Budgeting your beauty buys

A long time back a post by Tanveer discussed budget beauty and I thought why not try and list out how I keep my beauty expenses in check . You may spend less or more than I do , but a few tips about saving the odd penny doesn’t hurt, especially with all kinds of financial crises upon us.

1.       If you need to save money or even just keep track of where it is going. Keep a list. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but easier said than done.  Here are some basic pointers for this.
·         Just keep a single document for expense (products for which you have already spent the money)– preferably an excel so it will do all the additions for you . Keep adding sheets into it for each month or quarter or even type of product. I have  four sheets in mine, one is for skin care, body care, cosmetics and hair care. Anything from a parlour visit to a shampoo bought goes into this list under respective heads.
·         Keep a separate document of what you lusting after- if you are dying to buy a red lipstick and already own 3 of those (thatis what I have done in the past so take it from me), it should not be on your buy list but on your splurge/rewards list.  Like if I save 400 Rs on my makeup this month I will put it towards (yet another) red lipstick.

2.       Go for the largest size of your daily use products- face wash, shampoos, cleansing milk , soaps, body lotions. There is a reason most stores offer humongous bottles for these. I mean they are daily use, you wont be stuck with it for too long. Buy basic products under these categories, no amount of tall claims will actually make your skin or hair feel like silk. Sunsilk also makes some tall claims about hair experts and technology, to me it is the same old sunsilk we got when we were in our teens, but the product is so cheap that I will forgive them their stories.  Most products that are priced high, make super tall claims , but rarely live up. However if trying a product for the first time, do get a small trial pack. If possible see if you can bag a free sample.  If possible always buy from a discount store, there is new beauty centre and other such stores in Bombay, they are crowded but help save anywhere from 20 %-30% on products.
3.       Decide where to save and where to splurge – Do you really want an 800 rs nailpaint when you could get a similar shade cheaper.  Buy it you really love it, but make a note that you splurged on it. I have friends who buy beauty products that they splurge on (no harm done, I am not here to judge you, I splurge too you know, which is why I need to come up with ways to save when I can.)and call it need.   Where should you save, remember saving is not the same as going without things,  for instance if you need a body lotion, buy a good quality one, but you need not go all the way out and buy a super luxe fancy shmancy super scented one. I agree the scent makes it yumm to get out of bath and slather it on, but the scent does not really add to the utility factor. I stick to brands like Freeman’s , St Ives and buy them in largest sizes available.
4.       Take a good look at your beauty regime-  We all have a beauty regime, be it an elaborate one or a quick one. See what you spend most time on, for instance I have curly hair and spent most time on my hair to get it to calm down. You may have another area that takes up your time and attention.  Once you identify problem areas, buy products meant for it.  I used to use a cheap VO5 conditioner, while it did make my hair soft and tamed it, its impact was shortlived, but hey what can I expect in 150 odd bucks. So I started using my hair masque as a conditioner. It is still lasting me a long time, and I am actually using it , earlier I had to wait to get free time to do a hair deep conditioning with masque, now it nourishes my hair on a regular basis. The result was better hair , as well as the ability to buy a cheaper shampoo , which gets over far sooner than conditioner. Deciding where to save and where to splurge will take time, but it is worth the effort.
5.       DIY, Dupes and home remedies-  Wherever possible try a Do It yourself or dupe version before going in for the real thing. It is not only cheaper and easier, but saves you the heartbreak of realizing that oh god I am hardly ever going to use this product.  Thanks to the internet, you have plenty of blogs and beauty sites from where you could take some basic DIYs that could help solve your problems. I started doing my own pedicure, even an at home hair spa with the vials after reading some blogs on how do they do it, and the dos and donts.

That’s it from me about saving up, but I thought I should share my list of saves, DIYs and splurges so that you  have a basic idea about how you could make your own lists.
Sunsilk shampoos (XXL bottles)
Loreal Absolut Repair Masque
Egg and olive oil mask, Leave in conditioner.
St Ives body lotion
Forest Essentials Coconut Oil (I add this to my lotion during winters or use it once a month for a nice head massage.)
Lotion oil mix, At home body scrubs, salt and olive oil scrub
Colorbar lipsticks
Revlon Photoready foundation  and Bourjois/Chambor compact powder
Mixing old lipsticks that are not being used to often with lipbalms to use as tints, or as separate colours in themselves
Local parlour for head massages (even cheaper if you take your own hair oil)
Head and back massage at a spa./Body massage at a spa
Using some good quality oils and some aromatherapy essential oils you can do your own massage at home.  Helps if you own one of those massagers that makes the job easier.

General pointers –
·         Always fix a budget before you shop, and carry only that much cash (one of the oldest tricks in the book, but works always)
·         Read what other bloggers/ sites are saying, (avoid PR like  pieces on so and so launched a new line, look for actual reviews). Most bloggers tag their reviews separately so that they are easier to find. 
·         Do some research – look at what you have, how the product will help you, when could you use it and when would you need to avoid it. Look for multiple uses you can get out of single buy. Do not fix it if it aint broke, as in if what you have used as a child works well for you , then dont look for replacements for it.

I had done a post on making  the seasonal transition without a complete overhaul, you could take some of those points as well. Hope these tips help, I will someday soon share some pictures of what I bought from my makeup  and skin care shopping trip to beauty centre. 

Let me know what you guys do to save the odd penny. 


  1. hi...nice article


  2. Very well written n useful for people like me...I splurge all the time on expensive brands..though I started off with cheaper brands,now I just don look at them as I feel that I can afford high end brands for a few more bucks..I know that is really bad of me..this post is like an eye-opener for me..thanku

  3. wow. this is really neat and helpful!

  4. Very informative article!! I have an excel sheet for my clothes/accessories/shoes inventory, but I never considered one for personal care products :-). That is truly a great idea to avoid cosmetics over-spending!!

  5. @beingFab- i know just a paper inventory helps so much to organise all the crazy buys , i had seen some experiments of photo inventories, but they seem difficult to organise, someday i shall get them done too...
    @coral crue and ray- thanks a ton.
    @preetha- i know what you mean, when we as beauty bloggers come to know of a new miracle working product , we really want it bad, so in order to buy a true miracle worker we need to save money on those that do not really work their magic. but honestly that is not easy to do either.


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