Nimi Akinkugbe: Want to Slay on a Budget? Here’s How!

In our fast-paced, competitive and fickle world, do good-looking people have an edge? Does looking good give you an advantage? The world ten...

In our fast-paced, competitive and fickle world, do good-looking people have an edge? Does looking good give you an advantage? The world tends to reward beauty, whether it is in the workplace, business, at school or simply in our routine social interactions.

Looking good has an impact on how others perceive and treat you. It may even help you to make friends, get that dream job, or the attention of someone you like. Most importantly, looking good makes you feel good about yourself, as it boosts your self-esteem and confidence.

Have you ever thought about how much you spend on personal grooming and beauty products? There are the hair care products and salon visits, your creams, cosmetics and the service of skilled makeup artists, etc. Then there are the manicures and pedicures, and the well-deserved spa day to pamper yourself after all the hard work; it all adds up. Just keeping up your appearance can cost you.

Here is the dilemma; you want to look nice for yourself and for others, yet you can’t afford to spend that much on your personal appearance. Beauty doesn’t always come cheap.

Here are some tips to keep you looking lovely on a budget:

It starts with smart goals
What are you trying to achieve? By setting goals, you have something exciting to work toward, and won’t be easily swayed. Achieving financial goals through saving and investing makes it possible for you to afford so many niceties of life.

Create a budget
There is no hard and fast rule as to how much one should spend on clothing, beauty products or hair care; you have to determine what your priorities are with the range of essential expenses that you face including rent, transport, education, health care, etc.

To make the most of your appearance, take a look at your lifestyle and what you really need. Do you have speaking engagements, many social events that are important to attend? What sort of clothes do you require to look the part? Look at your income and living expenses, estimate your needs and build it into your budget, setting a reasonable and realistic amount to looking good.

Quality makeup
You don’t have to buy the most expensive makeup to look great. There are some good quality brands out there; the key is to understand what suits you, and to learn how to apply it. Look out for deals and discounts as an opportunity to stock up. Don’t buy too much though, as makeup is not at its best if left for several months or longer. If you do decide to spend a little more than usual on a product, it should be for a fundamental one, like your foundation or a perfume that works well with your skin.

Learn how to do your routine makeup
Pay for a makeup class from an expert, so that you can learn the basics for your daily outings. Then you can invite a professional for the special events and occasions where you want that extra special look. Many ladies have been very successful in learning how to apply makeup through tutorials on YouTube. Find a range of quality beauty products that work for your skin and stick to them.

Space out your salon and spa visits
Yes, you would like a weekly visit to the hair salon or the spa and for your manicure and pedicure. Can you afford to go so often, though? Perhaps you can space it out a little. Select a salon that gives you quality; you might pay a little more, but with visits spaced out, you will find you look just as good without spending so much overall. An excellent hairstyle or haircut, and a good pedicure or manicure will last longer than mediocre, slapdash efforts.

Your “beauty sleep” is important
There are things that you can do to take care of yourself that are simple and free but have a massive impact on your health, well-being and both your internal and external beauty; sleep is one of them. Sleep allows our bodies to recharge, heal, repair and restore. Poor sleep habits have been linked to physical ailments as well as mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Build enough sleep into your daily routine. The quality and length of sleep you receive every night can have a profound impact on your skin’s health.

What goes into your body?
Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day helps rid the body and skin of toxins. Most people notice a significant improvement in their skin and general wellbeing after increasing their water intake.

Any diet that is good for your health is good for your skin. The best skin diet includes fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. This, combined with exercise, is the icing on the cake. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital and healthy.

Your wardrobe matters
Of course, the clothes, shoes and bags make up the whole look. Arrange your clothes for convenience and easy access, properly hung and ready to wear. In groups or by colour, you can see at a glance what you have. Clear out every so often so that you are aware of what you need.

Do you know what suits you? Have a stylist or a well-dressed and honest friend go through your closet with you; try things on to get a second opinion. She might even help you to combine pieces that you might have missed.

It’s about quality not quantity. Buy the best quality of clothes and accessories that you can afford. Quality lasts longer, looks better, washes better, and ultimately will save you more money than if you buy lots of cheap clothes of inferior quality.

Invest in a few classics. Wardrobe staples such as the proverbial little black dress, a navy-blue blazer, well-tailored trousers and skirts, good quality white shirts, and a smashing pair of jeans are a must-have. You can then complement these with a few key pieces. Classic pieces don’t date easily and will keep you elegant.

Treating your clothes with respect and care lengthens their life. Follow washing labels and use the best dry cleaner. Iron and fold or hang garments with good quality hangers, not the wires you get from returned dry cleaning

Opt for mix-and-match separates. By using the clothes you already have in new and different combinations, you can give yourself many options without having to buy several new pieces.

Accessories spruce up a look and are usually the first things people notice. Invest in a few statement pieces, like brooches, belts, scarves, timepieces or jewelry. If you are a hard-core bag lady on a tight budget, a classic statement designer handbag in a restrained colour and without logos plastered all over it, will get you much farther than a bright one. Invest in good quality shoes. Some serious back and muscle disorders have been linked to inappropriate, poor quality, or ill-fitting shoes. Don’t skimp on shoes that are bad for your feet, only to have to spend a fortune on a chiropractor in later years.

Shopping off-season or in sales will save you money. Visit your favourite stores just before the end of the sales and earmark some favorites; on the closing days, many items are slashed, and you can pick up some bargains.

Shop with a list. If you shop on impulse and without a list, you easily lose focus, and end up buying things that you don’t need and may never wear. Be selective and you will enjoy your wardrobe.

You can be frugal and fabulous
There is a common misconception that you have to spend a huge amount of money to look good. Being beautiful and well-dressed doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you invest some time in careful planning, and treat your clothes and personal care as an investment, you can stretch available funds and look amazing.

In the final analysis, money is only part of it. Looking good is more about how you feel about yourself, being fulfilled, and carrying yourself with confidence. Emotional trouble often shows up as skin trouble. Stress and other psychological factors can affect your skin.

Surround yourself with positive people that encourage you. Smiling often and being happy does wonders for your looks. Your mood and demeanour, when positive, will reflect in your appearance much more than the most expensive designer wear or the most perfectly made up face.

Being on a budget, planning, and shopping economically doesn’t mean forgoing beauty, style or professionalism. Be creative in looking for new and simple ways to look and feel good. You do want to look the part, but try not to break the bank while you are at it.

Source: BellaNaija