“‘When you’re not earning a lot of money, it can be tempting to avoid setting ambitious savings goals,’ Blaylock says. 'However, I like to tell my clients — people in all income brackets — that the same problems and challenges will exist no matter how many zeros factor into your annual salary.’”
Our country is starting to value prisons more than it values schools.
That’s the takeaway from a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), which examined state general fund spending between 1986 and 2013. When they compared education spending with corrections spending, the CBPP found that state spending on corrections has increased by 141% in the last three decades, while spending on grades K-12 had only increased by 69%, just under half as much. Spending on higher education rose 5.6% over the same period.
Though I wear makeup almost every day, I got into beauty relatively late in the game. Sure, I had the years of being an overeager teenager, so self-conscious that I never left the house without pancake makeup that was a few shades too dark, but I grew really tired of that constant application process and stopped wearing it altogether. Most of my photos from ages 16-22 feature a bare-faced kid, and that was perfectly fine. But I began applying makeup when I started working full-time in an office, and slowly, I worked it up to a pretty solid routine that takes me almost no time to do, and rarely fails me.
All that product isn’t cheap, though, and as I learned, beauty is so much more than what you put on your face. (Hell, it’s so much more than just your face, but that’s an existential pep talk for another day.) I work for a fashion site that also houses a pretty amazing beauty closet, and I’m lucky enough that they let me play with a few of the products we test out, but most of my product hunt has been done through trial and error and my own hard-earned money (pro-tip: Sephora’s return policy is the greatest thing ever). Here’s what I spend, on average, every month.
1. Gym membership: $205
Did you wince upon reading that? Yeah, I did, too. But we’re being absolutely and completely honest here, and so we might as well get the worst one out of the way first. Now, I know that there are cheaper gyms out there, and by no means am I suggesting that a more expensive gym is going to get you better results. But for what I pay for, it winds up being cheaper than other options. (Trust me, I tried belonging to one of the $20-a-month chains, and I never went. In some ways, that gym was a bigger waste of money than my current membership.)
I take about 5 spin classes a week, and those alone would run me $30-35 each at boutique studios — that would be $175 a week without my membership. No thanks. On top of that, I typically hit the gym for 3 more strength training sessions and two more cardio sessions (I just really like to work out). I’m at the gym A LOT, so it’s imperative that I like the environment and have a lot of locations to go to, so I can get my workout in whenever I can.
And beyond that, my gym offers shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion in the locker rooms. (It’s Kiehl’s, too, which isn’t cheap.) There’s deodorant, razors, tampons, towels blowdryers, you name it. I don’t have to bring a n y t h i n g, and that is deeply glorious. Because I usually shower at the gym, I save a lot of money on shampoo — I think I bought my most recent bottle four months ago, and it’s still sitting in my shower, half-full — and while that isn’t the main reason most people join a gym, it doesn’t hurt.
My skin isn’t that bad, but the complexion is a little uneven, so I like having something on my face as a base, and this is my favorite formula. I typically go through a tube of this stuff a month. If Sephora wanted to charge me every month to just send it to me, I’d be fine with it. I like a relatively matte face, so this is basically just my skin in a tube, no powder required.
3. Mascara: $24 every 3 months (mascara expires, so be sure to replace it regularly) / $8 a month
I have tried and tried to switch to a drugstore brand, but this stuff is the holy grail. (Maybelline’s Volum’Express The Rocket mascara is probably the closest approximation to it, though.)
4. Lipstick: $28 every 2 months / $14 a month
If I have one signature thing, it’s bright lipstick. You swipe it on, and you’ve instantly got a full look, whether or not you have any other makeup on at all. I’ve spent some time amassing my collection but despite my stash, I rotate between a few favorite colors and haven’t yet needed to replace them — one tube lasts a looooong time (longer if you store them in the fridge, as I do). I might add a new color every two months or so, though, and your average lipstick will run anywhere from $8 to $32, so let’s say I spend $14 a month on my mouth.
You need to take it off somehow. The stuff your mom used to slather on your butt is the only thing that takes EVERYTHING off in one swoop. It’s multi-purpose, too, so it’s my go-to body lotion, and it even works as shaving cream in a pinch.
I like to use one of these single-use packs a week, so I typically go through a box every month. They dislodge everything that might be lurking in my pores, and though I like one variety over the others, they all work pretty well, and guarantee that I’m not wasting any product by applying too much.
I used to belong to a few different subscription programs, but this one is by far my favorite, so I canceled the other ones. (No use in spending money if you’re not fully satisfied, right?) You get full-sized products, and while I might not find use for everything they send me every month, I like passing some things on to my friends if they might like them. There’s always something I like, though — this month was a shampoo, and last month featured a face scrub and a shaving cream that I’d absolutely buy again.
9. Nail polish: $8
It’s notoriously hard to finish a bottle of nail polish — seriously, when was the last time you completely drained a bottle — but I’ll pick up a new color every once in a while. If you find the average between a $1 bottle of New York Color quick-dry clear polish which is seriousy the best top coat ever, and a pricier $18 bottle from Deborah Lippmann, that averages out to maybe $8 a month — the price of popping a bottle of Essie in your basket at the drugstore because the color caught your eye.
Of course, there’s the random facial (usually $70), haircut ($60, on average), box of hair dye ($10), eyebrow shaping session ($20), and perfume (how do you break down the average use of a bottle of perfume?!) but I don’t buy these things with any real regularity and so I’m not going to count them. My eyebrows have also been hacked down over the years to the point where they’re just not growing back anymore, so I can usually maintain them with a bright light and tweezers. But I used to spend good money every month so a stranger could rip them out. Just know that it gets better, girls. It truly does.
Author’s note: I am both notoriously lazy about my hair, and very lucky that it is the kind of hair that lets me be notoriously lazy about it, so I never spend any money on hair product. I have that half-used bottle of cleansing crème I bought months ago, and a rogue bottle of dry shampoo I have used a grand total of two times but showering at a gym that provides premium shampoo and conditioner cuts a huge chunk of money out of the way.
Total: $303, on average
Even though that’s entirely skewed by my gym membership, that’s a not-insignificant amount of money. It’s about $97 a month if you don’t want to include that, which is still not exactly cheap, but for the amount and quality of product I’m using, it’s not that bad.
It also helps that my makeup routine has been whittled down to three products every day — I have blush and bronzer, contour and highlighter and eyeshadow and eyeliner, of course, but I hardly use these things, and they’re stored in my fridge so they don’t go bad. And because I rarely use them, I typically buy the trial or travel size, so it saves me space, product, and money. (This travel-sized duo has lasted me over a year, and I haven’t even hit the pan yet.) You can usually find these small sizes near the cash register, but be careful because they add up.
Countless thinkpieces have already been written on the subject of “waking up like this (***flawless)”, so I’ll spare you. And though I know my self-worth and intelligence would in no way be diminished if I stopped wearing makeup tomorrow, this is a routine I like partaking in. It makes me feel good about myself, and it’s also just plain fun. It’s something of a hobby, and on days when I wake up feeling like crap, that swipe of Ruby Woo is essential to boosting my mood.
There’s a reason why this is a multi-billion dollar business, and why countless millions of those billions of dollars are spent hawking the stuff at us in the hopes that we buy it. Simply put: because we will. But newer, reasonably-priced brands are coming out with new formulas and products every day, though, and there’s no reason why something you find at your local CVS won’t work just as well — or even better — than something hidden on the Bloomingdale’s makeup floor. Chances are good that one day, I’m going to have to cut back on some of these things, whether that’s because of a job change or starting a family or simply because I switch products or brands. And that’s fine, and totally normal.
What matters is that whatever you’re using helps you feel like the best version of you possible. And that — with or without makeup, #nofilter or with filter, whether you woke up like this or spent three hours drawing on the perfect liquid cat-eye — is pretty freaking ***flawless in its own right.
Ella Ceron is social media editor at New York Magazine’s The Cut. She is on Twitter and Instagram.
NASA hails spending boost under Obama budget proposal
Miami (AFP) Feb 2, 2015
NASA on Monday hailed a proposal by President Barack Obama to boost spending for the US space agency and announced plans for a mission to explore Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
The agency’s administrator, Charles Bolden, said at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida that NASA has made strides in the journey toward Mars - where a human mission is planned for 2024 - with a “near-flawless” flight test Full article
Like many people who battle impulse purchases, there are certain situations/moments that really cause me to justify spending in a way I wouldn’t otherwise. They’re not always actual physical things, and are sometimes just “certain times of day or states of mind,” but all of them can be actively combated if I plan ahead and put my mind to it.
Personally, I’ve identified six big triggers for bad spending decisions, and come up with some solutions that have really worked for me:
1. Organize your shopping into one long day with a lot of walking.
I have found that when I do my shopping sporadically — or plan on only going to one store — I tend to want to “maximize” my time within the store or on that particular jaunt. However, if I dedicate one day to be my “shopping” day, where I’m clocking tons of walking time and have planned to hit at least a whole neighborhood of stores, I’ll be much more likely to hold off on buying something until I’ve seen everything that needs to be seen. Occasionally I’ll even come back later in the day once I’ve really decided that it’s worth the money, which is something I’d never do if I just happen to stop by a store. And besides, having a full “shopping day” with a lunch or dinner involved is an awesome way to spend a weekend afternoon, and it’s cardio! You can easily walk 20,000 steps in a full day of shopping in a city.
2. Be clear up front that you’re not drinking and eating lightly at a restaurant.
When I go out with friends, it’s really easy to get into the calorie-and-dollar quicksand mentality of “oh, well I’m out anyway, might as well get ___.” It could be a few glasses of wine, it could be an appetizer, it could be any number of things. But the point is that once I’m already in that restaurant, it’s really hard to stop the moving train. To avoid this, I try to be upfront with friends that “I’m eating really light,” or “not drinking” that evening, so that they have the chance to back out if they want a big night out, and aren’t surprised when I order a simple salad and water with lemon.
3. Make Sunday your meal prep day, and make it an indulgent routine.
Weekday food trips (particularly when I was working out of an office) are a particularly dangerous thing for me, whether it’s a breakfast I pick up on the way in, a lunch out “to get out of the office and move around,” or an afternoon coffee (and pastry) run. To combat this, I would do two things: Have my Sunday night routine where I would prep foods that could be brought in, from baggies of almonds and blueberries to actual, full lunches. I turned on a reality show, made myself some tea with honey and milk, and just zoned out while I prepped everything for at least several meals.
And on top of that, it really helps to have a work buddy (or group!) who wants to a) get out of the office and b) save some money/eat better. Plan lunches on a bench or in a park, trade brought-in lunches or snacks like you’re in school (it’s fun!), or even just remind each other that the coffee-run impulse is a bad one, and that you should be bringing in spare coffee for later in the afternoon. Make it a team effort, and prepare for it on Sunday night!
4. Plan ahead for picnics-as-brunch-replacement in warm weather.
Eating outdoors is not just something to do with coworkers on your lunchbreak. Redefining the hallowed brunch ritual to include a BYOEverthing meal in a park or by the water is an awesome thing, too. I used to have near-weekly weekend brunch-picnics with friends that lasted all afternoon long, where everyone brought MAYBE 10 bucks worth of a food or drink and we feasted like kings. I miss it dearly, and plan to reinstate it this summer — if only to save me from crippling brunch expenses.
5. Preemptively plan activities for days like Wendesday and Thursday after work.
Avoiding hump day and ~Thirsty Thursday~ after-work happy hours is of the essence. Use places like Meetup or local clubs to combat this by replacing your usual “meh, let’s get drinks” moment with something productive, cheap, and non-alcoholic.
6. Adjust your walking routes to avoid places you KNOW you always stop into.
One thing I had to stop doing recently was taking the street down to the river that was lined with expensive-but-wonderful stores. Yes, it means going an extra few blocks out of my way, but it also means not having to be filled with the desire to buy shit I don’t need when I’m just trying to go sit on a park bench with my dog. Avoiding the visual cues that you know are going to lead to spending are one of the things we have to adapt to quickly if we are going to make any real progress. We all have our temptations that we need to avoid for a variety of reasons, and if a street with Anthropologie on it is one of yours, that’s just something you need to own.