A few weeks ago, I was preparing for an event that called for semi-formal attire. Nothing in my own wardrobe would do, so naturally, I ran out to my favourite nearby boutique and picked out The Perfect Dress. Cost was no option- it fit great, looked great, and when the evening was over, I simply returned it, no questions asked.
Where is this magical place, you ask? Why, it was my best friend’s wardrobe, of course!
Sure, I’d like to own even a fraction of things (hair clips, bangles, shoes to name only a few) I borrow from her, but buying new things whenever I’m bored of my old things isn’t realistic, especally when even the prices of my basic essentials of moisturiser, mascara and mousse seem to be climbing further and further beyond my reach these days.
Even with the ‘less is more’ mentality being a popular form of beauty care these days, the price of personal upkeep seems to be increasing. Of course it goes without saying that the higher the quality of your product, the more expensive it’s going to be, but still- if you’re buying less because you need less, shouldn’t you also be spending less?
The real kicker is that the majority of beauty products are disposable. They run out, albeit at varying rates, and you then have to go buy more. It’s a never-ending, distressingly expensive cycle!
Luckily, there is a solution to the cash-strapping epidemic affecting beauty-conscious, financially inflexible people everywhere: the share & swap society. Note- this is not an official society, more of a concept. A concept that allows for maximum savings and minimum waste in your monthly beauty budget.
There are two parts to a share & swap society:
1. Sharing the cost of disposable products (nail polish, bronzer, hair spray) between friends by splitting the products in half.
2. Temporarily swapping items (handbags, hair clips, magazines) between friends for a predetermined amount of time.
Think about it- you and your friend both love that shade of Perfectly Plum nail polish- why not share that shocking £7 price tag? Considering the rainbow of colours you already have in your cupboard at home. Chances are you’ll never finish the whole bottle on your own.
Then there are the much-loved and tragically superficial must-haves, like magazines. How often do you flip through your monthly subscription of Vanity Fair in less than an hour, only to have it spend the rest of the month ignored on your coffee table – or worse, in the bin? I’ll bet you can think of five friends alone that would love to get a look at that stack of glossy goodness under your bed- and would willingly give you a few of their own mags in exchange.
Even better savings can be had in sharing accessories. Spread the wealth of your closet- handbags, shoes, any clothes you might be willing to briefly part with- and reap the rewards of having access to your friends’ bedroom boutiques as well. I cannot count the money I’ve saved by simply supplementing my wardrobe with that of a friend’s.
Intrigued? Starting your own share & swap society is simple- all you need are some willing participants and their ‘shareables’. Follow these tips to get started:
1. Have every member of each group host a little get together each month, where members bring their ‘shareables’ (items they’re willing to swap or share) to show off over drinks and nibbles.
2. Together, make a list of your group’s go-to products and their prices. Review the list and determine who wants to purchase what. Split the cost evenly between each interested party and arrange for someone to make the purchase.
3. When members begin swapping their nail polish and bangles, keep track of who is sharing what with whom in a notebook. It’s a good idea to keep track of these things, to avoid confusion later down the line.
4. Ensure that there is more swapping than lending being done. It doesn’t serve the society to have one particularly trendy person handing out all their treasures
5. When it comes to sharing the cost of a product purchase, ensure that the products are disposable items only. Splitting the bill on a pricey handbag will only lead to ownership issues in the end, whereas every bottle of UV ray face cream must eventually come to an end.