So recently, as in Wednesday evening, I cut up my credit card into tiny little pieces and threw it away. I’ve been slowly cutting out my use of my credit card for a while now, except I used it at the beginning of October to put a deposit down on a hotel room for a vacation I’m going on. Now, you may be asking WHY I chose to cut up my credit card, and HOW that relates in any way to this blog post, but as usual just bare with me here.
I’m fortunate enough that my parents support me financially, but that comes with a price. I’ve worked since I was 14 in order to secure funds for myself to able to use without owing anything to my parents. More specifically, without always feeling like I’m relying on my father. I’m the youngest in the family and the lifestyle I grew up with isn’t exactly the cheapest, but I always felt some sort of duty to reduce my economic impact on the bills every month.
However, since moving to New York and locking down an internship that pays pretty well (although my only base-line for salaries is working retail, and that’s not known for being the highest paying industry), my dad’s been very obsessive about my spending habits. It got to the point where he said I had to pay him back for my September credit card statement since I charged 1/4 of my room payment to that. In a fit of rage or insanity or whatever I shredded my credit card, paid off the rest of my hotel room on my debit card, and then had to take a good hard look at my spending habits.
Like I said before, I’ve never been lacking available money to purchase whatever I wanted when I wanted it. That especially applied to purchasing makeup. There were plenty of days when I would walk into a Sephora or an Ulta and drop $400 without batting a perfectly mascara’d eyelash. I have three spots for makeup in my apartment, the case where I keep all the makeup and brushes I utilize for my everyday makeup, the massive train case full of all the extra makeup I’ve purchased, and the drawer full of all the extra makeup that doesn’t fit in the train case.
Some of the makeup in the drawer or train case hasn’t been opened. Has not been touched since the day I bought it. Whenever Urban Decay released a new product, I’m racing to get onto their website the second it launches in order to purchase it. When they released their re-imagined liquid eyeliners, I bought every damn color and have only used one.
Last week Sephora Herald Square was having an event for Pat McGrath where you spend over $125 on her new products and you could get to meet her. I strolled into that store half away at 8:00am, picked up all three palettes and a lipstick, dropped $500, and walked out of that store. When I returned later to meet Pat, some guy was shocked I bought all three palettes, and the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh, I collect makeup.”
“I COLLECT MAKEUP.” Makeup is not something you can collect. Collections don’t have expiration dates on them. Makeup is not meant to sit in dark train cases shoved into the back of your closet never to be touched. Makeup is meant to be worn and worn proudly. And yet, 90% of my makeup goes untouched and has been for years.
I’ve often tried a spending ban on makeup where I won’t buy anything unless I need something, but then a company launches a new product, and before I can catch up my brain is telling my hands I NEED to get onto that website and punch in my credit card information. I’m pretty sure I’ve touched on this before, but it’s just ever more relevant now. It’s INSANE the ways in which cosmetics companies can make us think we need their new products, even when we obviously don’t.
Now, with the fact that I’m paying my way through living in New York City, I’ve become hyper-aware of my spending. I tell myself everytime I step into the grocery store that I’m only going to buy what I need. Buy then I see the cupcakes and the cookies and buy them too. So, maybe the issue here isn’t the cosmetics companies and their incredible marketing techniques, maybe it’s me and the lack of self-control I have, or the need to boast my money to feel better about myself. Or maybe it’s a mixture of both. The industry feeding off our needs to always have the latest products, knowing that if they market things just right that they’ll be able to get us to spend that money we saved from months of working just to be able to say “I own the latest XYZ collection.” There’s a pride in being able to say that, but also a shamefulness in feeling that pride, and a regret in knowing how much money you spend on something you know you didn’t need.
Now I’ve put myself on a real spending ban for makeup, so thank god I have so many extra products lying around. If only I could start doing the same for food.