Investments to Make Life Less Expensive (Without Being Cheap)
I have given myself the self-proclaimed title of Queen of Ballin’ on a Budget. Pass along my crown.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – being a professional dancer isn’t the most lucrative career. And aside from that, I am a pretty picky person when it comes to the lifestyle that I live. I can’t live a life defined as being “cheap,” but I CAN and WILL live a life that is inexpensive.
How, you might ask? By investing in myself.
I used to be the girl who got her nails done every other week ($75/service), waxed once a month ($600/year), spray tanned ($60/service), and spent waaaay too much money on coffee. Plus, I like to cook at home, and groceries in LA were costing me roughly $200 every two weeks (and that was getting the store brand stuff…). The receipts were adding up and I needed to make some serious lifestyle changes if I wanted to continue pursuing my dreams while living comfortably, and without sacrificing how I like to live my life.
The good thing? I was able to actually make these changes without making these changes. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but it makes sense. Hear me out.
When I lived in Memphis, I got my nails done approximately every 2-3 weeks, and each service was roughly $35-50 depending on what I got done. Fast forward, I move to LA, and a basic Gel X service was $75 MINIMUM. And I’m not the kind of girlie who can just NOT have her nails done…I know that sounds dramatic, but with my anxiety, my tic is that I subconsciously pick at my nails when they’re bare. Gross, I know, but it’s my reality. But I couldn’t afford to get my nails done even once a month at this rate, given that all of my other expenses also went up when I moved…
My solution? I bought a Gel X kit and started doing my nails at home. My first several sets were TRASH. Actual garbage. They fell off within a week at best. But after I started to get into the groove of how to do them, I actually became pretty good at it! The best part is that the kit cost just about the same amount as ONE visit to the nail salon. I got all of my supplies on Amazon, and you can too!
Something else that has drastically changed my life (not being dramatic, I swear) is laser hair removal. I had been interested in this for years, but could never bring myself to invest the money in the service. Instead, I was spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year on waxing, which was extremely painful and draining my account.
A coworker of mine then told me about how laser had changed her life, and gave me a referral code to her med spa. The best part was that when I got in there, I saw that the price of laser was LESS EXPENSIVE than waxing?!?! And it didn’t hurt nearly as badly as waxing, either. I have a high pain tolerance (thank you, 23 years of dance training), and on a scale of 1-10, I’d give waxing an 8 and laser a 2. Honest review.
Laser also lasts so much longer than waxing. I was waxing once per month. However, at the beginning of my laser treatments, I went once per month for 6 months, then transitioned to once every 2 months, then once every 3-4 months. And I don’t have to shave nearly as often as I used to. Maybe once every week and a half! It’s saved me so much money and stress and I truly couldn’t recommend it more.
Now, as an entertainer, I often find the desire to add a little bit of an extra glow to my skin, especially during the winter months when I don’t get as much time in the sun. I used to get spray tans, but these expenses were starting to add up as well. Now? I buy a foaming self tanner and apply it as if it were bronzer once per week, and it adds a simple glow to my face without having to get an entire spray tan. It also helps on days that I want to look presentable but don’t necessarily have the time to do a full face of makeup. Easy, long-lasting contour that can be done right before I go to bed!
On the long-lasting makeup trend, I also have started doing my own lash extensions at home! I used to get my lashes done, but now I use FlutterHabit lashes, which are like lash extensions, but applied in clusters below the natural lash. I found these through a teammate of mine, and can’t go back. They’re only $30-40 per package (6 pairs each), and each set lasts about 5 days in my experience. They are the BEST.
This next one is for all the coffee lovers reading my blog! I am a coffee addict through and through, and realized that I was spending waaaaay more money than necessary on my caffeine fix. Aside from the occasional $8 latte at my local coffee shops, I was buying K-cups and using a Keurig that was over $200. However, my friend MaryAnn introduced me to the legendary FRENCH PRESS COFFEE MAKER, which is only $20 on Amazon. My Gram was sweet enough to gift me one of these bad boys for Christmas, and now I might be more addicted to making the coffee than drinking it?!
Aside from the French press itself being so inexpensive, bagged coffee grounds are also so much more affordable than K-cups are. And making coffee in a French press only takes about 5 minutes!
My Gram also got me a stovetop espresso maker, which is so easy to use and allows me to get an extra caffeine bump at home without having to go out and buy a latte. You only have to put it on the stove for about 5 minutes to let it brew, and then you pour it over your favorite steamed milk. And voila! I think it takes less time to make my lattes at home than it does to go through a drive-thru.
I have also essentially stopped grocery shopping in the last year and a half…let me explain. I was wary when starting this, but HelloFresh has just about changed my life. I initially started using it because I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store, but I soon learned that it would actually save me money in comparison to grocery store prices in LA. I spend $85/week for 4 meals, 2 servings each. So basically 8 meals for $85. Do the math – it’s even cheaper than eating at Chick-fil-A! I love to cook at home and it feels like a reward when my hard work can be enjoyed afterwards without having to spend a fortune on it.
So here’s the deal. This might shock you, but NONE of this blog is an ad. Absolutely none of it. I genuinely just want to refer my people to some of the products and practices that have drastically helped me live a less-expensive, but still slightly bougie life. I can still enjoy all of the things that I was previously spending so much money on, but now I save instead of splurge.
How do you save money on the things you love the most?