that Sarah Klem

I used to blog as the Devil. Then I was Tatiana. Now, I'm just me.

Beauty (or Even Average Looks) Doesn't Come Cheap

Rifka's mother recently helped her with a budget. Like me, Rifka is thinking about buying a house in the near future and so her mom sat down with her and discovered, even with an ample allowance for evenings out with friends, Rifka should be saving a butt-ton of money each month.

I was intrigued by this notion, but shrugged it off as not applicable to me. After all, I am already living a pretty meager existence. There is no way a down payment on a house lurks in my current finances. Sure, I enjoy a Starbucks coffee every morning and hardly ever bring my lunch to the office, but still – I would spend that money on groceries. So, really, it's a wash.

Later that week, I made my monthly pilgrimage to Sephora to pick up some necessities. I pulled out my VIB Rouge card and didn't bat a mascaraed eyelash as I swiped my debit card and signed for purchases totaling nearly $200.

This is an actual cosmetic bag I own. It reads: Inner Beauty is for Amateurs.

This is an actual cosmetic bag I own. It reads: Inner Beauty is for Amateurs.

Nope. I didn't furrow my threaded, brushed and filled in with powder brow until my mortgage guy came back to me with projections on how much a month I should be able to afford. I'm pretty good with math, but his numbers seemed way off. After all, if that were the case, I should have thousands of dollars piled up in my bank account ready for me to dive in and swim around like Scrooge McDuck. Instead, I'm worrying about where I'm going to get the money for closing costs.

I started to think about Rifka and her new budget and wondered if bringing my lunch every day would fill coffers. I looked at my bank statement, curious about where all my money was going, when the line item from Sephora smacked my mircoscrubbed, toned, mositurized and color corrected face.

Did you know the average woman will spend $15,000 in her lifetime on make-up? There is a good chance I have spent more than that in just my 30s. If this continues, in 30 years (the same time it will take me to pay off the house I plan to buy) I will spend $72,000 just on make-up. Not on my hair. Or hair removal. Or body wash or perfume or clothes. Just make-up.

Keep in mind – I don't get paid to look good. I'm not on camera. I'm not a spokesperson of any sort. Most days, the only people who see me are the strangers on the subway. So why is it I'm spending nine times as much on make-up as the average woman?

Seventy-two thousand dollars. It will probably take more than just typing this number for me to root out the why and how I got to a place where I felt compelled to spend more than $200 a month on my appearance. And, while I can't imagine a time when I can completely shun all conventional notions of beauty (though, my appreciation for those individuals has certainly increased), I have to take back my pocketbook. If not for my immediate plan to buy a house than for my future plan to retire. Someday.

So, last week, after I pumped out the last bit of my favorite mascara, I went to the drugstore and bought its replacement - for a third of the cost.