Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | April 29, 2009

Quick Tips on Saving Money a la Recessionista

How do you look gorgeous and chic in this economy? I was thinking about that as I read a VOGUE article. It featured a group of Manhattan “It” girls and their “swap party”. Which by the way, this is one awesome way to save money for Girl’s Night Out – Grab 10-15 friends, set a theme for the food (like Italian or Tapas), and ask the girls to bring food and wine for a potluck dinner. Then ask each friend to bring a seriously viable fashion piece that they are willing to swap out. Ladies, this excludes the platform shoes that you wore in high school and you want to ditch after you did your closet Spring cleaning this year. I’m talking truly fashionable and viable. Consider setting a price point as well. This is best to do with friends with wardrobes that are fairly well-stocked and who happen to have similar lifestyles, otherwise you run the risk of no one swapping anything out!

Anyhow, after reading this article, I was struck by the incredible difference in how people view saving money, or cutting back in this economy.   For instance it seemed like such a “wow” factor to the “It” girls that they were swapping out a Balenciaga for a Maison Martin Margiela versus most women cutting back on a weekly man-pedi.  It all comes down to your individual hedonistic barometer I guess!

Balenciaga Jacket

Balenciaga Jacket

In general I’m always so appreciative of the lengths that women will go to preserve their beauty and fashion regimens. Another funny result of the recession – Did you know that plastic surgery is down but dermatologist procedures such as Botox are up? Makes sense – It’s cheaper to get stabbed by botulism in a syringe than get a facelift. Hmmm…they are really roughing it. At the risk of continuing this thread and sounding judgmental (odd for this blog, right?), here are my top ten tips to save money a la Recessionista:

1. Facials: Rather than spending $150+ at the local beauty salon, buy a mud masque from your favorite brand. I love the Intelligence Exfoliating Masque from Arbonne, Borghese’s Fango Active Mud mask and The Body Shop’s Warming Mineral Mask. Or make one at home:

a. General Moisturizing: To moisturize, take half an avocado, half a carrot (cooked and shredded), three tablespoons of organic, unsweetened yogurt, and a teaspoon of finely chopped parsley. Mix all the ingrediants, let them sit for 5-10 minutes and then apply for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water, apply a toner and moisturizer.

b. Oily Skin: Mix ½ cup of crushed strawberries with ½ cup of organic, unsweetened yogurt. Let sit in the fridge for a ½ hour. Apply for 20 minutes and rinse.

c. Dry Skin: One banana, one tablespoon organic honey and a few drops of fresh lemon. Blend together and apply for 15 minutes, then rinse.

OPI Cuticle Oil

OPI Cuticle Oil

2.  Nails: Yep. It’s a no-brainer, and super easy. Do your own nails. Just fit it into your TV schedule – TIVO and nails baby! I recommend the cuticle oil from OPI and their Avoplex hand and foot cream.

3. Spa Experience: Rather than going to the spa, do your own body treatments. Grab some salt, mix with almond oil or your favorite lotion – Voila! You have a salt scrub. You can do the same by the way with sugar. I like to mix a little bit of sugar in my Philosophy liquid soap. Want something more relaxing? Soak in the tub. This seems to have become a lost art. Find some candles, put on some awesome music and soak until you prune sistah! I love to do this with an engaging book. Only problem is that my cat keeps interrupting me by falling into the tub…what is it that they say about curiosity killing the cat? Was curiosity’s name Viviana Rueda by any chance?

4.Facial Peels: I can’t go without my exfoliating peel. Not only is it insanely reasonably priced but it keeps any breakouts at bay and keeps my skin looking fresh. I also like Clinique’s Turn-Around Radiance peel.

Clinique Turnaround Radiance Peel

Clinique Turnaround Radiance Peel

5. Hair Cuts and Color: If you’ve a $250/per month highlight habit, well this may be a tough one for you. The rest of you can consider color out of a bottle (oh my God! How 1960’s!). Seriously there are some great products out there and they are mostly under $15! Consider visiting your local Vidal Sassoon or Paul Mitchell school. Did you know you can get a haircut for under $25 from a stylist with YEARS of experience? I know who you can do this with….Just email me if you are interested because if I put his name on the world wide web he’ll probably kill me!  Contact me via our “About” page on our blog.  Needless to say, there are many talented individuals teaching at these salon schools and they can cut just as good as your $175 person.

6. Staying in Shape: Not everyone is a runner. If you are…well, it’s free, get out and hit the pavement, what do you need a $100+ gym membership for chickie? Not a fan of running? Hop onto and buy yourself some yoga, mat pilates or weight lifting videos. You really can workout at home, and you won’t need to “look good” while working out at home so don’t worry about blowing money on your workout clothes!

7. Shopping: Rule number one – never buy something that isn’t on sale. In this economy you have to be patient. Just sit back and wait. It’ll go on sale. And hop onto sites like Ideeli, and Gilt. If you are fashion obsessed and really insist on that level of shopping, why on earth would you pay full retail? You need to be invited to get into these online shopping communities.  So suck up to your favorite fashionista for an invite.  She’ll be a member, I promise you.

8. More on Shopping: Work it online girls! There are so many online sales going on right now! Make sure you check out coupon sites like Retail Me Not.

9. Shoes: Do you live in Los Angeles? Hit up Santee Alley for cool and trendy shoes. Don’t pay fashion designer prices for goodness sake, they are TRENDS, aka those shoes won’t stay in style for the long term so why invest in them? But please stay away from the fakes, buying fake brands is bad Karma girlfriends.

10. Dry Cleaning: If you are on a budget stop buying fabrics that are “Dry Clean Only”. There are billions of fabulous fabrics out there that you can hand wash or machine wash and they look chic too.

Have an awesome Recessionista tip or trick ?  Share your favorites in our comments box – Giving is getting – Pay it forward!



  1. Hey Fashionista…wow what a blog full of great advice. Had to laugh at the comment “It’s cheaper to get stabbed by botulism in a syringe than get a facelift.” Both seem somewhat scary to me though I am not opposed to at least considering both or either…but not just yet!

    I just went to my closet pulled out two skirts I never wear because of the lengths and had them altered shorter for summer above the knee…perhaps a little too above the knee I might admit …never the less a great alternative to shorts and it was only $8 for hemming. Now I just need a spray on tan so my white legs do not blind people.

    Also I would add along with borrowing a friends clothes or handbag for that special event. You can perhaps borrow jewelry as well.

    Thanks Viviana!

  2. Loved all the wonderful tips. Who says you have to spend a lot of money to look like a billion dollars? Along those lines, if you have a hard time giving up your massage, there are also massage schools out there where you can get excellent massages for a lot less than an established masseuse. Make sure you make an appointment, because some schools have waiting lists…

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  4. Love the TOP TEN tips, as I sit here on my sofa with strawberries and yogurt on my face, my dog curiously licking his chops!

    I’ve got a couple of tips to add. One fits right in with your “let’s raid the pantry” idea. Before an big night out, mix an egg white with about half a lemon until almost frothy. Caution, if you have sensitive skin, add lemon to taste…you may only want a couple of drops. Apply and let dry for about half an hour. Your skin will be absolutely smooth, and if oily skin is your disgrace, then this mask is perfect. It dries up pimples and keeps your skin supple but not shiny.

    The other tip goes the more commercial road, but it’s a mask I can’t live without, and for the price, it’s easy to afford. Peter Thomas Roth’s Sulfur Cooling Mask. Generously-sized pot for $40 and it lasts for at least 6 months, and I use it a couple of times a week. Read about it, it does all good things, and none of the bad, again great for oily, mature skin: And the fun samples from Sephora are a nice surprise!

    Until next time Viviana, and thanks for keeping us honest!

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