Monday, August 16, 2010

Where does the money go? Healthy and Beauty purchases- are they making you poor?

(taken from Visual Economics)

My husband was looking at our stockpile last night and we had a conversation that went something like this:

DH: Wow. Look at all that shampoo and conditioner we still have.
ME: Yep, probably another year's worth.
DH: When did you stock up on all that?
ME: Hmmm, what was it? A year or so ago? They were free at Walgreens after coupons.
DH: So, you didn't pay anything for about 2 years worth of hair products?
ME: I think I spent about $8 in tax on all of it.

Later on, I started thinking, "What does an average American spend each year on Shampoo and Conditioner?"
Then, I thought about all the items in our stockpile that belong to the "healthy and beauty category".
Then I thought about how almost all of it was free (with coupons) and that we probably have a year supply of it.
Then I really started wondering what the average American spends each year on Healthy and Beauty items.
So, I started digging (i.e: searching on Swagbucks) and I found some interesting information.

According to the 2009 Department of Labor and US Bureau of Labor Statistics study, Americans spend on average about $588 on Personal Care (products and services). That number seemed about right to me. I would assume this includes the following:
shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, face wash, acne treatment, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, tooth whitening, floss, mouth wash, body lotion, bar soap, hand soap, face moisturizer, make up (blush, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, concealer, lip gloss, lip stick, chapstick) perfume, razors, razor refills, shaving cream, nail polish, nail treatments, polish remover, sunblock, bronzers, and services like haircuts, highlights, waxing, pedicures, manicures, massages, tanning.... and there is probably more I'm missing.

But, then I realized, I'm sort of a minimilist when it comes to a beauty regiment. I mean, my makeup takes just a few minutes to put on, I don't buy the $10 bottles of salon hair care, I don't go tanning, get waxed, massaged, have a mani/pedi (maybe as a treat once a year), get Botox, etc. etc. I don't have 100 bottles of nail polish in my closet and I don't have 20 different colors of eye shadow in my makeup drawer.

I DO buy the name brands of makeup, hair care, razors, etc- I just stock up on them and get a huge supply when they are free or dirt cheap using coupons. In fact, sometimes I buy nicer things than I normally would have bought (pre-couponing) because they are a better deal than the lesser quality brand. That's the beauty of coupons!! You don't have to sacrifice anything! I would have been happy with the $4 face wash, but with coupons/store deals I actually have the $20 bottle that cost me nothing!

I do have a slight problem with lip gloss... I confess to have quite a few (but most were free) and I do get my hair cut and highlighted about 4 times a year, which equals about $320 a year. So, maybe I'm not far from that $588 number.

Then I looked at another article, called "Why Vanity Keeps Us Poor" and the author reported that American women spend $12,000 to $15,000 every year spent on products and salon services. WHAT?!? I think I gasped out loud when I read that!! Do you know 1) how good I could look if I spent that much every year? (DH, if you're reading this, you better not be nodding!) and more importantly 2) how many better ways that money could be used? Putting it into retirement funds, giving to charities, saving for college, investments, etc!

If you feel that you are spending a lot of money on the items I listed above, I encourage you to start your own stockpile! The Drug Stores, like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, will often have these things for free or very cheap every week. When that happens, get your hands on as many coupons as you can (trade with friends, beg from family, buy on ebay or, etc.) and stock up! It will save you hundreds of dollars each year, and it really isn't very hard to do!

Just think- what could you do with an extra $588 (or $12,000) each year?


  1. I loved this article. This is Missy Gorski... aka Missy Sumption. I love your blog and that article was fantastic. I look at your site all the time. I just got my free collage (DJ and Dada golfing) and my free 8 x 10. Yay!!! Please keep it up, you are not only saving your family tons but mine also. ;)

  2. Hi Missy!! So good to hear from you! How is your little one- how old now? Are you still teaching? I'm so glad you found my site- did Vicki pass it along? I'm so glad it is helping you!

  3. This is so true! I used to hate how much I was spending on shampoo, razors and body wash, until I discovered the "magic" of coupons. Now I have a huge stockpile and paid barely anything but tax for it. Truly it saves a great deal of money.