Today's post is a manifestation of a challenge I issued to my dear sister Nicole back in December. Coley and I both spend way too much money on makeup, but we also have far more days that are makeup-free than made up. Thus, I hatched a plan to incentivize us to use the products we already have while "earning" new goodies at the same time. The idea was to earn a set dollar amount for each "empty" produced, then "cash in" for new products (e.g., 3 empties at $5 a pop nearly buys a new MAC lipstick!). Then January rolled around and I splurged on a LORAC Pro palette. Facepalm. Not my only splurge of the month. Shame.
Now it's February and I just barely stepped back off the edge from making a $51 purchase on the Makeup Geek website, rationalizing it as a good purchase since the prices are likely to go up a dollar per eyeshadow this year! It's better to buy them now, right? Right?! Embarrassment. It's time to get serious and put this plan into action.
Below is the system I've thought up with rules and dollar values. In addition to earning spending money through empties for beauty products, I've decided to add in some diet and exercise bonuses as I have not truly worked out in about five months. Why not, right? If you are interested in having a copy of my spreadsheet for tracking all of this, please let me know and I'd be happy to email it to you. Add a comment or send me a message. We can all do it together--it'd be fun!
Empties, Exercise, & Eating Right
These were the ingredients chosen to make the perfect little rewards system!
- For all full-price make up products, earn 10% of the current retail price toward your next purchase. E.g., if you purchased the UD Naked palette when it was $52 and the price is now $54, you can add $5.40 to your Beauty Bank (BB).
- If you purchased the product on sale, earn 15% of the current retail price toward your next purchase. This incentivizes sale purchases as opposed to full-price splurges. E.g., if you purchased a palette from The Balm that was originally $36, but you got it for 50% off, you can calculate your 15% from the full price and add $5.40 to your BB.
- If you purchased the product using a percentage or dollar amount coupon, earn %15 of the current retail price. For example, if you used a 20% off coupon at Ulta to purchase a load of goodies, remember to give yourself a 15% credit!
- If you made a purchase combining both a sale and a percentage off or dollar amount coupon, calculate the 15% credit only once. E.g., a product that was purchased with a $5 off coupon on top of 50% off still only counts as a credit for 15% of the current list price.
- Do not include sales tax toward your credit. E.g., you bought an eyeliner for $22 and paid 7% sales tax - only calculate your percentage on the $22.
- Use the typical current list price for your calculations. E.g., if the product is twice as expensive on Amazon.com as on Sephora.com, use the pricing from Sephora.
- Free samples do not count toward the empties system, unless you somehow/indirectly paid for them (e.g., "free with purchase") and can figure out (honor system) how much that particular amount of product would have cost you on its own. For example, you could calculate the would-have-been cost for a 1 oz. deluxe primer sample by dividing the full-size product's cost by its quantity. Calculator use is fair and encouraged!
- Hair products
- Everyday hair products do not count toward this system. If you finish off a regular shampoo or conditioner, replace as you normally would.
- For all styling or salon products, earn 10% of the current retail value toward your next purchase. Such products might include leave-in conditioners, hairsprays, hair masques, pomades, or mousses. Consider this category to be anything you add to your hair beyond the basics needed to keep your hair clean and healthy.
- Feel free to apply the 15% bonus rule for products purchased on sale or using coupons.
- If you use this category to earn credits, you must not purchase hair products outside of your regular shampoo/conditioner unless you are using a credit from your BB.
- Skin products
- All face and skin products count at a 20% level as a bonus, since these may be used up more quickly and may be more important to replace. This category might include moisturizers, brightening creams, and acne medications.
- Since this category is already at a higher return rate, there is no bonus in this category for sale and/or coupon purchases.
- Use your honest judgment to determine whether a product belongs across the categories. For example, I would count a tinted moisturizer more as a skin product while a BB cream belongs more in the makeup category. Think about the location in the store where you might find the product, though this tip could be tricky depending on the brand; ergo, use your judgment.
- Add to your Beauty Bank (or Booty Bank, since we're in the exercise category!) $0.50 for every 1 mile / 20 minutes of cardio, whichever comes first. 20 minutes of walking at 3 miles/hour equals 1 mile, but you could pick up a dollar in 20 minutes by running two 10-minute miles. If you're feeling strapped for time, go ahead and take a quarter for a half mile or 10-minute walk that day, if you need to.
- $1.00 into the BB for every 30 minutes of weight-lifting. Breaks are allowed between sets, but no longer than 1-2 minutes for every set of 8-20.
- $0.50 for every 20 sit-ups, 10 push-ups, or 5 pull-ups in a day. Use good form; full sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups required. Find a reasonable equivalent if modifications are needed (e.g., 40 crunches, 20 modified push-ups, or 20 weight-countered pull-ups).
- $0.50 into the BB for every 25 squats or 50 lunges (25 each leg) in a day. Use good form. Dip it low.
- Mileage/exercise must be intentional. Walking 3 miles during the course of your day at work does not count for this category. Bending down to pick up stray clothing on the floor does not constitute a lunge.
- $0.25 for drinking 64+ ounces of water in a day. Juice, milk, coffee, teas, etc. do not count, but flavored waters are permissible. Use your judgment. 63 ounces doesn't cut it!
- $0.25 for eating 2+ full servings of vegetables in a day.
- The weeks for this section should be consistent but you can choose your week start and week end day (e.g., Saturday - Friday, Monday - Sunday).
- $0.25 for the week if you had 3+ servings of fruit.
- $0.50 for each week in which you maintain your weight or lose a healthy amount. To lose this bonus, you would have to gain >1 lb. from your previous week's weight. Try to weigh on the same day each week in the morning, before breakfast.
I will have a condensed version of all of these sections available along with the recording sheet to monitor your daily/weekly progress. Please let me know if you have suggestions for ways to change/improve the categories above. I'm certainly not a health or exercise expert, so if you are anyone other than Nicole, please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or weight loss program. If there is a bullet point that bothered you or made you feel like you wouldn't want to focus on that, please simply ignore it. There are no penalties in earning cash for your Beauty Bank, only rewards! You never lose credit from the Beauty (or Booty) Bank unless you make a beauty-related purchase, and in that case, you're "redeeming" your credits rather than losing them.
If you would like to adapt my Beauty Bank program, please feel free to do so. Everything listed above is what makes sense based on my own habits, with higher incentives for things I'm less likely to do! To make something like this work for you, please adjust accordingly without going crazy!
Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope that if you've made it this far, the post has been helpful in guiding or at least providing some ideas for a beauty rewards system you could try out. Let me know whether this works to motivate you to use your beauty products before making new purchases. I'll try to post updates as well!
Good luck ;)