Category Archives: Money-Saving Tips

5 Cool Yule Tips for Saving Money on Beauty this Holiday

Dress from Dress Barn; necklace from Claire’s.

The recession changed the way I spend money.  I thought I would share some money-saving beauty tips with you.

  1. Do your own nails. You know, the look is for shorter nails, which is great because they are low-maintenance and easy to shape and lacquer yourself.  Thanks to the recession, I have saved a small fortune since I gave up salon manicures and pedicures.  Polish your nails with a trendy shade from Sephora for less than $5 a bottle (look for the small bottles), like a sophisticated silvery grey, or try a sexy Christmas red glistened with gold lustre; like my favorite Revlon shade, “Frankly Scarlet” (just under $5 bottle).
  2. Shop smart for holiday dresses. If you absolutely must have something new this season for your holiday parties, and you usually shop at Ann Taylor or Macy’s for dresses, consider budget-friendly shopping alternatives.  I purchased one of the prettiest cocktail dresses I own, a teal satin number, from Wal-Mart! I also found a great sleeveless top. The dress was — brand new, not on sale — $18, I kid you not.  The top was $15. So, if you’re on a recession budget, keep an open mind about discount stores. Dress Barn has some of the prettiest dresses I have seen anywhere this season. That’s just my personal taste, perhaps, but they really are nice, and they also have plus size versions. The dresses at Dress Barn top off, when they’re not on sale, at about $79, which is about half what you’d pay at a higher-end department store. But there are also plenty of great dresses at Dress Barn for $39 and $49. There is no reason to buy more when you might only wear the dress a few times or maybe even once.
  3. Shop smart for jewelry, accessories and evening bags. Costume jewelry can get pretty pricey.  Because I don’t have pierced ears, I have long been a fan of Claire’s for their clip earrings.  It’s really not just for kids!  I have received many compliments on the jewelry I have purchased there.  I once saw the identical scarf sold elsewhere for more than $20 in department stores for less than $15 at Claire’s.  And everyone was wearing that style scarf this fall. Target should be your destination for unique and gorgeous evening handbags for fantastic prices.  The look this year is not too matchy-matchy; go for a contrasting bright color, or skip matching your bag and shoes.
  4. Festive shoes for less. The most comfortable pair of black satin evening heels I wear that everybody goes crazy for was bought at Payless on sale for less than $20.  I also have a pair of silver flats I bought there that really kick up jeans that I snagged for less than $15.
  5. Scent and sparkle. Bath and Body Works often has a terrific deals on lightly scented, sparkly moisturizers; $5 a tube.  My favorite is Warm Vanilla Sugar.  I think a little lustre on your shouders, cheeks, and decolletage is really delightful during the holidays. I also like the their scented body sprays (3 for $10), which I find less cloying than expensive perfumes.

5 Cool Yule Tips for Saving Money when Shopping

How to Save Money on Shopping

1. Shop early, before Thanksgiving if you can manage it. There are lots of reasons for this.  First of all, the selection is best and you can find plenty of sales.  For example, this year I found great Hallmark Christmas cards at $5 a box, which is the lowest I have ever seen.  Also there are fewer crowds, which means the shopping experience will be less fatiguing and you will make smarter decisions.  Nothing beat the feeling this year when I found a whole cache of beautiful Christmas candle sets and knocked out 14 people in one fell swoop!  Not having the pressure of deadlines will also help curb impulse purchases.  It also gives you time to put some thoughtfulness into your gifting.  I have worked plenty of Christmas Eves and always felt sorry for the poor people who would buy anything, at any price, just to get off the hook for Christmas.

2. After Thanksgiving, just don’t go to the mall (or Target, etc.). If you get your shopping done in advance, you can spend all that time you would have spent looking for parking spaces and standing in line at the cash register doing really fun stuff — like ice skating, baking, or going to tree lightings or Christmas concerts.  And you may be very glad you planned ahead this year.  One very good reason is to stay well.  Ever notice how the poor salespeople get sick in December?  I hate being sick around Christmas, so I avoid elevators and any crowded places when I can manage it.  But I also like to shop, just to look around.  So, my advice is when you get a shopping bug, go on a Tuesday night, or other low-volume night, and buy yourself one small present, such as a piece of costume jewelry from Claire’s or a nice scented candle.  Or check out the wonderful museum shops in our area.

3. Lose (or unplug) your television. Do you know, I have not had a television for nine years?  Not only do I save loads on cable bills, but I am not exposed to all those commercials.  If I watched TV, I am sure I would buy a lot more stuff, probably stuff I didn’t need in the first place.  A TV-free life is awesome.  We spend so much time doing fun things that we would have ordinarily wasted in front of the TV.  I get my news from the Internet, and I also download shows for free, and rent movies from iTunes, so when I need a TV fix, I can always do that.  But on balance, I spend a lot less time in front of the computer watching those shows than if I had a TV.  If you’re brave, just try unplugging your TV for the holidays.  The empty space is PERFECT for a Christmas tree 🙂

4. Buy the same thing for everyone on  your list. The reason why this saves money is because you can often find bargains this way and you don’t spend a lot of time trying to find presents and then spending more than you intended in frustration.  For example, I have to buy more presents for more than a dozen people who work with my son at his school.  It can get very expensive buying fourteen or more presents.  When you buy gift bags in bulk, or you find a nice deal on candles on ornaments, snap them up.  I also have three women in my life: my mom, my sister, and her girlfriend.  It is pretty easy to get them all the same thing (such as shower gel, but in different scents).

5. Buy small presents that you supplement with home-baked cookies. Most years, I am on a budget.  If the present is really small, I try to throw in a small cellophane bag of homemade cookies and candy.  Make up a cellophane bag (or a dozen) with some Tollhouse cookies, sugar cookies, little chocolate candies, and a candy cane.   If you like to bake, this is a nice solution to consider.  Very sweet gift for neighbors, the mailman, etc.  It really is the thought that counts.