A Brief Pause

Hello,

You may have noticed that my blog has been a bit bare over the last few days.  I do apologize as I have been busy as finals draw near.  As I am a college student, I should need to put my education first.  But, don’t worry!  I’ll be back in a couple weeks and I promise I’ll make up for my lack of posts!  In fact, your reader may become inundated with all my pent-up, post-finals relief thoughts!  But, til then, I hope you all can again, forgive my fickleness.

Your typical stressed-out college undergrad, 

Material Detox

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A Week Without Credit Cards: Day 7, Back to School

Yesterday was the last day in my “Week Without Credit Cards” challenge.  If you have been following along, you know that I failed because I booked last minute flights back home for Thanksgiving.  However, aside from the plane tickets, I did not use my credit/debit cards.  I started off with roughly $50, with most of it going towards groceries and public transportation (to and from the airport).  I was also reimbursed $7 for a school funded field trip, however, I still had to borrow a few dollars to cover my fare back from the airport.

This challenge was a lot more difficult than I had originally anticipated.  Aside from it ending in total failure, I think it was pretty successful (well, you know what I mean).  However, I think it was worth it as it gave me new insights to my personal spending habits.  When I was working on a budget and knowing that I only could spend the cash I had on hand, I was much more careful and choosy in what I bought.  It became easier to see what items I need and which items were superflous (lippies!).

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It may seem like only a little bit at first…but it adds up pretty quick!

If you’re anything like me, you would understand that somehow every time I shop at Target/CVS/Walgreens, I come out with a cosmetic product.  I have so many drugstore lip products and I know I don’t need any more, yet I still buy more.  Yes, this addiction has ended ever since I started project 10 pan (which eventually led to this blog), but sometimes I still find myself perusing the makeup aisles.  Those weekly “small thrills” add up pretty quickly and I estimate that I’ll save at least $200 on cosmetics next year.

I think it would be healthy to do this challenge on a monthly/bi-monthly basis.  I may implement this into my routine as I think it will help me save money in the long run.  I came up with a few rules if I (or you!!!) decide to take on this challenge, again.

  1. The budget is $50 per person (say if you’re the one responsible for groceries for a family of 4, thats $50×4 = $200)
  2. You can’t purchase items online!
  3. Rent or bills do not count (and other routine expenses)
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The more you save, the less you need

Would you ever take this challenge?

-Material Detox

A Week Without Credit Cards: Day 5&6, 2 Down, 8 to Go.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Not spending money on Thanksgiving was easy.  Not spending money on Black Friday was another matter.  I knew I did not need to buy anything, but with all the special sales from almost every store, I was so tempted to buy everything!  However, I was able to resist for a few reasons:

  1. My family doesn’t go shopping on Black Friday
  2. Looking at the black friday “deals” online and realizing I wouldn’t buy any of those items if they weren’t on sale (Ok, well maybe the 32 inch TV)
  3. Playing Nintendo Land and Super Mario on my brother’s new Wii U (So Addicting!)
  4. “Shopping” around the house for things that I left behind

I found quite a few items that I left at home that I could use in the next year.  First, I found a box of hair dye and since I haven’t found the time to dye my hair since school has started, I dyed my hair a dark red shade.  Next, I found an unopened box of Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in No. 23.  This is perfect for an everyday foundation/bb cream/tinted moisturizer after I finish the Dr. Jart+ bb cream (a review is coming very soon!).  I was very happy to see these beauty treasures at home!

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Another bb cream contender

In other great news, I finished the Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum.  I still have two backups of these (my favorite shade) and many other shades of Revlon Lip Butter that I will  get to experiment with for the following year. These lip butters are my favorite lip product.  They leave my usually chapped lips incredibly soft and smooth.  Most of the shades are also super pigmented with a glossy finish.  I really should add this product to my “holy grail” list as its getting difficult to imagine my lips without them!

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Leaves my lips pretty and soft!

So, with that I was able not to spend money on Thanksgiving or Black Friday.  I am very pleased, but I’m a bit worried that I won’t have enough to last for tomorrow as after the plane, I have to take a train then a bus to get back to school.  In any case, it shouldn’t go over budget by more than a couple dollars…I hope.

Did you go Black Friday shopping, and if so, what deals did you find?

-Material Detox

A Week Without Credit Cards: Day 4, Home Again

I have very little to write about today, which isn’t a bad thing, as I was extremely content spending time with my mom and brothers.  My boyfriend was also back in town to visit his family, but he was able to grab brunch and play the Wii U with my brothers and me.  

Money spent today: $0

Time spent with family: Priceless

I apologize about how short this post is, but I’m sure many of you are also enjoying this extended weekend or planning out your holiday shopping trips!  

-Material Detox

A Week Without Credit Cards: Day 3, And Away We Go

So, I have failed in my experiment to go a week without credit cards.  However, perhaps, you will find it in your heart to pardon my one credit card purchase?

This morning, I received an email from my professor, informing the class that tomorrows class is cancelled due to his illness.  As I was really missing my mom and brothers, I used this as an excuse and decided to catch a last minute flight back home and spend time with them for the extended weekend.  So, yes, I did use my credit card to purchase tickets.  However, aside from the plane tickets, which were bought for a very special reason, I have not used my credit card to make any purchases.

So even though I have already failed in my experiment, I will still continue for the rest of the week to try and not make any more purchases by credit card.  That being said, I’ll begin with what I have bought today with my remaining cash.  First, I spent about $9 to get to the airport and then at the airport I spent $11 on food (ridiculous airport prices!).  This leaves me with 7 dollars and change left.  I think this is a fairly good amount as I will definitely eat my mom’s delicious food that I’ve missed so much over this weekend!

A Happy Thanksgiving Holiday to all of you!

-Material Detox

I’ll have what she’s having

At the end of July, I made what I consider to be one of the worst decisions ever in terms of beauty.  I chopped off 16 inches of hair!  I was looking at all the beautiful, chic, women with short, chopped hair that looked wonderfully stylish, daring, and sexy.  While the haircut itself was wonderful, it did not suit me.  Instead of looking fashion-forward, I looked awkward, older (not in a good way), and tired.  I did not look like the women in the pictures, I looked like me with an ill-suited haircut.

Now, I really did need to get rid of those 16 inches as it was all damaged hair.  I have inherited the unfortunate characteristic of having pre-mature gray hair (my grandpa was almost completely gray by the time he was 30).  Since the 6th grade, I have dyed my hair every 4-6 weeks.  This destroyed my hair and had made me want to chop it off in the first place.  However, now that it is short, all I want is to have long hair that can be tied up in a cute bun or pony tail.

I have been taking Biotin and a daily multivitamin to help strengthen my hair and perhaps make it grow faster, however, my hair only grew an inch-and-a-half since I had cut it, which is about the average rate of hair growth.  Still, I can be quite impatient, so I ordered Nisim F.A.S.T. shampoo and conditioner.  F.A.S.T. is an acronym for “Fortified Amino Scalp Therapy”.  If I were to use an analogy for how it works, I would say it kinda works like plant food where you put the nutrients right at the top of the soil (sorry, this is not a very good analogy).  Before I bought it, I read many mixed reviews all over beauty websites, amazon, and youtube.  Needless to say, I was nervous by the reviews and intimidated by the price ($25 for the duo, 12 oz. each).  However, one girl on youtube seemed to be having amazing results with this duo which finally convinced me to take the plunge and give F.A.S.T. a chance.

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I’ve been using this product for about a month and my hair may have grown a smidge faster than usual, but definitely not anything significant.  However, as far as a shampoo and condition goes, I quite like this combo.  I don’t think my hair grows “99% faster” and perhaps it doesn’t even grow faster at all, however I do think it has made my hair thicker, stronger, softer, and much more manageable.  It smells like nice, pleasant, salon shampoo, but it is quite drying.  This is combatted by their amazing conditioner, which has made my hair the softest it has ever been.

Overall, it is a great shampoo and conditioner.  However, it is pricy and doesn’t do (for me) what it claims it does.  Sigh, perhaps I should not try to rush mother nature and just hope for the best.

Have you ever had a horrible haircut and if so, what did you do to change it?

-Material Detox

A Week Without Credit Cards: Day 2, Grocery Shopping!

I don’t know how to cook.  I’ve tried and I can make simple pasta dishes and that’s about it, unless you count microwaving hot pockets and making ramen (ah, the life of a college student) so when I go grocery shopping it tends to be pretty simple.  My favorite grocery store is Trader Joe’s, mainly because they make my favorite Chinese Style Chicken Salad.  They go for $3.99 for a pretty substancial box that can suffice me for lunch.  As I won’t be going home for Thanksgiving, I thought I should stock up on them and grab a few more things so I don’t starve live off ramen during the short holiday weekend.

ImageAlthough I wanted to grab every scrumptious bit of food I saw there, I restrained myself so that I would only buy what I truly wanted/needed.  I noticed that when I knew exactly how much money I had, I became more careful in what I chose to buy.  This is what I bought:

  1. A Jar of Organic Marinara Sauce – $2.29
  2. Chinese Style Chicken Salad – $3.99 x3 = $11.97
  3. A Pack of Sliced Black Forest Ham- $2.49
  4. A 12 oz. bag of Baby Spinach- $1.99
  5. A Pack of Sliced Salami- $3.99
  6. A Pack of Sliced Swiss Cheese- $3.99
  7. A Reusable Bag- $0.99

This comes to a grand total of $27.80.  I now have 21 dollars and change to last the rest of the week, that’s pretty good.  As you can tell, I mostly live off sandwiches.  I still have to go and buy bread from my favorite local bakery, but over all I’m pretty happy with my outing. Usually I spend quite a bit more on chips, salsa, and ice cream, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I still have plenty of snacks that I should finish first.

Shopping for groceries today, made me realize how I also need to be more careful how I spend money on food.  $27.80 would have probably lasted me for 3-4 meals if I ate out.  Spending 27.80 on groceries will last me for about 8 meals.  In the long run, I can cut down on my spending while still being happily stuffed.  Perhaps, I will also learn how to cook next year!  That will help distract me from focussing on material objects and perhaps shift my focus to improving myself (like, say learning to cook?).

What was the first meal you learned how to fully cook? (Ramen does not count!)

-Material Detox