Saturday Question: Do You Budget?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

Every Saturday we have a Question, an idea purloined from Olfactoria’s Travels. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it is a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

I’m currently away on holidays in India and will have limited internet but be assured that I’ll read every comment and answer when I can.

Saturday Question: Do You Budget?

Something I always tell the newbies to the perfumed rabbit hole is to set a budget. This addiction is expensive and ultimately frivolous. Here Warren Buffett puts many of my Dads lectures into a very simple sentence.

If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.” — Warren Buffett

It’s very easy to get carried away with our hobby and especially so with the way the market has become in aspirational pricing. Is that 50ml bottle of whatever REALLY worth $400? No, of course not but we are so crazy in love that the sensible part of our brain goes of holiday. Most of the time I know exactly how much work goes into earning $400 and respectfully weigh the spend but somehow with fragrance I have a good sense bypass.

I’m looking for advice today on how you keep your spending reined in.

Saturday Question Do You Budget? Images Money FlickrFlickr

My answer to Do You Budget?

Short Answer: No

How I wish I was better at money. I’m terrible at it. Not super terrible but sometimes I reflect on dollars squandered on living a full, fun and fabulous life and my stomach drops.

My parents worked hard all their working lives to make sure my sister and I were fully provided for after they left this mortal coil. Without their legacy I could never live the life I have. So my circumstances aren’t that usual. My basic need of shelter is provided.

I’m also incredibly lucky that my idea to save my own fading career as a showgirl (Turbo Trivia) has become a Sydneywide phenomenon and that we are now employing 8 Drag Queen Contractors including myself. This story would have entirely different outcomes if I had not made a few desperate changes 16 years ago.

So while I’m not rich in any sense of the first world hierarchy, compared to billions of the earths other citizens I am extremely comfortable, and grateful for it.

My Saturday Question to you is:

Do you budget for your perfume consumption? How do you do it? Is there a spend limit weekly or annually? How do you check yourself?

63 comments on “Saturday Question: Do You Budget?

  1. Ginny says:

    Yes I do budget for perfume. If all is well financially, I could spend up to $200 per month. Sometimes nothing is spent for a few months but I always make up for it on an impulse buy or two. I can forego this addiction if funds are a tad light and this was the case not long ago, now though after building a duplex and selling one of them, hubby and I can finally relax and enjoy life. Perfume here I come.

  2. Lynda Allen says:

    Ummm….I spend most of my money on skincare and make up…perfume sadly comes in third…I tend to be a binge buyer. I might not buy any perfume for months but then buy several perfumes. Most noticeably last year when I was travelling the UK and visited Liberty of London. I think I spent the gross annual product of a small country! Still paying it off…
    Poor saleswoman asked the guy in front of me if his wife would like like the scent he bought. He told her that his wife had died a couple of months ago. Uncomfortable moment. Needless to say she threw samples at him. When I came up to the counter I said ‘bet you wish you didn’t ask that 😁’.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      What a terrible story. Poor SA and man.

      How lavish of you. that Liberty niche room is DANGEROUS!! Great selection and friendly staff.
      Portia xx

      • Lynda Allen says:

        Yes it’s divine! I love all of Liberty. The beauty section is brilliant. Oh how I miss it. Not sure that the cost of an airfare to London just to shop makes it good value though…damn…

  3. Jackie b says:

    I don’t have a set budget, but will spend if other necessary things have all been taken care of. If I had to choose, good skincare would come first.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Interesting JackieB,
      Luckily I have zero skincare regime except after shave balm so my spare can all go to frags.
      Portia xx

      • Lynda Allen says:

        Please tell me you use some nice cleansing balm to take makeup off. Then a good moisturiser? I feel the need to take you in hand to address this. Glycolic acid and retinol are everything….

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        HA! Nope. I use either Grape Seed Oil or L’Occitane Immortelle Oil Makeup Remover. No moisturiser.
        Thing is, my skin is so good. Pores are small, surface is clear. Clearly it’s good genetics because I also take terrible care of my body. Just lucky.
        Normally I am a soap & water guy.
        Portia xx

  4. MmkInPA says:

    Like Lynda I’m a bit of a binger… buy nothing for months and then obsess for a few weeks, particularly with samples. Then I go back on a diet while I work through everything. I don’t have a budget, but if I was interested in buying full bottles of the $200 and up brands I would need to have a jar in the kitchen for my change and save up – I have a bit of a mental block over paying more than $100 for just about anything “personal” … including clothes and shoes! Grew up with frugal parents who spent for our education and music lessons and instruments but not for other “stuff”.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey MmkInPA,
      I love to sample binge too. If you knew or could see this rom you’d freak.
      We were saying today if I wasn’t so spendthrift I’d have a lot more of the big stuff.
      Portia xx

  5. shiva-woman says:

    I don’t budget. I squander horribly, and often am stunned by how many lifetimes of perfume I have. It is an addiction. This week it’s Slumberhouse Norne, but I also have my eye on House of Matriarch. I try to get decants rather than fb if I like something, but, as with the Norne, sometimes I MUST go FB. The only responsible thing I do is pay monthly bills first….
    shiva-woman recently posted…Saturday Question: Do You Budget?My Profile

  6. fanny says:

    Let’s say that by now I have such a load of bottles, miniatures, tons of decants AND samples, it would be completely ridiculous to even think about new buys. But then again, I do not always think, I sometimes just do. And that really should stap already. *blush*
    Selling is the object here first and for all: things should be leaving the house and money be coming in.


    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Fanny,
      Yes, we are gearing up around here for a big sellout too.
      Last time I moved nearly 70 bottles to new abodes, then went on a buying spree. MADNESS!
      Portia xx

  7. Claudia says:

    All I really can afford are samples and travel sprays once in a while. Oh well, i try to be happy with what I can do! Have a great weekend!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Claudia, Sometimes less is more enjoyable. Do you get to really spend time with every scent that comes into your home? That sounds kind of luxurious to me right now.
      Portia xx

  8. Ellen M. says:

    I have to budget as I am on a fixed income. Essentials must come first. I sample as much as I can, look for bargains, and put something in a basket and then think about it for a few days.I wish there were more decants available and I also wish that perfumers offered smaller sizes in direct proportion to the total cost as opposed to making the smaller sizer proportionally more expensive. I try to encourage gifts to be gift certificates to sites I use. I’ve started waiting until the end of the year to see what settles out when all the dust clears. I read descriptions and notes, I really try not to blind buy, I check the cost through a variety of sites and discount sites (for example, I once found that if I ordered something directly from MFK in Paris, it was actually less expensive than buying it in the U.S.), and I try not to sample (for the most part) that which I cannot ever afford to purchase. My partner wants me to buy his fragrances, so I always buy him something I would enjoy as well as a gift. Whew, that was a very lengthy answer.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey EllenM,
      One of the reasons I like group splits so much is because you get 10ml of something at a very decent price. Sure, you miss out on the packaging and the luxury aspects but I am mainly about the juice anyway and it helps me be a bit more objective when they all come in the same container.
      Portia xx

  9. Ingeborg says:

    I need to budget because I have no way of earning extra money should I spend too much.I also have a problem spending more than 200 euros on any one bottle, even if that will happen.I try to buy no more than 4-5 full bottles each year, building my collection slowly. Also, I more or less never blind buy. I have had other collections go a bit out of hand before, so I decided after a few years that I cannot keep a reference “library” of samples. Spending on samples can add up, but helps cut down the wishlist.

    Having said all that, I think what inspired me most to stick to a budget was someone who said she would try to spend equal amounts on donations to charity as she would on perfume, and I’m nearly there. At least if we count in presents bought at shops providing work for former drug addicts and others in need of a sheltered workplace.

    My father is in Vienna this week for a medical cnference and I asked him to shop Dior Ambre Nuit for me. He reported back they only had the 250 ml bottle, which is in every way too big for me. Hopefully he will have time to visit Le Parfum on Monday and buy something else from my wish list. Saving on postage and import taxes is important when the budget is limited and I haven’t travelled a lot the past few years, so help from fmily and friends travelling more freqently is also great.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Ingeborg,
      Sounds like you are doing it the smartest way possible.
      I love that you give equally to charity. We give a lot around here too but not nearly as much. Also I give quite a bit of my time so that probably fills the gap.
      VIENNA! My favourite city in the world. How lucky for your Dad. I hope he finds you something special.
      Portia xx

      • Ingeborg says:

        I am sure I could be even better at budgeting, but for me it is mostly a way to find a balance and avoid guilty feelings. The hobby mustn’t get too serious.

        Vienna is beautiful, so many grand buildings and good museums.

  10. Latai says:

    Yes and no.
    For the most part I budget, however there are those moments when a good deal pops up or I come across a bottle that was on my Wishlist and I buy it in that moment why I’m there and remember.
    I’ve learned to enjoy everything in moderation and wouldn’t say I’m addicted to perfume because I can reign it in when I need to. I have what I love and a list/mental note of what I would love to have next.
    That extends to other things I enjoy, like books, good skincare, makeup, good food and tea.
    I think my moderation is also because I personally dislike clutter so I never like to have too many things but only those I enjoy and use often. I’m a ‘use the fine china teacups everyday’ instead of keeping it to collect dust in a cupboard. If I had something that was collecting dust, I would give it away or try and use it.

    • Tiffanie says:

      My dislike for clutter definitely keeps me from acquiring more.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Latai,
      Nice to see you.
      Yeah, we use the Royal Doulton china every day that Mum & Dad got for their wedding.
      Ask you know though I’m a frag hoarder, it’s becoming quite chaotic in my frag room. Time to purge.
      Portia xx

  11. cookie queen says:

    I don’t budget, but truthfully, for an addict I don’t buy much. I spend more dosh going to Milan, or Zürich, or London (and soon to First in Fragrance) in pursuit of my passion than on perfume itself. I swop cookies for fragrances too …….mustn’t forget that. 😜

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Val! You are the mistress of restraint. Travel is probably the only thing I would give up frag shopping for. If I had to make a choice.
      Portia xx

  12. Ingrid says:

    I don’t budget in the sense that I write down what I pay for what. I know in my head what I have and what I can spend. If I want to buy perfume or other luxuries, those expenses will have to be shaved off somewhere else like having ramen noodles at home instead of eating out 🙂 Rent and utility bills always come first, I make no exceptions for that. And I would never get into credit card debts or do so called after-pay for something as frivolous as perfume.

    Whenever I have a $ 5 bill I put in a little tin out of sight. It’s a small amount I don’t even miss, but before I know it I have enough for a bottle of perfume. I have been doing this with my lolly money since I was a child.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      WOW Ingrid,
      Love the $5 savings plan.
      I did have a chat to Jin about our eating out expenses recently. We do it sometimes 10 times in a week. It’s TOTALLY naughty too because we are both stellar cooks and should be eating the good home stuff every meal except one a week. I bought mince to make Spaghetti Bolognese yesterday. That’s always good because LEFTOVERS!!!
      Portia xx

  13. Tiffanie says:

    I don’t budget a set amount for fragrance purchases, but I do have some mental limits on price, space, and time.

    The most I’ve paid for a bottle is about $175US. Most of my bottles cost much less than that. Something priced higher would have to be wildly enticing for me to buy more than a sample or decant.

    I have a small space in a closet for storing fragrances, empty boxes, decants, and samples. I’m not a minimalist, but after moving house twice in the past 10 years, I learned I am happier when I am not weighed down by stuff and clutter I don’t really enjoy. Unloved fragrances move down to the floor of the closet so they are not forgotten, then I re-home them at the first opportunity.

    I try to limit spending on fragrances to one significant and satisfying purchase each quarter of the year. Sometimes it’s one purchase in three months, other times it’s more. And of course it depends a bit on the total spent already as well as the amount of space I have available for storage. It’s a balancing act.

    • Chocolate Marzipan says:

      I am with you on that Tiffanie! While I am not a full fledged “minimalist” I have been getting rid of lots of ‘stuff’ and find my life is better not being weighed down…it is a process for me but I am getting there.

      • Tiffanie says:

        It is a process. Letting go of stuff is hard, but it’s worth it. My mind is clearer when I have a empty space in my home.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Tiffanie,
      Isn’t moving awful? We have done it twice in the last seven years and I’m itching to do it again but the whole thought of it makes me shudder.
      So how many full bottles would you have at any one time?
      Portia xx

      • Tiffanie says:

        I counted . . . 47 full bottles. I hope I don’t ever go over 50, but ya’ never know.

        I didn’t count anything under 30 mls. Minis and travel bottles count as decants, lol.

        Anyone else care to share their FB number? 🙂

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Um, I can see about 200 from where I’m sitting.

      • Tiffanie says:

        Whoo! That’s marvelous. I’m imagining the fumes from your 100s of bottles, mmm-mmm-mmmm fabulous.

        From where I’m sitting I can only see the two little decants on my desk, heehee!

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Polar opposites Tiffanie. XX

  14. Kate Apted says:

    A really interesting question, Portia, and I’m learning little tricks from everyone’s comments.

    After my eldest was born, I stopped buying perfumes. I bought dribs and drabs from 2009 onwards, but only 2-3 a year. Cheap chemist buys. This last 16 mths has been a bit of a binge. I rarely spend much on myself, so I justified it.

    Now, I have a better idea of what I love, like and don’t like. So, I am more inclined to budget. Not so much a set amount per month, but it comes from my disposable income. And it has to fit this criteria: hard to get, an absolute bargain (like Miss Dior Le Parfum 70ml for $100!), a love and not a like, an under $30 blind buy and/or I don’t have anything like it already.

    My last splurge was 2 bottles from Le Jardin Retrouve. I had wanted 2 of them since Jan and I suddenly had the cash and Michel offered 20% off. It was a now or never moment.

    I love travel a tiny bit more than perfume, so I sense I’ll be broadening my travelling opportunities in the next year.

    My youngest finds my perfume collection superfluous and frivillous. He shames me now and then for not having left over cash for his beloved games. I sat him down and explained my budget to him. I pointed to his boxes of unused Lego and told him how much I spent on that. This reality check was what he needed.

    My eldest finds my collection fascinating. He begrudges me nothing. His view is that I deserve happiness and my scents will last me longer than any of their hobbies. He sees it as an investment in me. Two very contrasting views.

    Anyway, spending has come to a halt. I think I’d rather 2-3 a year of ones I adore.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Kate,
      I love the way you work this out. Also how you have an angel and devil conscience in each of your children, amazing.
      Portia xx

    • Tiffanie says:

      Your criteria are a great, especially a love and not a like. And your children are both so clever!

  15. Chocolate Marzipan says:

    Having one in college and two more heading there in the next two years I am past budgeting…I am on a no buy and have not bought a full bottle since my 50th bday over two years ago…I had the great fortune of having a best friend who is also a perfumista send me close to 400 samples and have been testing those at earth shattering speed….and I also have to confess to succumbing to a tiny decant split with another perfumista. I did acquire a bottle of something recently but I only paid for shipping so that doesn’t count-LOL! Right now I am budgeting with EVERYTHING….even food…where the family of five food shopping once consisted of only organic we now consume the least expensive fare and I am constantly on the lookout for sales AND use coupons. I am also wearing a wardrobe to work whereby I have five outfits and that’s it…keeps things simple and prevents me from buying more (don’t ask how but psychologically it works for me!) I know this post is probably too much info but you asked , P, so I shared 🙂

    • Chocolate Marzipan says:

      That would be “uniform to work” not wardrobe…sheesh!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there CM,
      Bloody Hell! I don’t know how you people with kids do it. Jin and I discussed kids early on in our relationship because I thought it might be nice to foster a kid that had family troubles. Jin put his foot down hard. No kids, ever. Instead we took in some HomeStay Uni kids and that satisfied my parental needs once and for all.
      Good luck with getting through the lean years.
      I love that you wear 5 outfits to work, most men only have a couple of summer and a couple of winter suits right? 7 shirts and a couple of ties? I don’t know, having never been in an office job like that but the men I’ve dated haven’t had extensive wardrobes for work.
      Portia xx

      • Chocolate Marzipan says:

        Oh I love this idea of sponsoring Uni kids…that must have been lots of fun!

        The uniform wardrobe idea I got from a few minimalist blogs that I read…yes, men do it all the time, so why can’t I? I have five work shirts and five pants, when the weather cools I will add five button up light cardigans to the mix and when the weather gets very cold I will add three cashmere sweaters and two turtlenecks….as the weather thaws I will reverse until the summer…..I started this month and I consider it an experiment for the year….but it makes getting dressed in the morning easier and I am not saying to myself “Oh I really need XYZ to go with these pants or this skirt or this blah blah blah”….Oh and i have a black skirt and a navy sheath dress and a blazer to wear in case I have any important meetings and want to look a touch more professional.

        and yes, P, the kids have all grown now and are of college bound age …how time flies ! B.

    • Tiffanie says:

      I feel similarly as I have one in college now too, and another starting in a few years. I spend much less on non-essentials now than I did BC (before children). It’s good to run a lean household! 🙂

      • Kate Apted says:

        Oh man, CM! I hear you! Though I am earning more now than I have done since before I had kids, I am spending so much more too. Our food bill is half my wages! Really! Any overtime I get is my spending cash. I agree on your simplicity rationale. I use it too. K xx

      • Chocolate Marzipan says:

        My advice is start saving for the second one! It blows my mind how expensive college has become….even state schools are running around 25K these days in my part of the country.

      • Chocolate Marzipan says:

        And Kate- I hear ya! I think about how little money Mr. CM and I had when we first got married before kids….and yet we managed…someone once told me that the more money you make the more you spend…and I find this to be quite true if you are not cognizant of your spending habits.

  16. Tara C says:

    I don’t have a specific budget and the past 18 months have been pretty out of control, so I am going to set a dollar amount this year and stick to it. I have way more than I can use at this point so it’s ridiculous to keep buying. A friend who has a 40 bottle collection only buys samples now, and I am considering that as well.

    There are other things I need to save for, such as furniture and travel. I tend to scrimp on everything except perfume, makeup and clothes. Thankfully I have managed to stop buying handbags. 🙂

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey TaraC,
      A 40 bottle collection should be enough right? Were it only so easy.
      I’ve never understood the need for more than three handbags and an evening clutch. THANKFULLY! That shit could get really expensive fast. We were looking at the DIOR bags recently and I nearly fell of my perch, though if it was in a neutral you could wear it almost every day.
      Portia x

    • fanny says:

      Goodness, yes!!… I have stopped buying handbags too. All the luxury I spend money on now is about perfume and a good facial cream. 🙂

  17. hajusuuri says:

    The more I budget, the less I stick to it so I don’t. I have been donating to charity an amount at least equal to or more than I’ve spent on perfume purchases and this is above and beyond what I already give (basically, no double-dipping). The only way I would stop buying is if I stop reading perfume blogs as reading them is how I know about new/newish releases or old loves. While niche perfumeries are easily accessible, getting to them is out of my way and I tend to go only if I am meeting someone or if I have accumulated a list of must sniffs (from reading the blogs).

    • Kate Apted says:

      Hajusuuri, I like the way you think. I’m on a similar path. Here’s to a healthier bank balance this year! 🍻

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Hajuusuri,
      Nice to see you.
      I diet like you budget. The minute I constrain myself I binge like crazy. Control goes out the window and suddenly I’m ravenous.
      Living in Australia most of my sniffing is done from samples, we have some niche but it’s pretty woeful. Also while travelling.
      Portia xx

    • Chocolate Marzipan says:

      h- I wholeheartedly agree that reading perfume blogs makes it very challenging to not want to buy more and sample more or repurchase old loves.

    • Suzy Q says:

      Hi Hajusuuri. I also started donating money! I decided if I can (supposedly) afford to buy perfume I can also afford to support causes I care about.

  18. Undina says:

    I have a yearly budget, and I stay within it more or less. The thing is: with all of my perfumes and each event of wearing them being entered into the database, I know exactly how much perfume I have, how often I wear or test each of them, and what I thought about it time. Being aware of all that prevents me from expending my collection too fast – I hardly wear any of perfumes I already have, even though I like them all.
    Undina recently posted…Vacation in a Bottle: Yosh Ginger CiaoMy Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Interesting Undina,
      I love how organised your fragrant life is. I think if I did it your way I too would have a LOT less bottles here.
      Portia xx

  19. Bernadette Winfield-Gray says:

    Hmmn/ Fragrance or sale price fabulous European made shoes? Doesn’t everybody have at least 40 pairs of shoes? FB recent count: five.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Heya Bernadette,
      OK, I currently have eight pairs of shoes, including flip flops, as a bloke and two pairs of lady.
      You have 5 FBs. WOW! That is amazing.
      Portia x

  20. Suzy Q says:

    Hi Portia and APJs! I started budgeting three years ago, setting aside money every month. Two years ago I decided I would give away the same amount I spent on perfume. This has been an uplifting practice for me! I used to feel sad and guilty about not having enough money to contribute to causes I cared about. In 2018 I’ll be adjusting the figures to spend less on perfume. My living expenses have increased but I still want to give money away. Have a great week!

  21. Anna Maria says:

    Yes I need to budget……The $5 jar sounds good idea for a couple of bottles a year! may need to try it. The last bottle I bought was Carven Ma Griffe from Priceline, also Opium at Sephora Rome on sale xx

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