Anyone who has ever shopped at Sephora, Ulta, or another beauty mecca knows how tempting it can be to load up on things you don't really need. And all those products that line the checkout aisle—who can resist those minis? We're not saying you need to completely change the way you shop, but when one Reddit user found herself spending upwards of $8,000 a year on beauty products, she decided to begin the difficult process of cutting back on her spending.
In a post shared yesterday in Reddit's MakeupAddiction forum, user cherwiththegoodhair opened up about the realization that her Sephora shopping sprees were preventing her from being able to renovate her bathroom. "I'm in my mid-thirties, have a great career and make a nice living," she writes. "I got some estimates [for my bathroom renovation] and felt like I couldn't afford it. My brother (who happens to be a financial planner made a joke that if I stopped buying makeup, I could probably afford my bathroom renovation." After doing the math, it dawned on her that she'd spent $2,800 in the past year at Sephora alone, upwards of $8,000 once she added in purchases from places like Ulta, Morphe, and ColourPop.
In an effort to cut back, she cleaned out her collection, unsubscribed from YouTube channels that push products, and greatly reduced her visits to Sephora, Ulta, and other beauty stores by giving herself a strict $50 monthly makeup limit.
These are all smart steps to take, says Terri Orbuch, PhD, a professor at Oakland University and research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. When it comes to beating any addiction, she notes, it's also important to find something else to occupy your time, whether that means exercising more, listening to music, or just taking a bath. Other ideas: "Be good to yourself in some other way by volunteering in your community," she says. "Sit down and make a list of things you've always wanted to do but haven't had the time, or things that will make you feel good about yourself."
Another thing this Reddit user did right was not quitting makeup cold turkey, Dr. Orbuch says. By allowing herself a monthly budget, she avoids the temptation that often leads addicts to revert back to their tendencies. "Any big change requires that you set small steps and goals for you to accomplish," says Dr. Orbuch. "Making small goals (such as, 'I won't buy any more eye make-up' rather than 'I won't buy any more makeup at all') is better than making a large goal that will take a long time to accomplish. You want to succeed at those smaller goals, rather than fail the larger goal."
If you're struggling with something similar, Dr. Orbuch stresses the importance of sharing your story with others in the same way that this Reddit user did. "When we share our meaning and story with others, it becomes a way to help us cope with the issue and deal with the issue." Find an outlet where you can express yourself, she adds, and remember to "surround yourself with people who love you."