Enslaved by Your Style

“It’s just part of my budget, like keeping the light on,” said Rochelle Milles. “I’ll forgo a lot of things, but not my hair. (Essence magazine article)

Admittedly, we haven’t consistently explored the topic of personal style cut backs on the way to debt freedom. Style choices just seemed too personal to tackle. Truth be told, finances are very personal. Style choices as they relate to dumping debt will no longer receive a pass. A recent exercise in the MISSION POSSIBLE project precipitated this new perspective. How much did you spend on “looking good” expenses last month? Multiply by 12 to get an annual figure. Is it in line with your goals for debt freedom?

Grooming is essential. There are a myriad of professional and personal reasons that require a reasonable appearance. However, as with most items, how much one should spend is debatable. Debt is essentially a modern day form of slavery. Your style choices could actually be contributing to your continued enslavement. Consider the following figures:

Enslaved by Your style

  • Women will spend, on average, $40,000-$50,000 in a lifetime on hair and hair products (Source)
  • African Americans spend $9 billion annually on hair care (Source)
  • Americans spend $33 million on cosmetics with an average of $15,000 spent per person in a lifetime. (Source)
  • Perfumes generate $15 billion in sales (Source)
  • Men are spending nearly the same as women on beauty products; nearly $2900 annually (Source)

When looking for budget areas to trim (pun intended), personal style is a nice place to start. We need to have our hair done. We don’t need to remain in debt to maintain a particular look. There are options.

1.       Can you DIY? Choose a style that you can create or even simply maintain at home. Work with your stylist to transition into a low maintenance look. When you are debt free and have your finances under control, upgrade your do!

2.       Can you switch products? Brand name products often include a hefty advertising budget. Look for the off brand lotions, shampoos, moisturizers, and cosmetics with similar ingredients for a fraction of the price. You can even consider doing without anything other than the basics.

3.       Can you go natural? Doing you in your natural state (hair, nails, or makeup) is always cheaper. Again, these changes can be temporary unless you find doing you works long term!

4.       Can you find a college? For every beauty treatment, there is probably a school. Students need the practice. You receive a discounted rate. Ask around for suggestions to find a quality beauty school near you.

5.       Can you go less frequently? If none of the above suggestions work, then consider reducing your salon trips by half. Again, selecting a lower maintenance style will allow you to extend your salon visits over a longer time frame and cut your regular “looking good” expenses considerably.

What additional ways have you reduced personal care expenses?

Enslaved by your style

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