Beautiful woman paints her lipsMyth: “Makeup is a ‘luxury’ item.

Nicole says: Makeup is a work investment

Get this: a team of Harvard researchers found recently that wearing a moderate amount of makeup makes your colleagues take you more seriously (well, if you’re a chick). Yes, for the first time, HAH-vard scholars studied eyeshadow! Researchers showed subjects the same woman with varying degrees of makeup on, and the one with a moderate amount of makeup (clean and professional looking but not overdone) was assumed to be the most “competent” at work. Considering that a decent tube of lipstick costs around $8, it’s a small price to pay even for the potential reaping work cred. Preaching on the financial not feminist bully pulpit, I say get your face on.

Myth: “Buy it second-hand.”

Nicole says: Be a smart shopper.

Hey, we all love a great deal. But buying some items in the bargain bin will only cost you more in the long run. We shouldn’t have to tell you that safety products like bike helmets, car seats, and anything for a child is a huge no-no; these items are made for safety, so buy them new to ensure full protection. When shopping for a computer, opt for a used desktop instead of a used laptop; laptops are more likely to have been dropped or spilled on while desktops tend to be kept safely at home. Shoes, especially those used for exercise, are another don’t; even if the outside looks new, their cushion system is likely broken down which can cause foot and back pain. Finally, anything for the bedroom: mattresses, sheets, even stuffed animals. These are safe havens for all kinds of germs, human and otherwise. Gross. Better to spend a little extra dough for these items up front than spend even more down the road fixing them, replacing them, or getting sick because of them!

Myth: “Buy in bulk.”

Nicole says: Get it fresh.

While buying in bulk can potentially be a quick way to save some money (if you need that much of one item), but it’s more often a psychological buying trap! Are you really saving money buying bigger? Heck no. Studies have shown that more often than not, the unit price is the same when buying big and buying smaller quantities. Vitamins with 10x the pills…better value? Meh. Bigger chance of being wasted. Yup.

It’s not just a 3-lb tub of peanut butter that goes bad, bulk goods, lotions, detergents can go bad too. I don’t care how big a family you have, unless you are running a bakery that makes peanut butter cookies, no one needs that much. But if you are, buying in bulk makes sense because it cuts down on manpower to keep ordering. For individuals, it’s so rarely advantageous that it’s not worth it. In fact, buying stuff you don’t need because you think it’s a good deal, is worse for your budget than a tub of peanut butter is for your waistline.

Membership fees are a no-brainer waste of money. If you absolutely need something with from Costco, go with a friend. Contrary to what you might think, you CAN go with a membered friend…if you must.