I’m two weeks into my low/no buy January, and I still have the itch to dine out pretty frequently. Through this challenge, I’ve started paying more attention to the triggers that make me want to go out to eat, which is basically anything and everything. But it’s also felt great to see more money in my bank account, which will help keep me motivated to stick with it.
I thought I’d use this post as a way to share some small things that save me money, so read on for some of my favorite personal care products and also a fun budget-friendly gift idea.
Personal Care Products
In May 2019, I bought my first Lush shampoo bar for $12. I wash my hair almost every day (I know it’s not necessarily good for your hair to do that, but it is what it is), and the bar lasted me seven months. So that’s less than $2 per month for shampooing my hair. My new bar was $15, but I still find that reasonable. It’ll also save me a lot of space in my luggage when I’m traveling in April since I won’t have to pack up enough liquid to last ten days.
I’ve tried using natural deodorants on and off over the years in an attempt to get away from aluminum, but everything I tried gave me an awful, itchy rash. I found this Crystal deodorant stick at Mississippi Market which retails for $3.15 on Crystal’s website. I can’t remember when I bought it or how much it was, but I’ve had it for several months now. All you do is wet the stone then swipe it under your arms. Towards the end of the day, I might have a very mild odor, but overall it works perfectly. I still have a more mainstream antiperspirant/deodorant for days that I know I’ll be really active, but those are few and far between.
I use a MeLuna menstrual cup and cloth pads that I found on Etsy which I love using, and they save me a ton of money. If you have questions on any of these products, feel free to ask! And I’d love to hear about your favorite vegan and cruelty-free personal care products in the comments.
Buying Gifts on a Budget
My work holiday party was last night, and while food and drinks were included, we took a Lyft round trip since we planned to drink, which was $45 total. It snowed last night, which made me feel even better about the decision because while my SmartCar has winter tires, I still don’t like driving when it’s snowing. We had drawn names for Secret Santa, and we had to keep it under $10. So thankfully that was super affordable, especially considering my low buy challenge. I toyed around with a few different ideas, then settled on wanting to make some kind of drink kit. I love hot toddies in the winter, so I ran with it.
I visit thrift shops fairly frequently and knew I’d be able to find a cute glass for cheap. The glass I found was marked $1.99 but it was half off for some reason, so I paid $1.07. The lemon was 50 cents (for both lemon juice in the drink and a garnish), and I bought four cinnamon sticks from the Mississippi Market bulk section for 75 cents total (click here for some co-op budget shopping tips). I first looked at Target where I could buy a plastic container with way more cinnamon sticks than I needed for $4.59. Buying bulk was definitely the way to go since I didn’t have to pay for a container or for more than I needed. Hot toddies traditionally call for honey, which I of course wasn’t going to buy, so I nabbed a tiny maple syrup bottle for $2.29 (yes, plastic container but I needed it to complete the kit). Each of the little whiskey bottles was just over a dollar.
The ribbon was saved from a gift I previously received, as well as the box and green paper shreds. So when all was said and done, I spent less than $7, and I would totally do this again. I don’t buy many gifts to begin with, but I’m pretty proud of how affordable this was, and I would even love receiving something like this.
If you’re buying for someone who doesn’t drink, you could assemble some kind of food or tea pack, or a cute personal care kit. Building a kit for someone else feels much more personal than buying something ready-made, and you may already have items on hand that you can use so you don’t need to buy 100% brand new.
If you have affordable, creative gift ideas, feel free to share in the comments!
Overall, I’m happy I decided to curb my spending to help my rethink how I spend and help me sort through my priorities. How’s 2020 going for you so far?