Frugal vs. Spendy: A Look at My Price Tolerance
Way back at the beginning of the year, Jenn @ A Beautiful Zen 'tagged' me to do her Frugal vs. Spendy post. It's a look into what her price tolerance is, by looking at her lowest vs. highest paid amount for products in different categories.
I'll be honest...I've avoided doing this post because I more or less know that my penchant for expensive makeup would make for a more gluttonous post than I was willing to put out there. I also wasn't sure it would be all that interesting given that there probably wouldn't be that big of a price difference in what I paid for many categories. But I still really love her idea, so with her permission I thought I would do a twist on it and turn it into more of a general talk about price tolerance and what will push me over the edge to pay what I do for things. I'm sure this will turn into other ramblings along the way!
***As Jenn said, please insert usual, non-showing off disclaimer here. This is supposed to be a fun, discussion type post about disposable income in relation to beauty. In no way do I think anyone should spend what they don't have on things they don't need.***
First off, let's talk about my general preferences because they help determine what I'm willing to spend on a particular item.
When it comes to makeup, I dabble in mid-end but mainly stick to high-end and luxury products. This is for several reasons:
1. I absolutely love makeup packaging, and I keep boxes and pouches just to make sure things stay as pristine as possible (plus keeping boxes visually keeps me more organized and better able to find colors and specific products). A hefty glass bottle, a detailed compact, heck even an overspray...I love it all! I get such a thrill and a jolt anytime I pull out a beautiful piece of makeup - it makes the makeup application ritual even that much more special and fun. Add in LE, um-yes-please!!
2. I don't generally consider myself a glamorous or fancy person, but I do enjoy having a little bit of it in my life AKA pretty makeup in pretty packaging. It makes me feel all womanly and stuff...and yes, sometimes even sexy.
3. Beyond the blogosphere or department store SA, i don't meet many women in real life that use high-end and luxury makeup products. So is it weird to say that I like being a little different in that way??
When it comes to skincare however, my preferences change. I do still love packaging (again, hello hefty glass bottles and jars!!), but it's much less important because my main focus is finding products that are the most effective - great skin trumps great packaging in my book. I prefer to browse sites like Beautyhabit, Dermstore, SkincareRX, SpaceNK, etc because they always have such different product lines or just individual products that you can't find at your local CVS, Sephora or department store. But I guess that's also the part of me that likes to be a little different and not always use the things that everyone else does. And I think it's much easier to find actual niche lines and products in skincare than in makeup.
Now let's talk about some hard numbers and products. Instead of breaking down each makeup category like Jenn did (bc there's not a ton of difference within most of my makeup categories), I'm going to show you my least & most expensive items in the general categories of makeup, makeup brushes and skincare.
***All items purchased by me. Links are non-affiliate. This is not a sponsored post.***
Least expensive: Bite Beauty Mix N' Mingle Lip Mini Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Glace, $12
This has been in and out of the purge pile because I just can't decide how I feel about the color. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don't. For the moment it's back in my stash, but given my fickleness, I'm sure it won't be long until it's back on the outs again. I like the formula well enough. There's actually not much product in there to begin with so maybe I can finish it sometime in the next couple years? Ha ha.
Mainly I got this because I've always wanted to try the Glace color, and at $12 it was hard to resist (the full size runs $24). Plus it's a MINI - too cute!!
Most epensive: Guerlain Wulong Meteorites compact, $170
Feel like I talk about this beauty all the time. What can I say? It's gorgeous. It's WEIGHTY. It's detailed. And it's absolutely gorgeous on. I don't for a second regret this purchase, and only wish refills were available for sale.
Least expensive: UP and UP Medium Shadow Brush from Target, not sure about price because I can't find it sold alone anymore - now it's sold as a duo with a Medium Smudge brush for $4.99
I still love this little brush to lay down color, though I don't reach for it as often anymore (no particular reason, just that I get used to using other things as new fluffies enter the collection). I actually have 2 of these brushes because I couldn't find the original at one point and really missed it. But the newer one is oh-so-slightly different and not quite as nice.
I've actually been trying to find a dupe for it with hair that's softer, but believe it or not that has proven to be very difficult. The shape isn't tough to find, but the hair length as well as the thickness of hair is the problem. If I ever go the the Makeup Show again, I'll have to bring it along to see if I can find a match at Hakuhodo.
Most expensive: Suqqu Powder Brush, $254.85 (at 9/6/2015 exchange rate)
Ok, brush lovers out there please don't hate me because I haven't found a way to love this brush yet. YES it's unbelievably soft!!! And yes, it has the ability to place the angel-fairy-lightest dusting of powder. But I find it picks up too much of the oil/moisture in products already on my face, and after a first pass of product the brush is already slightly limp and the bristles are sticking together because of what it picks up from the other products. I can't stick that brush back into powder or anything else otherwise it'll transfer.
I try to wipe it off on a towel (before dipping back into product) like I'm able to do with other brushes so well, but the Suqqu Powder brush just doesn't behave like the others. It needs, like, super duper TLC and eh...I'd just rather not. So it mostly sits unused. If anyone out there has tips on how to use this pretty little fluffy lady, please enlighten me. All that said, for as much as I paid I'm not getting rid of it. I'll keep it as a museum piece if I have to!
Least expensive: Mini tube of Aquaphor, 2/pack for around $6
These have been in Empties posts time and time again. I have these stashed everywhere - perennial staple!!
Most expensive: Sisley Eye and Lip Contour Cream $210/.53oz. **I should give a mention to the most I've ever paid for a skincare product, and that was the 5oz size of the Kate Somerville Deep Tissue Repair during one of the Sephora 20% off sales. The 1oz size runs $150, and the 5oz is $500 (already $50 less/oz) - during the sale I was able to get the 5oz for $400. Seems crazy, I know, but that's like getting almost 2.5oz free so I couldn't pass it up at the time).**
Before you think SERIOUSLY???? I've tried a ton of eye creams. A ton. From all price points. And this is simply the best I've tried for my needs, and it layers really well when I need to wear a serum underneath. We're talking Holy Grail!! I'm on my second tub, and have a backup on hand. Luckily I was able to score the backup for a really great price (well great price relative to the full retail price) when Sisley was on Gilt.
Next up...what I will and won't spend money on.
Eh, there are no hard and fast rules here. It's on a case by case basis and depends on how I'm feeling at the time, if it's LE, if it's hard to find, is there a GWP involved (?)...you know...all the important stuff!! Also depends on how long I've been lusting after it, or for how long I've been bombarded by it by social media and blogs and YouTube - either beating me into utter submission (ahem HOURGLASS Ambient Lighting anything), or completely over it by the time it comes out.
For example, those Louboutin lipsticks are all over the place now. But from the moment I heard how much they were, I wasn't the slightest bit interested and still am not interested even after seeing swatches and more real life pictures. Ok, that's a slight lie. For a few seconds I thought, hmmmmmm...hmmmmm...maybe I should try one. For science.
But then said no. NINETY DOLLARS for a lipstick. Just no. I don't care if I can wear it as a charm or not. I don't care how beautiful the packaging is. Well, actually don't hate me, but I find the packaging a bit off...a little too much...and mostly I hate that it doesn't stand up, and only stays on its side.
However, let's take that same $90 and guess what...I could buy 2 Odacite serums that I spotted on Nordstrom! TWO!! Or I could buy a few other things on my wish list: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in Lamoureuse + Bobbi Brown polish in Greige + Chantecaille LE Ella Blush. Or how about this...I could just not spend the money PERIOD. Ha ha. That's a novel idea.
Ok, let's take the flip side of that and talk about the $170 Guerlain Wulong Meteorites compact. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY DOLLARS - for a powder??? Are you kidding me??? Yeah, I thought that at first too when I spied it on Temptalia. But then something happened.
LIMITED EDITION. Magical, musical words. Suddenly my world spinned all topsy-turvy and I was in panic mode trying to find it. I clicked on all her links to no avail. Google became my best friend. I couldn't even find it on eBay. I kept checking all the retail store sites, and a few days later the heavens opened up, and I could see fairy dust everywhere as it was suddenly available on Nordstrom!!!!! Gah!!! After an eternally long few days, the thing of beauty was finally going to be mine. All mine!!! And I love it to this day and don't regret it one bit :-)
So going back to my price tolerance, it truly is on a case by case basis!! And probably more than I'm willing to admit, it also has a lot to do with what kind of feelings that individual product or brand evokes.
What about the FRUGAL part of the post title??
I'm not sure I can consider myself frugal, because frugal to me denotes more of a lifestyle rather than individual choices??? But I sure do love a sale. Doesn't everyone?!! And ebates!!! I love ebates, and try to buy when Nordstrom is 6-8% and Sephora is 8%. I do most of my shopping online, so it adds up.
I mentioned Dermstore.com and SkincareRX.com as places I love to look for different skincare, and another part of the reason I love them is that one or the other is always having some type of sale! Add to that list Skinstore.com, beauty.com, CultBeauty, FeelUnique...so many great online shopping sites that run some great sales and GWP's, many of which you can get full-sized GWP's! At the very least I like to get a higher % back on ebates, but I try to always buy from a place that has what I need on sale. If that fails, then GWP is a good bet!
Oh, and can I mention backups here??? I've gotten mucho better at not buying backups, especially makeup (no backups there at all!!). In skincare, I think currently I only have 2-3 backups, which is a major improvement over the past.
More spendy/beauty ramblings...
There is another aspect to this whole beauty spendy business, and it's that I don't really have any hobbies besides beauty so I'm willing to spend more. Ok, and luggage/travel related items! And I'm not joking...beauty and luggage, that's mainly what I spend money on.
My Husband says everyone has a thing (thing as in what they like to spend money on). His 'thing' is sports stuff - biking, swimming, snowboarding, anything outdoors related. Does he spend a lot on clothes? Nope. Not his thing. Does he spend on cars? Nope. Not a thing for either one of us.
Some people I know absolutely love food and spend their money on eating out. Some love to travel. Some love to have the newest tech. Some just prefer to spend money on their kids. Some spend it on their pets. Some spend it on watches, or gaming systems.
As for me, I'm not really athletic so I don't spend much on workout gear. Sure I like to look cute, but I'm not one to go out and buy the latest and greatest gear. I'm not an avid reader so I don't spend on books. I don't collect stamps. I don't knit. My wardrobe is pretty minimal, and I don't buy clothes that often. I own 1 designer bag and 1 designer pair of shoes - both of which were gifts from my Husband. Of course I appreciate bags and shoes, but I'm not a glutton for them and don't have a ton. Neither one of us drink, nor are we fancy foodies. We don't have kids.
See! Beauty (& luggage) is my thing!! The @adorebeautyoffical IG pic is funny, but semi-true in my case! Ha ha!!
Questions for you
1. What is/are your 'thing(s)' - what do you like to spend your money on?
2. What is your price tolerance for beauty? How do you determine what you are willing to spend on beauty?
3. Do you prefer drugstore, mid-end, high-end, luxury? Or do you buy from all price ranges?
4. How important is packaging to you?
5. Do you find yourself falling for hype, LE, GWP's, sales?
6. Anything else you'd like to add?
A big thank you to Jenn!!! Thank you so much for being patient as I get this out :-) xoxo