There is a saying in Ghana, “little by little, the chicken will drink water” meaning that every bit, no matter how small, will have an impact on your overall goal, especially when it is a financial one. When those “bits” are tiny deposits into an account, you will eventually have a hefty reserve if you keep at it.
On the other hand, if you continually withdraw those little bits for “here and there” purchases, your account will stay stagnant, or worse, dry up completely.
Taking control of your money with these small steps is definitely doable and pain-free. These alternatives don’t leave your frumpy, ashy, uninteresting, or starving. These alternatives allow you to live your fabulous life for less. Here are five of those little purchases that will eventually chip away at and erode your financial foundation, if you let them:
1. Nails: If you’re accustomed to getting a mani/pedi every two weeks, then you are also accustomed to spending at least $50 a month (not including tip) for temporary, fading beauty. The inevitable truth about getting your nails done is that the color will chip (it is just a matter of time), and as soon as it does, you will be back to in the salon, in that chair, spending your money.
Tonya Rapley, co-founder of My Fab Finance has grown tired of this vicious spending cycle when it comes to her nails. “I realized it was a money drain when I had to get my nails done two weeks in a row for a total of $50. That’s when I put my foot down.” To encourage women to reevaluate how they are using their money and time, Rapley has started the #MyFabIsLess Challenge,“I will end up saving $600 this year. Not only was it inconvenient financially but it was also inconvenient time wise.”
2. Body Scrubs: What’s the average cost of your favorite body scrub? Mine was about $30 until I found out how easy and inexpensive it was to make one with the ingredients in my kitchen. With some brown sugar, sea salt, olive oil, peppermint oil, a little of almond oil, and a repurposed lotion jar, my favorite body scrub now costs less than $5. Green blogger, Karama Horne of Savvy Brown is a great resource for learning how to make beauty products from ingredients from right inside your pantry.
The benefits of making your own scrub just doesn’t end with the money you will save. It can also lead to a side hustle, where you are making homemade body scrubs for order. On top of that, with all of the preservatives and additives that go into these “natural” products, you actually know what is going on your skin.
3. Books: Nerdy Beauties, this money drain was particularly hard for me to fully tame, especially as a bibliophile. But there are tons of places for you to read books or learning something new for free or little cost. I wrote an article on The Frugal Feminista called 10 Sites The Frugal Black Girl Nerd Will Love when one of my good friends shared that she was spending over $100 a month on her book habit and I wanted to provide some fiscally responsible alternatives. Sites like TEDx, NetGalley and DailyLit are just a few of the sites that help you get your reading/learning fix without burning a hole in your pocket.
4. All of your Meals on the Go: No one says that you have to brown bag it everyday for lunch or that you shouldn’t have your afternoon latte or a morning bagel. However, if you are eating all of your meals out—breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner, you can easily spend $30 on food a day. A few days like this each week can mean that you are wasting at least $90 dollars!
5. Mascara: Tubes of mascara for $30 or more is a serious waste of money. Your local convenient store has a variety of high quality mascara for less than $10, if that much. When it comes to mascara and its impact on your lashes, you may be the only one that sees the difference.
Check Out This Gallery Of Trips That Will Motivate You To Save Your Money!
WANDERLUSTING: 20 Dream Trips To Start Saving For Right Now
1. The Galapagos Islands
Once studied by Charles Darwin for it’s endemic species, The Galapagos islands are a gathering of volcanic islands west of equator. Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, Snorkle with Sea Lions and Rainbow fish, visit primitive pirate caves trek though an uninhabited island and learn at the Charles Darwin Research Centre!
Located in Northern Eurasia, Moscow is the capital city of the largest country in the entire world, Russia. Moscow boasts what Instagram has recorded as one of the top IG’d locations in the world: Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. Aside from that awesome photo op make sure your visit Tsaritsyno Park and palace, Novodevichy Convent (a world heritage site) and the Moscow international house of music.
The possibilities are endless in this ancient country. Italy has one of the world’s seven wonders, and one of the most used stairways in all of film, The Spanish Steps. A tour of Rome, The Amalfi, Venice and celeb hub, Lake Como are the biggest attractions there! Seeing the Colosseum, the Spanish steps and the Dolomite Mountains are a must!
Located in between Western Asian and Southeastern Europe, this is one of the trips I’m currently saving for. Turkey has some of the most delicious food in the world. Many recipes from the 17th century Ottoman Empire are still being made to this day. Make sure you fit the Selimiye Mosque, the Celsus Library and the Byzantine era built, Hagia Sophia into your itinerary!
This fascinating capital city of the UK boasts centuries of history and a Monarchy whose royals tap the front page of most mags worldwide. I like to think of London as a cleaner and more historic NYC (with sexier accents of course!) Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Primrose Hill, The Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral should top your list of sites.
Spain, a personal fave of mine and a country that I think should top everyone’s bucket list! A nice tour of Madrid and Barcelona will give you a taste of two contrasting, yet very Spanish cities. Madrid, very regal and proud is Spain’s capitol. Take in a bullfight at Las Ventas, then walk around the Prado Museum. Barcelona, the artistic and creative major city in Spain boasts incredible architecture from the brilliant Gaudi. La Segrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo are some Gaudi’s biggest attractions. After you’ve seen the architecture, visit the Picasso Museum and have dinner at the late artist’s favorite restaurant, Els 4 Gats.
Before the thought of cold scares you off, know that this location has unimaginable beauty and boat tours that will change your life! When you take the National Geographic- Linblad Expeditions 14 day trek to Antarctica, wildlife photographers are on-hand for photo lessons as you hike past penguin colonies and spot orcas.
No, you don’t have to be a Kardashian to partake in the joys of Greece. Though the K Klan recently brought new attention to this ancient coastal destination, tourists have been flocking in droves for decades. Mykonos is a must for the those who love to party. Santorini is picturesque and relaxing and the Greek capital Athens will provide a jaunt through high school history class when you see the Parthenon and walk around the Acropolis.
As one of the best African destinations to go on Safari, Kenya is a premiere point to watch the great migration every year. Many Safari packages range from true “roughing it” adventures to glamorous high-end wildlife explorations. Also not to be missed is a flight over Mount Kenya!
As if going to see the Great Wall wasn’t enough to spark your savings goals, China is the home of some incredible sights and eats. In Beijing, trek to The Forbidden City home of Tiananmen Square where Emperors sat in the imperial seat from 1420 to 1912. Other hits on your list should be The Terracotta Warriors, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve and the The Bund in Shanghai. For the foodies, sign up for a cooking lesson at Beijing’s Black Sesame Kitchen!
The Kingdom of Thailand is sandwiched in between Vietnam and Burma and it’s raw beauty will instantly charm you. The very first thing to do in this dreamy country is head to Bangkok and check out the intricately built Grand Palace. Then head to Wat Arun (Temple of the dawn and the fun floating Markets. When you’ve had enough of the city, The Phi Phi Islands, Railay Beach and Phang Nga Bay are a quick jaunt away.
Paris' tag line says it all: The City of Love, and it’s not an overstatement. If you don’t find human love, you’ll at least fall in love with the lights, sights and sounds. Visit The Arc de Triomphe, Musee de l’Orangerie, Montmartre Walk. And of course, saving time for the Eifel Tower and the Louvre is a must!
After you unload 100 rolls of film capturing the glorious beauty of India’s biggest attraction, The Taj Mahal (go at dawn and thank me later), venture on to some things that are off the beaten path like ridding an Indian Railway train, go on a camel safari in the Rajasthani Desert, eat street food in Old Delhi or even go on a spiritual retreat to Leh, Ladakh.
14. Tel Aviv
The largest metropolitan area in Israel, Tel Aviv is right on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline. Year 'round sunshine and a sudden spike in high-end restaurants and boutique hotels are making this one of the trendiest vacays to go on. Jot down these notable stops for your visit: Dvir Gallery, Bauhaus Center, Manshia Train Station and the Design Museum. Plus, as a bonus (a very spiritual bonus) catch a quick train ride to the Old City of Jerusalem!
15. Costa Rica
Home to volcanos, beaches, waterfalls and lush landscapes, Costa Rica has got it going on! All you need is a bathing suit with a cute sarong and some sturdy sandals and you are packed. Some of the best places to visit on this dream vacation are: Arenal Volcano, Guanacaste (The famed Gold Coast), Manuel Antonio National Park, The village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Tabacon Hot Springs.
This Dutch capital can be both seedy and breathtaking, depending on what parts to head to. But either way, you’ll have a fun story to tell! Yes, the first thing that comes to mind is that smoking the green stuff is legal and that you can become an uber voyeur in the famed Red Light District. But after you tire of those things, you’ll find that Amsterdam has a lot more to offer! For starters, head to the newly restored Rijksmuseum and marvel at the Old Master. Then, have a rummage in their famous flea markets, Visit the home of Anne Frank and go to Oude Kerk, the city’s oldest church.
Also called “The Island of Inspiration," Tasmania is part of the commonwealth of Australia. Known for it’s “Bush and Beach” you should get started by eating at Mures (Hobart seafood), then head to Port Arthur where some 12,000+ prisoner’s lived in a “Natural Prison” in the 1800’s. Learn about Aboriginal peoples at Tiagarra, take a wilderness railway tour and party at Syrup.
Found to be “The Happiest Country To Live In” by a United Nations Report, Denmark has a way of life that has lead it to become the centerpiece of a few documentaries and studies. The locals enjoy a way of life that is unmatched by any other country in the world. And although we may not be living there, we can at least grab a slice of happy by enjoying some of it’s attractions! Visit the Kronborg Castle, The Old Town of Aarhus, Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen, The Tivolo, and The Little Mermaid.
This South American getaway is all about adventure. Get a motorcycle license, rent a bike and explore it’s vast dramatic landscapes! Once your all Instagramed out, head to see the historic facades in Buenos Aires (known affectionately as the “Paris of the South,” then fly to Salta to see the breathtaking colorful rock formations. Also on your list, make time for the Andes Mountains and the Iquaza Falls.
Though located in Central America and bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, the official language of this diverse society is English. Known for it’s well preserved remnants of Maya Civilization you will definitely be awe inspired by the finds. Don’t miss Snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef, explore the Actun Tunchil Muknal Maya Ceremonial Cave, go to the Ancient Maya City of Caracol and the Xunantunich Maya Temples.