LET'S DO THIS: Staying In, Saving Money, and Getting Sexy

I canceled my plans this past weekend to stay home, stop spending and be good-looking.

Jan 9, 2012 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

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I've been in bed by midnight for the past three days and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm taking some time off from going out you see, and it all started last Thursday when I paid $15 for a shitty glass of wine at a party. I don't want this to get bitter, it's just that while some people are focusing on exercising and eating healthily or whatever in the new year, I'm trying to stop spending so much.

That means cutting back on dinners out except for dates (although who goes on dates?), no more than two drinks at bars and no cabs unless it's really late/below freezing/or my shoes don't fit.

On Friday night, Fran and I split a bottle of wine and cooked this soup instead of ordering in or going to dinner. It's just tinned tomatoes with onions and some seasoning. I hate food pictures, but look:

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I'm not a foodie, so eating this way for a bit shouldn't be too hard. When we were done, we were so pleased with ourselves (and a bit drunk) that we canceled on the guys we were supposed to see, which was incidentally very "The Rules" of us. Not bad!

In my battle to become fiscally responsible, the most difficult expense to curb is definitely going to be grooming. I don't know about you, but for me, looking like I don't care costs a lot of money. Manicures, waxing, bronzing and hair care aren't cheap. Factor in the occasional laser treatment or filler and I'm overdrawn and dipping into savings (as usual).

So this month I'm going to skip a few beauty luxuries and switch to the best in at-home treatments instead. Just for a little bit.

These are a few of my favorite products for professional results, and they're all available at drugstores.

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Sally Hansen Simple Spa Wax Warmer Kit, $20: I've told you about this before. I use this on a weekly basis to wax my under-arms, even when I'm not on a budget, it's that easy. You just plug in the little pot, heat up the wax, slick it on and rip! Bam, smooth, hairless skin.

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Clear Self-Tanning Gel, $9: When I can't afford to go see Abby at Bake Spray Tanning, I spritz this gel into my hands and rub it all over. This is the tanner that all the pros swear by. You can smear it on without paying attention and it doesn't streak.

Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine, $10: Getting a glaze is the easiest way to freshen up your color without actually adding pigment. I've been using this at-home version by John Frieda forever and I get constant compliments on my shiny hair.

Crest 3D Whitestrips 2 Hour Express, $55: Crest Whitestrips are unrivaled, I tell you! The 2-hour variety is perfect for a night of at-home sexiness. If you're dieting, you can also pop these in at the end of a meal to avoid excess nibbling since you obviously can't eat and whiten at the same time.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, $7.00: I'm not the sort of person who can paint their own nails without leaving a mess of polish around the cuticle, but this formula makes professional-looking results possible, even for me. The three-in-one polish elimates the need for a base and topcoat which saves time and money, while the flat brush coats nail beds in a few easy strokes.

Am I forgetting something? What are your favorite ways to stay sexy on a budget? What at-home beauty treatments do you swear by? Let's talk about it. Also, my skin broke out again. UGH!!

Follow Julie on Twitter @JR_Schott.