Maxx for $13, and having it tear after the second wear. What a waste of funds! I always try to buy them on some kind of sale, but still end up spending $150+ on them.

And food may not be fashion related, but I do think it’s beauty related! What we eat impacts our weight, our hair, our skin… eating great and well means not HAVING to splurge on foundation and other stuff!

Our water is so, so gross.

Christy May 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

Nothing makes an outfit look cheap than a poor quality bag. I’m like you in that I won’t sacrifice quality when it comes to bags and jeans. I also won’t buy a crappy coat since I figure I’m going to own it for years so why not buy the best that I can afford? In the long run I end up saving money vs. Having to replace every year.

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm

A coat is a good one! I always tried to buy nice winter coats (on sale) when I was in Indiana…. my warmth was worth it, esp after having bought so many dinky UO cheap shit coats.

Andrea May 4, 2011 at 11:19 am

I am with you on the haircuts-no matter what, I ALWAYS keep my hair appointments. I, like you, just don’t feel good about myself when my hair is a mess. I will also not give up pedicures in the summer. I wear flip flops 24/7 during the summer and I want my feet to look good and no matter how hard I try-I can’t paint mine to save my life. A luxury I wont’ give up.

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Ooh, pedicures. Those are something I need to get myself in to!

Beth M May 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I totally agree on the jeans and hair. I’ve been chronically broke for the past ten years but I won’t sacrifice either. If I buy a good pair of jeans, I’ll wear them all of the time instead of buying 10 pairs of cheap jeans that I never end up wearing because they just don’t fit right. And a haircut? Yeah, it gives me incredible confidence which is pretty much the key to succeeding in *anything*.

I have a feeling that real handbags will be first on my list after I’m finally employed :) I hate my crappy bags.

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Yes and yes! God, the hair…. it really makes such an impact. It’s KILLING me that I feel so detached from my hair.

Handbags were one of those things I didn’t “get” as to why women spent so much money on them… but things change! Once I got the first NICE one, I totally got it.

birdie May 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Water – check!
Hair – check!
Good shoes – CHECK!
Others:
Smashbox primer… the 2 really nice makeup brushes I bought (they don’t shed… they spread evenly!), and one good signature scent.

There are things that it is WAY WORTH just spending the money for.

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

You know, I debate on Smashbox primer. I’m not always convinced I can see it doing anything? But maybe I just need to use a brush & NOT my fingers….

birdie May 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I use my fingers… and for me it’s more about what happens after I apply my foundation. I get crease-y right around the smile lines and this stuff seems to help.

I also really agree with everybody who says “food”. Cos seriously… there’s nothing better than eating well.

verhext May 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I do have a few fancy bags, but also many very nice ones I’ve found thrifting – same with jeans. I don’t buy crappy ANYTHING, ever. But I do find alternate ways to get nice things.

But full price & luxury-like? Bras. Makeup. Food.

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I always try to avoid paying full price, even if it’s on my “no skimping” list. I feel like I really need to check out nice bras though… I hear that they make such a difference!

Bella Q May 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Organic produce. I know it’s not fashion, but it does affect my body, and therefore my clothes. I won’t skimp on food- even while poor I use top quality oils, sesame, flax seed, extra v olive, and coconut oil, and seasonal organic produce.

Clotheswise, I don’t buy fast fashion. I buy quality made clothing and wear it for years.

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I think produce is great though– the food in our bodies directly impacts our beauty, our skin, our hair, etc. It’s a circle!

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com May 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Thank you for the link. I’m glad I inspired! :)

I agree with:
1. Jeans (I have no butt. I need help.) — Citizens of Humanity
2. Shoes (ditto on the feet)
3. Electronics — Going cheap never helped anyone
4. Food

Ashe May 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

It’s true on the electronics– I’m still on my iPhone 3 because it’s still in good shape & I don’t need to replace it yet! It’s about 2.5 years old now… held up far longer than any other phone I’ve had!

Sheena May 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Very good list! You and I are on the same page with a lot of these items. The only thing I would add are bras for myself. I’m a busty girl, so having that support to hold the gals up is key. While I’m always on the hunt for “the next great bra”, it’s usually not the price that I’m worried about, but more or less how well it’s made, the quality, etc.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm

My bra is an odd shape, so I definitely understand that one! I typically try to wait until One Stop Plus has them on sale, and then find a coupon code if I can…. but when you’re a hard to find size or just a busty size, you really need to splurge on that extra support!

Judy May 4, 2011 at 11:00 pm

When I need to save money, I’m willing to post-pone on not shopping at all for a while [I'd rather buy a quality piece of anything than to buy something that is cheap & looks it], but I absolutely cannot do with out my daily java fix ;)

xx.
Judy

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Oh yeah! I often go months without buying ANYTHING. But I also try to save when I find a piece that I want and make sure that it can be purchased without impacting any other need in our life!

Retro Chick May 5, 2011 at 8:24 am

There are things I just won’t scrimp on too. Every time I try I regret it!

My foundation is one, and good lipstick is another!

Michelle May 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Some of my priorities are the same as your’s – never cheap shoes (I’ll pick up the occasional pair of cheap flats at Target, but that is it – even if my budget is tight, it’s eBay or 6PM or other discount sources for good shoes), no more disgustingly cheap purses. For me, purses don’t even have to be SUPER $$$ – my current one is from the Sak (worst line name ever), retails for 100something, and I snagged it on eBay. But it goes with my style and it’s held up well. Hair is also a definite priority, I have found out the hard way that good haircuts are not to be skimped on for curly girls!

Others for me: bras, definitely bras. also food, as a few others have mentioned. and mascara/other eye cosmetics (just because my eyes are so sensitive – no cheapie mascara or eyeliner for me! again, doesn’t have to be $$, just hypoallergenic). And no cheap metal jewelry, because it makes me break out in welts.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm

My MJ bag was a total splurge, and uncharacteristic. Typically I max out at about $150 on a bag. And I think I have maybe 3 that I paid that much for? But they’re always on sale, with as many coupon codes stacked on top as I can.

Mal’s the same way about metal jewelry! She has to always have the hypoallergenic hooks in her earrings, otherwise her ears get so irritated :(

Chic and Charming May 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I think most of my top ten items are food (vosges chocolate bars, illy espresso, good bourbon…), otherwise, I think face cream with spf and hair product to tame my curls top my list!

Courtney May 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

I definitely agree about the UD Primer Potion and eyeshadows. This year, I tried out the UDPP and Naked Palette and love them both! For the price and what you get as well as how long it lasts, both of those products are well worth. Albeit the Naked Palette was way over hyped.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Sad to hear the Naked Palette was over hyped! I’ve recently been stalking Hautelook for the UD sales… I got an eyeshadow for $4 and one of their 4 shadow kits + primer + eyeliner for like $15. Amazing deal.

Lara May 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Oh, I’m really disappointed to hear the Marc Jacobs bag isn’t holding up well.
When I’m in a short hair phase, I spend a lot on cuts. When it’s long, I see no point in spending more than $20 to trim the ends. I cut my own bangs.
Jeans can go either way for me. I’ve been lucky with some dark skinnies from F21 but my JBrands have been worth every penny. About 5 years for my first pair to rip in the crotch. I think that’s just ’cause I gained weight.
I will only use Bare Minerals foundation. A jar lasts forever though.
I’m busty and need good bras. This is not an option.
Everything else, I definitely try to find the best quality for the best price.
I lose sunglasses all the time so only the cheapos for me, and I’m always spilling on myself so tees and tanks usually come from Target.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I am too, but it’s a lesson learned! It’s a shame, I hear the other colors do :/

And girl, I hear you on the tees and tanks! Mine come from Old Navy or Gap (for t-shirts). One sale. With coupon codes. I can be a cheap bitch!

Lara May 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm

It’s so funny because you never really talked about how much you SPEND on QUALITY. Just because those shoes were $100 doesn’t mean that’s what you spent on them.
I will hoard and combine coupons and online codes to get what I want for dirt cheap. And it’s really all relative. Someone else may think Gap tees are too pricey and go to WalMart instead but you may be spending less than they are with coupons. I only get my bras at VS but another woman’s standard may be way more expensive. I’m also getting that $50 bra on super sale w/ a ton of discounts added and the Agent Provocateur woman may be using codes too!

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I ordered Gap T-shirts last night. I got each one for $9.00. Because they were on sale for $12.50 and then had a 30% off Mother’s Day fee. Same with the cheap panties & bike shorts I just ordered. Again, 8 items, under $40, because I picked the sale ones and found a discount code.

I’m all about getting what you want as cheap as you can find it!

For Those About To Shop May 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

That’s such a shame about your tap water. You’ve reminded me to be grateful for having incredibly safe drinking water. I have to agree with you on the handbags and good-fitting denim. I’ve been lucky on ebay getting designer jeans for a song. Still, I think it’s so funny when people are outraged that I’ve spent $200 on jeans. If they make your ass look good and feel good they are worth twice that in my book.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

People seem offended by handbags, too! My gosh– when I’ve got a laptop in my bag, along with all my day to day items, I need something strong, with durable stitching. Even the nicer bags I’ve gotten from Nine West and such haven’t lasted more than a year. I’m HARD on my items, so I know which I need to put more money on.

Kathryn Fenner (D- SC) May 8, 2011 at 11:22 am

A very cheap, but wise man said never cheap out on shoes, mattresses and tires. He meant get decent quality leather shoes, not necessarily Manolos!

I adore Bobbi Brown shadows, and they last on my oily lids here in SC, where it’s almost as hot and humid as NOLA. They come in great mattes. since shimmer irritates my eyes.

Wacoal bras.

Pants that are long enough. Talbots is my new favorite.

You can get great Italian leather bags at TJ Maxx– not well-known names, and they still cost $100 on clearance, but they totally hold up…or buy on eBay….

You can eat super great and still want to wear foundation–I have skin that erupts in red welts because of stress and pollen allergies, for example.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I love your first tip! I don’t splurge on Manolos (I *WISH* I had some MBs), but I will spend $100 on good black flats… much more economical than going through a pair every 3 months because I only spend $30 on them! (And that’s a fact for me, sadly. I do go through shoes that quickly.)

You make a great point about diet + skincare… while I think our diets CAN help, there are certainly tons of factors that change things around! I wear foundation every day… but I also don’t always have the best diet. D:

That Kind Of Girl May 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I need: name-brand Tampons, high-speed internet, and I splurge on eating out (depending on how I’m doing financially). I’m also brand-loyal to my deodorant (Men’s SpeedStick), cigarettes (American Spirit yellows) and soda (Fresca), even if they’re not on sale. Clothes and stuff I buy once or maybe twice a year, always on sale, and make everything last a few years ’cause I’m a big ol’ badly dressed hippie. I wear my Rainbows flipflops every day until one of my friends gets so sick of them they get me a new pair as a birthday present. I’ve been wearing the same glasses (with updated lenses as my prescription changes) for, gosh, four years.

Wait, looking at that list, I couldn’t figure out why I’m so broke on an above-poverty-line salary. Then remembered my big one: I pay way over the odds for a studio apartment in Boston, which is a pretty expensive city for housing. Fortunately, moving to a new place in California where I’ll be paying $350 less per month. All the more money for farmers markets and used books.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Yes! The “Cool Tax” on living in certain areas is certainly comparable. One of the concessions I made when I moved back to NOLA was living in a safer, in city limits neighborhood, as opposed to living on St. Charles, in a fancy housing complex, or in the French Quarter. The cost is lower, yes– and it gives me the funds to do more things that I’d like to do.

adinaINdc May 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Great posting. I agree with the Toms of Maine- its a must have. Also, body butter from the Body Shop, cash for waxing my girl parts (this is not a DYI project) and two products from Origins: GinZing eye cream and DrinkUp moisturizing mask. The rest I can fake.

As for fresh water, see http://takebackthetap.org/- it’s unacceptable that you don’t have free clean water.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Since I went Tom’s, I can’t go back! Everything just feels so artificial and gross. And I can’t imagine DIY’ing my girl bits!

Thanks for the link on Take Back the Tap– after seeing how the Mississippi looks and the sludge from my bio teacher’s filter… it’s just awful.

maggie May 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I splurge on pedicures (every so often) and haircuts (although to me, going to a salon and not Great Clips is a splurge). And certain hair products – the root lifter I bought at the drug store makes my hair look like crap compared to the stuff I got at the salon. And food. We don’t shop at Whole Foods, but I refuse to buy something just because it’s cheap. When we get carry it, it’s never chair fast food.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm

To be honest, I only get my haircut every 6 months or so. Which I know is super bad! But I go to a salon, spend between $30-60. Anytime I’ve spent more, it hasn’t been worth it. Is that insane & exhorbitant, no. If I could go to the Beau’s $15 barber, I would!

Elle May 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I read this a few days ago and came back to comment just now. I can totally see where you’re coming from- mostly because almost everything I own is very cheap and I can totally tell it. I have been loyal to a few things over the years – Converse sneakers (I have weird feet and these are the only ones that don’t tear open at the seam in 5 months. These I can get to last a year and a half without replacing. For bags, I wouldn’t buy pleather- leather and canvas last so much longer! Bras are another for me- at my size, I can’t find cheap bras unless it’s a sale, or marked down designer bras at Marshall’s/TJMaxx-i think VS carries a grand total of two styles in my size (and a DD doesn’t need so much extra padding)- also agree with those who listed food! I also have many things I either have to have that type or none at all- and another thing I notice brand making a difference in, is cleaning supplies- somehow generic stuff doesn’t cut through mold like my Lysol /Clorox stuff do.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Oh, I LOVE Converse! They’re one of the few sneakers that won’t wear out on me after 3-6 months. I have a super hard time finding my bras too–usually I can find them online for $30-40, which is more than I wish I could spend… but that’s the expense of being an odd size.

Energynotsaved May 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

My hair looks fantastic. My person does high lights and low lights and party lights and whatever. I don’t care. I pay. I fork out for my eye glasses and shades, too. I hate contacts. I like to look good.

I’m not big on clothes, but due to physical problems, I need good shoes. (Not pretty, but reality does suck, and isn’t cheap!) I pay for a good vet. I love my Kindle. I love my Keuriig single cut coffee maker. I have season tickets to the Ballet, and they are good seats. I give nice gifts to my kids and favorite nieces and nephews. I sent out lots of cards. (People still like getting mail.)

I go to the $6 Tuesday showings to see current movies. I read the news on the web. Food is to be eaten, not worshiped. As much as I love good wine, I can’t justify it, so I don’t drink it. Actually, to save money and cals, I don’t drink much booze. I drive an ugly car that gets 26 miles to the gal in local driving.

I save 15% a month. I give 10% a month to charity. I take carefully planned vacations. I don’t impulse buy, but I don’t deny myself what I truly want and/or need. Life is short. Enjoy.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I ALWAYS look for a deal on my shoes! I buy quality, but that doesn’t mean I pay full price, either. Same with my bags. I carry a lot with me, including my laptop. Weight adds up, and I’ve found cheaper bags with bad stitching don’t hold up.

As someone who works in the arts, thank you for buying season tickets to the ballet!

My partner & I are hopefully getting to the point financially where we CAN take planned vacations. We save for everything we can, use credit cards now only in an emergency. And our cars sound a lot alike! Mine is so rusted, but it gets incredible gas mileage. It has no AC which sucks in a NOLA summer, but I’m not ready for the car note on a new one… and so I deal.

adinaINdc May 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Shame on me. I forgot my HairOne. A must have.

Jazz May 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

(in no specific order)
1) my bi- weekly trips to the hair dresser. I am not talented in doing hair , Id rather pay for it to look good
2) good bras. I used to buy my bras from walmart and they would tear up so quickly . So I spend a bit more and go to Lane Bryant ( yes they are 40 a bra but I rarely pay 40- I usually go during the bogo sale & have a coupon in hand)
3) leather bags. I have some bags from when I was 11 and they still look good. I would rather buy a quality bag now , versus a cheap bag that will just get the job done
4) My laundry detergent. Tide, gain ,or all please.
5) Electronics. I am a apple fan. Apple has remarkable customer service for their products. I have bought the cheap stuff and I wasnt happy. It was better for me to spend 250 on my ipod instead of buying something else
6) high speed internet. I am a student and most of my work is submitted online- kinda need the internet.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I do love my Apple products. Every computer I have had lasts me upwards of 4 years, with limited problems. I still use my iPhone 3– it’s 2.5 years old and works fine. I just figured on a fashion site no one cared that I actually put buying a new laptop over buying new jeans ;)

I love how important good bras are to women, and so get that! My size is odd to find, and when I do, I tend to try and get them on sale and with a coupon code if possible. I’m all about not paying retail!

Kim May 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I agree with Apple products too. I’ve had 3 PC laptops in the past 7 years and they’ve all given me issues. Now I have a MacBook and I love it! My husband uses them at work and they have held up much better then any of the PC’s he’s had. His iphones have held up better then my phones none of which are smart phones. I’d get a iPhone, but I don’t want a data plan.

I agree with Jazz when it comes to laundry detergent too. I use BioKleen and have been very happy with it. It works out to about $0.12-$0.15 per load and is all natural.

Kim May 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I like your post. I have a few things that I won’t give up without a fight too. :)

I completely agree that a better quality purse is worth the money. I try to find them on clearance or at outlet stores and this helps save some money.

I buy good sports bras too. $62 a piece. I’ve had a few people comment on the price of them, but when you wear 42DD bra’s you need the support and I have not found any inexpensive ones that do the job.

I also by organic food. I can’t have the hormones that are found in conventional dairy and meat. They are not good for my health. I also buy organic produce, grains, etc… I’ve had people make comments about the cost of these foods. Thankfully I have enough places here to buy them at a good price and we realized that we don’t spend that much more then we did because we aren’t spending a bunch of money on crap food.

My new must have? Ouidad hair products for my curls. I bought their Expert Curl Kit from Sephora about a week and a half ago and I am in love! :) I’ve never had products work with my curls before and these products do. My curls now hold their shape all day and I revitalize them each morning with a spritz of water and I’m ready to go. I no longer have to worry about my hair turning in to a frizzy mess when we go to an event and I want to look polished.

By the way, I clicked on your post through the Consumerist. I felt the morale and confidence comment was harsh. At first I though it was something you had said, (sometimes their articles will pull a quote from a story and add it to their article) but after I read your post I thought, where the heck did that comment come from?

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Thank you so much, Kim. I really appreciate your kind words! That line struck a nerve for me in many ways. I feel like there’s so much pressure from society (and from men) on women to look a particular way– and then to comment on my confidence and morale when I have a shitty haircut? It’s a double edged sword, and it brought out the feminist in me a bit, to say the least. This post is meant to be playful and fun, and look at where are our priorities lie in fashion & beauty– not to overlook real priorities and luxuries in our lives.

While I don’t have curly hair, I’m going to have to bookmark your Ouidad products! I have girlfriends with a hard time taming their curls, and it might be worth recommending to them– so thank you!

As for bras, that seems to be a popular one! My size is odd itself, but I luckily tend to get around with bras that are $30-40 (which I try to save on by buying on sale or with discount codes). It’s funny, because I think a lot of people wouldn’t realize the strain that a large bust can have on a woman– it’s almost a medical necessity to have a supportive bra– it can prevent so many other problems from happening!

Amy May 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Shoes: Love my Clarks!
Food: Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, no question.
Makeup: Physician’s Formula.
Amazon is my BFF for all online shopping, especially with Amazon Prime.
Gabriel Brothers, TJ Maxx, Burlington, etc for clothes…designer names for dirt cheap. (I just picked up some DKNY bras for $7 each)
P.S.
I used to wear my hair about shoulder-length and spent lots of time and money keeping it colored and trimmed, not to mention the daily time I’d spend on it getting ready in the mornings. I’ve since gone pixie short (think Mia Farrow circa Rosmary’s Baby). I haven’t been to a salon in years. I use a good quality set of electric clippers and give myself a trim every 3 weeks or so.

Ashe May 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Fellow Amazon lovers unite! I am ALWAYS on Amazon stalking good deals out! It’s incredible what you can find– if I want someone, I almost always go to Amazon to see what price it has.

And I’ve always wanted to go pixie short… it’s been one of those “When I get back to my ideal weight” goals… so jealous!

Amy May 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Don’t know how I forgot this one…Groupon! When it is time to treat myself on a mani-pedi, facial, massage, etc –saving on my splurge makes it so much sweeter!

Ashe May 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Oh yes! I am all about Groupon/Living Social/etc. We just picked up some nice massages and always scour them for a dinner out!

Yog May 9, 2011 at 7:33 am

Oh yeah, here in Nola, shoes and bags and water are the big ones. I’d add sunscreen myself, a good, high quality one that doesn’t leave you feeling like you are wearing sunscreen. As for hair, I can recommend a good place. I have crazy, curly, hard to cut hair so it can be hard for me to find someone. But I love Savannah at Rocket Science Beauty Bar on Elysian Fields by Washington Square Park. Savannah is awesome and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love their hair cut by her.

Ashe May 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

I’ll admit, I’m SUPER bad about sunscreen–mostly because I avoid the sun during the summer time. Though I know, especially here, I NEED to be wearing it year round! (luckily my moisturizer has some).

Seriously, with our roads & sidewalks, and all the walking this city does? They TEAR UP my shoes! It’s also why I don’t wear my heels often… why have one break off walking on a busted sidewalk?

Thanks for the rec of Savannah! I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of her and the salon she’s at… and hear really good things about both :)

Yog May 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Yeah, I save my heels for places that I’m taking a cab to. I walk so much so often and not only do the streets and sidewalks tear up ones shoes, but they destroy our feet too. So I totally agree with the other poster that mentioned pedicures. It is a good thing to spend a bit of money on and you can actually find some really reasonably priced ones, if you look.

Claire May 9, 2011 at 9:46 am

This is a good post, and kudos for sharing it.

Ashe May 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

Thank you, Claire!

Cherye May 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

I agree with you on pretty much everything here (and I just popped over from consumerist- so we’re not all hipsters with disdain for anyone and everyone with an ounce of money). My main splurge is bags, haircuts, and food.

I have several purses from a certain brand that starts with a C, and is not Coach, and I’d probably be verbally tarred and feathered and then cast out from Consumerist if I even mentioned the name. I only buy 1-2 a year, but I promise you, in 15-20 years, my daughters are going to be BEGGING to borrow my handbags- even those bought now. And in 30 years, the bags will still look classic and timeless, and go with every outfit I will ever own.

My hair is just not something I can compromise on either- I’ll spend $250 for a good cut/color/full set of highlights- and it’s really worth it for me. If my hair looks good, I feel much better about myself.

Food is also really important. I try to feed my family organic and locally grown as much as possible, BUT I clip my coupons every Sunday to stock up on non-perishables and stuff like soda (my husband’s weakness). I shop at the local farmers markets, and you can often get some great deals on stuff there (huge bag of salad greens anyone?). I also grow my own veggie/herbs too- there is nothing quite like fresh zucchini and tomatoes from your own garden, or running out and picking fresh basil/dill/rosemary for your steak marinade. And it’s ridiculously cheaper too.

Of course, if our income dramatically went down, I’d cut corners on every one of these. My handbags would be the first to go, and would probably be sold to help with costs, and my haircuts would be a thing of the past. But for now, I’ve been very lucky to be in a position where I can splurge on some things, and I will continue to do so as long as things don’t change. I don’t quite understand the bitterness that is directed at being able to occasionally afford nicer things, but whatever, I guess.

Ashe May 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I’ve been lucky to have quite a few very thoughtful and lovely comments come via the Consumerist (like yours and from other great women!). I’ve also had people call me a bitch, accuse me of having a non-minimum wage job, and more. So while the disclosure at the beginning may be long-winded, at the very least, I hope that it’ll keep people from coming in to my site with assumptions that… just well, aren’t true!

I love that you look at your handbags as heirlooms to share with your daughter’s. I know it’s going to be true! If a bag fits your personal style, then it’ll never go out of style… and that’s what I love. Plus, some bags really ARE investments. Not many, sure, but I imagine that the woman who buys a Birkin CAN sell it when times get tough.

We have a great farmer’s market, and I’m so excited to see another who grows their own herbs! We just started doing that this year, and I’d love to eventually move out to veggies too. We got each herb plant for $2. I’m hoping the heat won’t kill them off soon, or that we can bring them inside to keep them thriving…

To be honest, I don’t quite understand the bitterness, either. I’ve come from both sides of the tracks, from having a comfortable family life when my parents were in the military to going to a single mother who made minimum wage. But even during hard times, she always instilled the value of buying quality to the best of my abilities and taking good care of my belongings. I hope if I have children one day, I’ll do the same.

Frantic May 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I won’t give up expensive hair products. I have great hair that needs minimal styling or cutting (I dont even own a hairdryer). I tried all the inexpensive products and none made my hair look “right”. As long as I use the good stuff I just wash and condition every few days, apply goo, and leave with wet hair. Good haircut means it dries in place with no effort.

I need it cut only 3xs a year or so, pay $45 with my new stylist. That seems reasonable in my neck of the woods.

Ditto on pedis (I have ugly feet but love sandals) and shoes. I like cute shoes but they hate me usually so I go for sorta cute but supportive and well fitting. Years ago I never thought I’d pay $140 for shoes. I’m also pleased to learn I am happy with fewer shoes (or items overall) if I truly like the item, it works for me, and it is quality. I have to make the move to purses now. I’m tired of buying the same two types every year. Gets tedious. Now if only I liked shopping….

Everyone around my town has Coach bags. Are they worth the money?

Sarah Von May 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Excellent post, friend. I’m so sorry to see all these rubbish comments clogging up your lovely blog <3

Luana May 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I was just talking about this with a friend today! I’m with you on most. Mine:
- Good food. I love eating, I love eating with friends, family, the boyfriend, alone. If it’s good I’ll pay for it.
- Shoes. Honestly feet are so delicate and important. I’d rather splurge on a fine pair than destroy my feet with ten cheap pairs.
- Skin care & Foundation. If it’s gonna be soaked up by the largest organ in my body, I want it to be quality! Also because beautiful fresh looking skin to me is key to pull off any look really. I mind that a lot.
- Techy gadgets. Mac’s are expensive but soso worth it! I’ve had mine for four years now and it’s still going. Never had to take it in for any sort of repair or reformatting etc. Ditto my iPhone.

Sorry about all those comments. Honestly it’s true some are doing way better than others in this bad economy and like you I’ve had a taste of the good life and now somewhat struggling on my own. But there are certain pleasures I won’t deny myself. We’ve all got to live a little and if not now then when? This isn’t to say that I buy a new pair of shoes every week, but when I DO buy them I make sure they’re quality and don’t mind splurging when I know they’re going to last me a lifetime! If anything I think investing in quality pieces is smarter if you’re looking to save money rather than buying lots of cheap things which will need replacement after a few uses.

Great post girl :)

peri lyons May 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm

My dear! Don’t let silly people make you feel defensive about wanting beauty and quality in your life. The greatest fashion icon I ever met (famous but can’t say who here) used to go to Fashion Works (a second hand designer store that gives the proceeds to charity) and triumphantly come home with Prada, Ralph Lauren etc that she got for an average of 20 bucks….but she said “When something is beautifully made, it makes me feel good all the way through.” I cherish my Louboutins (genuine, 30 bucks on eBay because I’m the only person who wears a size 11) because they are COMFIER than Payless…and have a really nice “line” that makes me happy to look at.
We’re only on this physical plane for a little while. Why not celebrate our physical selves…and nourish our spiritual selves with beauty?
Besides, it’s nobody’s dam business but yours how you spend the money you make. EVER. You work hard. If you were snatching the lunch money of orphans out of their little hands, that would be one thing. But you are trading your time and expertise, for recompense. You deserve to do anything that makes you happy with that recompense. -Except, of course, something i disapprove of. (That was a joke.)
Charming blog. Keep up the lovely work!

Tashina May 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

Wow. I really don’t understand all these negative responses. Everyone has differernt priorities on where to spend their extra cash. If these happen to be yours, then who is anyone else to judge? No doubt they have something like Starbucks or smokes or eating out that they won’t give up.

I’m with you on the denim. Once you go higher end, it’s really hard to go back. I just try to get mine used as much as possible. Still, there’s nothing like the pair you get to wear in to fit your body.

Ashe May 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Thanks, Tashina! You’re so right– I don’t care what other people spend their income on, so I can’t understand the need to judge me for mine!

Good fitting denim is so good, and so hard to find (at least it is for me!). There are so many resources for getting it, too. Sample sales, discount stores like Buffalo Exchange, clothing swaps…. just because it’s quality doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money on it!

Tashina May 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm

This is SO true. All of my high end denim is either 2nd hand or the company sent it to me. I’ve never paid full price and probably never will. It’s just too easy to get nice labels at a discount anymore. I feel like a lot of people also don’t think about that and assume we are all paying full price.

Mark August 6, 2011 at 11:17 am

If you like these products and getting them won’t put you in a financial bind, then go for it. I am a Tom’s of Maine user too. Their products are awesome and all natural which is great. Regular commercial toothpaste made my gums bleed due to the chemicals which is why I switched. Also, you’re right about water, I for the most part use bottled. Because the water where I am has too much junk in it, so I am not putting a lot of it into my body.

Susan Gray January 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm

What a great post. I think I am coming around to your point of view: find my standard and stick to it.

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