Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Frugal Luxury Junkie

I am soo into luxuries. Five-star spas, gorgeous skirts and time with my family. Those are my ideas of high-end comforts. But perks have a price tag and in my calculating mind, frugal choices subsidize my expensive habits and meaningful choices.

Here's my math: A weekly French manicure with a tip for the specialist would cost me anywhere between $18 to $25 per visit. On an annual basis that equals $936 to $1,300 for a bit of polish. Hmmmm?

But with one of those french manicure kits from the drug store or beauty supply store, I can do my own manicure for about 50 cents a week or $26 a year and my nails look great. What's more, I don't have to obsess about washing dishes or opening car doors and ruining my nails. I can fix it myself. No pain, lot's of gain!

I'm saving $900 to $1,200 a year on nail salon visits. And that savings enables me to enjoy periodic guilt-free massages or high-end spa treatments ($250 and up) at resorts such as the Ritz-Carlton or the Sonesta on Key Biscayne. Or I can go to South Beach and get a really, really beautiful manicure and pedicure at Seven Sisters Salon for about $120. Every six months, or whenever. The results are fantastic, long-lasting and worth every penny.

But here's the caveat: My private luxury tax only works if the treats are periodic. Better yet, I can spread the wealth by using my $1,000-plus manicure savings to take my kids to Disneyworld and I can give some of the money to charity.

Bottom line: Live well; save high and share the wealth.

I'm having so much fun. Life is an adventure. Keep the Faith and thanks for checking in.

ps. If weekly manicures are really, really important to you, spend the money. I would if that was a high-priority perk for me. It's all about choices. Spend where it means the most and if weekly manicures/pedicures put you in the right space. Enjoy the moment and save somewhere else.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Squeezing a lesson out of hair conditioner

My middle son loves L'Oreal Vive Smooth-Intense Conditioner. It's the stuff in the orange bottle. His curly/wavy hair responds well to that conditioner. (Does nada for my happy-nappy hair! I have other favorites, but that's another story.)

Normally, a 13 oz bottle of L'Oreal Vive costs $4.49 at Walgreens. Not a lot of money, but if I can save a bit, why not? So when we ran out of the L'Oreal, I encouraged my son to sample the other conditioners around the house. My goal: Wait until the next sale on the L'Oreal Vive. The sales are always in cycles. Time the cycles and you can save big!

Now mind you, if my son needed medicine, food, or any other basic necessity, I would have spared no expense. But hair conditioner?!? I'm sorry, we can wait for a good deal.

Well, our weeks of waiting paid off this week. L'Oreal Vive went on sale on Sunday at Walgreens: 2 bottles for $5. PLUS, we clipped two 75-cent-off manufacturer's coupons from the Sunday paper. (One coupon for each bottle.) Our total price: $1.75 a bottle vs. the regular price of $4.50 per bottle. I used the extra money to buy my son a treat.

So you see, it's not just the money. The real deal is my effort to teach my kids a valuable lesson about delayed gratification. It pays to wait.


Have a fun & frual day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hey it's the frugal me!


Thanks for checking out my new blog.

So I'm the Frugal Duchess. I love to shop, but I love to save money. In short, I like to live well, but pay low. I even have my own column in the Miami Herald. It's call Making Ends Meet and it runs on Saturdays.

I have fun writing it. It's like being paid to shop and look for bargains.

My latest obsession is buying new skirts on eBay. For only $30 to $40, it's possible to purchase through eBay, new-with-tags (NWT) skirts that usually sell for $200 in many cool stores. Sellers are offering skirts from Anthropologie, Banana Republic, the Gap and other stores. So I'm having fun bidding on new skirts on eBay.

But it's not just about things. I care about the environment, ethics and plain old decency. I love public transportation.

And I care about education, especially for my kids. Being frugal is a way to pass on real family values. But that's enough for now.

Coming soon: How I saved $$$$ on hair conditioner (L'oreal) and taught my ten-year-old son a great lesson.

See you later. Thanks for checking out my blog

Shalom Y'all