In the pursuit of simplifying my life, saving money, and streamlining my daily routines over the years, I have evolved into a relatively “low-maintenance” woman. Don’t get me wrong. I still take good care of myself. But now I tend to work more from the inside out, focusing my attention on things that affect my overall health instead of simply my outward appearance. And you know what? I feel pretty good, and I don’t look half bad either!
Here are a few of my biggest time-saving and money-saving “secrets.”
- I don’t go to the gym. I go for walks. I hike. Outside. In the fresh air. Even when the temperature is so ridiculously cold that my eyelashes freeze. I have a physical job, so every day entails plenty of heavy lifting: trays of letters, bins and bundles of magazines and catalogs, heavy packages. At home, I lug armloads of firewood into the house every day during the winter. My cable TV network offers a variety of free workout videos “On Demand,” so I stretch, tone, and do pilates in the privacy of my own living room.
- I color my own hair. As a matter of fact, lately, I haven’t even been coloring it at all! Those pesky grays are starting to creep in though, so I’ll be picking up a $6 package of Clairol’s Root Touch-Up very soon.
- My husband cuts my hair. (Un)Fortunately, I have the kind of long, fine, straight hair that really doesn’t do much of anything no matter how hard I try, so it looks basically the same whether I have it cut professionally or do it myself. My husband has a steady hand, so why waste the money?
- My fingernails look like crap. I pretty much gave up on my hand-modeling career prospects when I started working at the post office. I now have the callused hands of a working woman. Hangnails. Paper cuts. Dry skin. Split fingertips. All of these occupational hazards make manicures a total waste of time and money.
- I shop at Goodwill and the Salvation Army. They carry a unique and ever-changing selection of clean, gently-used clothing. Sometimes I have to work a little, riffling through the overstuffed racks, but the rush of finding the perfect item for just a few dollars makes it worth the effort. I also have a friend at work whose twenty-something daughter is the same size as I am, so I get plenty of hand-me-downs. Don’t get me wrong. I also buy plenty of new clothes–more than I really “need,” I’m sure (usually off the clearance racks, though!). But I have no problem wearing other peoples’ cast-offs. Less waste, and more clothes for ME!
- I choose multitasking products. Despite my frugal and simple ways, I am still a bit of a beauty product junkie. My mother swears by her Oil Of Olay, never leaves the house without lipstick, and is the most beautiful 85 year-old woman I know. I hope I’m genetically programmed to follow in her footsteps, but I also have no problem giving mother nature a little help. My bathroom counter is covered with a variety of lotions and potions, but I prefer those that serve more than one purpose: all-in-one tinted/anti-aging/sunscreen/moisturizer, conditioning/styling hair products, etc.
Despite my no-muss, no-fuss attitude toward my appearance, however, I also have a few rules and minimum standards that I always uphold without fail. I NEVER wear sweatpants in public, and I will NOT leave my house in the morning without a shower, perfume, and mascara. I may be low-maintenance, after all, but I’m not a cavewoman.