Bloggie Wednesdays: When Beauty Blogging (Almost) Becomes A Financial Burden

Bloggie Wednesdays: When Beauty Blogging (Almost) Becomes A Financial Burden

Finance and beauty. These are two words you probably never see together in the same sentence. Now finance and blogging, that’s a whole different story. Search these two words on Google and you’ll get about 47 million results.

What do I mean about beauty blogging almost becoming a financial burden? I was on the bog when a thought came to me (don’t you just love it when inspiration hits out of the blue? Yep, even when it’s toilet time :P). Whenever we buy beauty products, do we really buy it for ourselves because we like it or do we buy it simply “for the blog”? Are we spending a lot of money, buying entire makeup collections purely just to review them on the blog? And I’m not even talking about the added cost of running a blog!

I say this because many a time, I do. When I started blogging about beauty 6 years ago, we didn’t have products sent to us for editorial consideration. In fact, the only thing I was sent in the first year was a small bottle of hand lotion from the US (even then, I was already mighty chuffed because OMG SOME COMPANY IN THE US KNOWS MY BLOG!). So what do we do? We buy our own stuff. You want to review something? Buy it, try it then write about it. It started to become a habit of mine that lasted till now. If I see something new that captures my eye, my first thought isn’t “Oooh I can’t wait to try that! I wonder if it’ll look good on me?“. It’s “Oooh something new for the blog! I can write about this!“.

So what started off as a project I wanted to do for fun became quite a bit of a financial burden. I had to set a budget for beauty products each month. I never had to do that before I started beauty blogging. Even though I was already earning money, I was still buying skincare products (I wasn’t much into makeup back then) as though I needed something new each month (I didn’t) and it didn’t break the bank. When I started blogging, all of a sudden, I was thinking differently. Every single beauty purchase must be accounted for the blog. Was it blog-worthy? If it was, even if I wasn’t not sure I’d like it, I got it.

Although I wouldn’t say it became a huge burden on my finances, it did put a strain on it. The strain grew when I moved to Australia simply because there’s just so much more new things to try. I still had a lot of Malaysian readers (still do, thank you very much!) and I wanted to show them what Australian beauty brands were about.

By then, I was lucky as it was just about the time when brands started to notice bloggers. Even though I did get sent products for review from time to time, I was buying a lot of beauty products with the justification that it’s “all for the blog”. In fact, I’m still doing it. The problem is, I cannot write them off as business expenses because I wasn’t making enough money on the blog to offset them. Gah.

After some time, I wouldn’t deny that sometimes it does take the fun out of buying beauty products for myself to try. The only times I purely enjoy buying makeup for myself and not just for the blog are when my friends and I do shopping sprees from overseas. A few of us gather our purchases in one order to share the exorbitant shipping fees. It’s like shopping together in our pyjamas. It’s fun and for a moment I stop thinking that I’m getting stuff just for the blog.

A lot of the beauty blogs on my reading list have participated in Project 10/50/100 Pan challenges as a form of beauty shopping ban and to complete at least 10/50/100 products of their own before they buy anything new. It’s not an easy challenge to undertake and I take my hat off to those who succeed in these because it can take ages to finish makeup products and still be constantly tempted to buy more. It’s a good way to control our spending in so many ways. We don’t buy what we don’t need. We finish up what we have first. We think harder in creating more interesting blogging topics around what we already have without needing to buy the next new fad just to blog about it. I don’t think I have that much self control to do a Project 10 Pan but err, how about I finish up one item at a time first? No? :P

I still set a budget for myself each month for beauty purchases. Whether it’s for myself or the blog, I am not to spend over a certain amount of money. Not exactly a fun thing to do and yes, if I blew this month’s budget, it will have to wait till next month. Even though Chanel waits for no man. Or woman for that matter.

What about you? Do you sometimes find yourself buying beauty products just for the blog and not because you really like them? Has blogging about beauty put a strain on your finances?

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.

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40 comments… add one

  1. LeGeeque

    Beauty has put a strain on my pocket. Not even blogging. I buy something cos I like it. Having said that, I’m pretty good with finishing up products (5-6 Dandelion boxes in the past, repurchased Bourjois Healthy Mix serums)
    LeGeeque recently posted..Where Petite might be JUST right!My Profile

    1. Tine

      I take my hat off to you, woman. You are one of the very very few women I know who actually finishes her makeup products while still getting more. It’s amazing how you finished up that 5-6 Dandelions. I haven’t even hit pan on a single blush! >.<

  2. Paris B

    *hands up* I’ve done it. Sometimes, its the thrill of the chase “Ooh! We don’t get it here, let me get it so I can talk about how wonderful (or crap) it really is!” or sometimes its because everyone and their mother is talking about it “OMG! The Color Tattoo shadows are here, I must get every damn shade!”

    But you know what? No more. Or rather, I have cut down drastically. When I buy stuff these days its because I like it, or I need something replacing and want to try something new, or because I’m personally interested in it. I won’t say I’m extravagant with my purchases and I don’t have a budget per se. I don’t have the luxury to go out very often these days so a lot of shopping is done online, and I don’t believe in putting myself on a ban. I’ve never been so crazy about buying, as to need to be on one. Just have to spread it out and be rational (which I (un)fortunately am!)

    At one time, I would have been more likely to get stuff for the blog, but these days, I get stuff for myself and then tell people about it on my blog. There’s a difference that makes me happy (after ending up with too much crap LOL) Oh and I love featuring stuff I’ve bought. It always makes me happier if I love it, and I don’t feel bad if I trash it. Oh and I love it of course when friends overseas ask if I want anything – that might be when I go a wee bit crazy for myself, and the blog :D
    Paris B recently posted..Dior Mono Eyeshadows : If you have ‘Logomania’ only wear 1 logo at a timeMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Good one! I definitely have been accumulating too much stuff, all “for the blog”. It came to a point where I cannot even remember if I have something. E.g. Geek would be telling me about an eyeshadow palette both of us have but I couldn’t even remember having it because I really do have way too much. It’s embarrassing.

      I’m slowly starting to just get stuff that I like that’s not purchased just for the blog. If it’s good or bad enough to blog about it, then yay, that’s extra content right there. If not, there’s always topics to write about. Doesn’t have to be about the latest Colour Tattoo :P

  3. Kaye

    Tell it sista! :)

    I would say without a doubt my blog influences my buys. I still buy for myself, but in the back of my mind I always weigh up whether others would be interested to read about it.

    I’ve slowed down the spending a lot, it was getting a little out of control last year lol, and sadly I bought so many things with the intention to write about them and never had the chance! It’s crazy.

    1. Tine

      Me too! My spending’s been out of control too. I went a bit nuts at the 40% Priceline sale. Still, I’m glad that that particular shopping spree were to stock up on stuff I actually like rather than buy something to try for the blog. Did buy one that I thought would be blog-worthy but now don’t know if I want to write about it. It’s the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable lip stain. Yeah, I don’t like it :P

  4. Yishan

    I’m guilty of this too.. especially when it’s hard to access PR samples for every brand to complete my lipstick brand directory…
    Yishan recently posted..CHANEL Rouge Coco Shine – Fiction & DialogueMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha I do wonder how you do yours since your blog is predominantly about lip products. Since it’s difficult to get every brand on board for your lippie database, I reckon you’d have to purchase a lot of them yourself. What do you do with the ones you’ve swatched? Keep? Give away even though it’s used? Chuck? You must have heaps of lippies!

      1. Yishan
  5. Rose

    I relate so much to this post! I used to just buy nail polishes that I was actually liked, but now I will buy an entire collection to swatch and review on my blog, even if I know I will hate half of them. I’ve managed to swap or sell some of them, but you can’t do that so easily with half used makeup products like foundation or skincare.

    I’m doing a sort of Project Pan at the moment which doesn’t prevent me from buying new products, but it encourages me to use them up more quickly. For example, I’m really lazy with eye cream, but having the project pan motivates me to use it every night. So at least the products aren’t just sitting there unused.
    Rose recently posted..Work Friendly Wednesday: OPI Keys to my Karma and MAC Ruby WooMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Good idea, Rose. Best to use up what we have. I’m sometimes quite lazy with eye cream during the day too but just to finish what I have up, gotta use one during the day too (eye creams take so long to finish too since you only need so little at a time). :)

  6. Madam M

    I’ve been sitting here for 1o minutes trying to convince myself i’ve never purchased anything purely just to blog about it. Do i do it, have i done it, will i do it?
    Honestly i really don’t know.
    I’m more of an impulse buyer.
    I see it, buy it, forget i have the same if not something extremely similar at home then when i get home the huge pangs of buyers remorse set in hard.
    I also started that old chestnut of hiding purchases from the boy & pulling them out he wasn’t home. (what a bitch!)
    Hense my trek on the P1OOP road.
    I love your idea on a monthly budget, why the hell didn’t i think of that seeing as though I’m a huge budgeter for everything else in life.
    Perhaps a budget wont get me into the trouble i got myself into last time.
    Madam M recently posted..SEPHORA – EYE MAKEUP REMOVING PADSMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahahaha me too! I hide all the beauty goodies from my husband too! If I buy or get sent any delicious-smelling body washes, I hide them after use. Which is so stupid because it’s just taking up precious space! Plus he complains that I only give him the lousy cheapies to use :P

      As for the budget, well, I *try* to stick to it the best I can. Keyword is TRY.

  7. Chelsea

    I know this feeling. I recently have started to stop and think “Do I really need that?” – I have 5 open foundations, do I really need another? So I’m trying to encourage myself to finish 1 before buying another… it sucks… but it has to be done! x
    Chelsea recently posted..Review: Cetaphil Restoraderm Body Wash and Body MoisturiserMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Sounds good Chelsea. Good luck! :D x

  8. Kate from Seduced by Beauty

    I can 100% relate to this Tine. I am forever ducking into Priceline to check to see the latest additions, and I can get stuck in Myer/DJ’s or Mecca for hours swatching and looking at all of the new pretty products.

    Whilst I am not on a spending ban I am SO proud that I haven’t gone near Priceline for the 40% off sale as I really don’t need anything. I know that if I went I would find things to buy and I have so many products waiting for reviews that I am really trying hard not to purchase anything unless I really NEED it.

    1. Tine

      Hahaha you’re very strong, Kate! I couldn’t resist the Priceline 40% sale. Err, justified to , er, stock up, right? :P

  9. Allison

    I’m a new blogger, 6 months, and other than iFabbo, I’m not getting any press samples. I am shocked at how much I’ve spent on makeup and skincare products. I’ve become the coupon queen! But I try not to buy anything that I don’t think I’ll use…although I guess there are those 3 mascaras from CK, Estee Lauder and Benefit I bought recently.

    Initially, I hoped to do more “feature” type articles, but I have found that they don’t drive traffic to my site the way good ole’ product reviews of new products do!
    Allison recently posted..OWN Lifting Eye Cream and My OWN App: Final ReviewMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha hail the coupon queen! I wish we could get coupons here for cheaper stuff like in the US; ours is so meagre.
      I know what you mean. There’s this rush to be one of the first to come out with reviews of new products. I tried this a few times and it was exhausting. Having said that, it did drive traffic higher than older product reviews. Sigh.

  10. Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog

    I definitely set a budget for myself because makeup and skincare products gets expansive, especially after a few quick trip to Sephora and the mall. I really only buy products that I know I’ll like myself. Sometimes I do get tempted with all those new collections, and I immediately think what and what will be good for my blog. But at the end, I always try to talk myself out of purchasing anything that I don’t want/like/need.
    Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog recently posted..Sulwhasoo Skincare Basic Kit|Traditional Recipe Infused With Modern IdeologyMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Good on you for setting a budget! If our prices were as good as US’s Sephoras, I would definitely have spent a LOT more >.<

  11. Norlin

    Hmmm…mine is more a case of…damn I don’t have space to store this! Like you know my collection of lipsticks. You’d think after doing lippyaday I would stop buying lip products…ah yah..as if. But now I guess I just don’t pay retail. Look at other International sites or get a mule to buy it from overseas for me. Still, in most cases? I don’t need any of the products. I just buy because I do want to try them or love them or have been lemming after them. Bad right?
    Norlin recently posted..#Shoein Update & A BIG Surprise!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Gotta admire your perseverance, woman. I think it’s only this year that I began to control what I buy, only because I have no space to store them! What comes in must go out. Hence blog sales, selling on eBay (only clothes and books so far), etc.

  12. Sarah

    I find that I will tend to only buy products if I think I can use them, believe it or not! Whilst the blog aspect is a factor in a way (e.g. if I pick up something and think hmm this might really interest my readers to know about this I will write about it) I don’t see the point in buying something I don’t personally need.

    Having said that, the logic doesn’t extend to lipsticks. I bought a few in the latest Priceline sale even though I didn’t really *need* 2 of them (I got 3)!

    I’m lucky in a sense as there aren’t any cool stores like Priceline or department stores where I usually am 9-5 Monday to Friday. Therefore I usually need to make a special trip to get what I am looking for, usually during weekends. :)
    Sarah recently posted..Clouds can have silver linings: Priceline HAUL & UDC freebie discovery!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahahaha! Well, for the Priceline sale, I bought 4 more Sally Hansen nail stickers. Definitely don’t NEED them; I already have 8! Tsk tsk :P

      Oh it’s a very very good thing you don’t have a Priceline or dept store nearby where you can go in for a quick shopping trip. Saves you a lot of money. I used to live a few doors away from a Priceline. Husband once asked me “why don’t you live there? You seem to always be there anyway!” :P

  13. plue

    I used to buy for the sake of blogging/ stress reliever, but ever since current work took over and most importantly that I am happy it did, that habit just stop by itself.

    I still buy stuff, I don’t go on a ban or on a budget anymore because I don’t buy as often as I used to, so there’s no need. And when I do buy I buy things that I want to use, or feel like trying it out.

    That said, if I were to sell all my makeup items at the same price I bought, imagine the extra $$ I would have! Though that’ll never happen, I can never part with my blush/brush/nail polish! And um the magical balls too!
    plue recently posted..Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh I know, right? If we sold our makeup, even at 50% off, it will bring us a lot of money because we already have a lot to begin with! BAHAHAHAHA!

      PS: Nope, not selling my bebolas. Err, maybe just the Pucci one. Kekekekeke!

  14. Megan

    I’ve definitely bought products merely for blogging purposes before, something I swore I wouldn’t do when I first started beauty blogging but it definitely snowballed and it can start to affect your finances. I try now to only buy well thought and researched products that I know I’m actually going to use but I still allow myself impulse purchases from time to time!
    Megan recently posted..Update and FavouritesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I think with a budget, lots of research and restraint, it’s okay for an impulse purchase or two every now and then. At least, I’ll keep telling myself that! :P

  15. Evelyn (CottonCandyDiva)

    I relate to this soo much! I have gotten to the point of ‘omg new beauty products, I. Must. Buy.Them!..and blog about them’ I seriously need to cut back! it’s not that I spend a lot of money at once, but over time I have accumulated products that are still sealed! (ashamed to admit)

    starting now, I MUST use what I have and try (as hard as I can) to not buy any new releases…easier said than done lol I’m thinking maybe I should save for something, so I am not tempted to spend.

    Great post!
    Evelyn (CottonCandyDiva) recently posted..Westfield Geelong Fashion Festival- AW 2013My Profile

    1. Tine

      Thanks Evelyn! When we enjoy blogging about new beauty products that catch our eye, it’s very tempting to want to get them all just so we can write about it. I have heaps of nail polishes that are just only so so that came from wanting to buy a whole collection. Sigh. Wasted space, wasted money :(

  16. gio

    I used to buy beauty products just for the blog when I first started out, but not anymore. These days I buy only new products when I’m really interested in trying them myself. If something needs replacing, then I might consider trying a product that I think my readers will like, but even then that’s not the deciding factor anymore. I need to really want to try it myself and be something that I’ll use often or I’ll just end up wasting money for something that’s just gonna lie in a drawer (and I already have too many of those from my first years of blogging!). I still do impulse purchase from time to time, especially when there’s a sale, but again, not as much as I used to.
    gio recently posted..Product Review: Nivea Pure & Natural Action DeodorantMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Good to know, Gio! Best to buy things we really like and save money on those which we’re just meh about, even if it’s for the blog. Too much money and space to think about! :)

  17. Karen C

    Not a blogger, but I subscribe to a couple of beauty boxes and even with them I find I’m accumulating all these products I haven’t yet used and some I probably wont use (shades I wouldn’t use or products I wouldn’t want to put on my skin!).
    I have wondered about what Beauty Bloggers do with the rest of products when they’ve been tried (and no longer used) and fortunately I have 2 daughters 16 and 20 who are usually quite happy to have products I don’t want – as well as the ones I love!

    1. Tine

      It does add up, doesn’t it? What I do with my stash is that I give them away to friends who don’t mind that the products have been opened and slightly used. I don’t give lip products or eye makeup such as mascaras and eyeliners away because that would be unhygienic. Sadly, most of the time, those unused items will be binned after a certain number of months.

  18. Beauty Box

    I’ve certainly been guilty of buying products just to review them on the blog. But I am genuinely interested in said products. If I had no interest or affinity to the brand, I would not purchase a product just for the sake of reviewing it. Though I have ended up with more products that are just “meh” and not “wow”. I really admire women who just buy what they think is the best for them and just stick with those few high quality products and use them over and over again. But alas, I’ve a wandering eye…haha! I think I’ve gotten a bit better and did try limiting myself to a $100-150 cap on monthly beauty purchases.
    Beauty Box recently posted..Look Instantly Fresher With These Makeup TipsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha me too! Damn our wondering eyes! :P What can I say, people like us, er, support the local economy. Hee hee! :D

  19. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    thankfully, i’ve never fallen into buying makeup just for the sake of the blog. (at least not yet!) PHEW! I always buy products that i think i’ll love, but I’ve never been so good at not buying too many, as i have a never ending wishlist that i can never seem to get through. LOL. I’m on a partial no buy and it has been HARD these last few days. I decided to do the no buy because I really don’t need any color products, perfume etc, because I have so much and barely use anything. (I mean, this week i didn’t wear ANY makeup at all!) I couldn’t do a project 10 pan, i don’t think i’ve finished 10 makeup products in my life if you don’t count mascara lol.
    Joyce (bronzerbunny) recently posted..Throw Lush Twilight Into Your Bath Tonight!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha lucky you! Mine is usually a hit and miss. Thank goodness there are more hits than misses (the misses are mostly the huge pile of nail polishes now waiting to go to a good home).

      I can’t even finish mascara! I usually chuck mine after 6 months and open a new one :P

      1. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

        i can’t finish mascara either lol. i chuck mine between 3-6 months too :/ Oh well.
        Joyce (bronzerbunny) recently posted..The Scar QuestionMy Profile

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