Thursday, August 21, 2008

Perfumes, Pedicures, Pricey Dinners: Are They in Your Budget?

“If women put the average amount of money they spent on monthly manicure-pedicures ($50) into an interest-bearing retirement account every year for 10 years, they would have almost $10,000 saved.”

Flipping through any women’s magazine, you are sure to find countless advertisements for make-up, hair products, and expensive perfume that will make him fall for you before you say hello. A glance at the tabloids, a night in front of the television, even an innocent trip to the grocery store can encourage you to indulge in all those little luxuries that make you feel beautiful, whether it’s a manicure, an eyelash curler, new make-up, or that $30 bottle of lotion that promises to make your skin look young forever. The truth is that those advertisements and commercials fail to highlight one very important thing about these products: they cost money, and when you are buying these products that are supposed to make you feel better, look younger, and snag the guy of your dreams, you are spending your hard-earned money that could be used for better purposes, such as….you guessed it, saving for retirement.

According to a YWCA report mentioned in a Los Angeles Times article, Americans spend around $7 billion a year at cosmetics, beauty supply, and perfume stores. Moreover, one of the factoids in the report noted that women on average spend $50 a month on manicures and pedicures. If they put this money into an interest-bearing retirement account every year for 10 years, they would be able to accumulate approximately $10,000. To put this number in perspective, that would almost pay for one year of college at a state university, or one semester at a private university.

This is not to say that you should never get a pedicure again, or that you should stop buying make-up, perfume, soap (if nothing else, please leave soap on your shopping list!). However, budget your money, and keep track of where it goes. Is it typical for you to spend your entire monthly paycheck? Can you save money by eating out less, or forgoing a new pair of shoes? Can you cut expenses by dealing with the mediocre office coffee instead of picking up an extra-large non-fat French vanilla latte? To learn more about budgeting your money and how to save, visit the Saving and Investing portion of WISER’s website. Also, remember two things: you need your money in retirement more than your favorite make-up company needs it now. And the guy of your dreams? He probably can’t tell the difference between an $80 bottle of perfume and a $10 bottle of body spray.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I <3 Pedicures. But yes, totally unnecessary.