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How-To: Keep Your Beauty Spending Under Control


Ever buy a beauty product, only to get home and ask yourself, "Why did I buy this?!" It happens to just about all of us. (I rue the purchase of a Chanel concealer, which sits as an unused symbol of $30 down the drain.) Even though it's fun to create a primping arsenal, it's not so much fun if your clutter—or credit card bill—is out of control. If you find yourself shopping and regretting it later, these ideas should help you stay within your budget. For seven money-saving tips, read more.

Don't shop when you're depressed. This should go without saying. Sure, treating yourself to a new goodie can be a temporary pick-me-up, but avoid the makeup counter if you've just been dumped/fired/yelled at. When you're feeling down, you're more susceptible to sales pitches.

Pass up gifts with purchase. I know, I know: But you get so many free goodies! Sure you do. But chances are, you don't need another vinyl makeup bag and a random lipstick. Plus, most of these promotions encourage you to spend more than you might intend to. You think, "Well, if I spend just seven dollars more, I get the free lip gloss!" If you're spending more to get something you don't need in the first place, you're not making the most out of your money.

Pay only with cash. When you do decide to buy something, pay with cash. Not with your debit card. Not with a check. With cash. This way, you'll physically see how you're spending your money, and you won't be as quick to part with it.

Budget for your beauty. Allow yourself to spend a certain amount of money on beauty products each month — $20, $50, $100, whatever is a comfortable fit for your financial situation. Better to plan a little bit than to blow your budget entirely with unplanned expenses.

Shop only for what you need. Don't buy a new shampoo until the old one is nearly gone. Don't buy a pink lipstick if you already have one at home. Don't buy something just because it's on sale, either; make sure you'll really use it before you buy it.

Know your shopping habits. Certain friends can be well-meaning enablers. ("Oh, you should get it — it's your color!") If that's the case with your friend, consider taking a break from hitting the beauty counters — or simply explain that you're just window shopping this time around.

If you do need something, be clear about it. Sometimes you really do need a new product. In this case, go to the makeup counter and say, "I'm looking for an eye cream today." Politely make it clear that you're not in the market for other items.

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