Saturday, July 16, 2016

$100 Face Cream and Kmart Shirts-Balancing Spending in Retirement

I have dry skin. Not Oil of Olay dry skin (not to pick on that specific brand). The kind of dry skin that makes me want to moisturize not only in the morning, but again during the day-making minimal makeup a requirement. Anytime I talk about frugal or streamlined fashion/grooming in retirement, I get many comments on the evils of the cosmetics industry. I also get all kinds of shares on how basic grocery store personal products are all you need.

Only.......none of those products work for me. Now before you all jump in to comment, remember where I live. Folks that live almost anywhere on the eastern seaboard, Northern pacific Coast, Gulf Coast and part of the Midwest have a differing understanding of dry that those of us in the western Plains and mountain states. No humidity means that warm and cold feel entirely different than the bone chill of the East coast.  But there are two sides to every coin....

I have finally given up trying to find grocery store or pharmacy products, and moved on to Macy's. After allowing the lovely sales person you show and explain and show some more, I left the store with a jar of $50 night cream and one the same price for the daytime that has sunscreen in it. I also bought other items like cleanser. 

A couple weeks later I am thrilled. No double moisturizing, I don't need a lot off the stuff. Happy camper here. Fear not, I have not drunk the proverbial kool-aid. I still use mid-range hair products and store brand body wash, as well as coloring my own hair. But we all have areas of spending versus no spend and I guess these are mine.

On the other hand-or at the other extreme some might say- are my Kmart and thrift store clothing purchases. After going down a size and a half in the past year, my warm weather wearable inventory included one pair of shorts, one pair of crop pants and two skirts (tops and dresses all still wearable). Since I am thinking that I will be wearing a different size next year and because my days are more casual as more messy, I've kept my replacement purchases at the extreme cheapskate end of the spectrum. Bright tops and solid bottoms in the fifteen dollar range to 25 dollar range, and that's the very rare maximum purchase. As someone who usually buys quality to last, buying this way has been an experience on so many levels.  But this is only for one year, and it works for me.

I don't know about anyone else,  but for me frugal retirement is about these two extremes when it comes to both money and time allocations, rather than everything in the middle. I keep as tight as grocery budget as I can for someone who hates to cook, but I'm willing to go to a five star restaurant one to three times a year and eat well. I now stay only in midrange hotels on the road, no motels of any kind. But I have a gourmet picnic  backpack and  am happy to eat sandwiches, fruit and homemade snacks on eighty percent of any trip.

Even on so called spend as I want days I  purchase good quality clothing only at end of season sales. However, as many readers may recall, spending  $100 on really good shoes last year was something I did without a second thought. And of course, I purchase fabric and  craft items the way a normal shopaholic buys clothes, and I have two sewing machines and a serrger, and use them all.

Of course, I can be as big an impulse shopper as anyone else, and the evidence is my brand new Samsung tablet. It's almost twice the size of my previous kindle sized mini tablet and I love it. Verizon has gone to monthly payments and this was my first upgrade. I'm still learning the photo gallery, as well as being new to typing and editing on this instead of my laptop. So please bear with me. Oh, and I stick with Verizon because they have 4g everywhere.  Even the backwoods of Montana. I am never without a signal.

Meanwhile, today will be spent putzing around the house, anying to force myself to walk, hot as it is. Tomorrow? Time to throw the dogs in the car, hit the road and explore the local (as the saying goes).


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  2. We all spend on our personal priorities. I too cannot wear cheap shoes. My feet need good, sturdy and generally expensive (leather) shoes. I also have sensitive combination skin and so have to spend a lot. I still haven't really found the best thing for it after decades of trying.

    Virtually everything else I am loathe to spend much money on but don't mind the odd splurges. When I worked I only paid for high quality, long lasting clothing items. Now I'm not working I have time to look for clearance items that are still to my liking. Fancy restaurants, cruises and high budget items are not on my list of must haves though I do like a nice vacation now and then. I am grateful I have choices. Many don't have adequate enough income to have what could be considered real choices. It's great that you have found ways to live large on your income and to do the things that suit you. I reckon it is different across the country as to how large one can live on the same income given different free services, transportation options, housing costs, and cost of food.

    Enjoy the weekend!

  3. Sounds like you do a great job of balancing and are very disciplined yet allow yourself to enjoy nice things. One of my favorite ways to justify higher dollar purchases such as my Clinique makeup base is to buy it when they are having a gift with purchase. I do buy expensive shampoo and hair products cause i don't have good hair but I usually get them with coupons at Ulta. Not paying full price helps me feel better about spending on high dollar items. I get clothing at TJ Maxx, clearance sales and consignment stores. Usually get my shoes at DSW with a coupon. I also shop online a lot and search out the best price for the item I am hunting for. I don't like to cook so my grocery bill is fairly low, especially in summer cause I eat a lot of salads. My impulse buys are generally nice handbags -- I have an obsession with them and sometimes I will see one I love and breakdown and get it. I am also bad about buying things for my daughter and granddaughter when I see something cute. The balance of being frugal yet having nice things is a game and I enjoy playing it.

  4. Like you I am rather frugal but indulge myself when I feel it is needed, as in your face cream for dry skin. It is a balance isn't it?

  5. Life is a balance. Retirement is a choice. We get to pick and choose how we want to live. You have chosen wisely, my friend. You keep your life at a good balance!

  6. My one area where I feel the added expense is worthwhile is air conditioning. I live on the Texas Gulf Coast and summers here are miserable with both temperature and humidity over 90%.

  7. You surely believe that hostile to wrinkle confront cream is something for old individuals, yet in truth wrinkles begin framing amid your 30s and keep getting more huge through whatever remains of your life.


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