You may wonder why all celebs look amazingly tone, thin, fashionable, and stunning – all the time. This is because they have money for personal trainers, top of the line gym equipment in their homes, someone to tell them which designer clothes to wear, the best hair stylist around, & a monthly (or weekly) hair appointment (with blow outs every time they make a public appearance). Not to mention, celebs have a job that lets them work out whenever they please. Oh, and lets not forget, eating healthy is expensive. And us recent grads have a lot to think about when starting our first full time jobs – how are we going to actually save money from our paychecks while still looking fabulous???
Sometimes I wonder is it even possible??? If I didn’t have to work a 9-5 that pays horribly AND had money for a personal trainer, nutritionist, apartment, gas, groceries, weekly hair appointment, I would look good. Unfortunately, it PAYS to look good. Okay, maybe I don’t look bad – but I certainly don’t look red carpet ready every time I walk outside.
So how does one recent grad afford to look fabulous? Here are some tips:
1. Buy Healthy & Cheap Food: This is actually not the easiest thing to do. I bet you have never even thought about putting those two words together! Well, I never thought I would have either until I discovered coupons, Costco, & calorie counters (and Trader Joes).
- Frozen Meals: I never thought really good, low calorie frozen meals existed until I went to Trader Joe’s and discovered their super cheap, super awesome frozen dinners. I’m talking a 270 calorie microwavable macaroni & cheese meal for only $1.99!!! Not only is it cheap & healthy, but it is the BEST frozen mac & cheese that I have ever had. In addition to this meal, if you want to eat the Weight Watchers meals (Smart Ones & Lean Cuisines), put your coupon and deal watching skills to work and head on over to Target. They almost always have some deal going on with these meals where you can get them for $1.99 each – or less.
- 100 Calorie Snacks: I have always been one to buy 100 calorie snack packs because if you buy a whole bag, you’re not going to know exactly how many calories your consuming. And even though I continue to purchase these expensive separate snack bags, I know that on a bag of chips it tells you that X amount of chips is 100 calories. OKAY – so what you and I should do to save money is put the 100 calorie serving in a little zip lock bag and then you will have a low calorie & cheap snack for lunch.
- Costco/BJs: Even though you might be spending A LOT at once, buying in bulk can save you a TON of money in the long run. Bread comes in packs of two – and you can put one loaf in the freezer so it will be good after its expiration date. A giant box of cereal can last you a month – as opposed to a small box which you would be buying weekly. AND big huge snacks and dinners can sit in your freezer and cabinets forever, letting you take some time off from grocery shopping – you just have to be calorie savvy about what you’re eating!
2. Exercise & Personal Train Yourself for Free: No gym membership? No problem! You don’t need a treadmill to walk or run – it’s just a luxury. Go for a run outside… Or if it’s raining, run up and down the stairs in your house/apartment multiple times… Do crunches and leg exercises on the floor of your room… Buy some free weights from Dick’s and do arm exercises you find online in front of your bathroom mirror. Don’t want to invest in the money for a personal trainer at your gym? Search Youtube for exercise videos and have your own (free) personal trainer right on your Macbook or PC! With all the resources we have online these days, you don’t really NEED a personal trainer to help you on your weight loss/muscle building journey. They are great support though, so either get some support from your friends or work out in a bathing suit in front of the mirror – seriously. You’ll never want to stop.
3. Invest in Things You LOVE & Shop the Sales (but don’t just buy something because it’s CHEAP!): I know, I know. I’m not one to talk. I get a thrill out of spending a lot of money on one shirt… but guess what? It pays to save your money and make one big purchase – because, I promise, you will wear that one nice item of clothing MANY more times than you will wear that shirt you bought on sale at Urban because it was only $20 and how could you resist?! Forever 21 is an example of a WOW-everything-is-so cheap store, BUT you should only buy something from Forever if you really, really like it because you will most likely only end up wearing an item of clothing once if you just bought it because of the price. And with the $20 you just spent on it, you could have paid $40 for nice shoes or a dress that you will get much more use out of. Try buying more accessories so you can wear the clothes you already have more than once in a different way. Marshalls & TJ Maxx are a fabulous way to shop the sales – but it’s usually very hit or mess and depends on which one you go to. Make sure to only buy something you LOVE there… even if its a little more pricey. Also, pay attention to deals & sales going on at your favorite stores (especially when you want to make a big purchase – like a new pair of boots or a new bag). For example, I got my fabulous Michael Kors bag on the cheap because I bought it on Black Friday at the OUTLETS… So it was not only already discounted to an outlet price, but it was also %50 off – so yeah, it is worth it to brave the crazy outlets on Black Friday.
4. Wait a While to Get Your Hair Done (and nails, etc): Wouldn’t we all just LOVE to get a blow out each time before we go out. And wouldn’t we would all adore to switch up our hair styles and colors, while switching from bangs to no-bangs, on a monthly basis… but on this post-college budget, it’s just not going to happen. And as sad as this revelation may be, there are ways to cope and deal with it. SO, if you really want to look fabulous, you can’t just get your hair cut anywhere. You must go to that high end salon where everyone tells you that you look gorgeous and makes you feel like Kim Kardashian after your new style is ready. If you try some random place, your hair could come out looking HORRIBLE – and for a girl that is not good because our hair most often defines our look. Anyway, these high end salons are in no way inexpensive… SO you might have to refrain for getting a cut every few months and limit yourself to a haircut two or three times a year. This won’t be a problem if you spread out your appointments and take quality care of your hair on a daily basis. There are ways to style your hair without going to a salon, too. Try a curling iron, hair spray, hair gel, and other hair products and mess around with your hair. Headbands, clips, and blowing out your hair in different ways helps change it up too. As for color, get highlights or change your color once or twice a year… Coloring is so expensive and so worth it… but not worth it enough to change it up multiple times a year. Your hair lightens and changes colors in the sun too, so remember that you can try to change up your color for free in the summer and on vacation. (To any straight guy reading this – I know you do not understand why girls spend so much money on their hair, so hopefully this cleared things up)