You’re So Vain—You Probably Think This Post Is About You

so vain 1Okay, I couldn’t help myself…ever since I watched “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” last week, that Carly Simon song has been stuck in my head. I don’t even really like that song, but it’s sort of catchy.

Of course, it is somewhat appropriate for today’s post.

I think we all sometimes worry too much about how we look to others. Even though what’s really important is how we feel about ourselves. We might be self-conscious about not looking pretty, handsome, thin, young, fit or stylish enough, behind closed doors. But doesn’t everybody feel a little less spectacular from time to time?

Looking Younger

The other day, I was hanging out with my mom and I finally realized something I should have noticed a long time ago. She spends a good amount of money trying to make herself look better and younger, on a consistent basis.

She’s not even that old, she’s only 52 years old. But for the last 7 years or so, she’s been spending more and more money on these things. I really think it all began when I had my daughter and my mom was officially a grandma. That would make anybody feel old, wouldn’t it?

So many dermabrasions, peels, laser treatments, wrinkle creams, over-priced make-up and various skin care items. I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been her age and felt the pressure she feels to age gracefully.

Honestly, I don’t think she looks nearly as old as she sees herself in the mirror. When she gets all these treatments done, I don’t notice a difference. So does that mean she’s wasting money? What if she thinks there is an improvement and thus feels better about herself?

She’s not in debt and isn’t going to be broke anytime soon, so shouldn’t she be able to spend her money on whatever she wants? Or is it being vain to spend so much money on making yourself look or feel better?

Made of Plastic

so vain 2Then of course we have the ever popular plastic surgery. I can fully understand getting plastic surgery when it’s necessary  You know, stuff like your earrings were too heavy and ripped your earlobe, breast reductions to ease back pain, broken noses that never looked right again and so forth.

But there’s a big difference between necessary and vanity plastic surgery. Your nose is just a little bit larger than you want it, or your boobs aren’t sufficient as a C and you must have a DD, or face-lifts.

Where should the line be drawn? What if these little (or large) changes make somebody feel more confident, is that a bad thing? Or should we all just be grateful for what we were given? I think that it really depends on the person, their reasoning and the extent of the surgery.

I feel pretty, oh so pretty

I’m not innocent in this whole thing, I do it too…but on a smaller scale. I used to wear make-up every day, but I would only buy it from Nordstrom and pay the inflated prices. Sure some of the more expensive make-up is higher quality and for certain skin types and yada, yada. But really, in my experience, the difference in cost compared to the difference in quality just don’t add up right.

so vain 3I’ve swapped out a few items for inexpensive make-up that can be found anywhere. You know what, it still does its job and looks just fine. Of course some of the items were color specific, so I just decided to stick with those and use them less often. Seriously, I rarely wear make-up anymore and my skin is much happier with me about it. :-)

I dye my hair, but I do it at home to save money.

I skip out on the manicures and pedicures and do them myself. Except for once a year, I try to go in for a nice relaxing pedicure if I can afford it.

Instead of buying lots of jewelry to match up with different outfits and occasions, I have streamlined my jewelry box. I used to have over 50 necklaces and 20 or so rings. Now, I have 1 signature necklace that I wear almost every day, 1 fancier necklace in case I need to really dress up, and a few favorite pieces that I save for special occasions.

As for the rings, I saved 2 thumb rings, 2 pinky rings and one extra ring. I know where they all go and they look great no matter which combination I choose to wear. It makes getting ready so much easier and quicker.

I did splurge a bit on my glasses though, I figured if I have to wear them, I might as well get some gorgeous ones. Of course, I never really wear them anyway. I’m supposed to wear them for reading, watching TV, using my computer and similar tasks, but I don’t. I even paid to have the anti-glare coating put on them because I always spend so much time in front of my computer.

I don’t know if they make contacts for people who don’t need to wear glasses all the time or not. It does seem like it would be more of a hassle to put them in and take them out all day, so that wouldn’t really do me any good.

On the other hand, I have always been interested in those color contacts that make your eyes a different color. My eyes are green and it suits my skin tone, but I’d love to brighten and enhance them. But I’m not so sure about putting things into my eyes, I can’t even use Visine.

I browsed around and found some good deals on colored lenses, but I’m too much of a chicken to give them a try. Would having brighter, prettier eyes make me feel better about myself? Most likely. Is it worth it to spend money to feel better about yourself?

I think it really all comes down to responsible spending. If I was up to my ears in debt, it might be best to hold off on luxury spending until things are under control. Even though we’re working hard to improve our finances and get on track, we’re nowhere where we need to be, so some things will just have to wait.


What kinds of things to you spend money on that make you feel/look better?
Do you consider them money well spent, or a waste of money?

Image Credits:,,

About Jen Perkins

Likes: saving money, being debt free (aside from our house), zombies, travel, getting money, blogging and dogs. Dislikes: debt, being broke, bunnies, wasting money, not having enough money to travel the world and paying interest. Facebook  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Google+  ♥  RSS


You’re So Vain—You Probably Think This Post Is About You — 24 Comments

  1. Soon to be 49 and surrounded by youngsters at work who have long eye lashes and rosy cheeks without wearing make up.

    I don’t want to look young I just don’t want to look so old.

    If I did not have debt I would have those individual false eyelashes glued on at a salon. They last about a month and I would look even more amazing wearing them but they would cost about $40 per month.
    Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle recently posted..How Do We Pick Stocks?My Profile

    • “I don’t want to look young I just don’t want to look so old.” I never even though about it that way. It really makes sense.

      Have you considered the stuff you can put on your eyelashes to make them grow? I’m not sure if that’s cheaper or not, but I thought I would throw it out there.
      Jen Perkins recently posted..Preparing To Buy A House: The ScoreMy Profile

  2. Haha I actually want to look OLDER! I’m almost 24, and people still think I’m in high school, and I even get the occasional middle school. I can’t go to a Rated R movie without my ID, I can’t go to the mall without getting harassed by the police (you have to be 16 to get into malls around here after dark). Most people say “oh whatever that’s a good thing!”

    Really, it’s not. Clients don’t take me seriously, people don’t take me seriously, etc. I graduated from college when I was 20, and I would like to be treated with respect!

    So I spend a lot of money on wearing more makeup and getting my hair done all the time.
    Michelle recently posted..Top Personal Finance Blog of 2012 – Vote for me!My Profile

  3. When I was much younger (late 40s), I colored my hair to fit my image of age for interviews. I have since embraced my gray hair and turned distinguished now that I am in my mid sixties. I justified the expense in order to fight discrimination. Yesterday, I had a routine dermatologist appointment and she suggested removing some sum damage and said okay. Funny how I felt different today. Yes, I am so vain!
    krantcents recently posted..Rental Property Investing TipsMy Profile

  4. In my younger years I thought it also was a waste of time and money to try to look better as you get older. BUT, now that i’m older, and see the wrinkles settling on my face and the gray creaping into my hair, I completely understand now how older women want to keep looking good. And when we’re surrounded everyday by women in the media, TV, movies, etc that are exceptionally beautiful, I think that sets some kind of weird standard. I’ve had some dark spots lightened on my face recently and I feel SO much better though–so YES, for me it IS worth it!And I will continue spending money on vanity!!

  5. Being a dude, I can only say a couple things here cuz I don’t get most of this. First, people who wear glasses should never feel bad about getting ones that they really really like. Because they’re on your face every day! Second, you mentioned all the stuff your mom gets done and said that she migth be feeling the pressure to “age gracefully.” I thougth aging gracefully meant being happy adn accepting the changes that come along with getting older. ??
    TB at BlueCollarworkman recently posted..How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off on Car RepairsMy Profile

  6. While this probably applies to women the most, I’m sure there are some guys that do this sort of thing. While I don’t really buy much, I’m kind of anal about my hair. It’s been something that bothers me since I was a little kid, and while I’ve gotten better about not caring how it looks…I still fuss with it too much. Gotta enjoy it while I have it still, right? LOL
    Jason @ WSL recently posted..Five Ways to Fast-Forward Your Retirement SavingsMy Profile

  7. This is coming from a guys point of view: I find women that go to great lengths to look younger actually look worse than if they didn’t try so hard. There are many beautiful older women out there. You don’t need to botox and get surgery and stuff to look younger. Like I said at the start, this is this guys opinion, but I think if you only use a little makeup, that is the best. It shows confidence and that is sexy.
    Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..The Round Table – February 8, 2013My Profile

  8. Well I endorse what you say, particularly the comments on vanity plastic surgery. I know some people see this as essential and it makes a lot of difference to their self-image but it often is totally gross and the highlights the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ impression they give. BTW this is not only girls – there is a big increase over here in guys getting ‘boob reductions’ done because they’ve gone rather porky!
    John@MoneyPrinciple recently posted..My Father’s only investmentMy Profile

  9. Saw your question and had to respond. I get a massage every other week and it is money well spent. I swim 3 times a week and used to spend money on it, but I took the instructor class and now I teach 2 days a week and can go as often as I want other times. I get a haircut every 6 weeks to keep it short for swimming. I’m 64 and look good with a smile and no makeup.

  10. I’m a mid-grade type of make up girl. I’m not headed to Nordstrom’s, but my foundation doesn’t come from the drug store either. I’m so against plastic surgery. And I like to think I’ll just accept aging, but we’ll see how my ego feels when I get there. I think there’s so many forms of beauty, and I’m all about fighting societal norms in order to support that belief.
    femmefrugality recently posted..Because Super Cute Things Shouldn’t Break the BankMy Profile

  11. I really liked this post Jen. I have had plastic surgery, on my nose, and I had a plastic surgeon stitch up my face because I had an accident where I got thrown off a race horse into a cement wall and it was totally necessary.

    Sometimes i look back and think.. maybe since I was already doing the plastic surgery, instead of making my nose look like it did right before it got smashed in – I should have had him do it all cute and button like! But then I think.. I’m me and my nose is still a bit crooked, and it is most certainly pointy and I like it that way.

    But then… I don’t wear makeup. I don’t straighten or blow dry my hair (unless it’s in danger of freezing if I go outside) and I wear sweatpants pretty much all the time.

    But I’m cute, and I know it.

    And I’ll put on the makeup if I know I’m going to a wedding or I will be in a lot of pictures, and I, like yourself, am not without fault. I OBSESS over working out. Once I get in a rhythm I can’t stop. I OBSESS over eating vegetables. And I want to cry when I have pimples.

    Thanks for the post – it’s nice to know you are aware of these things! Looks are not everything – I’m sure you’re pretty awesome too :)
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