Lately I’ve been coveting a high priced line of skincare known as the holy grail of facial products (well according to some of my favorite beauty blogs anyway). This product, Somme Institute, while effective and high quality, also comes at a hefty price. The following is a list of the products I want to purchase with their prices listed:

CLEANSER, 8 oz. $40

TRANSPORT, 3 oz. $58
SERUM, 1 oz. $82
A-BOMB, 2 oz. $70
Total $250 (not including tax and shipping)

Now I deem this product worth it some several reasons:
  • The serum and A-Bomb items are said to last around 4-6 months
  • You can squeeze excess moisture off the Transport pads, using the liquid for an additional time after the pads are gone
  • The high quality of the product ensures minimal amount used equals maximum results
  • The proved benefit of these products along with my quest for perfect skin outweigh hefty costs incurred

The old me would simply run out, buy the product then feel the weight of the consequences later when I noticed a void in my bank statement (usually I hear crickets chirping too but I’m pretty sure that’s psychosomatic as opposed to reality). But the new me (the new me is defined as: frugal, cautious, patient and culinary-skilled…we’re workin’ on the last bit) has decided to wait to purchase these items. I recently set up 2 ING Direct accounts: one for my emergency fund and another for what I deem my “luxe” fund. This luxe fund will consist of dollars and cents I’ve saved when I was able to and when I’ve built a big enough chunk, I may use it for whatever I deem worthy with no guilt. I know this method may seem common sense to most, but would you believe it took me years to actually realize the benefit of such a system? Furthermore, in setting up an ING fund which is removed from my bank and thus, far more difficult to reach, has proved to be much more effective. So, my luxe-loving, frugal minded readers, I have listed other ways to cut impulse buying and save for what really matters: a Gucci bag, a BMW or just a really awesome massage.

Freeze Credit Cards
This is an idea that is as old as time (or as old as credit card debt maybe…). Stick your credit cards in some water and place in the freezer. Why does this method work? Because it forces you to slow down and really think about your purchase before whipping out the plastic. You have to actually wait for the ice to thaw or make efforts to thaw the ice yourself before you can use the card. This allows time to be spent really thinking about the impending purchase and whether it’s worth it. Plus, in removing the credit card from you wallet, you are mitigating the risk of depending on credit as opposed to the cash you have on hand, which we all know can only benefit you in the long run.

Take Get Rich Slowly’s Advice: 30 Day Rule
I love J.D and his Get Rich Slowly philosophy. Not only is the man knowledgeable in the area of personal finance, he’s seen firsthand the havoc debt can create when you are simply irresponsible with your spending habits. His 30 Day Rule is unbelievably easy, yet you’ll surprise yourself with how such a simple concept is so novel to those impulse shoppers at heart. His steps are as follows:

1. Whenever you feel the urge to splurge — whether it’s for new shoes, a new
videogame, or a new car — force yourself to stop. If you’re already holding
the item, put it back. Leave the store.
2. When you get home, take a piece of paper and write down the name of the item, the store where you found it, and the price. Also write down the date.
3. Now post this note someplace obvious: a calendar, the fridge, a bulletin board. (I use a text file on my computer.)
4. For the next thirty days, think whether you really want the item, but do not buy it. 5. If, at the end of a month, the urge is still there, then consider purchasing it. (But do not use credit to do so.)

I like to equate this method with stop drop and roll. In the fired frenzy of desire, it takes a moment of clarity to stop, think about what you are about to do then calmly walk away (it’s ok to cry a little too).
Switch to Cash Only
I read a pretty interesting article in Money Magazine this month about eliminating credit and debit card purchases nearly entirely. The way this works is you set a budget for the month then withdrawal the amount of cash you are going to use. I suggest not keeping the entire amount in your wallet because, well, that would be beyond stupid. However, keep an envelope in your home with the monthly cash. Use debit cards for purchases that require Visa or Mastercard (online, travel plans and the like) but only use the debit card for absolutely necessary cases. Oh yeah, and cancel your credit cards…or employ tip one and put them on ice.

According to the article, the time period before interest in incurred on the balance of the card has dropped from 25 days to 20 days, and late payment amounts can add up over time. Additionally, studies have shown (and so has my pocketbook) that when plastic is involved, whether it be credit or debit, the spender is more likely to vary off course and spend more than when cash is in hand. The bank or credit card will often let you spend money you don’t have (albeit with some fees to pay later on), but the cash you carry, once depleted, is no longer there to spend.

Save the Money You Save
Hit a massive sale? Saved big with your coupons? Take the amount of money you saved in those transactions and apply them to your savings account. Often times, saving is all about mind games you play with yourself and this can be a small gesture that has big pay offs.

Out of Sight Out of Mind
Set up a savings account such as ING or eTrade and choose to direct deposit a portion of your paycheck to these accounts each pay period. It follows the rule of paying yourself first and what you don’t see in your checking account, you don’t miss. It’s the most pain-free way of saving I’ve come across thus far and has yielded significant results. Sure, less money goes into my checking account but I find that I still have money to pay all my bills. What I don’t necessarily have money for are all the small inconsequential purchases I used to make (4 bucks for a coffe? Sure! Another 20 for a meal out? Alrighty! OOOh I really like those shoes….) but I know that in saving my money I will be rewarding myself soon.

I think the primary principle in saving money is similar to following a diet. It isn’t a temporary lifestyle, but rather a lifestyle change. Furthermore, it isnt’ about depriving yourself entirely of enjoyment, but rather finding enjoyment in simpler things for the time being until you can afford to splurge. It’s hard to stick with a plan that never rewards you, but when you can indulge yourself guilt-free life is that much sweeter.