:::: MENU ::::

Posts tagged with: Saving Money

Making Do: Make-Up


You know how I’ve been trying to save money by making do with items that we’ve already got instead of buying new ones? Well I’ve been wanting to talk about this one for awhile….make-up!!!

I’m not a big make-up person. 99% of the stuff I wear is whatever is on sale at my local grocery store. I never rarely (like, once every 2-3 years) go to Alta or buy make-up from the make-up counter in department stores.

Even so, make-up can still be expensive. Since I started blogging I’ve been avoiding buying any make-up. This never started as an intentional challenge, but (similar to my DIY hair dye and cuts, which are still going strong), its kind of morphed into a challenge over time simply because I’ve now been doing it so long that I want to see how long I can hold out!

Have I just been skipping make-up entirely?

No. Though, to be fair, I don’t wear a lot of make-up to begin with so it’s different for me than it would be for someone used to wearing a full face with base, powder, blush, etc. on a daily basis.

So what have I been doing? Make-up eventually runs out, right?

Yep. And I’ve gotten creative!

First, I’ve looked around the house for make-up and been surprised to find a ton stashed away in various places! I started by looking under my sink (side note: anyone else’s under-the-sink a total jungle? Yikes!) Just from cleaning that out I was able to find all kinds of old make-up that had fallen out of rotation and was lost in the “under-the-sink” stash of crap. My Mom used to always give me her Clinique gifts (she buys their moisturizer and would give me the free gift whenever it was “gift time”), so a bunch of the stuff I found was even brand-new!!!

Next, I decided to go through and organize my purses. Again – I’m not a big purse collector, but I’m a bit of a packrat so I always hang onto old purses. Most are from Target or Kohl’s so they’re not fancy brands, but they’ve been hanging around forever. Lo and behold, I find more make-up! In the pockets of many of these purses I found some variety of lipgloss or lipstick. I also found concealer and make-up brushes! Another score!

And, finally, I got creative. When I ran out of eye shadow I started using blush as an eye shadow. I broke out of my shell a bit and started using colors I normally wouldn’t touch. And I figured out ways to blend different colors of concealer to create the “right” color out of two “wrong” colors (e.g., by mixing one that’s too dark with one that’s too light).

There are some things that I miss. My ONE, SINGLE name-brand product that I use ran out about a month ago and I miss it (for anyone interested, it’s by Laura Mercier and it’s a bronzer. It’s incredible and my last one lasted literally 3 years). Even though it lasts forever, its pricey (I think about $50), and I do not think it’s big enough of a deal to spend the money on right now.

Oh how vanity goes in the name of saving a buck (remember when I also confessed to stopping botox??). It’s a bit of a sacrifice, but it’s worth it to see those debt numbers continue to be chipped away.

So that’s my latest contribution to the “making do” series.

What have you chosen to make do with in order to save some money?

Also…I challenge you to clean out underneath your sink sometime this week. I would bet you find something that you could use to save some money by making do, too!

October Budget Update


Hi friends! Happy Monday!

Before we dive into the budget update from October, I wanted to share a picture of the famed wedding cake (discussed here) which I spent 9 hours of my life working on! Pretty impressive, right??

IMG_4946 IMG_4947

The skull bride and groom, as a fun nod to the fact that they married on Halloween. The bride bought the flowers pre-made from a baker (they’re made from sugar) and the cake is 100% us! She did each tier with a  different filling. The bottom was raspberry, the middle was lemon, and the top was coconut. The icing was a homemade vanilla and all was decorated with freshly shaved coconut. I can’t take much credit because the recipe and directions were all the bride’s. I simply helped where I could. Fun girl-bonding activity!

Now, onto the budget….

For your reference, here’s where I wrote about my planned October budget.

And, below, here’s what we actually spent compared to the planned budget:

Place Planned Budget Actual Spent
Rent 1055 1055
Electricity 241 241
Water 65 63
Natural gas 17 17
Sprint (2 lines) 114 114
Cable/Internet 100 100
Car Insurance 55 56
Health Insurance 350 350
Trash 35 35
Debt 1843 1752
Miscellaneous 300 412
Groceries 400 408
Baby Purchases 1200 1149
Gasoline 125 113
Saving for Irregular Expenses 495 495
Total Budgeted 6395 6360


Some things to note:

I had to make a lower debt payment to accommodate the overage in my miscellaneous spending. As a reminder, miscellaneous is broken down into 4 categories:

  • Entertainment: budgeted = $20; spent = $20
  • Eating out: budgeted = $100; spent = $109
  • Personal maintenance: budgeted = $30; spent = $0
  • Other: budgeted = $150; spent $283


My overage was mostly due to wedding-related items and, admittedly, a boss’s day gift I never mentioned here. A small minority was spent on necessities ($23 for new checks and $28 for cleaning supplies). The rest was split between some flowers I sent to my incredible boss at University A (the university where I teach online), a wedding gift, and other wedding “supplies” (I bought stuff for mimosas for the girls to enjoy pre-wedding, and I ended up footing the bill for some sandwiches pre-wedding as well).

I could have saved 50 bucks by not sending my boss flowers. During these lean times, that’s probably what I should have done. But I am really so incredibly grateful to my boss for connecting me with this position and I feel like I’ve really been blessed through this employment situation. It felt like a small token of my appreciation and one that I was happy to give. I guess the whole “gift-giving” thing opens up a can of worms. Throughout my debt reduction journey thus far I’ve been really good with scaling WAY back on the amount of giving I’ve done (and the dollar amount I would spend per gift) and I just didn’t hold back on this one. I’m conflicted because – on one hand I know I can’t afford $50 for flowers. On the other hand, it felt like an appropriate gift at the time and a small portion of my monthly salary. Plus I just got a raise. These are all justifications, I know, but I’m just trying to dig myself out of a hole a bit.

There’s really no other category of spending that is out of line with the original budget, so nothing more to comment on.

You’ll notice that I only ended up spending $6360, which leaves me with some surplus (Note: Remember that although I had only budgeted for $6395, I actually had $6410 to spend for the month – see here).

Since we live on last month’s income and we had $6410 for the month, I was left with an extra $50.

Rather than putting that extra $50 toward an additional debt payment at the end of the month, I decided to add it to our income to increase the amount we have to work with in November (foreshadowing……the $50 is going to be NEEDED for next month! Welp!). I’ll be back later with more on our planned November budget.

And one last parting photo of me and my girls at the family reception that was held on Saturday

IMG_4954In case anyone is curious, the girls’ dresses were a gift from their aunt and the clothes I wore (both for the wedding on Friday and the family reception on Saturday) were dresses that I’d already owned. Didn’t buy a single article of clothing for the event!