How do you stay within your beauty budget during the holidays?

Making lists always helps to keep track of what I have my eye on, and then I try to keep track of what may or may not go on sale (and for how much of a discount). Actually tracking expenses in real-time is helpful, too, because then you’ll be very aware when you start using it up.

— Christine


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TropicalCowgirl Avatar

I keep track in a way. I review my stash. I have slowed wayyyy down in the past couple of years on purchases of actual makeup. I am watching my skincare regime closely. Menopausal skin and hair is REAL! And it sucks. Foundation has become super tricky for me because of this. I am finishing up my current products that I had bought backup for while on sale late last year and did a recent hefty purchase but, it should last a good year and be less expensive in the long run. I’m hoping I don’t have to use as much product and my derm recommended Shiseido.

I give myself a target every year for spend…with a % breakdown by makeup wants, makeup refresh (mascara, foundation), skincare, and hair. I used to get most from Sephora but that has changed so I ballpark it in my head. The last thing I do is set up a spreadsheet since I look at them every day.

Ana Maria Avatar

I was planning to buy one of the hair sets from Sephora on the sale, until I realized I still have some products from last year. πŸ˜… So in the end it makes more sense to get some minis of hair oils and styling/drying products from the offer or perk point section.
Looking back at your stash and past product usage vs. shopping behavior definitely can help.

Moxie Avatar

All of my self-care budget is used on a skincare subscribe-and-save and a fitness app subscription, so it takes the guesswork out of it when I already know I’ll be spending $X a month on both total.

Around the holidays, I’m lucky in that anything I need that’s extra – essence masks, any new products I had my eye on trying, etc – will be taken care of my popping them on my wishlist.

I do tend to budget for my family but go way over, since my mother LOVES the skincare packages I put together for her and I bought a whole heap of Haus Labs for my sister in law because I know she loves playing with makeup.

Nancy T Avatar

By the skin of my teeth? In other words, just *barely*. I do incorporate “wishlist” picking, taking advantage of the Sephora Rouge sale, and looking for other deep discounts. Most years are far easier than this year has been. That’s because this year I’ve been hit with a hefty Vet bill for my Maine Coon mix, Scunci, who’s dying from feline oral cancer. 2020 hasn’t been particularly kind.

Ana Maria Avatar

I personally don’t have any issues with spending. I simply don’t like to own too many things, I buy only the necessary and I am simply not tempted by new releases or sales (although I don’t mind saving some money if I’m already going to make a purchase).

Where I tend to overspend on holidays is gifts. I only think I don’t have enough, until I finish with shopping and realize I got more than needed. Which I don’t mind financially, but it’s troublesome since I live far from family and friends so many gifts require a lot of luggage space (pre-pandemic times).
What it helps is making a list with each person name and potential gifts, where can I buy them, possible alternatives; I track the gifts as I purchase, to know where I am at.

Gilad Avatar

It’s been easier since the pandemic. I am much more aware of everything I already have, so when I’m occasionally tempted, I remind myself of all my underused products and find it much harder to justify spending the money, taking up more space, and in general, indulging in consumption without much purpose (for me – given my stash/age/activities). Still love to look, and would have a lot of fun doing other people’s makeup, which I’ve done since I was a kid.

Genevieve Avatar

I stay within my budget pretty easily as most of the products don’t work or appeal to me. It can be easy to ignore them when they have lipglosses, red/pink shades in the eye palette etc.
Secondly, our holiday season doesn’t relate to yours in the US – so very few things are on sale here in Aus and everything is so, so expensive.

Maggie Avatar

I do the following for my personal beauty budget:

A. First and most importantly, being mindful of my own beauty goals: both immediate and long-term. Then research how to get there. Also consider: do any of these goals conflict with each other? How should I prioritize my beauty goals? For example, my immediate goal is to address my eczema and acne: applying makeup to irritated areas would impede any progress in healing. So I will set aside makeup in those affected areas for now and research ways to accomplish skincare goals by looking at derm blogs/vlogs.

B. Second, assess my existing collection. Be mindful of what I already own, the rate of usage for each item, and how each item contributes to my beauty goals. Note any dupes or backups (am I merely drawn to the same type of shade or is the stockpile for an item I often use?). Note any items missing from my collection that can contribute to my goals based on my research.

C. Third, make wishlists and constantly curate by researching: reviews, ingredients lists, and check swatches to spot possible dupes in your collection. Also curate by looking up competing items in the market. Bc I’m focused on skincare right now and skincare can get expensive despite cosmeceutical ingredients/formulas not being strictly regulated, I’ll be double-checking the claims of a product against the available research. Why pay maximum dollars for minimally researched products/formulas based on barely substantiated claims?

Maggie Avatar

Oh! I forgot to mention the “holidays” part! I already have a comprehensive beauty collection that is more vast than my needs, so I try to focus on my beauty goals and only buy relevant items that are missing from my collection. With that narrow focus and being mindful of my current large collection, it’s a lot easier to forgo actually buying but treat it as just window shopping: enjoy looking at the creative color stories and packaging.

Rachel R. Avatar

I run out of money? lol Seriously, though, I have a budget. I make a wishlist, and wait for reviews, and see whether it’s dupable, worth the price, I should wait for a sale, or I don’t want it after all. Then I get what I want the most and can afford.
It helps that every year I become more bored with holiday releases. This year’s offerings have been dismal, indeed, and I won’t even be buying much.

TropicalCowgirl Avatar

I am bored too with the releases! I remember a couple of years back PMG came out with her 6 pan palettes and I jumped with excitement. Great neutrals and I’ve been hoping every year for something with greens and bronzes. I am exactly like you for this year except this year is no makeup except to replace my foundation.

brendacr1 Avatar

This year in particular my makeup requirements have changed. I’m not going to be going to any parties or dinners etc. so I’m not looking at any color cosmetics. I’m focusing on skin care and just replacing what I am using. There are quite a number of beautiful releases by Dior, TF, ND and I could go on, but they would just sit in my drawer so there is no point in buying anything this year, so my budget this year is in good shape. I would like to spend it elsewhere this year.

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