How to Stay Beautiful Under Budget

Maybe you’ve heard of the lipstick index, the theory that when times are tough, people like to spend their money on small luxuries, such as cosmetics. While some believe that economic health and cosmetic sales are inversely correlated, plenty of folks decide to shrink their beauty budget when the economy is struggling. However, just because you stopped splurging on beauty products, that doesn’t mean you have to stop looking like a million bucks.


Some of the tips for staying chic are pretty straightforward – frequent consignment stores and get familiar with your local thrift shops. There are other alternatives, though. See if there are any Goodwill Outlets or other locations in your area that offer items for a dollar or less. Some retail stores even sell clothing by the pound. You’ll have a harder time finding gems at these locations than at a fancy boutique, but with a bit of sleuthing, you’ll discover some real diamonds in the rough. While you’re at it, look into clothing swaps in your city. These can either be organized events or get-togethers with friends.


A key part of looking good is feeling good, so even if you’re working with a tight budget, it’s important to take care of your body. Don’t fall into the common trap of believing that you can’t eat healthy without tons of money for organic produce. Scout farmers markets, where you can find plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and meat at a low cost. Get enough sleep every night. If you can’t afford a white-noise machine, there are plenty of apps and websites where you can download tracks of running water or other soothing sounds. Lastly, exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Check out memberships at Planet Fitness and the YMCA. If you can’t afford to go to a gym, stay active outside or do calisthenics, such as pushups and crunches, in your living room. Browse the Internet for free, prepared exercise routines and fitness videos.


A good hair day is a good day all around. On the other hand, getting your hair done can be super pricy. Luckily, there are ways to work around the cost. You can always go to a cheap chain, but you can’t count on leaving the place with a good ‘do. Look into beauty schools in your area. Master classes are taught to established stylists who already know what they’re doing. You can end up with a great haircut for a dirt cheap price or even free. Same goes with hair modeling. Volunteer for a hair show or photo shoot and you can get a free cut or style or both.

Makeup, unfortunately, can get a little tricky. Usually you get what you pay for, but there are some brands with excellent inexpensive products. Browse online consumer reviews on for different products to find good cheap cosmetics. MakeupAlley also is an excellent resource if you want to find cheap products that work with your skin type and coloring. You’ll see that plenty of good mascaras, powders, liners and glosses are available at your drugstore or sometimes even at the dollar store.

Good luck and stay beautiful!

Aimee McNitt About Aimee McNitt

Aimee and her husband Scott have three wonderful children, two dogs, one income and zero margin for financial error. To make their personal finances work, Aimee has become an expert at finding deals, stretching a dollar, and finding simple ways to earn extra income. She believes that a frugal life can be fulfilling and hopes to help bring financial peace into your life.

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