Fitting Self-Care into the Budget

I’ve been obsessed lately with YouTuber and skincare enthusiast, @susanyara, and her channel Mixed Makeup. She’s constantly talking about the importance of self-care and feeling good about yourself. I have to say, I’m here for it. As someone who has always loved makeup and skincare, I was a bit hypocritical of people like Susan who spend ALOT of money on products and services that the “average” person would consider high end. Now I see that my perspective was too narrow, Susan says all the time on her channel, “If you can afford it, then why not? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel luxurious.”

I agree and disagree with that statement. Sure, if you have enough money and are financially secure enough to purchase the most high end, luxurious products for your own self-care, then why not? But I also don’t think it’s wise to go off spending on unnecessary luxuries just because. It’s one thing to buy a very expensive product that really works and a completely different thing to buy something fancy because, say, it smells nice. The latter, in my opinion, is mismanagement of funds.

Now, for us less lavished souls, self-care is obviously still important, and it’s not just about looking good. It’s a psychological phenomenon; when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, your entire outlook on life is positively effected. Not only that but taking care of yourself from the inside and outside creates a ripple effect that motivates you to also eat better, be more active and, vis versa.

Fitting it into the Budget

Unfortunately most of us cannot afford a $120 moisturizer or an out of pocket visit to the chiropractor. What we can do is budget, plan and adjust to our needs. For example, it is recommend to get a professional teeth cleaning every six months, but what if you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover dental? It is also recommended to get monthly facials and to work out frequently. How can we fit everything we are “suppose” to do into our busy schedules and, most importantly, into our tight budgets?

Prioritize

Prioritize

Prioritize

If we had all the richest, then why not? The harsh reality is that we don’t, and yet, it’s still important to do something for ourself in the form of self-care. I like to pick at least three things that are important to maintaining my self-care routine while not breaking the bank.

Exercising

This one I have trouble actually doing and it’s the one that’s the easiest to do because it can be virtually free. The problem with working out at home for free is that I am not motivated to do it. When I know my hard earned money is involved, I am more prone to working out. First I find the most affordable gym in my neighborhood, my current gym is $24/month. Then I calculate that if each work out is less than something unhealthy that I’d rather be doing, my money is being well spent. For example, a medium dirty chai latte from Starbucks coffee is about $6. In this case each workout should be less than $5, meaning I’d have to go at least 5 times a month or about once a week. This is a realistic goal I can reach and it keeps me motivated to at least justify me spending $24/month on the gym instead of something unhealthy like chai lattes. This doesn’t necessarily mean I would have spent those $24 on Starbucks instead, it’s just a little Jedi mind trick I pull on myself to get motivated.

Skin Care Products

Skin care has always been important to me, but never to the point where I wanted to spend a ton of money on it. Now that I have more wiggle room in my budget, I’ve been putting more effort into it. I keep this expense in check by first, making a very educated purchase. If I am going to put the big bucks into a skincare product, I want to make sure I am buying the right thing for my skin type and needs. I will thoroughly research products before purchasing them. Once I find the right product, I won’t buy right away! I will fit the purchase into my next paycheck’s budget, or the one after that, depending on the price. I don’t generally do this with all my purchases, but if it’s a big ticket purchase (anything over $30) then it’s worth budgeting for.

Dental Cleanings

Some people might regard dental cleanings as an obvious “must,” but as someone who did not have insurance for a while and couldn’t really afford a visit to the dentist, dental cleanings were more of a luxury. I am fortunate enough to have insurance at this point, the problem is that my teeth are very weak and all the time I didn’t get cleanings did me no favors. In fact, my dentist recommends I get dental cleanings every 3 months instead of every 6 months. Because this is a top priority for me, I make sure I budget for the 2 extra cleanings that I need to pay for out of pocket. The key here is planning ahead. Once I book my next cleaning, I know it will be an extra $60 out of pocket, so I can can either save up for it in the three months leading up.

Like Christmas or vacation or any other big expense, the best way to incorporate self-care into your budget is to plan for it. In my (limited) experience, impulse shopping, poor planning, and throwing your money into things you aren’t committed to, can be your downfall. When your budgeting, sticking to just the essentials is the goal. Start by considering self-care an essential, then prioritize your top self-care needs and incorporate those into your budget.

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