Budgetting for Beauty

Initially this post was intended to part of a three-part series that would cover my skin care routine, how to build the foundations of your skin care routine and how I maintain such an extensive routine without spending a fortune.  But in light of a recent thread on the Asian Beauty Reddit I decided to move this post to the front of the que.  In addition much of the information on building your own routine can be found on other blogs.

The fact is that over spending can easily happen.  Especially with all the Korean companies making their products easier to locate.  While my beauty interests combine both Korean skin care with all Natural products (hey, I like to dabble in everything), I still face the same problem of wanting to purchase in numbers far greater than me or my face could possibly use.  While I have found a way to cope with this desire to spend this post is mostly meant to get you thinking about ways you can do the same.

I warn you, this post will be a bit boring and wordy with all that finance talk.  So if that is not your cup of tea you are welcome to skip.  But if you are interested in reading on in this post you will find

Building your beauty routine

There are a huge number of blog posts out there that outline some simple ways to build your routine to suit your specific needs.  I would strongly advise you start with reading Deborah‘s post on determining what ingredients don’t work for your skin.  From there I would head on over to Fifty Shades of Snail and read up on building your routine which gives you a good idea on where to get started.  Finally, if you are interested in some more specifics on how to further refine your routine, and the science behind what you are doing, I recommend the entirety of Snow White and the Asian Pears Skin Care Discovery series.

At this point the fun begins.  But before you whip out your credit card (or continue to do so if you already have a routine going) you may want to have an idea of some good practices to save your budget.

Saving your budget

In addition to there being a fair amount of posts on how to build your routine there are also posts on how to save your wallet.  Though the fact is the former is in much greater numbers than the later.  That being said in order to not rehash the same information over and over a little primer on what is out there is warranted.

The two most relevant readings that I have found within the Asian Beauty community are Snow White and the Asian Pear’s thoughts on hauling responsibly and Deborah’s post on the same topic.

I figured I would throw my hat into the ring with these bloggers.  Since the beauty blogging community is so sparse on posts about how to save your budget another idea of how to handle things couldn’t hurt.

How I budget for beauty

A photo of my current planner page dedicated to beauty budget planning.
A photo of my current planner page dedicated to beauty budget planning.

The easiest way I can think of is to walk you through a step by step of exactly what I did to set up my budget.  While I am still in the process of hammering out some specifics for my budget numbers this will present a different view.  This will also make available step by step guide to walk you through at least one method for determining how much you should spend on any beauty product.

While obviously not everyone has the same love of math and numbers I do, nor the desire to put so much effort into their financial planning of their purchases, you don’t have to share my same level of crazy.  You can easily step off the train at any point and decide you have reached a sufficient level of planning.  This is supposed to give you a look into how I chose to allocate my money, and some ideas beyond the standard setting a flat monthly budget to stick to.

If you would like to skip my gabbing, I have enclosed the calculations I used within quotes.  You simply need to scroll from section to section and insert the values that match your desired level of financial commitment.

Choosing your monthly budget

This is a highly personal decision.  I did run an initial google search to see how much financial advisors recommend you allocate for beauty spending as a percentage of your income.  While the internet was rife with examples of individuals asking on boards about how much others spend there was no real number to start with as a jumping off point.

For the sake of this post I am going to use some made up numbers.  This is mostly because I am currently on the job hunt and have no real numbers to speak of.  As a result my beauty shopping is limited to only replacing what I must and at the lowest price point possible.  Additionally, the percentages I come up with based on these numbers are obviously in no way telling you what to do with your income but simply giving you insight into how I determined my numbers.

The first thing is to figure out what your financial budget for beauty includes.  In mine I am only considering beauty products I purchase.  Haircuts, which I get at regular intervals I have categorized separately since I know exactly how much they will cost me per year.  I also do not include feminine hygiene products within this category as I buy them at the food store so shuffle them in with my grocery shopping.  Further I am only buying for myself, so this budget will reflect that.

To make the math as simple as possible lets say I had a monthly income of 4000 dollars.  That would not only be amazing, but it is also the lowest income value where I would feel comfortable setting aside 100 a month on beauty products.  That would make it 2.5% of my income a year on beauty products.  One could easily stop at this point and just not go over budget, but I really like planning and working with numbers.

Monthly Income × percentage (as a decimal point) = Monthly Budget
4000.00 × 0.025 = 100.00
Determining spending Maximums per product

The next thing I did was to sit down and write a list of all the beauty products I replace on a regular basis.  I did not include things I only purchases on super rare occasions.  This mean means hair styling devices and hair spray (which I have only purchased 2 times in my adult life).

For this portion determining how much to spend per product was pretty easy.  Lets say I use 20 products (my actual number was 29, but I like whole numbers).  I started by dividing my monthly budget by the number of products I use per month.

Monthly Budget ÷ Product Number = Single Product Monthly Budget
100.00 ÷ 20 = 5 $/product/month

This number (5 USD/Product/Month) is the first half of the equation.  The second half of the equation depends on how long it takes you to use up a product.  Since most tend to be around the same size, and you tend to use them at the same rate this gives you a rough Idea of much you can spend and still spend less than.  So for a product you use up at a rate of 1 a month, 5 dollars would be your limit.  But what about products you use up less often? Lets say an eye cream takes you 4 months to use up.  You simply need to multiply your previously determined single product monthly budget by how long it takes you to use up the product.  Be sure that if your product is used up in under your set budget time (so in less than a month) you write it as a decimal point.

Single Product Monthly budget × Time complete = single product budget
5 $/Product/Month × 4 months/eye cream = 20 $/Eye cream
Determining spending maximums per ounce

Okay so obviously this is not needed by everyone.  But I like making ridiculous rules for myself, but this also helps prevent me from crazy over spending on one product and running out of funds for necessities.  It also helps limit my spending to only products that I know I am going to use up.

So in addition to a little more math, this will also involve a little bit of habit tracking.  You really just need to next time you purchase a product in a category that you use regularly (and that you haven’t figured these calculations out for yet) mark down the volume that comes in a container, and how long it takes to use up.

I have only just begun this step, and will be using the method from the previous section for categories that I have not been able to complete this step for as of yet.  Once you complete the tracking for a container you take the total volume of the container and divide it by the maximum spending per product to determine the maximum you should spend by volume (say an ounce).

Single Product Budget ÷ ounces per product = Maximum $/ounce
20 $/eye cream ÷ 0.5 ounces = 40 $/ounce

Next post I hope to get back to something a little less math related (though If it is knitting related, it may be math heavy).

Budgetting for Beauty


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