Give Me Back My Five Bucks

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Should I fix my budget?

I have a problem. I’ve noticed that I’m constantly going over my “Personal Care” budget of $10/month, which basically includes all bathroom products, make-up, etc. Now, I don’t know if it’s because my $10/month budget is too small, or if I just buy products that are to expensive. When I created the budget, I figured it’d be enough. But now that I think about it, I don’t think it is. Actually, I know it’s not enough. Not with the products I buy.

$10 will buy me a bottle of the shampoo that I like, but what about the matching conditioner? Mascara costs me $10 a tube, and so does my hair straightening balm. And what about feminine products every month? Or hair-cuts? A hair cut, after tip, costs me $68 at my salon. I only get my hair cut twice a year, but that’s $140 right there, and that blows my Personal Care budget for the entire year already. And that doesn’t even include all of my skin care products. I used to work as a “Beauty Advisor” for a part-time job, so I know how important it is to take care of my skin. But when I worked there, I’d get my products for free whenever I attended beauty school classes, or got product bonuses for selling x-amount of something. It’s not so fun paying for Lancome, Lise Watier, or Elizabeth Arden products out of my own pocket. I also have really sensitive skin, so it’s not like I can just go down the aisle of Wal-Mart and pick out some random face cream for $5. The good thing is I probably have a 5 month supply of face cream left, but I’ll be out of my Lancome 3-in-1 toner soon, and that’s $40 right there.

So do I concede the fact that I need a bigger Personal Care budget, or do I do everything in my power to keep to my $10/month? I know that since I’m in debt, I shouldn’t be wasting money on expensive beauty products … but I also don’t want to look like a disgusting mess b/c I don’t take care of myself. And it’s not like I’m going totally over my set budget (I probably spend $15-20/month on average), but still. What should I do?

Sometimes, a girl’s gotta spend a little money

I usually find that buying CDs gets classified under “want” instead of an actual “need.” That is, unless any one of my favourite artists just happens to be releasing an album. Then I must own it, no questions asked, no matter the price. I’m all for being frugal, but a girl’s gotta have some form of entertainment! (Another weakness of mine: concerts. Nothing beats live music. Nothing.)

It just so happens that two of my favourite artists are releasing albums in the next few months! Squee!! Jeremy Fisher is releasing his album, Goodbye Blue Monday, on March 27th. If you think his name sounds familiar, he’s the Canadian guy who rode his bike across Canada for 6 months, performing and raising money for “Tour des Femme,” which promoted bicycle transport and education for girls in Africa. He’s a really great guy, and he even helped me by promoting my HIV/Sexual Awareness campaign at one of his performances in 2005. :)

The next album coming out is Easy Tiger, by Ryan Adams on June 5th. The man is a frigging genius, and that’s all there is to it. This is his first official album in a while. In November 2006, he released 16 albums via streaming audio on his website. 16 full-length albums. Granted, most of it was crap, but a lot of it was pretty good.

Anyway, that’s $30 extra I have to budget for in the next few months!

Also, since I’ve installed a hits counter on my blog, I’ve noticed no one has actually visited in the 3 days since I launched this site. I wonder how I can infiltrate and make friends with all the other PF bloggers out there? Maybe I’ll go over to the blogs that I read regularily, and comment that I really like reading their posts, instead of being all annonymous about it.

Frugal vs. Cheap

I hate it that some of my friends have taken to calling me cheap or stingy. It actually makes me feel really bad about myself, because I’ve always thought of myself as frugal. But I guess there’s a very fine line when it comes down to comparing the two.

For example, my boyfriend and I rarely eat out, and when we do we almost always use a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, or some equivalent discount. (Helloooo Entertainment Book!) I always feel cheap when I hand a coupon to a waitress, but I have to keep telling myself that by saving 50% of the bill, we are actually being frugal because we’re being smart with our money. Being cheap would be basing our tip on the discounted price. We always tip as if we had paid for the entire meal without a coupon (even though I don’t necessarily believe in tiping in the first place).

I have a set monthly and yearly budget, and I try as hard as I can to stick to it. For example, I have a $30/month budget for dining out – that also includes going out for coffee, or any sort of snack that I buy. I brown-bag my lunch every single day, and in the 4 months I’ve been at this job, I’ve only eaten out once with a co-worker. It takes a lot of discipline to stick to a budget like this, because I love dining out.

When I want something badly enough, I buy it, and I buy quality. Ever since I started changing my spending habits, I’ve discovered a lot about myself when it comes to want vs. need. I want to buy a fancy $4 coffee from Starbucks, but do I need it (and the calories)? No, so I’ll buy a tea instead for $1.70. I choose my battles when it comes to buying things, and I feel so much better about myself when I can afford to buy an amazing pair of shoes that’ll last me years (or a ridiculously expensive computer), because I’ve stopped wasting money on the small things that I like, but don’t necessarily need.

I’m not cheap because I never deprive myself of anything I really want. If I go out for drinks with friends after work, I’ll get a beer, but I won’t order any food. Or I’ll order a “daily special” and drink water. That way, I can enjoy “going out” with friends without having to break the bank.

Some of my friends just don’t understand where I’m coming from and continue to rag on me everytime I see them, and that’s fine by me. I’ll shut my mouth, and go along saving thousands of dollars, while they’ll stay perpetually in debt. :) Real friends should understand, and I shouldn’t have to go into debt just to maintain their friendship.

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