You can downsize your lifestyle AND stay fabulous after a financial hit from divorce.
After my divorce, I found myself a little cash poor and I needed to make major lifestyle changes to stay afloat. Many divorcees find themselves in the same boat.
Going from one household to two can spread a bank account mighty thin, not to mention the crazy costs associated with the divorce process itself.
Ladies, here are some simple ways of ‘simplifying’ your lifestyle and still looking and feeling like a million bucks!
Hair, Nails & Pampering
The cheapest mani/pedi in my area runs about $45. If you’ve been used to this weekly/biweekly luxury, it’s a real doozy to give up.
Learning how to do your own Mani/Pedi doesn’t take that much effort, maybe you’ll even get good at it.
How about those highlights? Or hair coloring? DIY hair care has made great strides the past few years, and for cheap.
Maybe don’t give up your hairdresser altogether but do try to stretch out visits by dying or evening trimming yourself. I’ve managed to cut my appointments down to once every 8 months.
As for Brazilian Blowouts (costing around $300 in salons), you can now order the solution on Amazon ($50 but good for about 5 uses) and do it yourself in your own bathroom (or well-ventilated area). Same for simple blow-outs, those cost about $35 a pop at blow dry bars.
Everyone loves a spa massage, but now you can get the same quality (I think even better) at your local foot massage joint or Thai Massage Parlor, 60 minutes for $45 is the going rate. Or, forfeit the spa and find a special someone to massage you for free (if it were only that easy) 😉
I’ve even gone as far as doing my own leg and bikini waxes before vacations. This absolutely painful service costs around $85 in salons, but the wax strips at the drugstore cost around $12 a box. Difficult at first but you get used to it.
DIY can apply to facials, teeth bleaching, teeth cleaning, and eye-brow maintenance. You can look just as dapper as a salon rat, but for a lot less. But If you have an unstoppable spa craving, try Groupon or other coupons to save on the service.
Unfortunately, I can’t DIY my Botox, and I can’t not Botox (as if), so that stays! But I did stop spending on expensive creams, serums, and face washes. I tried them all, each a total load of hooey, I have NOT anti-aged one iota.
There is no need to buy La Mer or expensive caviar/platinum/gold/diamond enriched serums. I’ve found that more natural, way less expensive, products like coconut oil, essential oils, shea butter, castor oil, and vitamin C are just as effective (or just as non-effective at making me 20 again). You’re better off saving for a face-lift.
You CAN Clean Your Own House
Seems unfathomable at first, but for me, cleaning has become a form of meditation. You get faster and faster at it too; I can clean a toilet at record speed. I used to employ a team of housecleaners every week for $120.
But you also must ask yourself, which is worth more: time or money? With a full-time job and kids to look after, maybe a maid service is a must. Though you can try going from every week to every other week, or every month (and just do it yourself between visits).
Retail Therapy is REAL
I know it, you know it, we all know it!
Shopping is hard to give up completely (and impossible, we need cloths duh), but how much do we really need? It’s not a bad idea to curb your shopping habits, and be less of a consumer in general.
‘Lucky’ for me, I downsized into a smaller house with a teeny tiny closet, so I just didn’t have the physical space to acquire many new cloths.
And instead of shopping at high priced boutiques, you should change where you shop and how you shop.
Only shop the sale racks or when stores are doing discount days (i.e.. Friends & Family at Bloomingdales).
And instead of Nordstrom’s, try Nordstrom’s Rack, H&M, consignment stores, the RealReal online, or even eBay for slightly used luxury items like bags and shoes.
Some of my fav outfits are from Forever XI (shhh, I’m almost 40, am I even allowed to go there?), or consignment stores.
Which brings me to a good point: Purge and sell your old (but still in good shape) clothes, jewelry, gold, and other stuff- especially if the item brings bad memories of a bad marriage, or just makes you sad.
There are many places that buy ‘used’ engagement rings. I sold mine because I was happier having cash for my new life than a gloomy reminder of my horrible marriage, even though it was a gorgeous ring (hoping there’s ‘diamond karma’ and diamonds come back to me in the future).
I think I’ll save that money for a vacation, or a new Channel bag…who I am kidding, I have very boring bills to pay.
And truth be told, I’m a little over ‘over-consuming’ and feel chumpish buying into every new trend, who needs it!?
Will having the latest IT bag really make me happier!?
Most importantly, don’t eat out as much.
I wouldn’t recommend trading organic food for conventional, but places like Trader Joes, Sprouts, and even big chain grocery stores have a great selection of fresh, organic food.
Plan your meals and shop according; curb your impulse for impulse purchases. I like to shop for meats at Costco then freeze what we won’t be eaten during the week.
Gyms Memberships & Class Studios
We still have to stay healthy (physically and mentally), so NEVER give up fitness and exercise. But do try taking matters into your own living room, or outdoors.
I used to belong to a gym AND have class packages at a plethora of workout studios. I was an exercise class whore (Pilates, Bar class, kick-boxing, boxing, yoga, ballet dance, pole dance, Hip-Hop dance, Zumba dance, etc). These classes are about $20 a pop, and that’s with the package discount.
There so many incredible home workouts, whether via DVD videos or online YouTube channels. Keep in mind jogging, walking, and hiking outdoors is free. But if you MUST belong to a gym, maybe forgo Equinox (or your high-end gym) and join the local YMCA or a community center.
Many yoga studios now offer community classes on a donation only basis. Groupon also offers discounted exercise programs of all kinds. Class Pass is another excellent way to enjoy classes for cheap.
If you have the space for it, you could even invest in a minor home gym, or a treadmill stuffed in a corner. And def buy the equipment used on Craigslist, no need for a state-of-the-art machine or weights- just good enough to get the job done.
There is no shame in my cost-cutting game when it comes to staying Fab on a budget! Challenge yourself to make these changes, it will feel empowering… besides no one will know the difference.
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