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How a Dollar Tree nail polish changed my spending habit
I’m an avid jack-of-all-trades when it comes to DIY beauty at home. I’ve learned how to pluck my eyebrows, straighten my hair like the pros, and give myself legit manicures and pedicures. I can even do threading for hair removal.
But I didn’t learn all of these skills overnight. And I certainly wasted a lot of money in the beginning on buying the tools and products to get me started. You know, the expensive blow dryers, the top of the line nail polishes we all think are the best? You’re still saving money compared to getting the service done at a salon, so why not splurge on the products?
This was my theory on a lot of things. Cooking at home, DIY car washes, etc.
But when is good enough really good enough?
A few years back (maybe several years), I had a pretty extensive nail polish collection. I even made a huge DIY rack to house all of my beautiful bottled colors. Needless to say, I was buying nail polish at least once a week. It got to be pretty expensive. I blame it on YouTube, haha. Those beauty gurus entice you to make “collections” a thing in your house.
During one of my Dollar Tree shopping trips, I came across a whole section of beautiful nail polish colors. There was such a great assortment that I ended up buying 4 bottles!
I thought nothing of it. I mean, they cost a buck, so they’re not going to last that long anyway right? To my surprise, my manicure lasted a week and I received so many compliments that it made me think.
Why in the world have I been buying expensive bottles of nail polish when my manicures last for just as long with a cheaper polish? It got me thinking about all the other times I’ve made the choice of buying something that costs more because I had the notion that it would be better or somehow do more for me.
I’ve since applied this theory to all of my purchases. I have a decent car that runs perfectly, decent work clothes, a nice handbag, and affordable food on the table at home. All of these do the job and are good enough for their purpose in my life.
Why pay more?
So many times, I’ve made the mistake of using the cost of an item to determine its value. But, my epiphany with the Dollar Tree nail polish experience has taught me that the value is found by determining how well the item serves its purpose, not at all by the cost.
For example, a Mercedes will take me to work just as well as my 10 year old Nissan will. I can listen to the radio, turn in the AC and talk on my phone hands-free. The value of my Nissan surpasses the value of a Mercedes in my eyes because my Nissan can serve it’s job just as well as the Mercedes for a small fraction of the cost. So, I can still get to work and keep more money in my pocket.
It’s crazy to think of how many of us buy items without thinking of their true value in our lives. Our consumer-istic mind looks at an expensive item as being exclusive to people who can afford it and buying the item somehow shows their success or financial worth. But, truly the best way to feel fulfilled is to buy items that serve a purpose in your life and save you money in the short and long run. Part of their purpose is to make something easier for you. Their purpose should never be to make you look rich or make someone else think your successful. That’s the notion that inevitably results in us piling on debt up to our ears.
So, before you make any purchase, large or small, expensive or cheap, as yourself the following questions:
-Do I need it?
This is usually the hardest question. Often times, we use the words need and want interchangeably. So much so, that we’ve lost our ability to recognize the difference. I’ve been known to say in my younger days “I need those shoes” every time I say a pair I liked. Was I wearing decent shoes? Yes. Did I have a shoe rack filled with others almost the same as the paid I “needed”? Yes.
Often times we lose sight of the true meaning of needing something. I’ll share with you a story, going back to shoes. When I was about 6 or 7, my parents had just divorced and my mom and I were struggling financially.
I remember like it was yesterday.
It was raining and my sneakers were so worn out that there were holes in the soles and my socks had started to get squishy. My big brother immediately saw this and was so moved that he dashed me to the nearest payless shoe source to buy a new pair. As a kid who didn’t have much, this felt like it was Christmas.
It made me feel whole again.
Now my early adult shoe obsession could have very likely stemmed from the incident. But, now I could look at both of these moments and know the difference between my need and my want.
-Does it work well?
Reviews are your best friend. Read them, ask around, and find out everything you can before buying an item. It could mean the difference between getting your money’s worth and having to fish out more moola for yet another item to make up for the useless one you got stuck with.
-Are there cheaper alternatives?
Doing your homework will pay off here. Chances are that any of the name brands you’re used to have generic alternatives that work the same, often have the same contents and are a fraction of the cost. Don’t be a brand snob, it won’t save you any money. Stick with the more affordable alternatives and enjoy your item and the extra cash saved in your pocket.
-Can I do a DIY version?
Pinterest can show you and everything your heart desires for DIY projects. Search there to see if you can make the item yourself at a cheaper cost. But, I warn you, be realistic in your expectations. Unless you’re naturally crafty, you won’t have an absolute perfect outcome, but chances are it will serve its purpose and you’ll save some money. And the added fun of creating it yourself is a bonus.