Saturday, December 18, 2010

Needs vs. Wants

I have acne. It’s quite severe acne actually, as I get cysts that are leaving deep scars. Some of it is genetic, some of it is hormonal, some of it is stress, and some of it is the food I eat. I’ve been fighting it for years (9 years seriously, 14 years total). I’m on 3 separate medications from the dermatologist for it. I’ve spent literally thousands of dollars trying every cleanser, cream, serum and peel on the market that I could get my hands on. I read books, I read blogs, I made my own cleansers, I tried diets and I tried organic supplements. I know they say it gets worse before it gets better, but after a couple weeks of trying something new, if not after a couple of days, my face would be swollen with infection raging beneath the surface.
I promise this has to do with finance.
Finally, after years of searching, I found a moisturizer that works. My skin calmed down, the swelling went down, and the big one: my face doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s been wonderful. There’s only one problem with it.
It’s $160 an ounce.
I managed to make the two samples I had last 3 weeks before I broke down and bought a small jar. Usually paying an exorbitant amount of money on something like this would easily fall under the wants category when it’s compared to a $5 moisturizer from the drug store. But what happens when the $5 moisturizer doesn’t work? When the frugal option doesn’t work, at what price does the need turn back into a want? It seems to be a highly personal question, with no strictly correct answer. Organic food may not be a necessity for most people, but maybe for the person who is allergic to pesticides it is. Take the singer Jewel for instance; before hitting it big she was living out of her car in Alaska with a kidney problem that she couldn’t afford the medication for. Her doctor told her to drink lots of bottled water. For anyone else bottled water is a frivolous and unnecessary expenditure, especially when you’re homeless, but for her it was necessary.
So I’m curious, where do you cut off your needs vs. your wants? Do you set a strict dollar limit? Or is it subjective? I’d love to hear from you on this.


FB @ said...

For acne? Forget it. Buy the expensive stuff if it works

What is it anyway? La Mer?

Cassie said...

It is La Mer, yes. I got two of those little sample jars to start. Thankfully a little bit goes a really long way.

That seems to be the consensus I'm getting right now. You only get one body, so you need to get what works.

Finally Frugal said...

I've struggled with acne for years, and I think $160 an ounce is reasonable for something that helps. Granted, $16 an ounce would be much better on the budget, but the increase in confidence with a clear face is worth a LOT of money, in my book!

Cassie said...

I definitely agree with you on that one! I'm not a fan of my self-esteem taking a ding because a skin condition, I enjoy being confident!

Anonymous said...

I've been struggling with acne since middle school, and if it's anything that I splurge on - it's my face. Cleansers, water-based moisturizers, peels, acne medicines, dermatologists - you name it.

I've gotten it more under control now, but it's still there.

This week, I am going in for my first facial. We will see how it goes.

Cassie said...

I had more luck at the dermatologist than the facialist, but hopefully it works for you :) Good luck.