29 Oct
My Manicure is Not a Waste of Money!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am a stay at home mom to a 2 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. Before having kids, I worked part-time. It’s been tough to live on one income, and unfortuantely my husband and I seem to have different ideas about spending. For example, he thinks it’s irresponsible for me to get my nails done at the salon, but I see it as a necessity. I need that quiet time once a week, and it’s not that expensive.

Who do you think is right?


Manicured Mary

Dear Mary,

Wouldn’t it be great if I were Suze Orman? Great for me, I mean! Because then I’d be a kazillionaire and take you out for a nice manicure! Wait, unless Suze Orman practices fiscal responsibility and doesn’t treat people she’d never met to manicures and other beauty treatments.

Personally, I totally sympathize with you. I love to get an occasional manicure and see it as Necessary Pampering. Unfortunately the Treasury has yet to recognize this budget item as worthy of deduction status. It’s not easy to look good sometimes. But I also sympathize with your husband. Because when looking for expenses to trim, his eye naturally jumps to all things shiny. Like your nails. And if it’s between food, housing, car, cable or your nails, I don’t have to tell you what’s going to be sacrificed in that pentogram.

The trick is to balance your need for some pampering and his need to live within your means. There are some ways that you could approach this.

1. Get your nails painted a less shiny, eye-catching color. There are gorgeous muted shades for fall, so perhaps it’ll be less likely to catch his eye? Of course you may prefer less Lucy-hiding-purchases-from-Ricky approaches below.

2. Discuss how much money there is in the budget for discretionary spending. If you know you have $X a month for non-necessary spending for the family, talk about splitting that amount among the family. And if your budget does not permit for discretionary spending, it’s time to re-evaluate it. Because a financial plan that does not allow for occasional spending is not sustainable.

3. Explain that the manicure is about more than nails, that it’s time for you to have for yourself. If you hire someone to watch the kids while you get the manicure, would it make sense for him to watch the kids on the weekend so that you can save on the costs that way?

Look, many of us are having money worries and financial conversations with our partners that we may want to avoid at all costs. Talking about money feels icky to us. But unless you can find a source of oil in your backyard (definitely worth looking! And if you find it, remember what a rock I’ve been in your life for the past few minutes), you got to have the tough-as-nails talk.

Good luck!

Marinka, TMH

10 Responses to “My Manicure is Not a Waste of Money!”


Comment by Roshni.

You ‘nailed’ it again, Marinka!!


Comment by Ester Jean.

I am the one who budgets in our household, as my husband is prone to impulsive spending without thinking about the consequences to our budget. We do what Marinka suggested – finding money after all our bills and food are taken Care of – and we get “allowances.” we don’t have to answer for how or where it is spent. Our finances would only permit me to get my nails done once a month, if that were my thing. There are also free(ish) ways to spend time without the kids. Like go to a girlfriend’s house and give each other manicures. Or if you really need to be alone, go to a park and swing, or find a book at the library and a cozy nook there to read it.


Comment by Alexandra.

I sympathize with your manicure wanting ways, but compromise may be needed.

I agree with TMH here–there are ways to find other things that spark you up again.

An occasional manicure I think could be worked out.

Maybe twice a month vs weekly?


Comment by Danielle.

The manicure should go. I really don’t “get” women who see that as necessary. If you want peace and quiet there are a lot of ways to get it that are free. No one but you cares what your nails look like.

Becky Reply:

Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean other women don’t. I believe she also made it quite clear that she’s doing this solely for herself and doesn’t care if other people like her nails or not.

Look, I’m not a manicure gal myself and I can’t possibly see how one NEEDS a manicure every week. Seriously, do they even have time to chip yet? I can also think of a lot of different fun ways to stretch out a manicure budget that would give me more fun, more often. However, if it’s her thing, let her have it as long as it fits the budget, and well, that’s the thing right?

I agree with all the others. DH and manicure-girl should budget out ‘fun money’ for each after the budget is worked out that she can do with what she wants with hers. If she can still swing weekly manicures with that budgeted money, fine and dandy. If she can’t, then she’ll need to cut back on them and find other cheaper ways to get that ‘me time’ she wants.

Melinda Reply:

I’m with Becky. Danielle, your response was a bit blunt. I prefer to do my nails at home myself and I make a trip to the salon for my pedicure on a monthly basis.

Weekly manicures are a luxury/indulgence, not a necessity, but if it makes her feel pampered as a stay at home mom of two, why not? Maybe she should cut it down to a monthly basis, though. Or do it herself at home. Buy some pretty nail polishes, a rich hand creme, a buffer, a crystal nail file, and you’ll be set.

I am also in the position of not having a job so I understand the difficulty of living on one income and the resentment that working spouses sometimes have. This is the time to be creative so you can still indulge without putting a strain on your finances or your marriage.

Some suggestions…

1. Instead of Starbucks, make some delicious hot chocolate at home with Swiss Miss or Ghirardelli. Add marshmallows and sip it slowly while the kids are napping. Or drink some herbal tea while thinking happy thoughts. Just enjoy some “me time”.

2. Try meditation.

3. Have a “spa day” with a friend or two at home, and it can also be a playdate for the kids. You can try some beauty treatments for very little money.

4. Re: Ester Jean’s suggestion, hit the library and check out a really good book that you can lose yourself in.

5. I can’t say enough that doing your own nails at home will be a money saver. The salon experience is luxurious, but creativity is key when money is tight. Try nail polish “strips” by Sally Hansen.

6. Find time to take a bath when the kids aren’t driving you nuts. Add a few drops of an essential oil to soothe you.

7. Try a new lipstick or earrings to lift your mood when you look in the mirror.

8. Play music that makes you smile.

9. Ask a friend to watch the kids while you take a walk and enjoy the weather.

10. Start a “me fund”. Save up money to do the things you want to do. Instead of a weekly manicure, make it monthly or twice a month. Treat yourself to an ice cream cone sometimes. Buy yourself small items that aren’t very costly. Try to indulge, but do it within your means and your family’s budget.

Personally, I have to be careful with my spending so I have it broken down like this.

I spend X amount on food/groceries and filling up my car, but I try to keep the luxuries at a minimum. Like I’ll get a pedicure once a month but it isn’t something I need to do on a weekly basis. I tend to buy clothes from inexpensive shops but they are still of the finest quality.

The key is understanding the difference between “needs” and “wants”, then finding a way to balance that.


Comment by N and Em's mom.

You should each have a set sum of money that can be spent without justification. There are lots of things that aren’t necessary (Starbucks coffee, netflix, alcohol, desserts), but life is a lot more pleasant with them. Is it possible that this is the one thing from your pre-kids days that you are hanging onto?


Comment by Desargues.

I’m a married man, and I say: tell your husband that you absolutely deserve those manicures. If he loves you, he’ll stop whining about them. A woman needs them. And, they’re not even that expensive. He needs to deal with it.

Melinda Reply:

Wow, Desargues…more men should be like you! 😉

I don’t know how much her manicures cost, because nail salons are all different. But I can see her husband’s point in a way.

It is tough living on one income. I’m sure it is even more difficult with two children. My husband has expressed some resentment at me for staying at home, but this was part of the agreement we made. Hopefully if/when I find a job, he won’t feel stressed out anymore and I will be more financially independent. It would be nice to have my own money without having to answer to my husband about it. I would love to be able to go shopping and pay my own bills without him asking me anything.

She doesn’t “need” weekly manicures but it would be nice if her husband could reach a compromise with her. Sometimes my husband complains about my spending, when in reality I don’t spend that much money, but it is one of the things couples fight about the most.


Comment by christina.

get her nails painted a less shiny color? muted shade? wtf? that is the dumbest advice ive ever heard.
shes a grown women and is raising a child. its none of her husbands damn business if she wants to take time and money to spend on somethi g she enjoys. instead she should hide away her small precious glamour and pamper time by pretending it isnt there and censor the shade so as to tippy toe on egg shells because her husband doesnt see it as worthy? two words for him…fuck that!

the reason he sees it as a waste of money is because its something that is just for her that he gets nothing out of and therefore a waste. its selfish of him and he should be told to shut it.
i bet when he wants a beer with buds or a round of golf or a haircut or whatever his vices may be that no matter what they arent a wasts of time so who the hell is he to judge and threaten her vice.

i can see it being a an unaffordable luxury if you couldnt pay the rent or keep food on the table but news flash, everyones budget is tight, but you shuffle money around and make sacrifices but not all. not every single thing should go away due to a tight budget.

so if she wants to keep her glamour girl ritual beauty treatment time just for her then i say go for it girl! keep the beauty ritual that you likely had before becoming a mommy and allow yourself whatever pretty color you fancy.

and i appaul the thought of having to justify yourself to your husband by saying that you need it as sanity time away from the kids. no. you need no justification. you are allowed to have something just for you. period.

Consider Checking Out...