1 year/£100 beauty challenge


You know what? I’ve got a lot of make up and a lot of beauty and personal hygiene products, a lot. And most of it is just sitting there going unused, which isn’t very thrifty now is it?

I got a bit obsessed and sucked into to YouTube beauty channels for a while last year. I’m talking about a corner of the internet where having 7 drawers of mascara seems the norm and I started to forget that umm, no it really (really, really, really) isn’t. I let consumerism bite me on the arse in the worst way and it is time to stop and grab a-hold of these thrifty reigns again, especially as we’re now saving up a deposit for a house (eep!)


In a bid to cut back on my monthly budget and use up my stock piles (in my desperate attempt to get rid of my crap – THINNING OF THE THINGS) I’m implementing a strict beauty product challenge. I will be spending a MAXIMUM of £100 in the next year on all my beauty and personal hygiene product requirements and using up everything I already own.
Spread out over a year, I (actually both Mr Thrifty and me) will have an average £8.33 per month to spend and here is how I’m breaking it down


What it will include –
Make up of any kind
Shower gel, body wash, bubble bath etc.
Soap/hand wash
Skin care of any kind
Shampoo & hair products (and my hair is product hungry, the fecker)
Nail polish
Tools such as brushes, sponges, face cloths etc.
Oral hygiene products (I toyed with not including this and soap/handwash because they’re essentials however I have a stockpile of freebie toothpaste and handsoap taller than The Shard so if I buy more it comes out of the budget)

What it won’t include –
Medical items such a lotions I use for eczema
Sanitary products
Sun protection
Pain relief, over the counter and prescription medications

There aren’t really many. I just want to stick to it!
– I’m able to receive make up etc. as gifts (not a request) as this is often what I get from friends and relatives anyway but I’m going to make sure I’m not begging them come December for MOALIPGLOSSSSPLEZ.
Edit – I’ve had a few people email me about hairdressers etc. and I’m not really sure where I stand on it when it comes to this challenge. I don’t usually colour my hair and my friend (a trained hairdresser) cuts my fringe for me every 3 weeks (free) but I tend only to go to the salon for a full cut 4 times a year because I hate sitting there like a fat lump in front of the mirror waiting for them to do the opposite of what I want for £50. Eeek I’m not sure. Such help, huh? – Just wait until October when I’m writing a post all like ‘but I neeeeeeeeded a hair cut *sobbing inhale* and Laura *Sob* Mercier *sob* pow *sob* der’ and we’ll look back on this moment of indecision and laugh.

This challenge isn’t about going without or restricting but about finding great quality items for less, using up what I have (which is a lot) and actually realising what I do and don’t need. I want to take care of my skin, I want to wear make up but I want to do it without excess. I think a lot of bloggers, YouTubers (and readers and viewers) can easily get sucked into ‘GOTTA HAVE THAT NEW THING OMFG’ and it leads to a crazy circle of excess and overspending without need. I need to stop this in my life, this is the jolt I need.


Wish us luck!
This challenge starts today and ends on 27th June 2014. I’ll keep you updated with our spending and what we’ve managed to use up on a monthly basis.


If you’d like to join in on the challenge simply grab the above button (click the image to go to the Flickr page and pick your perfect size or feel free to resize as long as you link back to this post) and post it on your blog along with a link to this post so people know what it is all about. Let me know if you’re going to join in, however I doubt many will take on the challenge.

I know some people in thrifty blog circles will think ‘bloody hell £100 is a lot to spend on make up and soap, you’re mad’ and yes it is to some. However to me I film often for TV shows and need to turn up made up with nice(ish) hair, I’m not confident in my skin and actually enjoy playing about with make up and looking after my skin. I spend far in excess of £100 usually (probably around £800 a year), so getting down to that figure will be a challenge for me. Obviously different figures will suit different people, this is what works for me.


P.S. A lot of the products I already have (such as mascaras) have yet to be opened so don’t worry they’re not going to go off.

P.P.S. I was going to go all the way down to £50 but my poor skin reacts so badly to crappy soaps and shower gels and I don’t want to risk it.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Oooh I’m going between “YES, great idea! Just what I need.” and “Ooh, maybe after I buy those new eye shadows.”. I’m a total sucker for the beauty bloggers too, everything looks so good after its been edited on Instagram!

  2. This is such a good idea, I’m excited to see how you get on! Xx


  3. Oh god I need to do this badly but just don’t think I’d be able too :( can you receive presents of make up?

  4. I definitely need to do something like this. I banned myself from spending on beauty during June and although I’ve stuck to it, I’ve written a long list of products to buy on July 1st! Yup, totally missed the point on that one. I’ll let you know if I decide to join in x

  5. Great challenge but I know it’s not something I could stick too! Good luck x


  6. This is such a great idea! Good luck! xo

  7. Sticking to less products may be better for your skin in the long run! I think simple is best sometimes.

  8. I’m exactly the same as the first Anon – I WISH I could do this, but I just KNOW I’ll get sucked into something and need to buy it. A year is a long time… I can’t wait to see how you get on! :)

    Eve xxx

  9. I’m exactly the same as the first Anon – I WISH I could do this, but I just KNOW I’ll get sucked into something and need to buy it. A year is a long time… I can’t wait to see how you get on! :)

    Eve xxx

  10. I feel like I don’t spend anywhere near £100 on beauty products but I guess it’s probably a lot more than I think. I don’t often wear make-up day-to-day but I’m tempted to join in with this just to see how much I do spend!

    Good luck with it all! :)

  11. Such a good idea! I’m lucky enough to get stuff in goodie bags from time to time and I gave away SO MUCH when I moved. Really need to get through the stuff I kept, too!


  12. This is a brilliant idea! I’m kind of tempted to do the same…but I already have my heart set on the Clarins BB cream which is over £20!! Maybe I’ll start at the end of Summer! xx

  13. I have so many toilettries so this year I’ve been doing empties postsand making sure i use stuff up rather then bring more…..i seem to be doing ok at the moment……my cupboards are still full though xxx

  14. Ooh, this is such a great idea – I always think about how excessive some beauty collections are and I admit that mine has doubled in size in the last 18 months. That’s why I like the ‘project 10 pan’ vids where people commit to using up 10 products and the ‘shopping my stash’ vids where you rediscover great products that you already have. I think I am going to follow your lead (a bit). I think I will commit to £100 beauty spends for the next 6 months (I’ll be on maternity leave by the end of the year so I’ll likely be skint, so this will do me some good). Oh but for us shower gel, hair products and razors come out of the ‘food’ budget are usually bought at the supermarket, but I still think this kind of limit will help me be more mindful and make me use lots of things up!
    Good luck! :-)

  15. This is a great idea! I realised just the other day that I probably don’t need to buy any shower products til 2014 at least… I’m definitely going to try to use them all up before I buy any more – not sure I could stick to a monetary target, but a one-out, one-in policy is in play on my beauty dresser/bathroom from now on!

  16. Hayley says:

    This is BRILLIANT. I too am a sucker for beauty youtubers. This one time I lost a whole Saturday to all the swoon-worthy “my make up collection and storage” videos.

    I have accumulated a massive collection of make up. I justify it by saying that I “collect” make up, but seriously, who needs 200 lipsticks? Collecting make up is silly because it expires. This is exactly the prompt I needed to use up my stuff and bring my budget under control.

    Great idea. I’m in.

  17. Nice idea. Tolietries and make up are definitely one of my top spending areas – I don’t find it that hard to resist new clothes, bags or shoes, but I’m very often sucked in by a new shampoo or mascara which promises to CHANGE MY LIFE. Perhaps it’s because these types of products are advertised to us so much more heavily on TV than clothes? Who knows.

    I reckon the 99p store will be a god send for a challenge like this (but you knew that already). I’m always finding really good bargains like branded hair products and skin care, like a Garnier day cream, which would usually cost up to a fiver. Good luck!

  18. That was an interesting read. The equivalent for me would be to spend £250 a year on beer. I know I couldnt do it, so wish you a lot of luck. I dont spend much on clothes as tend shop at my mates place or scrounge giveaways from brands i work with. If you dont ask you dont get. Have never let pride get in the way of a freebie!

  19. I’m signing up! I spend far too much every month on beauty products even though I have drawers full of products at home. I’ve just cancelled my beauty box subscription and I’m going to shop the stash instead.

  20. Karen B says:

    Funny enough this is my new years resolution. So far have been sticking to it and it’s a great feeling using up all that stuff that has been sitting around for yonks.
    Good luck, believe it or not 100 is tight bit if you have a stockpile I reckon it’s doable. X

  21. Great idea Thrifty! I decided to do this last year. I was an Avon rep and had stashes and stashes of toiletries and make up. I decided to use it all up before buying anything new. Have saved loads of dosh and really don’t miss the latest make up trends etc. I d however, never go without dry shampoo!

    Good luck!

  22. This is what I need to do! so I’m in! May lower the budget though as I have quite the stock pile of most things…oops…always seems so important and necessary at the time lol.

  23. i absolutely love this idea, very refreshing indeed since all we get to see lately on youtube etc is products on products on products.. i think these are very informative, but they do give a slanted view on what is ‘normal’. i might do something like this on moy blog. thanks for sharing!

  24. At first when I saw the title of this post I thought I could never do it but the more I think about it, the money I’d save is crazy! I’m a student and definitely shouldn’t be spending the amount I do on beauty products, I am definitely going to commit to this challenge, Thanks for spurring me on!! x

  25. Oh dear I think I have the opposite problem! I am very stingy when it comes to buying myself clothes and beauty products. Money has been so tight these last couple of years that I feel so guilty when I buy something just to improve my personal appearance. Although I am good at the not-spending bit, I often wonder if I am giving myself a bit of a hard time and not buying products that (whether the public agree or not this is healthy) make ME happy. I have one eye shadow for work and one bright one for when I ‘dress up’ and keep the same mascara for months, which I have heard isn’t very sanitary. I have a ‘fear’ of using up products I like too quickly so I just use tiny buts at a time. My BF noticed that I still have over half a bottle of Lush body wash left from when he bought me it at Christmas. He thought I dint like it because I hadn’t used it much- I explained that I do like it and that is why I hardly use it- yeah crazy me! And the perfume he bought me- I hardly wear it, because it might run out! I’m silly, I know. I must spend a lot on hair dye though, as I have to re-do my hair every couple of months at about £5 per time. Great idea though Thrifty, I shall direct my sister to your post!

  26. Hair stuff is my downfall. I have long curly hair and I put lots of curl cream on after I wash it, which is every day. I need to find something cheaper I think. I used to just use coconut oil, so I might try that, or maybe just leave in some ordinary conditioner – don’t know if you can do that. I’ll be interested to see how you get on!

  27. Fantastic idea. I might make this a New Year’s resolution :-) x

  28. This is a great challenge! I set myself a goal at Christmas to not buy any more shower gels, toothpaste, bubble bath, shampoo, conditioner and make up until I had used what we already had. Apart from 2 bottles of shampoo and conditioner and one can of dry shampoo (FREE thanks to the Batiste) offer, I’ve stuck to this! It is amazing how much we’ve accumulated and I’ve still got bags and drawers full of unopened items! Getting to the stage of throwing out an empty bottle is a great feeling now. I also use mystery shopping to chemists to stock up – I normally have a maximum of £5 reimbursement so I will buy one £5 shampoo and get it for free.

    Good luck with it!

  29. I have been applying my makeup out of a make up bag since last couple of weeks … it is amazing to realize that you DO NOT lot of products. Sad part of the story is I look at my vanity and it saddens me :(


  30. I think I might join you and do this challenge too. I love a blog challenge and I’ve got quite a stockpile of toiletries, moisturisers, soaps, shampoos etc. so I might just be able to manage it. The only difficulty I might have is perfume, as I desperately need some more Coco by Chanel, but I may have to wait until my birthday or Xmas and put it on my list. I will click on the button, but I’m afraid I’m not too good with creating links, but will definitely mention this challenge in a blog post. Good luck with it yourself.

  31. Amazing idea, good luck, you can do it!

    Sophierosehearts x

  32. I am going to 100% take part in this challenge! Ever since I started earning money (a year ago) I have been spending way too much! £100 seems like a lot just no but a year is actually a long time. I think I also need a clothing budget but am not sure how much it will be yet. Thanks for the motivation! We can do this!



  33. Excellent idea, wish you luck. I would do this but then I could cheat and get my mum to most things as I still at home- maybe I’ll just make a pact with myself to finish things up before buying something basically the same.
    Look forward to hearing some updates

  34. Really like this idea. I don’t think I’m *too* massive a hoarder, but I have more than one set of everything on the go from living in 2 or 3 places at once last year and it would be good to get everything a bit more streamlined. I feel your pain on reacting badly to certain things though. Good luck. Interested to see how you find the challenge, as I get the impression my spending habits on this area are quite similar to yours.

  35. I’m so, so tempted, but I know I’d never stick to it. It’s polish and lipstick that reels me in. And blusher. It’s ridiculous, I don’t even use the half of the stuff, but I know in all honesty if I start spending bans or limits again I immediately want to rebel. Maybe I’ll keep a list of what I spend on this stuff over the next year and if it’s ludicrous, I’ll definitely do a bit of damage limitation after. Best of luck!

  36. I completely know what you mean about getting sucked in with the beauty channels/blogs. I will always see something I want to purchase, pop into boots to buy it and find there’s some 3 for 2 deal on and end up spending the best part of £50 on things i don’t need. Like you I’ve decided to cut down. Although I haven’t set a budget I’m really proud of how well I’m doing and I’m actually really looking forward to buying a mascara next month as mine are all on their last legs. I’m loving how much space is in my make up drawer right now too, with using up all my products everything is much more organised.

    As for skincare, moisturiser is my weakness. I’m making use of all 18 (yes, 18) tubs of body moisturiser currently in my bathroom cupboard.

    I hope to see some update posts on this, haircare would be the major struggle for me so any good quality, purse friendly hair product recommendations will me warmly welcomed :)

    I wish you both lots of luck, I’m sure it’ll be easier than people think.


  37. I’ve been thinking along these lines and I’m going to join in! I’ll have a last splurge on holiday in a couple of weeks and then begin.

    I’m not going to include basic handwash (£1.50 or less) and toothpaste because I don’t have much of these stockpiled.

    I’ll be in my final year of uni so I can mostly get away without haircuts but if I have a job interview I will have to smarten up it will cost over £100 but that is an important investment.

  38. im doing something like this where im only allowing my self to buy 10 makeup products over the year , but say if I get a new lip-gloss but I get rid of one I don’t have to write the new lip-gloss on the list of 10 things that I have bought :) x

  39. Once you’ve bought the ultimate blusher why should buy another half dozen over month? Anyways, I need a new car, holiday & I want to get our house deposit together. NO MORE BEAUTY ‘MUST HAVES’!

  40. Brilliant idea! As my budget has tightened over the years, I’ve been forced to lower my beauty standards. Make up used to be Laura Mercier, but I’ve slowly downgraded to Number 7 (and even then I buy only when on offer). Moisturiser is no longer Clinique but simple coconut oil (huge tub for £8) which doubles as intensive hair conditioner. The days of Original Source shower gels are long gone and instead I buy a huge bottle of shower creme (yep, Wilkos) and fill empty shower gel bottles. :)

  41. This is such a good idea, I really don’t think I would be able to do it myself though! I get sucked into pretty things too much.
    Good luck!

    Emily / Glittery Teacups

  42. I went cold turkey on makeup products about a year and a half ago and since then I’d say I’ve spend about £50, not including holiday buys and my bank account is laughing. It’s amazing how much we spend on this stuff! Good luck <3

  43. I’m going to join you!
    I’m excited..
    Kerrie x

  44. Fab idea – very original!
    I always think I don’t spend a lot on beauty products but then I look in my make up boxes and always seem to have a lot of unused products. Perhaps I need to set myself the task of buying nothing new until I’ve used up what I have already! x

  45. This would be a challenge for me if it was the other way around LOL. I have been makeup free due to the difficulties of putting it on (due to disability and depression eg cba) for several years now. I splashed out a ccouple of years nach and spent approx £30 on a Jerome Alexander set from QVC after trying my mother in law’s set and really liking it – I have quite red skin and it helps with mineral pigment things to balance the red out and as it is a compact, just a big brush to apply it. The compact is all I use for special events, hate lippy, can’t do mascara etc etc and am not trusting the OH to do makeup for me. I’d look like a clown!!!
    He and I use the same shower gel, and due to skin sensitivities, it is all Original Source brand of various flavours, usually mint and tea tree, purchased when on bogoff only.
    As a once / week hair wash person (very dry frizzy hair which I am hating right nw but as it is down to medication, not much chance of sorting), I get through maybe 3 bottle of shampoo and conditioner a year and toothpaste: well, you only need a petit pois sized piece as any more is wasted so even if I was to change my toothbrush more often than needed, I wouldd still struggle to spend £50 I think.
    I do wish you a lot of luck though.
    On the other side,if I had to pay for my medication each month, it would be well over £100 a month so thank goodness for the £10 / month prescription pre payment card – life saver. If I had to actually pay for my meds, I would be in the £11000’s each month so I am counting myself lucky that I don’t ive in USA with no health insurance.

    Good luck to you painted ladies. Nude is easier!

    Suzi x

  46. Great idea, although I don’t think I could ever survive on that. I can easily spend £40 in one go in Boots… Good luck!

  47. Ok this tutorial scared me quite a bit, but when I read ALL the comments, I thought, right, lets so this, so I did, and it turned out good (surprisingly)
    Cut your own hair tutorial – http://feyeselftrim.livejournal.com/2389.html#cutid1


  48. These all seem like fabulous buys!~

  49. I can very easily spend £30 in Boots without blinking an eye. I usually use the offers and stock pile, but still…

  50. Great post… So glad I came across your blog today. I’ll take on the challenge, but it is going to be tough! I’m interested to see what items I learn to live without.

  51. I’m way ahead of you. I’ve already reached the point where I’ve used up all my stockpiles except for blush (being pale it takes years to work through just one single blush!). I’m really proud of myself, especially for having used up all of my perfume. The best part is opening up my beauty drawer, and just having products I love and use in it.

  52. This sounds like a great idea, I might need to do it too as I’m about to start my final year of university!
    I managed to do 100 days no spending, so surely I can do this too? :)


  53. I’ve been working towards this for a bit after looking at the might make-up stash and the bath product mountain and feeling The Shame. Some stuff that was never going to get used to Kiss and Make-Up, a charity that passes things onto Refuge etc. The rest of it is being used up and only replacements – preferably budget ones – are being purchased. Each time I use something up, I pop a £ in the piggy bank. Mixed progress so far, but your post has inspired me to keep at it. £100 will be next year’s target.

  54. I’m joining you on this one! Hopefully that way it will encourage me to use new cosmetics I haven’t opened, and get rid of the samples which I’ve been hoarding for so long!


  55. I’ve admired you since I first started reading your blog but now my admiration has TOTALLY shot through the roof. This is an amazing challenge you’re embarking upon and I look forward to reading about your experience.

    As I too am saving up to move out of my mum’s house FOREVER, I think I could benefit from this massively but I really don’t think I could manage this. Currently I’m half way through a two month spending ban which I’m doing quite well with and I’m being very good at not buying new makeup and skincare until I’ve reviewed everything I already I have on my blog – but – the thought of only 100 pound a year on my favourite things is a little scary!

    Well done xo

  56. You can do this! I decided at the tail end of last year that I would be using stuff up and it hasn’t been bad at all. So far, I have used 4 year old hair shampoo – my hair looks fine; if I need a make up fix I have great results from discount retailers. I must admit, winning a load of hair shampoos has been a bonus, but everything else has got to go! I have been finding uses for products that I didn’t like, for example, a night cream became a great body moisturiser and that shampoo that makes my hair lank I use for washing brushes. Above all, I can now see that you can’t buy miracle creams, most things will do. It’s all a matter of preference regarding how much you are willing to pay for lotions n potions.

  57. I really admire your pledge. I didn’t really have an interest in make up until my daughter got me into watching you tube and I became addicted and totally sucked in – make up and skincare. I only have to see someone raving about something and I need it NOW! I so need to break this habit as it has taken me over – I’m not strong enough to do what you’re doing but I think I’m going to try a monthly limit of £15 for 6 months then if possible reduce to £10 for the next 6 months. Hopefully if I can break the cycle I will see how ridiculous I have been. Thanks for your inspiration and good luck x

  58. Just done a quick tot up. I reckon I can limit myself to a fiver a month… So I’m in!!

  59. I don’t think I can limit myself to £100 a year but I’m definitely trying to do project 10 pan at the moment. I’ve just finished uni and I’m living back home meaning 3 years worth of make up and beauty items are now stockpiled in my room – sooo many hair products, body moisturisers, make up removers etc that need to be used up before I repurchase. Would benefit from the extra space in my room!

    A beauty, food and life blog by Izzi

  60. This is very smart :)
    Alll that STUFF you have lying ’round become a source of stress, doesen’t it? I mean, it’s worth so much money..and not properly Appreciated! Last month I gave all my (still Good )cosmetics that I never used anymore to a friend Who refuses to spend money on quality makeup. I now own: two (New) Mac shadows, one eccellent mascara, three lipsticks, one stain, an eyeliner pencil two light foundations, primer, one blusher and one face powder. I won’t join in since I have no stock of anything. And have very sensitive skin. But I really like your idea!!!
    I once shaved my head before going to work one summer in barcelona. I was sick of schlepping around all those products and spending on them and it was so hot..

  61. This is such a good idea :) Might have to try this xxx


  62. Wowzers! Good luck with the challenge, Thrifty!

  63. i too have known the effects of youtube videos on my teeny tiny purse – this is such a good idea! i don’t know that i’d be able to keep up with it though. Good luck! Sarah x

  64. That’s a good idea! I need to do it myself!
    Laura DemandBeauty <3

  65. I really need to do this. But I have too much to get through… I get bored so easily.

    Love this post


  66. “I hate sitting there like a fat lump in front of the mirror waiting for them to do the opposite of what I want for £50” – I really did think I was the only girl who felt this way. Huzzah for finding out I’m not alone after all!

  67. and Laura *Sob* Mercier *sob* pow *sob* der’

    Too funny! I laughed out loud!

  68. and Laura *Sob* Mercier *sob* pow *sob* der’

    too funny! I laughed out loud!

  69. I want to join in! I’ve just posted about it on my blog. :) I’m at once excited and unsure, which means I’m in for a learning experience. ^_^

  70. I really wish I could do this challenge because it fits in with all the minimalist wardrobe revamping I’ve been doing, but then I’d have to stop shopping at Lush and I think that might kill me :)

  71. I’ll be sort of joining in with you with this, I’ve recently had a big sort out of all my beauty products and realised I have waaayyyy too many!

    The only change I’m going to make is I get a monthly glossybox so I’ll be keeping that and reducing my spen to £50 for the year :)



  72. I’d love to give this a go and don’t think I would find it so hard with a stock pile of Christmas pressies to get through (Most of my presents of hand/foot creams and body lotions go unopened to my local charity shop ) With my family of five, its just not possible with basic stuff like hand wash,soap and toothpaste


  1. […] El over at A Thrifty Mrs has confessed to having a bit of an obssession too and has devised the 1 Year/£100 Beauty Challenge in an attempt to curb her spending […]

  2. […] to make/save money. I might blog a bit about it over time, but this week another blogger’s (A Thifty Mrs) idea really caught my […]

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