Where Not to Cut Corners

We all want to cut our expenses as much as possible. In this economy, nobody can really afford to spend without thinking about it. There are some areas, though, where you really do get what you pay for, and cutting corners isn’t really an option.

  • If you wear a bra, get the best you can afford, and make sure it fits you exactly. Sports bras are only for sports or sleeping, unless you’re using them to bind your chest. The best places to get fitted are upscale department stores or better lingerie stores (Victoria’s Secret is not one of the better ones). Good bras are an investment, so take care of them. Hand wash if it’s practical, and if not, wash them with the backs hooked, inside a lingerie bag, on a delicate or hand wash setting. Never, ever, ever put your bras in the dryer, because it damages the elastic, warps the underwire, and makes them wear out a lot faster.
  • If you’re going to be working out, don’t skimp on your shoes. Get a pair that is well constructed, a good fit, and appropriate for your chosen sport. I know they’re expensive, but once they start breaking down, you’re looking at a lot higher potential for injuries.
  • People will tell you that you can go to a beauty school to get your hair cut/colored/whatever, and that it will save you money. No, it won’t, because chances are, you’ll have to go to someone who has actually completed their training and knows what they’re doing to fix what the student did to it. Trust me on this one; I tried it. Total disaster, and I ended up having to pay for styling as well as a cut, because the woman couldn’t picture whether the shape she’d given my hair would match the picture I brought in unless she flat-ironed it. After flat-ironing it, she swore it looked like the picture. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Don’t do it.
  • Suits are tricky to fit, and the fit is what’s going to indicate your level of attention to detail. If it’s just “close enough” to fitting, then put it back on the rack, unless you’re going to pay for alterations. That’s one area in which those who shop in the women’s department have an advantage over those shopping in men’s, because for suit-worthy occasions, we have other, equally appropriate options that aren’t available on the other side.
  • Don’t skip steps in your skin care routine. Yes, you DO need cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. Sensitive skin? Get a non-alcohol toner. Oily skin? Get an oil-free moisturizer. Just because your skin cells turn over frequently doesn’t mean that you can neglect your skin and think it’ll be all right in a few days or weeks.
  • Cheap razor blades are cheap for a reason. They go dull faster, leaving your skin irritated, and they don’t give as close a shave. Use a decent moisturizing shaving cream or gel and a razor with at least three blades, shave immediately after the shower, and replace your razor blade often. A razor blade that isn’t sharp enough is what causes the drag against your skin that leaves you with razor burn.
  • Glue-on nails are not a substitute for getting a manicure on your natural nails. In fact, anything that glues to your own nails is damaging, and it will take months to recover. You can do a manicure yourself, but the soaking, pushing back cuticles, and moisturizing your hands are more important elements than the polish. If you’re going to skip a step, skip the color.

There are ways that you can trim time or money from your budget and still look and feel put together. But in some areas, it really does show. Save where you can, but don’t be afraid to spend where you need to.


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