Is Watching TV Killing Your Budget?

I watch very little television and when I do there’s a 87% chance it’s live sports. I just don’t have time but occasionally I’ll find time (and energy) to veg out and watch a few shows. Most of the time it’s something we’ve already DVR’d and I’m just getting caught up, this of course also means fast-forwarding through all the commercials and getting right to the good stuff.

This past weekend I had a little extra time since I was nursing a crazy sore leg (=didn’t move much) so I watching a few shows and I noticed something. I wanted a lot of stuff.

I’m sure its because I avoid most TV (mainly commercials) and malls that I don’t really find myself wanting a lot. Things that I do want are usually pretty reasonable wants like replacing old clothes, occasional travel, things for the kid. I’m practical and don’t look to necessarily upgrade perfectly functioning things. So why is it when I watch my occasional TV show I find myself living an inadequate life? I don’t equate the feelings I experience in watching TV and wanting things with the well-known ”keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, rather a feeling of inadequacy, which in some ways is worse.

My washing machine isn’t good enough, I need that shower curtain…whatever it is, marketing is powerful and even I’m not immune. I hate feeling like this. I know there’s nothing wrong with anything we have. We have so much more than most of the world yet I still feel myself wanting more and quite honestly it’s a yucky feeling.

I think most people would benefit from a TV/advertising and social media detox (for many reasons), I also think most people would notice a change in their budget in doing so. If I avoided all social media/TV I know we would spend less. Continuing to live our lives the way we do without knowing when things like new food trucks are opening, would indefinitely save us money. Though we’re pretty good with our funds even we have weaknesses (like trying new places to eat, often found via Twitter).

TV and advertising has a whole other angle when kids are involved. Maria is starting to recognize things and toys in stores. Usually characters from her favorite Netflix or Disney channel shows and it’s kind of terrifying. Though she’s only three I know ”want lists” are in our near future. It’s fine and natural to want things the challenge as parents being giving her something which she appreciates and understands why it’s not everything. TV is a luxury we enjoy but there are many negatives that can come with it if you allow it.

Does your TV watching (or not watcing) effect your budget?

I’ll Never Need a Double Sink Ensuite

I have a massive soft spot for home-esque shows. I love DIY shows, home buying shows, renovation shows, if it involves a dwelling of any kind I’m pretty much all over it. When I watch some of these home shows though, my blood boils. They refuse to buy a beautiful and perfectly priced house because something as menial as the carpet in the guest bedroom is ugly…that’s a deal breaker?? The biggest thing I simply do not understand is people, couples mostly, who demand a double sink in their mandatory ensuite.

Maybe it was my upbringing. There were three women in the house with one bathroom. One. And we all lived to talk about it. How? It’s really quite a complicated process actually. We would all stagger our bath and shower times to accommodate the other people. My mom would often get ready at the gym after her swim every morning and my sister and I would usually spend 10 seconds (literally) every night to ask when the other had to be out of the house in the morning. Sometimes one of us would shower at night, but most of the time we’d just stagger shower times in the morning.

One bathroom with one sink. Sometimes we’d end up in the bathroom at the same time (gasp!) to brush our teeth. Insanity it was. Two people confined to the same space for two minutes. With one sink I can honestly say the three of us never once had an issue. As we got into teenage (makeup and hair-doing years) nothing changed. We’d have our showers and retreat to our rooms where we somehow managed to complete our morning getting ready tasks sans sink, sans bathroom and with a cheap $5 WalMart mirror.

This concept seems to be a totally foreign concept to most people. I was talking to a patient of mine who happens to be a real estate agent about how we will be selling in the next two to three years and she was curious to know what sort of things we would be looking for. I told her basic necessities like a proper entryway with some storage, closet space, a functioning kitchen, garage or shed storage, all in a safe neighborhood with good schools. She looked confused.

Apparently no one seeks a house without details such as two- car garage, hardwood throughout, and of course, the infamous two sink ensuite.

Don’t get me wrong, since having a kid, I can understand the appeal of having an adult bathroom space that isn’t overrun with bath toys, strawberry shampoo and Elsa bubble bath bottles, but I certainly don’t need it. Ensuite will never be on my ”must have” list. Nor will a double sink vanity (given the choice I’d rather a single, large sink and more counter space anyway). I just don’t get it. Assuming you’re a couple (why would one person need two sinks?) can’t you come together and make it work?

Mike and I leave the house at the same time everyday. I can’t think of a single situation where I wished I had two sinks instead of one. Ever. Are we totally alone on this? If you couldn’t live without your two sink ensuite, enlighten me as to why, please.

Why is Kids Dance Class as Much as College Tuition?

wpid-20150530_150552.jpgThis summer Maria partook in her first, of what will be many, extracurricular activities. We signed her up for soccer and she loved it. Mike still plays soccer as an adult and though I was never big into team sports growing up, I value their importance. Soccer was a great introduction for both us and her into extracurricular activities. She is starting to understand the commitment of attending her ”games” (though soccer at 3, according to Mike, is more like herding cats than actual games), we as parents got our first feeling of change in our schedule, and it was a fair price especially since we didn’t know how she’d take to it so young.

For $75, she played 10 weeks of soccer. The price also included a team t-shirt and goodies at the end of the season (a little medal, a bag for soccer gear, some stickers and candy treats). We were pretty impressed. With the fall and winter coming, we wanted to sign her up for something else, something we know she will love, dance class.

Maria loves to move. Her favorite thing is to get us to play YouTube videos and she dances along to them. It was a no-brainer that we’d put her in dance classes. That was until I contacted the local dance academy.

At age 3-4 they’re put into an intro to dance class which is more about listening to instructors and being immersed into the dance culture than formal dance instruction. Though this particular school is widely regarded for its competitors in many forms of dance (mostly ballet), I was more than a little shocked to hear the tuition for the year (8 total months) would cost $415 plus 15% taxes and uniform cost. Over $500 to simply introduce her to it. I was also shocked to see if they stick with it and become highly competitive (dancing 10-15 hours per week), I could expect over $1,000 for tuition each semester (3-4 per year) plus competition/recital fees, pictures, costumes, dance shoes etc.

Though I value children doing something they both love and gain physical activity from, I don’t know we’ll ever get to a point where we’re willing to pay over $5,000 a year for something. Again, I don’t know as we’re many years away from that decision but do feel like I could invest $5,000 per child in many other ways- varying extracurricular rather than one single activity, more travel, more post secondary education funding, more funds in general for their needs.

I never want to be that parent who says they can’t do something, especially if it’s a financial reason but I will need them to understand and value what they’re getting for the money spent. It’s not that we wouldn’t spend $5,000 per year on our kids, it’s just that we’d need them to understand that with that sort of cash going towards a single event, there will be concessions in other areas.

In terms of where we’re at now we won’t be enrolling her into a dance class at this school for some time, if ever. We’re looking into public classes through parks and rec as well as a few other things like swimming lessons and other winter/indoor activities. I know it’s cliché, but I do want the world for my kids. I want to be able to provide them with as many opportunities in life as I possibly can, but enrolling her into a sport that has tuition as high as a year at university will limit those abilities.

Were you into, or are your kids into, any expensive extracurricular activities? How do/did you manage?

What I’d Rather Have in Place of a Traditional Anniversary Gift

weddingWe live in a society that tell us tangible gifts equals love. Hallmark makes millions every year printing words on paper for us to buy. I rarely buy a card because I want to (though some are too perfect to pass up), most of the time I buy them because I feel my gift is incomplete in some way, which is just wrong. Every year on our anniversary, friends and family call to wish us well and most will ask what we got each other. This year I don’t want anything.

I’ve never been one who likes stuff, so unnecessary gifts just seem silly to me. I get that some people love them and that is fine, it’s just not for me. I’d rather do something with my husband than spend money on gifts. I feel like we’re the minority though. Everyone I know buys gifts for their spouse when their anniversary rolls around and though we have as well in the past, this year we’re not.

Even when we have exchanged gifts in the past they’ve been practical. For our ”cotton” anniversary I received new (and needed) sheets. This week marks our sixth wedding anniversary and according to at least one website, the sixth wedding anniversary is represented by wood. Their suggestion for a gift is gourmet chocolates in wooden boxes with personalized engraved messages. I can think of about 2579214202 other things I’d rather than gourmet chocolates in a wooden box #wasteofmoney

Instead of buying each other gifts, something we’ve opted not to do in the past as well, we’re going to spend time together. Sounds simple but with three busy and intertwined lives, it’s difficult to spend quality time with each other.

When we sat down to chat about how we’d like to spend our quality time together, we joked that in this (extreme) heat, a hotel room with AC and a kid-free trip to Costco was just want we needed. We set aside a little money in our budget for our anniversary but I didn’t really want to blow it all on a hotel room. We both agreed some of our favorite times together are when we go on road trips. I love the conversations we have in the car and always look forward to them. So we’ve decided to use the AC in our car instead of a hotel and go on a day trip somewhere while kiddo enjoys some fun Auntie time.

A day trip saves on lodging and we get to spend time in the car, something I enjoy doing from time-to-time. We’re also planning to go for dinner somewhere but we haven’t nailed that down yet. As much of a planner than I am, I like the idea of not planning every detail and seeing where the roads take us. As long as we’re back for bedtime because the reality is, as we celebrate our sixth year of marriage, we have a three year old who needs bedtime stories and that’s fine with us :)

How do you celebrate anniversaries?

Psssst….Make sure you check me out over at Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses Podcast today!

Social Media Has Changed How I Manage My Money

Social media is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful things in the world. Watching it work in real time continues to amaze me. Just this past weekend we decided we would need to get something out for dinner since we had quite a few errands to run after work on Friday. We didn’t really want to eat in the mall food court but also weren’t feeling fast food or a sit-down joint. We  were stumped. As we were chatting and throwing possibilities out, Mike was playing on Twitter and sees a hashtag for a local food truck rally in the area we would be. Done. It took no more convincing for me. #foodtruckrally was all I needed to see. It was that simple.

A few hours later we were enjoying our delicious meals and talking about how amazing Twitter was for rescuing our ”what’s for dinner” dilemma.

Social media has changed every aspect of my life. It’s changed everything from how I decide where to eat, where I shop, who my Doctor is, my parenting, and how I spend and manage my money.

Can I get it for free?

The first way social media had changed how I manage my money, is in trying to figure out if I can get something for free. Though I wasn’t involved in the transaction, we knew we wanted to get Maria a bike this summer. I simply mention it to my sister and within a week she has a new-to-us toddler bike in her apartment. She simple put something on Facebook and a former coworker replied and said she had a small kids bike she was looking to get rid of before they moved, Total cost- $0.00, she just wanted the bike out of her life. The bike was used by one kid for two summers. Do you think Maria noticed, or cared, that it was used? Nope.

Is it worth my money?

We work hard for our money and value how we spend it. When we’re looking to spend it, on anything from a dinner out to paying for a hotel room on vacation, the first thing we do is check out social media. We read reviews and decide if it’s worth it. Social media presence is so important to us that if you don’t have one we will avoid you like the plague. Though Twitter is my favorite platform, Facebook is more ”user friendly” for a larger audience so I expect an up-to-date Facebook page at the very least.

Will you help me?

Companies who use social media regularly are fully aware of how important it is. When I have a problem the first thing I do is reach out on social media. It was no secret that I was disappointed in some of our kitchen renos five years ago. Some things were left untidy and drove me crazy (missing trim for example). I was working material costs in our budget last year so we could take care of them ourselves. I was annoyed one day looking at it, took a picture, tagged the company in a tweet and was contacted by the company within two hours. Within two weeks of that initial tweet the head contractor was in my kitchen fixing everything that I pointed out. It saved me money in materials and more importantly, my time, all because I reached out to them via Twitter.

Social media makes me trust a company more. Companies appears to be more transparent and honest when they’re willing to spend time engaging with their audience. I think it has something to do with the effort they put into their presence online. Any company that spends that much time wouldn’t want it tarnished publicly, so I, as a consumer, would be more willing to work with them, knowing if it didn’t work out I could, and would, voice my option publicly.

I enjoy that on a personal level platforms like Facebook and Twitter are easy and convenient ways to share good deals, new restaurant reviews and free stuff. If I have a question about a product I will first review it, then do a personal inquiry on social media to deepen my search and decision making. Social media really has changed how I mange every aspect of my money.

How has social media changed your spending habits?

How Anyone Can Save More than $20,000 Off the Costs of University

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

University is expensive. Though I fully recognize how lucky I am to be in Canada, where we can get incredible post-secondary education at top rated universities for a fraction of the cost that our American cohorts pay, it’s still tens of thousands of dollars at the end of the four year degree.

There are many costs involved in pursuing a post-secondary education. Tuition, books, potential moving costs and living expenses, non-tuition related costs (lab fees, exam fees etc.), the list goes on. As expensive as these essential costs are, most students manage to spend much more on the cost of their ‘’education’’ than required. When you look at where your money is going (saved money, student loans or bank of mom and dad, it doesn’t matter), it may shock you to realize how much is actually wasted at the end of it all. Though these costs don’t seem like much at the time, repeated daily over a four year degree program will have some students spending an additional $20,000 on, arguably, totally unnecessary stuff.

Here’s a look at a few common budget busters that university students fall trap to and how badly they effect things at the end of the day:

Eating on Campus Every Day

This is so easy to do. You’re in bed late, up early, roll out of bed to get to class in a rush. I’ve been there. I’ve also then gone to the ATM on campus (wasting money on bank fees), taken out the $20, got a coffee and bagel then spent another $5-10 at lunch. If you spend $10 per day on campus, for food that you could have brought from home, over a four year degree this amounts to $5,600 ($10/day x 5 days per week x 7 total months of classes/exams x 4 years). For little effort you can prep your food for the day and bring it with you, literally saving you thousands.

Skip Spring Break

Taking a trip every spring break at an average cost of $1,000 will add an extra $4,000 to your bill at the end of the four year degree. Skip the trips, save your money and celebrate when you’re done school and earning money. Even if you have the money already, save it and take a trip at the end of your degree on the interest you earned alone, not even touching your money.

I never went anywhere super lavish for my break but we had a ton of fun. We’d usually rent a cheap local cabin (2-3 nights) and all hang out playing games and having a few drinks for a fraction of the cost of a trip south.

Limit the Socializing

This is a tough one. There are so many opportunities and so much pressure to join in on socializing but it is expensive. I think I was rather conservative in estimating that $200 per month might be spent. I’ve personally spent $200 on a single night so I know this number has the potential to be significantly higher. Nonetheless, at $200 per month over your degree you will have wasted another $5,600. It’s never worth it. Offer to be the DD and drive everyone. As someone who often volunteers as a DD it can be a great time and so much cheaper, if not a money maker when friends offer to pay you! Have fun but don’t waste your money on crap you won’t remember, quite literally the next morning. You wallet and liver will thank you.

Skip the New Books

I insisted on buying brand new books my first year. I had save a few thousand dollars of my own and was going to use it for books. My first semester of my first year was almost $1,000. I was blown away. Needless to say I quickly turned to used books by second semester once I realized I wasn’t missing anything. I’ve also not bought books at all and used the library copy no problem at all. If you insist on buying all brand new books, add at least $5,000 more to your bank account for the four years.

Adding all these costs up comes for over $20,000 (without interest yet too!). Are any of them worth it? Not in my mind. University is an amazing experience. I’m not suggesting you don’t have fun and enjoy yourself but be realistic with a budget. Think hard before you spend your money and look for alternatives before ever settling. Enjoy yourself now but protect your future self as well.

Did you waste money in university? What on?

Our $40 Frugal Long Weekend

wpid-img_20150803_221011.jpgThis past weekend was a long weekend here and it was one of the best long weekend we’ve had in a long time and we didn’t even have to leave ”home”. Just coming back from vacation last week, this long weekend crept up on us. We had no time to plan ,and coming off a rather expensive family getaway, left us with little money to spend.

As much as I love vacation, I love getting home. Five days seems to be my limit before I start longing for my bed and most importantly, routine. We were gone for five days last week so staying home was exactly what I wanted. We’d normally capitalize on a weekend like this (with extra days off work and perfect weather) to go camping or plan some sort of getaway but even with camping the costs add up.

We have many financial goals right now, everything from the obvious (paying off debt), to funding our adults-only getaway next March with friends, we weren’t interested in wasting money on anything that wasn’t super important to us and so it was decided that we as a family would have a cheap, fun weekend at home and it was perfect.

Not having anything specific on the agenda for the weekend other than a family potluck Saturday afternoon, I called my sister to see how her very recent move went. On a whim, Maria and I went met with her and went for coffee after running to the grocery store for a missing potluck ingredient. Knowing we had to provide for the potluck, and keep things cheap, had me get creative. I ended up making something that only cost me an additional $4.99 over and above everything I had on hand and made one of the best things I’ve ever eaten so I was happy. Making enough for 25+ people can be expensive so I was happy with how well my dish turned out. We had a full day of good weather, coffee with my sister, family potluck, and for Maria- an epic water gun fight with her cousins. The whole day of fun only put us back $10 for missing ingredient, coffee for me and sprinkle donut for the kiddo.

Sunday was hot. We all woke up early and took cover in our much cooler basement. Sunday consisted of a lot of Lego building for Maria and Mike, watching afternoon baseball games, coffee visit with my in-laws, walk and park visit for Maria and I and us trying to get Maria to ride her free-to-us bike for the first time. It was great. We were getting really warm playing outside in the high afternoon sun so we ended up coming inside and at Maria’s request, watched Frozen. Feeling hot and lazy- and realizing we had very slim pickings for food since we hadn’t done a grocery shop since being home- we got pizza for supper and it was delicious. I was all too happy to spend $30 (hubby’s treat to us with his own side hustle $$), have food cooked and delivered to my house in less than 30 minutes, and almost no clean up. I didn’t have to turn my oven on or stand over a BBQ, loved it.

We’re lucky that we have family who has a nice large pool. With the heat continuing into Monday we took up their invitation of going over for a BBQ and swim. We had a ton of fun playing in their pool and having a great BBQ supper, it was the perfect way to cap off the end to our frugal long weekend. For less than $40 total we had a great family weekend which included a yummy treat pizza supper, and I couldn’t be happier!

What’s your favorite way to spend long weekends at home?

Forget Childcare Costs. Having a Career, AND Being a Mother is Important

ultrasoundIt sounds totally cliché. When my daughter was born, my life changed entirely. Yes, the obvious, like having a child to care for was new, but me as a woman, mother and career holder changed too. It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I really appreciated how much it meant to me to have a career that I enjoy.

When I was off with my new baby, that was my life. We were inseparable and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else in my life beyond 2am nursing sessions and wearing vomit covered clothes. By about six months I could see how getting out of the house and back into a professional atmosphere was appealing, and by nine months I was color coding the scrubs in my closet and crossing off the days before I returned to work.

I admire parents who choose to stay home with their kids, I really do. If I had to do it, I would, but for me I need the balance in my identification of being a woman, mother, wife and someone with a career. The downside to having two working parents though? The cost.

We looked into many options when it came time to choose a childcare arrangement for me returning to work. In the end we chose to have her in a home daycare. Her daycare cost is still the second largest monthly bill we pay, only falling behind to our mortgage. It’s a lot of money to pay each month but to me that money exceeds far beyond the parameters of ‘’just paying for childcare’’. Our daughter being in daycare is as important to her as it is to me.

Paying for our daughter to be in daycare means that I can satisfy the professional desire that I have. I have a career that I enjoy and which I studied hard for. Our daughter being in childcare is the only way this is possible. I’m paying someone to allow me to be a working professional and contribute to society in a way I simply can’t staying at home.

While I’m at work, my daughter is learning the art of interaction and sharing with other people her age, something I can’t easily give her staying at home with no other children and being a one car family. Getting out to social events for her while my husband is at work is simply not an option, and if I’m staying home, affording to have a car of my own is definitely out of the question.

I hear so many negative comments about the cost of childcare and how it suddenly doesn’t make sense to have two people earning an income because of the new added cost but we need to consider the other major advantages to having the ability to have someone take care of our children.

Depending on the career you hold, choosing to step away from your position long term to stay home with children may mean you lose out on opportunities for professional growth and advancement. While this isn’t the case for all careers (like mine in healthcare), leaving some positions could essentially terminate your career.

Holding a professional identity isn’t important to all women and that is completely fine. What bothers me is when women choose to let their careers go, when it is important to them, because they only think about the cost involved. Though at the end of the month you may ‘’just be breaking even’’ in terms of working with childcare vs staying home with no income, if it is a career you wish to have, then spending the money long term is worth it in many ways.

Did you decide to stay home, or return to work, after having kids? Was money the main reason?

Recovering From Bankruptcy in Investment

Everybody makes mistakes when they’re getting their start. Some people fail well after they get there start. But this is no reason to let your investment career come to a grinding halt. Many famous investors have gone bankrupt over the years. And a few have survived: Milton Hershey, Henry Ford, Walt Disney. There are two main times in an investment career when going broke is most likely: in the beginning and when you’re overextended. Both periods happen in every career, even the very short ones. So prepare yourself for these and figure out how you’re going to start anew, even before the wheels fall off.

If you crash and burn in your investment career, you’ll likely face the possibility of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a chance to start from scratch and get out from under a mountain of debt and financial ruin. But it also takes a long time to recover from. It won’t be off of your credit report for 10 years, and the repayment process could drag far beyond that.

First of all, there are two types of bankruptcy: chapter 7 for people with few assets, and chapter 13 for those with significant assets. If you are an investor, it’s likely that you are the latter. A financial advisor may be able to help steer you away from either. But with no other options, you’ll be forced to make repayment on your debts, likely for many years to come. The good thing for you is that (if you have chapter 13 bankruptcy), you won’t have to sell any of your major assets, as these are seen as essential to keeping up your livelihood.

Whether or not you enter bankruptcy, it is important that you begin seriously serving your debts, as well as rebuilding your credit. How far your credit will have fallen depends on whether your debts have lapsed, or whether you have entered bankruptcy. Chapter 7 hits you harder than chapter 13, essentially because Chapter 7 folks aren’t expected to have any real resources at all. Whatever the case, it’s essential that you begin monitoring your credit score religiously. Get a secured credit card if you are able to apply for nothing else. The gradually build your score until you are able to secure new forms of credit, like car and home loans. This may take years, but it’s vital. Plus, you’ll have existing assets to leverage, like your home.

You’ll also want to begin investing again. Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires that the filer must inform the courts to any change in income, job change, anything like this. Investment of extra funds definitely applies to the sort of financial moves that the courts must be appraised to. And, depending on your financial state, they might not allow you to invest at all. If they do, it’s likely that you’ll have to start small.

Early investments following bankruptcy should be short and small. You won’t have large sums of money to sink into long term investments. In a situation like this, I would recommend using a trusted Forex broker like this to learn the ropes of investment once more. Investors have to stay sharp, day to day. Proper investment requires a daily awareness of world situations, as each of these plays into the value behaviors of endless assets and economies. Forex has the advantage of focusing in like a microscope on two assets of currencies. Your knowledge of the world events directly related to these two assets/currencies will give you focussed insight into their next value changes. In this way you can likely see quick, small profit, to help you rebuild your investment life from scratch, fast.

A Few Of My Favorite Drugstore Beauty Products

Little known fact about me. As laid back as I am, I love beauty products (after all I admitted to having to give up my fancy salon cuts!). I love trying new products and experimenting, even if it’s just for fun or for one evening, I love playing with hair and makeup items. I experimented a lot more as a younger adult, but as a full grownup now (<<insert sobbing), I tend to stick with a few tried and true favorites.

Though I am often tempted by new products, I have learned in my 15+ years of doing hair and makeup that sticking to a few favorites usually works well. Also, it can get uber expensive to play dress up so the current budget doesn’t exactly allow it. When I see something I like I will often attempt to recreate it as cheap as possible, especially if it’s something I’m unsure I will like. Then, once I’m sure I like it I will sometimes invest in better quality.

Drugstores aren’t what they used to be. Hell, some drugstores are arguably small department stores. The brands, and quality of brands, they carry has changed drastically since I started buying beauty supplies some 15 years ago. Here are a few of my tried and true favorites:

Cetaphil Cleanser

cetaphil_cleanser_1l-800x800Cost: Large bottle $10.99

This was something my mom used to use daily. I don’t use it as a total facial cleanser, rather something to remove my makeup- all of it, mascara and all. It is non irritating and works great. Though I currently only use it as a makeup remover (following with a cleanser), during my pregnancy I used it exclusively as I did suffer from pregnancy related rosacea and it was the only thing that didn’t burn my skin.

Essie Gel Setter Top Coat Nailpolish

Essie Gel-Setter Top Coat

Essie Gel-Setter Top Coat

Cost: $8.99

This is a new product and I love it. I really love manicures and pedicures. Though I often skip mani’s given how hard I am on my hands at work, when the opportunity arises I love them. There’s just one thing, I’m a total cheapskate and can’t justify paying someone to paint my hands and feet when I’m more than capable. I love the look of gel nails but can’t come to terms with the cost involved. I decided to spend the $8.99 and try this for a DIY version and was pretty impressed. It really does give you a super hard and high gloss finish and leave your nails flawless for about seven days (much longer on toes). Given I expect this bottle to last a few years I’m happy with my purchase and think it’s a great compromise.

Blending Sponge


Cost: ?? $10

I don’t have a specific brand that I like I’ve purchased a few and been happy with all of them though I do prefer the tear drop shape ones. I’ve tried using brushes to apply liquid makeup and I don’t like it as much as a sponge. I’m not an overly fussy person (ie I don’t need special blending brushes for highlighting etc) and really like the idea of dampening the sponge (tip: quality makeup sponges should be saturated until almost twice original size then water squeezed out leaving slightly damp in state) applying a little foundation and be ready to move on. Two minutes, max.

Maybelline SuperStay 24 Hr Foundation

maybelline-superstay-24-hour-makeup-natural-tanCost: $9.99

I don’t wear a lot of makeup day-to-day but I do like a little foundation (using with my favorite sponge!). Given that I wear a mask all day at work covering most of my face, most of the foundations that I’ve used (high quality and cheap) eventually wear off from a combination of the mask rubbing on my face and humidity under the mask. Even when used with a setting spray (another experiment), they usually don’t last. I tried this foundation for the first time a few months ago (on sale for $7.99) and have been very happy with it. It does transfer a little (to the inside of my mask) but nothing like others I’ve used. For less than $10 it is one of the best I’ve used.

Got 2b Powder’ful Volumizing Styling Powder

got2bCost: $8.99

I love this stuff. I have a lot of hair but it’s very fine. Especially in the summer humidity my hair always goes flat. Humidity+heavy hair+liquid based hair products= eventual flat hair every single day. Not with this stuff! You don’t need a lot for it to be effective. It sort of makes your hair feel a little dirty(??- I can’t think of another word) but it works really well. (note: The box suggests putting on hands then rubbing into hair, I recommend lifting small sections of your hair and sprinkling a tiny bit instead, way easier. Reminder you only need a little bit!)

So there you have a it a few of my cheap favorites! I especially love getting them on sale- like when the hair stuff was on for $3.99 with a $2.00 coupon on the box! Makes it that much easier to enjoy!

Do you have any favorite drugstore beauty products?