- How to Not Be Ripped Off - A Guide
- A Nail Biter of a Product Trial
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
- Acne - Healed at Last!
- Hint of the Week is BACK!
- Competition Winners: What to Plant in a Wicking Bed
- New Competition: Tips for Nail Biters
It seems I have become woeful at producing large, monthly newsletters. It is not by choice, you understand! Each week I have tried really hard to give you interesting, quality, informative and substantial newsletters. But, May's newsletter is still on my desk, June's is half written and it is nearly July.
What can I say? Being a mother of four rapidly growing children is a full time job in itself. But one thing is clear. What I'm doing right now isn't working. It is time for change. We need to try something different. Instead of trying to produce long, monthly newsletters and constantly struggling to finish them on time, I would like to aim for shorter more regular newsletters including bringing back our beloved Hint of the Week. How does that sound?
We look forward to being in touch with our members more regularly - and I can't wait to read all your fabulous Hint of the Week entries each week! For now however, here is the abridged version of the beauty newsletter I was absolutely 110% sending to you several weeks ago, while it was still May.
May was Frugal Beauty Month and even though this newsletter is a little late, I'm sure you are going to love it because the teen years are upon the Lippey household and we have been tackling parenting, nail biting, body hair and pimples in our usual SS style. This means teaching our kids how to find the most effective, best value product for every challenge.
I hope you enjoy this slightly abridged newsletter.
Thank you for your patience.
Finding great value beauty products can be a real challenge. The beauty industry is a minefield of rip offs. This is because beauty purchases are generally emotional choices. It is both easy and profitable to dupe people into buying low value, high cost products when they are making emotional purchases. But that doesn't mean all beauty products are a rip off. There are still a lot of really good value products out there.
To help you, my teens and anyone else you think may need a hand protecting their wallets from the beauty industry rip offs we have made you a guide.
We are going to start by explaining the difference between an intellectual and an emotional purchase.
Intellectual purchases are carefully thought out and well researched decisions. These are slow decisions. People making well thought choices are difficult to manipulate.
Emotional purchases are those made without thought, guided by core instincts such as 'desire', 'lust' and 'fear'. These instincts are really easy to manipulate.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to work out whether or not you are being manipulated and to make sure your choice is always an intellectual choice. You can do this by asking yourself why before you buy, do your research, examine the costs, be objective and then you will be making an informed decision.
Before you hand over your cash, before you spend your dough, you need to ask yourself WHY.
What is your goal?
Every time you buy something, you are doing it for a reason. It could be so you can have longer nails, shinier hair, to impress your friends, more Instagram followers, more compliments, more self esteem or any number of other things. Whatever your reason, you first need to stop and have a think about what you are hoping to gain from that product. Then write it down as your goal.
Is there another way?
Now you are clear as to what your goal is, you need to do some research into other ways you can achieve it.
When working out the cost of beauty products you are best to look either the cost per litre, or the per year cost of a product.
To work out the cost per litre: Convert the quantity of the product to litres then divide the price by the litres. Or, you can cheat and use this website to do it for you :-)
To work out the cost per year: Estimate how many times you will pay for that product over the course of a year, then multiply the purchase price by that number.
By this stage you will have worked out a few different options, as well as the costs to test it out. So now, ask yourself - what do you think the likelihood is, that spending your money on this product is going to help you reach your desired goal? Be honest!
To show you how all these four things work together, I'm going to use our family's quest for better nails as an example.
Once upon a time, Miss Jacqueline and I went on a nail quest together. In stories 15-year-olds tackle wizards, demons and save the world. We just went hunting for finger nail supplies.
- What was the goal? Our goal was to help Jacqui grow her nails. When we started, Jacqui's nails were bitten and picked to the quick.
- Was there another way? When helping someone to stop biting/picking their nails, there are two approaches. The first is to put a barrier on the nails so they are harder to pick/bite. The second is to replace the habit with something else.
Having researched our options, we settled upon two barrier methods and one habit replacing method. These were Jamberry nail wraps, UV gels and fidget rings.
Jamberry nails are plastic stencils that attach to your nails with a heat setting glue. Jamberry claim their product will stay on your nails for two weeks. They are supposed to be a cost effective, good looking method for having funky looking/studio quality nails.
Here is Jamberry's demonstration video.
Jamberry products are sold through party plans. It is hard to find out the price of a starter kit without going to a Jamberry party, however starter kits seem to range from $80 to $400. We weren't prepared to pay that much money to test their product! Luckily, we found second hand starter kits for $10 on Facebook Marketplace.
For $10 we thought it was worth a try.
Jacqui and I had great fun putting the Jamberry stencils on each others nails, but they proved to be sadly ineffective as a barrier. Just half an hour later Jacqui's were gone. While concentrating on something she removed every one of them. Jamberry nails are not for people who pick their nails.
Mine lasted a week, which is a lot longer than nail polish lasts on my hands. But I spent the whole week feeling like I had contact (vinyl covering) on my fingers.
Having completed our Jamberry trial we gave the remaining wraps to a friend who loves them.
The second barrier method we tested was UV gel. This is a UV (light) setting resin. This means it is much harder than regular nail polish. Getting gel nails done professionally costs around $30, and need to be done every two weeks. For Jacqui alone, this would cost $780 per year. For two of us, it would be $1,560! That is way too much money! Instead, we purchased a do-it-yourself UV gel nail kit from AliExpress for $58.
Here is the kit.
If you have never done UV gel nails, it is really easy. It is just like normal nail polish but much faster and tougher.
Here is a one and half minute short YouTube video, explaining how to paint your nails with UV gel resin.
We found doing your own UV gel nails at home is easy and a great way to spend time with your teenage daughter and friends. Since buying the kit six months ago we have used it 30 times and it has paid for itself many times over.
I love the UV nails. It is a thousand times better than nail polish. But while our kit proved to be great value, it still didn't work as a barrier when it came to stopping Jacqui from biting or tearing at her fingernails. The UV nails stayed on Jacqui's fingers for 24 hours. Longer than Jamberry, but still not long enough.
Seeing as both barrier methods had failed in helping Jacqui to leave her nails alone, we tried to find new ways to change her habit.
Fidget toys have become really popular for people who like to keep their fingers busy. So after a lot of research we thought best method to try was a fidget ring. We searched for fidget rings on AliExpress, but they were awful. Instead, we ended up on Etsy and bought four of these fidget stacking rings. Jacqui loves them.
Jacqui wears the rings every day and they are really good, except for when she forgets to wear them or leaves them somewhere. Then all it takes is half an hour of deep concentration where she does not realise she is picking at her nails and we are back to square one.
Despite our best efforts, we were unable to find the perfect solution to help Jacqui grow her nails. But it wasn't a lost cause. By asking ourselves those four questions we were able to trial several methods without breaking the bank or resulting in long term salon maintenance. We learned new skills, I discovered a new love for UV gels and best of all, Jacqui and I had lots of fun and quality mother-daughter time together. Keep these four questions in mind next time you feel pressured into making an emotional decision. You could save yourself a lot of money and, in the process, discover some much easier, cheaper methods to help you reach your beauty goals.
Many of us spend an awful lot of time and money trying to remove our unwanted body hair. Shaving, waxing, plucking, creams, electrolysis, it never seems to end. The most efficient way to keep unwanted body hair at bay is to get laser therapy. This is a treatment where a machine flashes a light at your leg and it damages the hair follicle, reducing the hair's ability to grow back. Quite a few of my friends have got it done at the salon, where it takes 10 visits and $1000 to stop your hair from growing back. For Jacqui and I it would cost $2000 to get our hair lasered. Not a chance!
Instead, we did our own research and checked out shaving, waxing and IPL machines. IPL machines are Intense Pulse Light machines. They are a weaker, 'do your legs at home' version of the professional salon machines. We bought one direct from China for $140. Here it is:
It was a gamble, but one which paid off. Jacqui and I have both been using it and it is great! It works and we have saved ourselves $1850 by taking a risk and learning how to do it ourselves. Win!
Like many households with teenagers, the last few years our household was hit with full pizza face acne. I feel really bad that it took me ages to help Sam find a solution. Topical pimple creams did almost nothing. And the cost?
A 10g tube of Clean & Clear Advantage Fast Clearing Spot Gel costs $9. Which works out to $900 per kilo.
A 30g jar of Botani Rescue Acne Cream is $26.99. Which works out $899.67 per kilo.
Oh my! In the end, it was homeopathy to the rescue. I read this article about acne by the National Centre for Homeopathy.
Sam's acne symptoms matched the first remedy on the list, Hepar Sulph. I already had a bottle of Hepar Sulph 30c, so I gave him some and - his acne cleared up. He also became a much happier, easier to live with teen. Sam has been having Hepar Sulph for three months now and his acne is virtually gone. When I stopped giving him the Hepar Sulph, the acne returned but disappeared as soon as he started taking it again.
NOTE: When ever I write about homeopathy, people write in to say, 'How dare I include a product that regularly saves me money in a newsletter about saving money?' I guess this is because very few people in Australia understand homeopathy; what it is or how it works. But there are a lot of people who are interested in homeopathy and enjoy stories about it. I objectively test every product that I use and I am always looking for the most cost effective solution to every problem. If homeopathics is the best solution, I am going to use it and I am going to write about it.
Yes, you read right! Our much loved Hint of the Week competition has been having a bit of a snooze these past couple of years, but it is BACK! We sent one out recently, did you see it? If not, please check your spam folder in case its been snaffled away in there. For those of you who are not aware, Hint of the Week is a competition in which all members can send in their favourite money saving tips. It can be about anything you like, big savings or small, every one counts! We enjoy reading them all and the best part is, if your hint is chosen as our favourite Hint of the Week, you get to win a FREE 12 month membership to our paid members' area, the Vault, where you can find all the best money saving tips, support and resources to last you the whole year long! If you're already a Vault member, no problem! We can just tag your prize winning 12 months onto your existing membership. So put your thinking caps on and send your favourite money saving tips. You can enter as many times as you like!
Thank you everyone for the fantastic entries you sent in response to our last newsletter competition. Choosing only four winners was really difficult, as so many people sent in such brilliant advice! I've planted many of the plants which were suggested and the wicking beds are doing brilliantly. We have been eating something from our yard every day!
The new plants we have added are: climbing spinach, garlic, Asian greens, tarragon, chives, and spring onions.
Thank you for your help. These are our four winners:
First, plant some garlic, radishes and onions along the edges and marigolds in the corners. They are edible, pretty and help with companion planting. Second, behind them plant a row of pak choy, or preferred Asian greens. Thirdly, plant some quick growing seasonal veggies in the middle, such as vertical snow peas and vertical strawberries in one tub, and vertical tomatoes with vertical cucumbers on a trellis across, to provide some shade or maximise sun availability between the two beds. Lastly, on the outside corner of the tubs build up your potato beds.
Also, as an idea, consider putting fish tanks along the back or sides and use their effluent as fertiliser. Voila: aquaponics!
If our family followed your footsteps and prepared and planted wicking beds, this is what we would do. It seems one large tub can be cut in two, so for each smaller tub we would plant;
- Celery - have always had trouble with past attempted crops, keeping up with required water levels.
- Tomato - smaller 'shrub' like variety, so as not take over the tub.
- Spring onions/shallots - a plant with specific water needs.
- Lettuce - Water loving plant. Plus will round out the tub to make a nice salad.
- Grapevine - a table grape variety at the back, to utilise a fence or lattice structure. Water dependent plant.
- Dwarf citrus trees - one lemon and one orange. Surface roots and mulch loving plants - might need to keep trimmed for tub space and grapevine benefit.
Mulch and fertilise, and stake both tubs where needed.
In my wicking beds I would plant baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, parsley and strawberries. I would plant these as they are easy for my kids to pick and eat straight from the plants - hopefully spiking their interest in gardening and eating fresh food from our garden (without realising it's healthy)!
I have a number of raised beds in my garden and plant lots of different vegetables in them - wicking beds would be even better but I haven't quite got there yet! However, my favourites are vegetables, herbs and fruit that self seed.
Parsley, coriander, lettuce, bok choy and various other Asian greens will drop seed if you leave the plants to die and dry out in the bed once you have finished harvesting them. Then the seeds pop up in the bed all by themselves next spring or autumn. I haven't had to sow any more seeds of these for several years.
Chillies, capsicum and tomatoes are all easy to grow, and any fruit that drops off the plant in your wicking bed will eventually disappear into the soil, only to appear again as lots of new plants once the season is right. Some of my best tomato yields have come from self-seeded bushes. One year we didn't plant any tomatoes at all, but we had about six months when we harvested tomatoes every day from our self-seeded plants. We even stocked up the freezer with the excess.
Sweet potato is another vegetable that gives you lots of freebies. Keep harvesting them each year and there will be little bits left in the soil that will produce more sweet potato plants the following year. The leaves also provide a great living mulch to keep the moisture in and the soil cool whilst other vegetables grow amongst them. I haven't planted any new sweet potatoes in my raised beds for several years and they still keep coming.
The other main thing I always 'plant' in my raised beds is worm castings from my worm farms. I place a handful under every new vegetable or fruit seedling when I plant them. I chuck everything into my two worm farms - including pips, stones, seeds and so on. These will sit in the worm castings in the raised bed and when they're ready, hey presto, they suddenly spring to life and you have lots of wonderful free plants sprouting up everywhere. I get lots of tomatoes, chillis, capsicums, melons, pumpkins, passionfruit, mangos, avocados and more growing in my raised beds. If I don't want them in there and need the space for other vegetables I simply transplant them elsewhere. I have a huge self seeded passionfruit that has grown in one of my raised beds, supported by several self-seeded papayas (although it will need its own support structure soon). The fruit on it is about the size of a tennis ball at the moment - who says you need to have grafted passionfruit to get a crop! A self-seeded mango tree that grew in a raised bed several years ago had to be transplanted into a huge pot and has already had a crop of fruit. It helps that I live in the sub-tropics of course.
The list is endless really. If you use vegetables and fruit that are likely to self-seed in your wicking beds you will get a never-ending supply of free plants and save yourself a lot of work and heaps of money!
As our enjoyable but fruitless product trial showed, we have yet to discover the secret to putting an end to nail biting/picking in the Lippey household. We know it's possible! We just haven't found the right solution - yet. So this month we would love to know, what are your favourite tried and true tips to stopping people biting or picking their nails? If you have the magic answer (particularly an answer which doesn't break the bank), please write to us. We have four prizes of $50 for the best tips. We're looking forward to receiving your entries!
We hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter, late as it was, and I hope you found the beauty tips helpful. Don't forget, if you're a Vault member you can dive straight in to our 'Beauty' section, which at last count has another 969 beauty tips all at your fingertips! If you are not a Vault member yet and would like to become one, you can do so here. Don't forget to enter our Hint of the Week competition too, for a chance at winning a free membership!
Until next time,