Self Care On A Budget

Like we said before, we’re all about self-care. It’s crucial to our emotional, physical and overall mental health and shouldn’t be seen as a self-indulgent. It can be a radical act to take care of yourself FIRST. 

But at times self-care can be equated with “treating yo self.” And by “treating yo self” we mean leaving a dent in your wallet. And our wallets are already less full than our male peers. So here are some ways to enter self-care bliss without looking at your bank account in tears.

Tune into a podcast

The best thing about podcasts is that there’s one for just about everything you could think of. The second best thing is that the vast majority are free. For a good laugh at pop culture try the “The Read” or “Ana Faris is Unqualified“. If you’re looking to step away from reality try “The Orbiting Human Circus” or “Welcome to the Night Vale.” Or if you want to feel giddy and nostalgic at the sound of the original Oprah Winfrey Show theme music give “Making Oprah” a listen.

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Tune out and meditate

Meditation can be tricky if you’re new to it, but there are some very real perks to making it a regular practice. There are a number of great apps like Headspace and Sattva that help you on your way to finding some peace of mind.

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Take a donation based yoga class

Yoga can sometimes be seen as a sort of luxury fitness, but it’s probably one of the most accessible and touts a variety of emotional and physical benefits. Places like Bikram Yoga or Yoga to the People accept regular donations as low as $10. Even modish spots like Sky Ting Yoga in New York offer weekly donation classes.

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Make a compliments journal

Okay, try not to laugh at this one but just think about gratitude journals. Now just replace “gratitude” with “compliments.” Write little compliments to yourself as you see fit and reference back to them when needed.

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Reorganize and reset your space

You don’t necessarily have to get all Marie Kondo with this one, but simple steps like lighting a few of your preferred scented candles or refreshing your sheets can make all the difference.

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Bras, Tampons and Makeup, Oh My! Why It is More Expensive To Be A Woman Than A Man.

The expense of being a woman, is something that’s been debated on for a while. Tell us you haven’t reluctantly look at your bank account and wondered, “Is being a woman making me broke? I didn’t sign up for this!” But breaking news: the cost of being a woman is in fact more expensive than the cost of being a man! Cue a Angela Rye eye-roll for that double standard.

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There’s the basic toiletries like body wash, shampoo and conditioner are that both the average man and woman top up on. But then there’s addressing the biological realities like bras, tampons/pads/menstrual cups, contraceptives, and gyno visits. Then you get into the more objective choices like that thing we love here – makeup. According to a 2013 study by Mint, the average woman spends $15,000 on makeup alone in their lifetime, which doesn’t seem that high. But when you think about overall skin care and all the retinoids, anti-wrinkle creams, face masks, and snail gels marketed towards us that number more than likely spikes.

Last year, Glamour made a great video breaking down the costs of a being a woman vs a man. Side by side you can watch as the two go through their normal routines racking up to the overall costs in year. Some could argue the actual price of things is completely objective and women could potentially just buy lower-end items to save or when it comes to things like makeup, just not buy it at all. But let’s not forget about that little thing called the “pink tax.”

The “pink tax” or the “women’s tax” suggests that women are actually paying more than men for the same exact products. According to a 2015 study, products marketed to women cost more 42% of the time. 13% of that goes to personal care products. Then there’s the “luxury tax” or “tampon tax” that suggests that even feminine hygiene products are unjustly taxed in the majority of US states (thanks to The Nation for the below upsetting image). It’s a disconcerting truth for a society that often treats a female menstruation as such a taboo topic, but in turn taxes it like a luxury.

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Cases have been brought to the federal court against gender-based price gouging and have been dismissed. However, there are city/state state laws in place in New York City and California that prevent retailers from price differentiation based on gender. Sure these bans only came to play in the 90s, but there seems to be some recent progress.

Last year, New York, Illinois and Connecticut tossed the additional tax on feminine hygiene products by recategorizing them. Then just this month, badass New York Congresswoman, Grace Meng became the first politician to take a stand against the tampon tax on a federal level by introducing the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2017. Her legislation would make feminine hygiene products accessible female inmates/detainees as well as employers with more than 100 employees, free of charge. It also will provide refundable tax credit to low-income women and allow feminine hygiene products to be purchased with a FSA.

So how else can we further mitigate this frustrating double standard? Check and compare prices any opportunity you can. Products like razors and shaving cream often only have minor production changes between those marketed between women and men. Pay attention to ingredients and see if it’s worth spending more just because it’s in a “women’s” section. Chances are it’s not. If you’re in a state where feminine hygiene products are still taxed, consider making the shift to menstrual cups as many of brands have a lifespan of years. We’re not gonna tell you to stop buying things like skin care and makeup, because well look at it us. But we can tell you to continue to make conscious choices in doing whatever’s best for you financially and mentally.