I’m Not Always Frugal

by Kelly · 24 comments

in Concepts in Frugality

The reason that this blog is named ‘Almost Frugal’ and not ‘I’ll tell you all there is to know about frugality’ is because… I’m not always frugal. And I can’t always justify it either.

Last week, for example, I went to go get my hair cut. While I have had long hair and short hair at different times in my life, I feel like I look better with short hair. Usually I go to the neighborhood hairdresser, but after a disastrous haircut last time, I wanted to avoid that this time around!

So I went to a chic hair salon in the center of town. They offered me coffee, rubbed my hands and sat me in a massage chair while I was getting my hair washed. I had my hair colored, cut in a cute new ‘do and my eye make-up done. They told me how pretty I looked, gave me the bise and called me tu*. All for รขโ€šยฌ104. A bargain in my eyes, but certainly not frugal!

Do I regret spending this money? No. I needed a haircut and a bit of color (someone has been sneaking gray paint in my shampoo for the past couple of months). I’m also starting my new job in a few days and I wanted to look nice. Can I justify spending this money? Nope- can’t do that either! I certainly could have tried another neighborhood place, and I didn’t need to get my hair colored either. And the money that I spent could well have gone to my emergency fund or my student loans or to any number of other places.

I’m often frugal. I’m trying to learn to be more frugal and improve my finances and standard of living every day. But it’s a long road that we’re on, and sometimes it’s hard to maintain the same levels of motivation in the middle as when we started. I feel like I should feel guilty, for spending money on myself when we don’t have a lot of extra money to spare. I don’t though. I wonder what that means.

*The bise is how the French greet and say goodbye to each other- the double kiss. Usually you only do it with friends and family. Tu is the familiar form of ‘you’, and again, used to show comfort and closeness between people.

Are you always frugal? Do you splurge on things you can’t justify? How do you feel when you spend money?


1 Hollie May 29, 2009

I am trying to be frugal most of the time but when I want a treat, I go for real chocolate.

Hope you like your new do, if you lived closer I would recommend a great hairdresser, she is my sister. I get cuts, colors and coffee for free.

Now I do pay for a good Pedicure once or twice during the summer when I want to show off my toes.

Hollie\\\´s last blog post..Free Activites in Nova Scotia for the Summer

2 Kelly May 29, 2009

Hollie, you’ve certainly got the frugal advantage, getting all your hair needs for free! But I live in France… home of good chocolate!

3 Nancy May 29, 2009

No, I’m not always frugal nor can I always justify not being so. I NEED to spend money on myself; that’s the one area that is hardest for me to spend in. Just ask my family. I just had a good haircut about 3 weeks ago but I’m in desperate need of a color or hi-lite; the grey paint has been appearing in my shampoo too. I also need new shoes and work clothes. Granted they’d be justifiable expenses as they are work related but I hate parting with that money. I’ll spend money on my family members w/out a 2nd thought but when it comes to me, it’s just hard. Could it be because I saw this same habit in my mother? A learned behavior?

Nancy\\\´s last blog post..Make Your Own | Taco Seasoning

4 Kelly May 30, 2009

Nancy- there’s an ad on UK TV that goes (and I’m paraphrasing here) that a mom is someone who saves to buy herself a new hat, but gets her kid a toy instead. I think that there is definitely a learned component here, be it cultural or familial.

5 Amanda @ Mommy's Idea Book May 29, 2009

I think it’s good to splurge a little on yourself once in a while, if you can afford to do it. The main thing is making sure you don’t make it too much of a regular occurrence. I try to be frugal most of the time, but I like to treat myself and my family a little every now and then.

Amanda @ Mommy’s Idea Book\\\´s last blog post..9 Frugal Decorating Tips

6 Beth May 29, 2009

I’m sure you can guess what my first thought was–good for you! Maybe not technically frugal in the short term, but you’re doing something to feel better about yourself, which can pay off in the long term. More confidence leading to better performance on the job, or something like that. Am I stretching a bit? ๐Ÿ™‚

7 Kelly May 29, 2009

Yup, this haircut is much more 'knowledgeable marketing consultant' than 'student/mom'…

8 Craig May 29, 2009

Nothing wrong with spending money on something that makes you happy. Splurging on yourself every now and then is part of the fun and reward in being frugal the majority of the time.

Craig\´s last blog post..The Ways to Combat Whooping Interest Rates

9 Carol May 29, 2009

Hmmm. Have you ever tried coloring your hair yourself? It really isn't hard, especially if you are using a shade close to your own to cover the gray.

One of my less frugal habits is going to a really fine hairdresser. He does a number of A-list Hollywood actors. However, I economize by doing the color myself–and usually going a bit longer between visits than I should. I feel that the cut is the most important thing, and he does that better than anyone I know. (He says I do a great job on my color, by the way!) I also get a very good price because I have been going to him for fifteen years and we're old friends at this point.

So, even though I could be more frugal, I know I am getting a good value.

10 Kelly May 29, 2009

Carol- you of all people should know what happens when I try to color my hair myself- I’m surprised you even suggested it!

(To other readers- Carol is my adopted aunt, and has known me since I was ‘knee high to a duck’ as my father would say. She’s been witness to more than one bad dye job.)

11 Carol May 29, 2009

But you’re older and wiser now, and it DOES get better with practice. I don’t think I’d try it if I wanted to make a radical change, like adding purple highlights. But covering gray is no problem.

I of course learned how not to fear these things from a mother who had a job doing hair during the Depression. She also has lots of frugal tips about watering down your shampoo and other strategies. The upside of the recession for her is that more people are interested in listening. ๐Ÿ™‚

12 Gabriel May 29, 2009

I try to limit myself to small indulgences–a new book or some nice chocolate mixed in with the groceries. I find that if I try to stick with the small things, it’s a lot longer in between the times I splurge in a big way. It probably adds up similarly, but I think my mood is better. Now if I would just be better about spending money on myself that needs to be spent but irks me (currently, buying maternity shorts that I’ll only wear for another 2-3 months).

Gabriel\\\´s last blog post..Giveaways

13 Kelly May 29, 2009

Gabriel- try eBay! I got some great, cheap maternity clothes on eBay when I was pregnant with my daughter. Then I didn’t feel so bad about buying them, because they were much less expensive… and I sold most of them afterwards as well.

14 Laura May 30, 2009

I cut my boys hair. Last cut the razor went blurb and sucked in his hair. I thought we had a disaster! I was able to fix it and he looks wonderful (because he always does)moms point of view. Anyway, I would never let that happen to my hair! Writing this it sounds soooo bad, but seriously, one bad hair cut and it would take months to grow out for us adults.
Good choice! New job, new hairdo, new times. : )

Laura\\\´s last blog post..iPhone Application Multi Photo

15 Shoestring May 30, 2009

I think that if you can pay for it without using credit then it’s definitely not worth feeling at all guilty about. Particularly when starting a new job. Surely a good first impression = a good start = progress = earning more in the long term? An investment in the future really! Experience tells me that if you deny yourself of too many treats then you give up anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

Shoestring\\\´s last blog post..Day 63: Part 2 – Robbed by a machine!

16 Jennifer Clark May 30, 2009

You SHOULD splurge on yourself every now and again. A woman’s mood and self image are often directly impacted by their hair (style, color, cut, etc). It certainly doesn’t hurt to get pampered every now and again either! Being frugal isn’t about depriving yourself, it’s about leading a responsible financial lifestyle. If you can splurge on little things like this every now and again without racking up credit card charges, then go for it & feel good about it!

Besides when consumers spend money on things like this, it helps keep small businesses going. This is the backbone of most national economies. Sounds like you did your part to keep the economy rolling right???? lol

Jennifer Clark\\\´s last blog post..Homemade Cane Pole

17 Kelly May 30, 2009

Good point Jennifer- I’m just doing my bit!

18 Meg from FruWiki May 30, 2009

I don’t see a problem. For me, frugality isn’t about choosing the cheapest route, it’s about spending/using resources carefully according to your values, priorities, etc. If a good haircut is a good value for you, then that’s not unfrugal.

Today I paid the most I’ve ever spent on shoes because I needed some good walking shoes. I’m done with cheap walking shoes — not worth the shin splints. Also willing to spend more for better chocolate as the taste difference is usually WELL worth the price.

19 Kelly May 30, 2009

I totally agree Meg. I've always spent more on shoes than I have on almost anything else, but it pays off. I've had some of my shoes for more than 10 years, and with good care, they'll last another 10.

20 Nicole June 1, 2009

You know, I think once in awhile, a great haircut/beauty experience is fine. I had my own when I was in France and it was worth every penny.

By the way, everyone where I’m from in northern Maine/western New Brunswick tutoyes everyone. It’s so interesting that the “tu” form is moderately unusual in France. What can I say, I love the culture component of this blog.

21 Meg from FruWiki June 3, 2009


Sometimes you have to be frugal with your time and energy, too ๐Ÿ˜‰ Money isn’t everything — just feels that way when you don’t have enough.

22 Abigail June 3, 2009

There are few people in this world who are always frugal. Those who do probably aren't getting much out of life. So I think it's okay to not always be frugal, so long as you pick and choose. With a disability of chronic fatigue, I can't always be frugal, even when I want to be. So, I make do. I'm as frugal as is realistically possible.

<abbr>Abigail´s last blog post..Skip payments: Stupid move… or is it?</abbr>

23 Siebrie March 11, 2010

Why doesn't your husband learn how to colour your hair?

24 Kelly March 11, 2010

Aaaaahhhhh! (Runs away screaming!)

Actually, I do often color my own hair at home, especially when I'm not trying to go blond.

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