Intentional Spending: Frugal vs. Cheap

Photo by Ron Lach on

I’m in a facebook group for frugal living and a question came up regarding personal care spending.  The question went something like this: 

“Do you spend a lot for your shampoo?  I believe mine is making my hair fall out. “

The responses ranged from “do not skimp on caring for yourself” to “this could be related to something other than shampoo, such as thyroid issues or vitamin deficiencies.”  But the responses were consistently and unanimously on the side of not skimping on personal care items when choosing frugality could possibly cause you harm.

Obviously there’s no way for the internet congregation to know whether cheap shampoo is actually the cause of her issues, but assuming it is, then the group definitely sided with self-care over being cheap.

It made me realize that sometimes choosing a positive lifestyle choice, be it with your finances, your fitness or anything in between, being so extreme that it’s causing more harm than good is not the way to go.  While I can’t say that this is or isn’t the case for this particular person, there are many times that people put a goal over safety or good decision-making.  And that can be dangerous. 

I love being in groups sometimes because they do often bring out interesting discussions, and this group did bring up some pretty good points.  Here are some thinkable moments that came out of the discussion:

You only get one body.  Take care of it.  This should be a no-brainer but it’s a good mantra to keep in mind for so many reasons.  I know that I take my body for granted every single day.  And I need to stop that. 

Skimp in other areas so that you can pamper yourself and your body.  I think this is a great idea.  I have never been an every-two-weeks mani/pedi girl, and I don’t go to the hair salon often at all, but I do believe that you should figure out how to set aside money to pamper your body from time to time.  Massages, hair treatments, whatever is important to you…figure out how to incorporate it into your life in a way that makes sense financially.  Sinking funds or cash envelopes are a great way to budget for these items.

I don’t go to salons, but I buy nice quality items to give myself nice at-home hair treatments and manicures.  There are great products in the store that are affordable.  Figure out those great products that work for your hair and your skin.  Look for them when they are on sale, grab a coupon, or take advantage of specials.  And honestly, this is possibly a splurge area for me.  I have a face cream that I love, but I’ve also found a good store brand knock-off, so I alternate each time I purchase face cream:  one month cheap stuff, one month good stuff.  But for me, I’d rather spend the money to do upkeep versus spend a lot of money down the road trying to correct issues that could have been avoided. 

You should see a doctor/dermatologist/nutritionist/etc.  Let’s face it.  There are a lot of people who only go to the doctor if they are truly debilitated.  Things that are labeled as small, cosmetic, or discretionary are often overlooked until it spirals into a more serious issue.  I’m not sure if this is a frugal thing or not.  For some, it could be, but for others, it may be a hassle that just doesn’t rise to the occasion of a doctor’s appointment.  These “small” symptoms can often be the piece of a larger puzzle.  Squeeze those doctor’s appointments into your schedule.  They could be crucial for catching something before it’s too late.  Quick story which I plan to blog about later…a visit to the dermatologist for something I chalked up to my own vanity ended up catching a malignant tumor for me in November of this past year.  It wasn’t causing me pain, it was just annoying and I hated looking at it.  Even the dermatologist told me it was nothing, and said I didn’t have to do anything unless I wanted to.  And when it was removed and biopsied, the result was skin cancer.  So yeah, that’s my quick lesson about getting “little” things checked out. You just never know.

Try a different product. Many people in the group provided product suggestions.  Sometimes people feel like there’s only one product that works for them.  And while there’s no real way to tell if something that works for an internet stranger will also work for you, at least it does get you into thinking about other options.  Some people have been buying the same shampoo since the 90’s.  It’s routine and it’s comfortable.  But it could also be time to venture out to something new.  Our bodies change over time, hair included, and another product could be a better option for you.  Doing a little research and trial and error could be the answer.

I agreed with all of these points, but I question how frugal someone is living if it means that something as dramatic as hair loss still makes them question whether they should spend a few extra dollars.  In the days of extreme couponing and store discount cards, there are a lot of people that make big decisions based on price—even if the price difference is insignificantly small and does not justify buying the cheap product over the more expensive option. I shop based on price comparisons quite a bit, and a lot of times I regret skimping. 

Where do you stand on the issue? I have often times opted for cheap when I should have splurged, and vice versa. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is right, but I definitely feel like you should spend money when the cheap way is causing you harm.

What’s something you’re always cheap on? What do you always splurge for?

Product Review: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

[DISCLAIMER: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

I had had it. My skin was going through this super splotchy, uneven, dry phase and I was over it. I reached out to my girlfriend Sherri, who is on top of her skin care, and I asked if she had any suggestions.

She asked if I used hyaluronic acid in my skin routine.

Did she just say ACID???

I’ve always had a pretty basic skincare routine. A reliable cleanser and a reliable moisturizer, and that was about all I ever did. Occasionally I may have tried an eye cream or a night time oil in the winter, but that was about it.

I’ve heard the term “hyaluronic acid”, but it never struck me as something I should really pay much attention to, and I’ve never associated acid with something that SHOULD come in contact with my skin. But I’m getting older, and **ahem** women of a certain age need to invest a little more time and money into their skincare routine, and that may mean branching out into unknown territory.

My girlfriend Sherri sent me a link to The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum, and I purchased it. I admit, I was still scared to death of acid, and scared that a new product would jack up my skin. My skin is fairly basic…give it what it wants, drink water, and nobody gets hurt. But give it one bad thing and all hell breaks loose. Even though I felt like I needed to improve the tone and texture of my skin, I was nervous about messing up the skin tone that I already had. My skin wasn’t GREAT, but it definitely wasn’t HORRIBLE. I’ve never really suffered from acne except the occasional pimple from time to time, and I don’t have any serious chronic blemish or face problems. But the dullness, the occasional dark areas…it all just made me feel old and ugly.

I really didn’t have a lot of faith in one product being able to really do too much to turn my skin around, and honestly, I expected a complete breakout…but I figured I’d give it a shot.

Here’s a little background info about hyaluronic acid.

  • Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally present in the human body.
  • Hyaluronic acid works by acting as a cushion and lubricant in the joints and other tissues.
  • Hyaluronic acid is used to treat a wide variety of ailments from knee injury to cataracts.
  • Some research shows that injecting a specific hyaluronic acid medical device into facial wrinkles can reduce wrinkles for up to one year.
  • Hyaluronic acid can help the skin look and feel more supple.
  • When applied to the surface of the skin, hyaluronic acid serums can reduce wrinkles, redness and dermatitis. Some dermatologists even inject hyaluronic acid fillers to keep skin looking firm and youthful.
  • Hyaluronic acid helps the skin maintain moisture and helps the tissue regeneration process involved in healing wounds.
  • Hyaluronic acid is suitable for all skin types.
  • When paired with a Vitamin C serum, hyaluronic acid can help reduce and prevent age spots and pigmentation issues.
  • Products formulated with hyaluronic acid can brighten skin’s appearance. Skin will appear smoother and plumped with hydration after using.


Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 from The Ordinary is a lightweight water-based serum formulated with a combination of low, medium, and high molecular-weight hyaluronic acid, and a hyaluronic acid crosspolymer for multi-depth hydration.


-Replenishes lost moisture
-Maintains healthy-looking skin
-Provides enhanced barrier support
-PH 6.50 – 7.50


-Hyaluronic Acid
-Hyaluronic Acid Cross-Polymer
-Vitamin B5


Within a few weeks, I definitely noticed skin improvements. It just hit me one day that my skin looked so moisturized and way more bright than it had in the past. Since the only thing that had changed in my face routine was the hyaluronic acid, that HAD to be what it was!

I noticed that I have not been focusing on using as many brightening corrections when I edit my pictures. I really have not been thinking about using concealer or foundation to even out my skin lately. My skin definitely looked healthier, more even, and brighter. And it even feels more dewy and overall more moisturized.

So I am about five months into the bottle that I purchased and it is DEFINITELY a solid part of my skin care routine. I will absolutely continue to use this product for the indefinite future, and will also be adding other items from The Ordinary line into my regiment.

Adding hyaluronic acid to my daily routine could not have been easier. Here’s what I do each time I wash my face.

-Wash with my face cleanser

-Pat my face with towel

-Put on the serum (I’m pretty generous with it) and allow to dry for a few minutes

-Put on my normal face moisturizer

This could not be any easier! It doesn’t add much more time to my routine, and I’m not even sure that you have to wait for the serum to dry. I will continue to use this product. And actually, my girlfriend Sherri also told me to incorporate glycolic acid as a toner into my routine. I wanted to see how my face would respond to one thing at a time, so I started with the hyaluronic, but now I feel comfortable enough to add the The Ordinary Glycolic Acid to my regiment. So that’s next!

Do you use either of these products? What’s a must-have in your skin regiment? I’d love to know!

Quick Summer Wardrobe – 6 Easy Outfits From Walmart

At the end of this week, we will travel to our new airbnb. We decided to pick a warmer climate because… enough’s enough. lol. Spring in Maryland is doing this thing where one day it’s a high of 79 and the next day the high is 42. And I’m just over it. I have to leave the house with layers just in case the temp dramatically spikes or drops while I’m out. I can’t figure out whether to wear a tank top or a puffy coat, and I’ve had enough. lol.

Because it was December when we started this airbnb/vagabond lifestyle, we have zero summer clothes with us. Our upcoming location will be hot and no puffy coats or scarves will be needed. Knowing I have tons of summer clothes in storage, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a new wardrobe, but I definitely needed to buy some shorts and sandals. So I scoured Walmart and came up with a few great pieces without breaking the bank.

Here are a few easy, affordable, and cute outfits that I was able to throw together with a simple trip to my local Walmart. I linked the items I was able to find on the website, but some items may be available in your local stores.

Outfit #1: Tie dye dress.

Secret Treasures midi gown in a medium ($14.88)
(I was unable to find this online, but you may find it in your local store)

I believe this is actually a night gown or house dress, because I found it in the section with women’s pajamas. But the material is just as thick as anything I would wear out in public so it is now a multi-use garment. Part dress/part night gown. Lol. It will be put to work! Even in a medium, It’s a little long for me, so I can easily fix that by cinching the sides into a quick knot with a hair tie. Easy breezy! I could have definitely done a size down but I erred on the side of caution. I can shrink it up a little in the wash if I need to.

Outfit #2: High-low top with jeans and clog sandals.

Time & Tru Relaxed Fit Tee ($9.98); Time & Tru Wooden Heel Sandal ($19.98)

I love this top. It’s so easy to throw on with shorts or jeans. Once I got it home, I wound up also ordering it in white and navy blue. It’s just too good to have in the closet as a staple. I am wearing a medium in the top. The sandals…omg I LOVE these!! They are so comfortable, padded with a little memory foam. Just enough heel to be cute without being painful to walk in. I will be wearing these all summer! The jeans are actually pre-owned and another brand, but I could have easily found a similar pair in walmart if I needed some.

Outfit #3: Peach tie-dye paperbag shorts, a white neck, and brown stencil flip flops.

No Boundaries Shorts ($5.98); Time & Tru Flip Flops in Cognac ($9.98); Time & Tru Vneck ($4.98)

These shorts fit amazingly well. I am wearing a 19, but could have definitely gone down a size. I wasn’t quite sure how they would fit and I couldn’t try them on in the store so I erred on the side of caution. I’m quite “healthy” in th back so I would rather them be too big than too small. The neck is a classic and I’m sure I will be wearing that with other things this summer. The flip flops are a summer staple. They are ornate without being over the top. Easily paired with basically everything because of the maroon color, and the heel has a slight elevation so my flat feet appreciate that.

Outfit #4: Drawstring jean shorts, black tank, and straw hat.

No Boundaries Draw String Shorts ($9.88); Time & Tru Tank Top from previous season

What a simple but chic outfit for the beach, for brunch or dinner. These shorts are in a 2xl, and I could have definitely gone down a size. I would prefer them a little shorter so I will use some hem tape so that they stay cuffed like they are in the pics. The black tank is a basic closet necessity, and I can easily throw on my jean jacket or a sweater or kimono over this outfit. The shoes were not purchased at walmart, but I could easily wear my clog sandals for sure!

Outfit #5: Flutter sleeve top and open toed wedge booties

Tierra Sky Peasant Top ($13.98); Time & Tru Booties ($12 on clearance)

This top is awesome for summer date night, or for brunch with the girls. Perfect fit, great style, and easily pairs with shorts, jeans or capris. And these super comfy wedged open toed booties go so well with this outfit! (The jeans are pre-owned, but walmart sells tons of similar styles.)

Outfit #6: Tiered skirt, tank, and clog sandals

No Boundaries Smocked Mini Skirt ($9.98); Time & True Wooden Heel Sandals ($19.98)

This outfit is the surprise from my trip. I really didn’t know what to expect when I got home and tried this skirt on but I absolutely adore it!! Easily paired with a tank top and belt, and it looks so perfectly dainty. Or wear it with your swimsuit for the perfect coverup. I am wearing the clog sandals that I purchased at walmart and I just love this outfit! I cannot wait to wear it!

I love knowing that there are cute options for building a budget-friendly wardrobe! Walmart for the win! Of course they aren’t the only show in town, but there are definitely cute pieces that you can easily pick up while you’re doing your Saturday shopping. And don’t get me started on their bathing suits! They have totally stepped up their game! So far, I’ve talked myself out of buying new swimsuits, but if I break down and buy a couple, I’ll definitely share!

Where is your go-to place for reliable, affordable styles? Have you started your summer shopping yet? Or are you waiting for temps to get warmer? I’d love to hear from you! Let a sista know!

DIY Manicure Using Gel Nail Strips

[DISCLAIMER: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

I’m one of those people that loves doing my own nails.  Partly because I’m just cheap or rather…ahem, frugal…but partly because it’s my version of spending time with myself.  For me, there is something kinda therapeutic about watching the paint go on, finishing it off with a shiny top coat, and seeing how pretty my hands are once I add rings, and get all cute and done up. 

I always think about how, back in the day, women did a lot of their own beautification routines.  They soaked in fragrant tubs, they curled their own hair, and they lotioned, lathered, glossed, and shimmered themselves to the nines!

I had a fairly normal nail routine before COVID hit, but lately, let’s just say things have fallen off a bit.  I’ve been seeing ads for gel nail strips and I’ve been pretty intrigued by it.  And you know how IG and the innanet works…once you look at one gel strip ad, they show up over and over and over until you just give in!  So I decided to buy some and give it a try.  What better way to spend a Saturday night, right?

I got my nail strips, read the instructions, gathered my materials, and jumped in.  And I love how they turned out!

Here’s what I used for my manicure:

Here are my steps:

  • Remove any nail polish if you have any on your nails
  • Push back your cuticles using the cuticle tool in your manicure kit
  • Use the swab from your nail strip kit to remove any remaining lotions, oils and debris
  • Put on one coat of ORLY nail bonder or a base coat.  This step is optional.  As with any base coat, this gives your paint something to adhere to.
  • One at a time, I did the sizing for my nails.  I selected the strip that was closest in size to whichever finger I was working on.  When in doubt, I sized down.  You do not want the strip to go past your cuticles.
  • Once you have selected a strip, use tweezers to remove the strip from the wrapper and place it in the center of your nail.  The tweezers help to eliminate excess touching, which can diminish the adhesive of the gel strip. As with anything sticky, the more you touch and manipulate it, the less sticky it becomes
  • Place the strip onto your nail and then use your fingers to smooth the strip onto the nail from the center, swiping outwards.  Wrap the strip around the tip of your nail as much as possible.
  • Using your nail file, file the excess strip from the tip of your nail.  Be firm when you file.  Also, you want to do your strokes in one direction at a time.  Doing back and forth filing will potentially rip the nail strip.  Once you file around the tip, you should be able to pull the excess off with your fingers.  You can also do some of the work with your clippers, but finish it off by filing the tip with your emery board.
  • Top with a top coat.  I used a gel top coat.  This is optional but could help seal around the edges of your strips and prolong the length of life for your manicure. 
  • Avoid soaps, oils, and lotions for an hour after you complete your application.

I LOVE how they turned out!  When I paint my nails, I’m lucky if I get a solid coat of polish to look decent.  I definitely have never gotten into designs and multiple colors.  This is such a fun and easy way to have designs and shapes and multiple colors without paying extra or without me killing myself following a youtube tutorial!  SO. EXCITED.!!

The packaging says that the gel strips can last up to 14 days.  I’m SUUUPER hard on my nails, so I don’t expect it to last that long.  If I get a week, I will be elated!  I will report back!

Have you been doing your own manicures during the pandemic?  Do you have any tips or products that have worked well for you?  Let a sista know!

In the meantime, here are a few more pics from my manicure photo shoot. I now have a whole new appreciation for hand models 🙂