Smorgasbord Sundays: Saving Money

Swatch And Learn Smorgasbord Sundays Saving MoneyWe’re nearing the end of January, and I know that some of you made New Year’s resolutions.

How are they going so far? Have you started yet?

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions only because throughout the entire year, I’m continually making resolutions.

Currently, I’m trying to save more money and buy fewer beauty products.

(Yes, that’s right – I’m actually trying to not get sucked into the ‘But the Packaging Is So Darn Cute’ black hole!)

I’ve tried No Buys in the past, but it seemed like the second I set them was the second I wanted to buy something. (It’s similar to when the water gets shut off. Why is it that it’s at that moment when you have the tremendous urge to use the water?)

Once when I broke a No Buy because I found very-hard-to-find, discontinued Caboodles nail polishes at the Dollar Store, I felt ridiculously guilty afterwards. Instead of a No Buy making me feel good about when I resisted temptation, it ended up making me feel terrible about when I failed.

Now, I no longer struggle to adhere to strict No Buys. I’ve found that just reducing my beauty purchases has been way more effective. I still have to show self-restraint, and if something absolutely incredible comes by, I can get it (if the price is reasonable) without feeling guilty. This method is more effective because it focuses on the positives.

The funny thing is that once I vowed to myself to try to reduce my spending, I ended up saving even more money than when I went on No Buys.

To give you an idea: before my resolution, I would buy about 14 bottles of nail polish per month – minimum!

But, from November 2011 to today, I’ve purchased just around 5 bottles, one of which was the limited-editionΒ Sally Hansen Project RunwayΒ that I’d been trying to hunt down for months.

One thing that has helped me resist temptation was going through my existing nail-polish stash. I have quite a lot of untrieds that have kept me occupied.

So now I have some questions to ask you!

  • What are some things you do to save money?
  • How do you resist temptation?
  • Have you been on a No Buy? Did it work for you?

36 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Sundays: Saving Money

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Naomi!

      Haha, your comment made me laugh because I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about! When I was in high school and would sometimes go shopping for clothes with my mom, she would do what your mom does. It’s funny how effective moms can be at dissuading. πŸ˜‰

  1. Robyn

    I’ve tried “no buys” before and I always end up failing and feeling bad. Cutting down instead has helped me greatly. I did the same and went through my nail polish/makeup/haircare collection to see what I actually had and now whenever I feel that “ohwowIwantthatsobadly!” urge, I think about what I’ve got and if I really need that particular item. I think it’s saved me quite a bit of money and I’ve definitely not brough as many nail polishes lately! Hope you manage to keep saving money! πŸ™‚
    Robyn recently posted: Boots 75% off Haul (plus a cheeky TKMaxx purchase…)

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Robyn!

      I’m so glad that you’ve also found a good system to save some money. With all the amazing beauty products calling our names out there, it can be difficult to avoid the temptation. So good for you for resisting sometimes! πŸ™‚

      And, thank you – I’m trying really hard to keep saving money. It’s so much easier to spend it, isn’t it?

  2. Frosso

    I’ve tried no buys just about every time I buy another nail polish. I set them in time frames though, like for the rest of the week… Of course the second I see something else I want I completely forget and buy it…then I remember..”oh crap…didn’t I just say I wasn’t going to buy anything for the rest of the week?” Then it turns into a horrible continuous circle.
    Btw…. I dont trust that Cheshire Cat….I feel like he’s taunting me, as he probably would πŸ˜‰
    Frosso recently posted: Essie Smooth Sailing and Konad M65

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Frosso!

      Hehehe, I know the feeling! Nail-polish companies never cease to astound me. How can they keep putting out so many awesome colours and collections? Just when I think I’m all set, a new collection comes out to tempt me.

      The Cheshire Cat is an honest, kind soul who would never taunt anyone.*

      *This blogging slave was forced by The Cheshire Cat to type this sentence.

  3. Jessica

    I like to remind myself of the polishes/products I haven’t used much or at all, as well. When it comes to nail polish, I have also told myself to only buy a color I really want if it is totally unlike anything else I have already. I also look at lots of online swatches of the color and really think about it before I buy. It does work, for me–I have about 17 polishes right now, and there’s more than 30 on my wish list, but I tell myself that I would rather have each of the polishes in my stash be unique. I also like to go for one if it’s versatile, because then I know I can use it more through layering and such.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Jessica!

      Sounds like you have a very rational and effective method that’s working out for you well. I’m impressed with your self-restraint and your maturity. πŸ™‚ It’s so easy to give into temptation and a colour that you want instead of need. I’m proud of you!

  4. Melissa

    To save money, I try to buy nail polish that I absolutely want and can’t go without. I’ve been tempted to buy colors I’ve come across that are super cheap and on sale. I’ve told myself a few times that I’m not just going to buy a color because of that, even if it’s pretty. I also don’t buy every single color from a collection just because I feel like it. I just get the ones that I really want/need without a question. I haven’t ever put myself on a “no buy” but there are times where I’ll go through a period that I buy a lot of polish and other times that I wait it out to save money so I can get the colors I want from upcoming collection. Right now is one of those times. Like with China Glaze, I’m waiting for The Hunger Games and Prismatic collections. For OPI I want some Nicki Minaj and Holland colors, but that’s about it. Oh and Revlon Whimsical. Those are the colors I want, everything else will just be extra.
    Melissa recently posted: Zoya Harley

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Melissa!

      Ohh, you hit a problem that I had for a long time – buying polishes because they’re on sale for a crazy low price. That factor definitely makes it harder to resist!

      I’m also looking forward to China Glaze’s Hunger Games and Prismatic collections. They should be really amazing, haha, which will make it tough to whittle down the colours I want. πŸ˜‰

  5. Filippa

    A good way to save money is to only buy cheaper things. Haha, smorgasbord, that’s Swedish. You knew that? but it is actually spelled smΓΆrgΓ₯sbord πŸ˜€

  6. Vivian

    I agree that a strict no buy policy ever works. It’s the same as dieting. Small treats here and there will be better in the long run than binging after you reach a certain point.

    I’m in the same boat though. I’ve spent way too much on nail polish in the past year. This year I told myself I’m only getting the colors I really want and would actually wear. There’s a huge difference between wanting pretty shades, and the colors you reach for on a daily basis. For example, I’m crazy about glitter but I mainly wear neutrals to school. My glitter polishes get very little wear time. I’m super excited about the entire China Glaze prismatic chroma glitters collection… but I’m going to try my best to get only one… or two max!

    Thankfully there are no other collections I’m eyeing. So far so good haha.

    BTW, did you notice that your facebook like link is transposed on your comments link on the front page of this post?

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Vivian!

      Gasp – one or two from the Prismatic collection? How will you ever whittle it down? Haha, I’m sure you can, but…damn…that’s will power! Good for you! πŸ˜€

      Yeah, if the polish companies simply just kept churning out bad collection after bad collection, we wouldn’t have this struggle to save money. It would be as easy as breathing. πŸ˜‰

      Oh, thank you for mentioning that. I think I’ve fixed it. Please let me know if it’s still showing up transposed for you.

  7. maddy

    These are great tips for saving money on nail polish. Usually if I really want a bottle of nail polish I think: do I have this color or something similar to it and how often will I wear it that I really need that polish. If it’s an expensive brand and I really want the color, I just look for the same color but different brands because they make dupes for lots of polishes.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey maddy!

      Great tip about looking for dupes of a colour from another brand! I think that sometimes people get so dead-set on owning a colour from a particular brand that they forget to seek out dupes. Although, some people are really dead-set on owning the exact brand and colour. In that case, it must be more about the brand or the ‘status’ for them. But I’m with you – I fall in love with a colour, and it doesn’t matter what brand it’s from as long as I get the colour I’m drooling over.

  8. karen

    I’m actually a saver for the most part.

    The idea of ‘no-buy’ is enough to make a girl shudder, so I set aside a budget for polish. That doesn’t mean that I won’t bust that budget if the temptation is too strong, but at least it lets me indulge without feeling guilty.

    I look at it this way…some people treat their stress with alcohol, ice cream, or chocolate. I can’t drink (half a glass makes me sleepy) and heaven knows these aging hips don’t need more padding so nail polish is my stress-relief. Just opening the bottle calms me down and playing with the pretty colors makes me happy. πŸ˜€

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey karen!

      Good for you! It’s so hard for most people to save money. Spending it is just so much fun, but it can get people into a lot of trouble if they’re not careful with their finances.

      That’s smart of you to plan ahead of time how much you’re willing to spend on polish. This way, you’re keeping track of the money that’s going out, and then you can balance your other expenses accordingly.

  9. mellinail

    I can’t stick to no-buys, so I don’t force myself to. Instead, I notice that I buy when new collections come out rather than constantly, with an occasional bottle here or there. I try to budget for fun, as well as bills, so polish is included in that. I do have two savings accounts and a chequing account – one savings account is actually my spending money, my second savings account is for long term goals (like fixing something in the house, redecorating, trips), and the chequing account is for bills. I never buy polish from anything from the spending money or on my credit card, which I pay off at the end of the month. This seems to work for the most part for me. πŸ™‚
    mellinail recently posted: The Joys of Adopting a Teenager

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey mellinail!

      You’re financially savvy, and it’s good to know that you’re mindful of your expenses. Your daughter is blessed to have you as a parent. πŸ™‚ You’re going to teach her all the wonderful things you know.

  10. lacquerloon

    I am trying really hard to budget. I was used to pretty much buying every cute new thing that came out, but I no longer have the ability to do that. Now it’s more of a mental thing with me. I have so much make up that I don’t really need anything else and it will take me eons to use up what I do have. The one thing I haven’t completely stopped purchasing is nail polish. I refuse to pay full retail price so I go to local beauty supply stores. There is an area of the county where I live that is completely saturated with nail supply stores so they have awesome prices. Isn’t competition lovely? πŸ™‚
    lacquerloon recently posted: China Glaze – Secret Peri-wink-le

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey lacquerloon!

      It’s just impossible to buy every new thing on the market, even though it’s all so tempting! I’m glad that you have the restraint and willpower.

      And, yes, competition is sometimes an incredible thing for consumers!

  11. Marisa

    I’ve tried no buys many times, however, I just hoard polishes once I’m off the no buy, so it totally defeats the purpose because I spend the same, maybe even more. I think I have to try your way of doing it.
    Marisa recently posted: OPI – Fly

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Marisa!

      That’s exactly what I used to do – binging like that can be really dangerous. Hope that your new method of saving money works for you!

  12. Carmela

    Compared to your 14 bottles a month number, I feel I’ve been really bad this month. It’s almost as if I’m making up for that strict no buy I adhered to in November. At any rate, I do agree that no buys are just way to hard to stick to. It’s like a long-time smoker going cold turkey overnight. Can’t be done! Cutting back is definitely the way to go. I’m really conscious about prices tho as I hate paying retail. Unless you dangle “free shipping” on me, that’s the only time I’ll pay full price (and even then I’d have to think twice before I do). Otherwise, I need to calculate the per bottle price and make sure it falls within two categories: under $10 is the absolute limit but if it’s a really pricey brand and I can get it for 40-50% off the retail price then I’d say it’s acceptable. But I actually need to use a pass for those kinds of purchases (yes, my hubby and I have actual cards that we mark as we’ve limited amounts of free passes that we give each other once a year). Good deals on polish at Winners are a weakness tho. Those I can never say no to! 5 bottles a month sounds very reasonable. Maybe I’ll try it in Feb (unless collections show up at my Winners again..). πŸ™‚
    Carmela recently posted: We wish you a prosperous Year of the Dragon!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Carmela!

      Good analogy about a smoker going cold turkey. I don’t smoke, but as a long-time nail addict, it’s definitely hard to go cold turkey! And, I suppose you can extend that to most things in life as a deeper philosophy. When you really like something and enjoy it, it’s really hard to have everything taken away all of a sudden. Humans adapt best to change when it’s gradual, but life often throws us unexpected curve balls. It’s up to us if we strike out or hit a home run.

      Hehe, the best way to avoid the temptation at Winners may be to not swing by that store. (Sometimes I find that avoiding certain places helps me save.)

  13. Aliya

    I’ve tried grounding myself; it hasn’t worked. And the guilt associated with breaking a “no-buy?” Not worth it.

    I did, however, promise myself that I wouldn’t buy nearly as many polishes this year… we’re 24 days in and I’m 53 polishes richer. I’m almost afraid to count how many I have now! it has to be in the neighborhood of 700 now. :-/

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Aliya!

      It’s great to see that you always see No Buys the same way that I do. Limiting your spending is definitely the way to go.

      Wow, 53 polishes in 24 days? You know, that would make a great movie title. Heck, I’d watch a film all about nail polish!

  14. Marta

    I am trying to limit my polish purchases also! I try to take this approach: If I have something “close enough” or if I can “recreate” a look with what I already have, I will NOT buy it. As a blogger, you already mentioned once, it is easy to want to keep up with the new stuff and feature it,… but I also want to show my readers what I LIKE, and if that means revisiting old polishes, then I’m ok with that πŸ˜€

    Another lovely Sunday post πŸ˜€ Thank you!
    Marta recently posted: Pelican Gray

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Marta!

      I’m really glad that’s the way you feel, too. It’s more inspiring when I read blog posts from people who share what they like and are passionate about, even if the colours are old. A lot of times, it makes me appreciate what I already have even more. πŸ™‚ And I really enjoy that about your blog in particular – you sometimes feature the same colours because you like them, but then you put a different twist on it each time. It gives me great ideas for the polish’s versatility. πŸ™‚

  15. Erica

    Morning Mary!
    I know this is an old post, but I can relate to this right now. My fiancΓ© and I are starting to look at buying out first house (he just finished college) and we took a look at our spending habits and oh man… πŸ™ Makes me sad. That said, I am a Julep Maven (not sure if you have heard of this) and the June Maven Box options were just released and they have 10 beautiful colours for this month! I wanted to add 2 polishes to my order for the additional $5 each, but thought to myself “no, you just became a Maven and already have a LOT of colours (I bought myself and my 2 sisters “Mystery Boxes” that they offer on holidays) and you don’t need anymore, and you need to save that $10 to put towards the house!” I still SO BADLY want to add those extra colours but I know if I just keep telling myself that I don’t NEED them right now, that the house is more important, I won’t get them πŸ™‚ It’s all about looking at the bigger picture and knowing what you NEED to spend the money on rather than what you WANT to spend the money on.
    Maybe next month I’ll add-on to my July Maven Box πŸ˜‰
    P.S. – I would really recommend Julep, they have great polishes, and it comes in the mail every month (you can skip months if you want to/need to), just like your other memberships you have blogged about πŸ™‚

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Erica!

      Thanks for leaving this comment. πŸ™‚ Even though I wrote this a while ago, I’m always grateful for comments left. Thanks for reading this and sharing your side with me.

      Congratulations on taking the big step to look at houses to buy! That’s stressful, but also really exciting! And good for you for being responsible enough to restrain yourself and cut back on some of your expenses.

      Yes, I’ve heard of the Julep Maven program, but I haven’t signed up. Haha, I have so many polishes that I still need to work through. πŸ˜€ (Not complaining!) πŸ˜‰


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