04/11/2009

Recession oblige

As I´m sure you´ve gathered after reading some of my posts, I like luxe and beautiful things, and love being pampered. This was my usual monthly regimen until the crisis started depleting numbers around me on the markets floor:
2 mani-pedis
4 massages
1 hair treatment, cut and blowdry
2 wax treatments
2 eyebrow threading sessions
1 facial
1 or 2 blowdries before a party

Earlier this year, I did a little computing session and figured out that there was definitely some room to cut back. Living in West London, all of this was costing north of 900£ each month... Before tips and not including the cost of any at home products, or my ballet and climbing work-outs! All in the name of general maintenance!!! 900£ is a frightening number, considering everything going on around me. For many years, I have been humorously advocating to my managers that women should be paid more just to make up for all these essential expenses which men don't have, but sadly this does not really seem like a priority in my company's HR policy, so it was time to act!

Faced with that incongruous figure, I decided to reassess what I call the basic needs. Given recession and the higher risk of losing my job, how much do I need a weekly massage and how essential is it that I get a mani-pedi professionally done every two weeks? And a few months after this reassessment, the answer is: not so much.

But adjusting wasn´t easy... far from it. First, mani-pedis: I am one of those people who have small and quite ugly fingers and toes and honestly I need all the help I can get. So that was the toughest one to let go. I still get my hands done weekly and my feet bi-weekly, only now I am my own therapist. Now, every week, I put a DVD on, preferably an old movie (last week was the Godfather), and watch as I do my nails. It does take some dexterity but this is a significant saving on a weekly basis, especially since I don't expect a tip from myself!

Second to go was the weekly body massage. When you sit down in front of a PC all day long like I do, a massage is a blessing for all aches, pains, and also thigh dumplings, however at 45GBP a pop that adds up really quick. My solution: get a tiny masseuse in the form of a little machine that Sephora was selling in Paris, and do my massages myself. Thank god for flexible limbs!!!

A few months down the line, I do all the easy-to-do things at home (mani-pedis, massage, weekly blow-dry, maintenance facial, wax), with the added benefit that I don't need to book any appointments and that I can get a mani at 2am if I want (I'm a regular insomniac). There are still things I wouldn't trust myself to do alone, like my monthly hair treatment and cut, my threading session, or my Oxygen facial. These are simply classified as absolute necessities, like internet access and electricity. And when I do go to get these treatments, it does finally feel like a treat, not a routine maintenance chore anymore!

Regardless, this has shown that with a little bit of patience and a few tools, a lot of a woman's maintenance can be done at home, at a much more efficient cost. My advice, try and see what you can do at home, who knows, you may have fun in the process!

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