It might sound ridiculous, but Joanna Gaines would support it, so I will too.
I don’t care what anyone says, everyone wants to be boujee in their own way. You don’t care to get your hair and nails done? Cool, but how much did you spend on those Mizunos you only wear on the court? You don’t see the big deal about skincare? That’s understandable, but how much did that car upgrade cost—the customized pink rims and monogrammed floormats to match? The point I am trying to make here is that everyone’s eye catches the finer things in life in some aspect or another. And as long as the “finer things in life” don’t become an idol that distances you from Jesus, it’s okay to notice them! It’s okay to work hard so you can have them! God gave us different gifts, personalities, and fancies, so why wouldn't he want us to enjoy our uniqueness?
However, as a grad student, I quickly learned that my parents were correct—money does not grow on trees. I work hard, but student debt and grocery bills demand their portion of my income. While learning how to budget and basically be an adult, I have come across a few tips and tricks that help me enjoy the things I otherwise can’t afford.
I'll share my list with you in hopes that it inspires budget hacks for your personal fancies:
1. KISS Fake Nails
When I have a manicure, I feel like I could take on the world. With a fresh set on, I find myself pointing to everything, being overly exaggerated so that I can flash the fresh designs, and even wanting to type more just so I can stare at them. Sadly, a set of acrylic nails with basic polish costs anywhere from $30- $50 dollars. That might be an acceptable monthly charge—after all, the manicurists deserve a fair wage for their talent—but these babies must be upgraded every two weeks. That’s averaging out to $60-$100 a month. And if you are wanting to get the new designs that are all over Pinterest, you’re looking at a minimum of $60 per visit.
Needless to say, my nails have not seen a salon in a while. But thankfully, I came across the KISS fake nails! I have used press-on nails before, but they always fell off, tore, or bent. These pretty ladies cost none of the dramatic prices above. In fact, the glue is so strong that when I pried my last set off, they took a piece of my nail with them (which can be avoided by properly soaking the fake nails). The colors are seasonal and gorgeous, and they come in a variety of lengths and shapes.
Now, here is the best part. You can find these at Ulta for $5-$12. Now, you get to have trendy nails for a significantly lower price, and you can apply them yourself in the comfort of your own home.
2. Amazon and Repurposing
I will be the first to say that I was very envious of the cute laundry-room trends I saw on the Internet. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I want you to picture 2-gallon mason jars holding your laundry detergent and fabric softener, glass cylinders holding your scent beads, and cute metal tubs holding your dryer sheets. It might sound ridiculous, but Joanna Gaines would support it, so I will too.
But again, I soon realized that not only could I not afford to decorate my laundry room with the latest trends, but I have another issue that I can't negotiate: space. You see, I live in a 520-square-foot apartment with no laundry pantry. Instead, I have a little closet that is just big enough to hold my conjoined washer and dryer. (And, since I don't own the apartment, I can't take a jackhammer to the walls.)
So, I went looking on Amazon for alternatives to the aesthetic floating shelves I’ve seen hanging on the laundry walls of my Pinterest feed. With my laundry closet being so small, I opted for the $22 storage shelves that can roll into the corner of my three-foot hallway. I found myself some 1-gallon mason jars, and viola! I had a laundry corner to match my laundry closet!
I was admiring my laundry corner when I realized I did not like the plastic tops from the fabric softener container I used to pour my liquids. Later, while eating my chocolate pudding, I realized that if I washed the glass containers the pudding came in, I could use them to pour my liquids. After washing the pudding jars, I sat them on the storage cart and admired my cheap but trendy laundry cart.
What I am trying to say here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to repurpose things. I didn’t know how washing a pudding cup would turn out, but I tried it and saved a few bucks!
3. Aquaphor is Your Best Friend
If you watch TikTok or follow any influencer on YouTube, you have seen the Laneige lip sleeping mask. Now, I have heard great things, and I would absolutely love to give it a try, but this little beauty is selling for $24 a pop, and you only get .7 ounces of product. So, my boujee friends, I want to introduce you to Aquaphor. I have personally used this as a lip balm for about eight months now and can attest to the fact that it works better than any lip mask, balm, or chapstick I have ever tried. (As someone who struggles with dry skin, I vouch that this is a wonderful product for moisturizing.) And the best part is you only pay $11.17 at Walmart for seven whole ounces.
4. Back to the Basics
My last tip is pretty obvious and self-explanatory, but it took me a while to learn the value of the concept. If you want glowy skin, silky hair, and sparkly eyes, simply watch what you eat. Your gut health can dictate so much more than just your gut. And you do not have to start eating in a calorie-deficit method or making insane changes to your diet. Just drink enough water, throw baby spinach in your meals (you can’t even taste it; I pinky promise), and drink a cup of tea at night. Start with those three things and watch your body thank you!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Moussa81
Olivia Lauren is a graduate student passionate about Scripture, particularly the Book of Romans showcasing God's grace. Outside her studies, she enjoys teaching her dog new tricks and finding quicker ways to silence the smoke alarm after trying a new recipe.