Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Budget: March and April

It's a bit early to go over what I've spent in April, I know, but for several personal reasons, I'm absolutely positive that I'm done spending money on beauty products this month. Also, we're finally at the point where my Excel spreadsheet pie chart is showing some different colors, and I'm a little too excited to show that off.

As a side note, please notice that I updated the categories for my spreadsheet. I decided to squeeze June and July in to one category and August and September in to another. Those are four months when my spending tends to be at an all-time low. Why? Well, my partner visits in the summer and takes up most of my time, plus the heat puts a damper on my desire to wear makeup. And while I start teaching in late August, backdated paychecks mean I don't start earning until roughly mid-September. Hence, they've been smooshed together for ease.

What happened in March and April?

During March, I was focused less on beauty and more on my day job. The middle of the semester is almost always the busiest time for me. In the interest of honesty, I'll note that I was also feeling very low for much of that month, which tampered any desire I had to shop. I'm happy to say that I'm feeling better now.

April was a bit more exciting: we had several big sales going on, I started some contract work, and my birthday came and went. As predicted, I received some gift cards for my birthday...but it was fewer than in previous years. For instance, my twin brother normally gets me a $25 Sephora gift cards. He's moved south to teach, however, so when he visited last week for his spring break, we decided to treat each other to Chinese food and cheese curds while we watched Harmonquest. Spending time together was so much more valuable than a gift card!

As for the Sephora VIB 15% off sale: I planned on buying roughly $100 worth of product (after the discount) using mostly store credit and gift cards. Then everything I wanted sold out during the first day of the sale (reserved for Rouge members), and I said, "Well, I'll just skip this sale." Then I checked my candles and realized I'm down to roughly one and a half that I can still burn, so I placed an order for a few things, including a gift for my friend's summer birthday. But did I feel the same burning desire to take advantage of that small discount and load my cart with products I don't need? Nope! Honestly, if I'd skipped the sale entirely, it wouldn't have bothered me. I still have several unused gift cards, and I'll be saving them for things I really want later in the year.

What did I buy?

I made a slew of purchases these past two months; interestingly, I seemed to make most of them at the beginning and ends of each month. Note, however, that most of my purchases in March were done with store credit. I really was feeling down that month.

I placed two orders with Glossier in March: I got more Boy Brow for my mother, repurchased the Coconut Balm Dot Com for myself, and snagged a few of the brand new Cloud Paints. I also used a gift card and some PayPal credit to give NEST candles a second chance (and I'm glad I did) and purchase a fragrance discovery set. I had some store credit from Dermstore from a return processed earlier this year; they were having a 20% off sale and recently stocked Besame products, so I took the opportunity to purchase my first full-sized Besame lipstick. That same day, I bought 4  of the Wet n' Wild Liquid Catsuit lipsticks with cash: 2 for me, 2 for my friend Dan, and we'll hopefully be able to complete a joint review. I went back and purchased 2 more (on sale) for myself in April.

The purchases really pick up in April, but don't get too excited: a lot of what I bought are staples. Notice, for instance, that I repurchased the Shiseido cottons, LRP Toleriane cleanser, and Avon Nurtura cream I've been using for years. Somebody on Reddit MakeupExchange was kind enough to make me a sample of MAC Face & Body in C1. I grabbed another NEST candle as well.

Yesterday was a big buying day for me, obviously, but again, it's a lot of staples. The one product I'd really like to make note of is the Deciem Ordinary Serum Foundation, for which I signed up for in-stock notifications. I'm a little bummed that they didn't release their Coverage Foundation at the same time to make life easy for me, but it's probably a good thing. I can hold off on more Deciem purchases until later this year.

As of today, I have $147.57 remaining in my budget. I plan on buying a number of things during the Sephora VIB 20% off sale this fall, so I want to keep that number as high as possible--but more on that later. I did not return any of the products listed here these past two months, but I did return a Makeup Forever foundation I'd purchased at the end of 2016.

How are my other goals going?

I've decided to do another "Just Don't Buy Shit" month this May. I don't expect too much trouble. I received my second box ever from Influenster, which will keep me occupied for the next few weeks. Also, thanks to my slew of purchases from Friday, I have even more products that will need reviews and a small assortment of non-review posts I'd like to complete. (Look for one on high end candles very soon!)

I'm still keeping track of the number of products I've completed. As of today, I have finished 18 full sized products, 14 deluxe samples, and 27 foils. I've slowed down on the foils because I've been focusing more on larger products and have been doing a ton of patch testing. Still, I'm happy with the progress I've made, especially with the deluxe samples!

My "be less wasteful" goal continues to go swimmingly. I'm still loving my reusable straws and containers, my mini Makeup Erasers are getting tons of love, and my closet and dresser are down to clothing I love and/or need. Actually, I've gotten offers to receive products and write reviews for a couple of clothing companies recently (weird as fuck, given my tacky taste), and I've politely turned them all down. I'm committed to creating less waste and supporting fewer factories with poor working conditions for their employees, which means new, cheap clothes are almost entirely off limits for me. And honestly? I don't miss them.

Last, but not least, contract work and less interest in beauty purchases these past two months has made it easier for me to save up for a trip with my partner. I still won't be able to finance, say, a weekend in NYC, but I should have enough for us to make a few hiking runs or enjoy a nice dinner and some art in the city.

How are your goals for 2017 going?


  1. Beauty goals? Meh. I will probably blow through my yearly budget I set (I'm not doing half as well as you) but I have seriously reduced my consumption from what it was. I'm trying not to beat myself up about it - I can feel when dwelling on it is going to an unhealthy place, so I'm focusing on having a healthier relationship with consumption.

    Otherwise my goals for 2017 have been going well, and I'm pretty happy with them!

    1. I've already promised myself that I won't bear the rough old cross if I go over my budget. Even if I spent, say, $300 instead of $250 at the end of the year, I've learned a lot and checked off a host of other goals.

  2. The Sephora sale (and Ulta coupon sent to 'platinum' members) didn't appeal much to me either. Between the two sales, I picked up my favorite mascara, sunscreen, a primer for my mom, a sheet mask, and then a lip product from Sephora collection and one of the Milk cream eyeshadow tubes.

    I work at a college and I definitely feel like my spending took a nose dive as we got to out most busy time of the year. Half the time I'm too exhausted after work to scour the internet for something I 'need' just because there's a 15% off coupon, you know?

    I haven't set a yearly budget, but I am very seriously considering doing a running total of my beauty purchases for the year so I can possibly set a reasonable budget for 2018.

    1. Honestly, it's been fascinating this year. I'd be restrained anyway due to my limited work this spring, but actually tracking it has made me ever so mindful.

  3. As I mentioned in my last monthly roundup, I'm trying to be less strict with myself about spending. I still consider myself on a low-buy (and haven't bought anything except a couple of sheet masks in the last three weeks), but I no longer have a hard numerical or monetary limit per month. Instead, I'm currently using one of my addictions to combat another. I'm trying to cut back on sugar, and every time I go without sugar (e.g. in my coffee) or dessert, I put an asterisk in a running note I have on my phone. Each asterisk represents $1 that I can put toward new makeup. I don't know how long I'll follow this plan, but for now it's making me a lot more conscious of my sugar intake.

    By the way, I'm curious to hear what you think of the Liquid Catsuits! Which shades did you pick up?

    1. I remember you posting about how it's more effective for you to limit your number of items versus the dollar amount, since you buy more drugstore. That seems like a smart way to go! And I love the sugar idea.

      I got the orange, two beige/nude shades, and a peach. My friend got a few shades, too; we'll review them as soon as he's feeling better and I can test them more thoroughly.

  4. I have too much makeup, and I decided to go through it being more honest about what I actually use. I kept whatever I like, but only put out 10 of each "thing", and stored the rest. This is still a lot of makeup, i.e. 10 single shadows, 10 palettes, etc. When the VIB sale came along, I thought I would pick a new blush and a bite lipstick, but I had no desire for more color products. I just bought a foundation replacement and an eyelash curler. Just in case I would be tempted in store, I ordered online.

    1. I'm the opposite! I tend to brood over my purchases and to take my time, so I always feel a bit awkward in the stores and rarely buy anything.