There is a saying in Ghana, “little by little, the chicken will drink water” meaning that every bit, no matter how small, will have an impact on your overall goal, especially when it is a financial one. When those “bits” are tiny deposits into an account, you will eventually have a hefty reserve if you keep at it.
On the other hand, if you continually withdraw those little bits for “here and there” purchases, your account will stay stagnant, or worse, dry up completely.
Taking control of your money with these small steps is definitely doable and pain-free. These alternatives don’t leave your frumpy, ashy, uninteresting, or starving. These alternatives allow you to live your fabulous life for less. Here are five of those little purchases that will eventually chip away at and erode your financial foundation, if you let them:
1. Nails: If you’re accustomed to getting a mani/pedi every two weeks, then you are also accustomed to spending at least $50 a month (not including tip) for temporary, fading beauty. The inevitable truth about getting your nails done is that the color will chip (it is just a matter of time), and as soon as it does, you will be back to in the salon, in that chair, spending your money.
Tonya Rapley, co-founder of My Fab Finance has grown tired of this vicious spending cycle when it comes to her nails. “I realized it was a money drain when I had to get my nails done two weeks in a row for a total of $50. That’s when I put my foot down.” To encourage women to reevaluate how they are using their money and time, Rapley has started the #MyFabIsLess Challenge,“I will end up saving $600 this year. Not only was it inconvenient financially but it was also inconvenient time wise.”
2. Body Scrubs: What’s the average cost of your favorite body scrub? Mine was about $30 until I found out how easy and inexpensive it was to make one with the ingredients in my kitchen. With some brown sugar, sea salt, olive oil, peppermint oil, a little of almond oil, and a repurposed lotion jar, my favorite body scrub now costs less than $5. Green blogger, Karama Horne of Savvy Brown is a great resource for learning how to make beauty products from ingredients from right inside your pantry.
The benefits of making your own scrub just doesn’t end with the money you will save. It can also lead to a side hustle, where you are making homemade body scrubs for order. On top of that, with all of the preservatives and additives that go into these “natural” products, you actually know what is going on your skin.
3. Books: Nerdy Beauties, this money drain was particularly hard for me to fully tame, especially as a bibliophile. But there are tons of places for you to read books or learning something new for free or little cost. I wrote an article on The Frugal Feminista called 10 Sites The Frugal Black Girl Nerd Will Love when one of my good friends shared that she was spending over $100 a month on her book habit and I wanted to provide some fiscally responsible alternatives. Sites like TEDx, NetGalley and DailyLit are just a few of the sites that help you get your reading/learning fix without burning a hole in your pocket.
4. All of your Meals on the Go: No one says that you have to brown bag it everyday for lunch or that you shouldn’t have your afternoon latte or a morning bagel. However, if you are eating all of your meals out—breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner, you can easily spend $30 on food a day. A few days like this each week can mean that you are wasting at least $90 dollars!
5. Mascara: Tubes of mascara for $30 or more is a serious waste of money. Your local convenient store has a variety of high quality mascara for less than $10, if that much. When it comes to mascara and its impact on your lashes, you may be the only one that sees the difference.