Monday Question – What Did You Give Up For Perfume?

Is there anything you don’t buy anymore because of your perfume hobby?

What sacrifices are you making for perfume?

How has your budgeting changed since you fell down the rabbit hole into Perfumeland?

My Answer:

Since I spend most of my disposable income on perfume, I haven’t bought anything to wear. No clothes, no shoes (apart from absolutely necessary winter boots, that is) and I’m fine with that. My closet is full enough and I never was a clothes horse, I’m fine in jeans and  sweaters or blouses.

Another thing that had to give was cosmetics. I used to buy a lot of lipsticks and other accessories of beauty, but that has stopped as well. Thankfully I now get to wear everything that has accumulated over the years.

Book expenses have been less too, mostly because blogging takes up time I used to spend reading.

What are the sacrifices that keep you smelling divine?


About Olfactoria

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76 Responses to Monday Question – What Did You Give Up For Perfume?

  1. Haunani says:

    A good question and one that applies to most of us! I too have made fewer clothing and shoe purchases in recent years. The big one, though, that allows me some extras, is that my husband and I drive older cars (good reliable Toyotas). They’ve been paid off forever, and each has 180K+ miles. A newer car would be nice, but I’d rather have perfume. And wine! 🙂

  2. Sandra says:

    Great question! I gave up shoes and expensive clothes (which I justified by saying that it was all for work). I currently live in my jeans, flat shoes and sweaters and I too have enough clothes in my closet to see me through several seasons. Now, if I could just kick my habit of buying handbags, then I would be set.

  3. Undina says:

    I’m not sure I gave up buying clothes or shoes per se, at least not for budgetary reasons (I haven’t started buying that expensive perfumes in that quantities yet to be concerned. Yet 😉 ) but since I spend much less time shopping online for those items I ended up buying less last year.

    What I did give up was participating in a not perfume-related forum. It just happened: I was busy writing my posts or reading other blogs and didn’t even notice when I just stopped reading that forum. I do not regret.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Undina, I’m glad you are bringing up this point – it is not only thing we buy that change, but also habits we used to have. Perfume needs time, reading, writing, sampling, organizing… eventually something else has to give. If there are no regrets, it was the right choice. 🙂

    • Warum says:

      I petty much gave up another forum as well.

  4. lady jane grey says:

    I’m not a woman of many clothes either… I have some very good quality pieces I love and cherish, and keep wearing them for years. That puts a pressure on me : I need to keep my weight more/less unchanged …
    I haven’t given up shoes though… And skincare still is a challenge….

  5. Marie says:

    Now that you mention it, I really spent less on buying shoes, clothes and books last year. Which is good as I can now start to read all the books that I’ve collected and bought over the years. 🙂
    Buying fb of perfume and samples also let to less music related purchases (I love music! I would even say that if I had to choose between music or perfume, I’d give up all perfumes and stick with music). I haven’t given up music entirely but still think that it is not enough for my music-obsessed soul… I need to change that, I realize.

    Anyway, I thought about my perfume expenses just recently and decided to slow down a bit. I will never be able to smell everything and often enough I only “like” a scent. Don’t want to think about how much I’ve spent so far on trying scents that were “meh” or “ok”. Let alone the scents I didn’t like at all! Shipping fees, minimum order values, incredible high prices for some samples (think Amouage), the cost for standard sample sets that include all scents of a line although I’m only interested in one of them… these are all expenses that add up and I don’t know if that’s really worth it. If that sounds like I’m in a deep crisis of meaning, well maybe I am. I love perfume and will continue to sniff everything I can get my hands on (I am lucky to live in a city with many niche perfume shops and designer stores that carry exclusive lines) but I simply don’t have the money for testing and buying everything that’s on the market.

    I didn’t mean to speak so verbosely (sorry!) but that’s what came into my mind 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Marie, it is so true – it adds up, and all the money spent on things less than stellar hurts especially.
      Living in a big city is a great bonus, we have to make the most of it. 🙂

  6. Alexandra says:

    The two things I have almost completely stopped spending money on are jewellery and handbags (both of which I adore and were considered my treats), and it is entirely to fund my perfume habit… Last year I did go a little mad on perfume and bought thigs that in hind-sight were unecessary, I also kept a tally which meant I wasn’t able to hide from the fact! So this year I decided to have a sort out: I got rid of a few things courtesy of Perfume Posse’s Swapmania (what a good weekend!), and I am keeping to a strict budget. I can either buy some samples each month or save for 2-3 months (or longer – d*mn you Amouage) and buy a bottle, I have stuck to it so far, but it is only February and I have already spent this month’s budget and earmarked March – April!!

    Oh plus, my morning coffee break used to be news and celebrity gossuip based – now I do my daily run through of my favourite perfume blogs, starting here!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Your one bottle a month policy is one I am trying to stick to as well. So far, so good, but as you say, it is only February… 🙂

      Oh, and I love your morning routine! 😀

  7. Ines says:

    That’s a very interesting question. 🙂
    I must have forwent something but as I don’t feel like I lack anything, I can’t figure out what it is. I believe that I take more care not to spend on frivolous things that just end up taking space in my closet (clothes, shoes, cosmetics) so in the end that money is turned into perfume (or a trip to Paris). 😉

    • arline says:

      I love this answer!!!!!!!

      I think for me, I am just wanting to enjoy and express who I am in as many ways as possible. I too like to think in terms of abundance (sometimes I feel more abundant than others), and my spending depends on what I am wanting at the moment.

      I am a shoe lover, and I have accepted, that I have expensive taste and a high standard. Like all you advanced perfumistas out there, I only buy special shoes these days, because I want to enjoy what is in my closet. They have to be quality and interesting. (usually I find amazing shoes on sale) Lately I have not seen any that I MUST have, so I will wait.

      Perfume and essential oils are important, and it seems to be where I want to invest right now. I am a little mad at the moment, because I broke a bottle of rose otto >: ( , and I definitely want to replace that.

      I am not sure how many perfumes I want to collect, but I am certain now, that I am wanting more than one signature scent, so we shall see how far my perfume expansion goes.

      • Olfactoria says:

        The longer we are involved with collecting something, the more we have, the more we know, the more discerning we become and that is a development I like. Not everything must be had, only the best and the most “fitting”.

        • arline says:

          I totally agree!!!!!!

          I have been fascinated with learning about perfume lately, and because I am an artist I am appreciating the artfulness of all that goes into perfume. Making it, wearing it and collecting it is a creative process. I love creativity expressed, whether it is through visual art music or clothing/shoes, or scent… The list can go on and on.

          There is of course a little bit of an obsession when one creates or collects, for that is what inspires us to do what we do. As long as I am not obsessed to the point of frustration or single mindedness, I am cool. (I only say that, because I have been negatively obsessed by some things in the past)

          It is fun to explore and discover, and this takes time and resources!!!!!!!!!
          ; ).

    • Olfactoria says:

      How wonderful to feel that you don’t lack anything. Contentment is what we are all after, I guess. But a little more perfume can’t hurt, I think. 😉

  8. Sugandaraja says:

    I’m a music aficionado, but I must say, since I developed this hobby, I’ve purchased – at most – fifty CDs over these past five years, and most of those, used. Compare this to thousands in the past and you’ll see the change! ( Thank goodness for questionable download sites… )

    As as fashion, well, that’s never been a big issue for me. I’m happy to wear a hundred dollar fragrance in a ten dollar t-shirt. 😀

  9. Alnysie says:

    I feel like what I’m mostly sacrificing these days is the ability to save more money… which, I realized this week, will have an impact on my ability to travel as much as I want to, and it made me think twice about my perfume spending… I think it’s the only thing that will make me be more careful. I love fragrances, but I also love to travel! (And since I’m planning a trip to Paris this summer… I’ll be getting both!)

    I’d also probably buy a little more clothes and shoes if it weren’t for fragrance, but it doesn’t really feel like a sacrifice, I never needed that much. The one big thing I used to splurge on were expensive restaurant dinners with my ex-boyfriend, but we broke up a few months before I started getting into perfumes this summer, so I never had to choose. 🙂

  10. ElizabethW says:

    I’m not sure I’ve given up anything but time. I haven’t bought much in the way of clothes or accessories for the past few years, and like many who have already responded, I have enough to last a good long while. Because I work in a very casual environment, I don’t need to spend much on the clothes and shoes. My house filled up with books and music long ago. There’s practically no room left for these things! As long as there is room in the perfume cabinet (and a few cigar boxes), I can still collect perfume.

  11. GeM says:

    oops, I hope this doesn’t sound weird, disrespectful or blasphemous… 😦 but I usually just stop my ‘Perfume Fever’ for a while when I’m having ‘other’ needs, whatever those be… If I really need some specific item or some specific plan (practicing sport, traveling, underwear, etc) I save enough money to support it and I say ‘Bye for now’ to other things.

    However, fortunately I received the last perfume of my collection as a gift. 😀

    Currently I’ve almost quit and I’m off since five months ago – well, ok, I must confess I made a little decanting purchase last week! 😉 –

    I’m not spending money on cosmetics right now, either. Luckily I have it all for now, I hope it will last more than a year (I don’t believe in ‘strict expiration dates’, it’s a total selling strategy and I have never felt this bad). About Clothes… Shoes… Handbags… etc, more or less it’s the same, and I hope they’ll last much more than a year!

    • GeM says:

      PS: I’m extremely happy just discovering/smelling new/all time Perfumes in stores, having samples and so on… I don’t feel any particular plan of collecting full large bottles. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      That sounds very much in control, GeM!
      Since you are happy with sampling only and don’t feel the urge to buy full bottles, you are fine. I wish I could say that about myself…

  12. Tara says:

    Interesting question! I collect Art Deco jewellery and before perfume I would often go for something that wasn’t too expensive but now I’m a lot more discerning. I still keep an eye out on but don’t often bid. I was never one for shoes or handbags but when I do spend on clothes etc now I feel rather guilty, when I never did before. Expensive purchases are so much harder to justify – like the Burberry Beauty lipstick I’ve fallen for.

    On the other side of the coin, I also make the effort to sell stuff on ebay that I would never have bothered to before. I will eye something in my house and think “I could get £10 towards perfume for that”!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Art Deco jewellery, how beautiful! Another indicator of your excellent taste!
      Burberry Beauty is pretty hard to resist, huh? I took a few items with me from New York too and look forward to take another look at Harrods in May. I guess I’m not entirely immune to the lure of lipstick… 🙂

    • lady jane grey says:

      Burberry make-up, huh ? The bane of my existence right now… Will be back in LDN in March ! (Which colour did you take ?)

    • Instead of collecting jewellery, I make it, or refashion what I already have. Have sold some bits and pieces and this has contributed to the perfume fund. Have also sold perfume mistakes on Ebay – looking at you Black Orchid Voile de Fleur and Le Maroc Pour Elle. Fortunately perfume mistakes are rare! But they do happen, and it is better that the bottles find a loving home. I am now eyeing my son’s huge Playmobil collection (which I assure you he has grown out of!!!!!)

  13. Ari says:

    I gave up good skin. The alcohol in perfume exacerbates my already severe eczema. But I really and truly love perfume, and am not willing to give it up even though my skin stings every time I spray some on.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ouch! That is true dedication, Ari! I have perfume-induced sensitivities too from time to time, but thankfully not as bad as you! I hope you get it under control AND can keep on using fragrance.

  14. deeHowe says:

    Clothes, shoes, handbags, makeup… All of my other discretionary purchases have become second place considerations! But since I spent years building a wardrobe, I’m not really missing out by having funds re-directed 🙂

    Perhaps once my perfume wardrobe is complete, if such a thing is possible, I’ll collect something else…

    But probably not. 😉

  15. Warum says:

    I certainly, like many who already answered, now buy less clothes, less shoes, less jewelry. Less books (partially due to time constraints, but also because I realized that I need a break) and less music (we’re the monthly subscribers at a legal download site). On the other hand, I am getting (as freebies with purchases of perfume) MORE quality skin care (oops, gals and guys, I must confess I did not use much skin care before starting as a perfumista). And I started to budget. Perfumistas are often very open and out of the closet about how much they spend on perfume (you know what I mean, a damage poll at NST is one prime example!) and so I actually have been recording my perfume expenses last year. This led to me recording other expenses… that’s the closest thing to budgeting and doing financial work I’ve been in years! I know, both me and my husband don’t seem to be much of financial wizards :))

  16. If I have given something up, I haven’t noticed! So either I haven’t given anything up or my involvement with perfume doesn’t leave me enough time to notice.

  17. Suzanne says:

    Groceries, baby formula, disposable diapers (the baby now gets cloth nappies)…

    Usually I’m not in the habit of noticing that I’ve given up anything else for perfume; however, when I tally up the money I’ve spent over the years, I realize I could have taken some really good trips. As an example, I purchased an oud oil months ago that I’m pleased I purchased, because I know that it’s precious and by the time I use it up, this particular type of oud won’t ever be available again. But on the other hand, the money I spent there could have bought me airfare to go to Florida, not just once, but twice this winter to see my mom and sister. With that in mind, since I am planning to do some traveling this year, my perfume purchases are definitely going to be limited. And I’m fine with that, as I’ve been collecting perfume for a long while now.

    • Olfactoria says:

      At least the baby will smell good (not from where the cloth nappies are though)… 😉

      Wow, that must be some oud oil!
      Your travel plans this year include perfume I believe, so you know what you are saving up for, is at least worth it. 🙂

  18. Bee says:

    well, I guess I didn’t sacrifice much, my perfume spree has started after refurnishing and redecorating for the equivalent of a third time my latest flat, now THAT was an expensive hobby 🙂 (I still compulsively buy interior architecture magazines, though)

  19. Vanessa says:

    I haven’t consciously given up anything or restricted myself, but I haven’t had a holiday for two and a half years, and the savings there must have helped fund a lot of my hobby, if not all of it. I guess I figured that my work travel is a reasonable substitute, especially when it brings newfound perfume friends into my orbit! I do still buy clothes, but only fitfully – I have never been all that interested in clothes shopping, which is handy really. And I used to be happy with cheap cosmetics and toiletries, but that may be all about to change – Tara is my witness…

    Other than that, I fear I may have neglected some of my offline friends in recent years because I devote so much time to blogging and perfume related stuff on the Internet generally, and I am still not sure I have the balance right.

  20. Cymbaline says:

    I can’t think of anything that I’ve given up, but my focus has changed especially in regards to travel. Rather than spending time at “tourist” sites, I make the rounds of perfume sites and have a splendid time sniffing and chatting : ) It’s fortunate that I like to travel alone or that my SO is comfortable doing his own thing when we are traveling together.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is my absolute favorite part of travelling as well! I think of every possible travel destination in terms of sniffability. 😉
      Great that your SO is not protesting.

  21. I just started collecting perfumes about 6 months ago, and I already have 10 bottles! Some of them weren’t SO expensive (a bottle of Calyx cost me $46 on Amazon), while some have been quite hefty (i.e. my Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle splurges while in Paris in December). One of the ways I have been able to expand my collection is by swapping decants with other obsessed perfumistas on Basenotes and Makeupalley. I never realized people could be so friendly and generous with their knowledge and samples! I have gotten decants as large as 15 ml, which will last me a good long while.

    In the meantime, I have given up trips to Starbucks (saving $150 per month!!!!) and have been taking the subway over spending the money on taxis, a devilish temptation in New York City.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi roselavenderoud,
      wow, Starbucks must be doing really well! (I don’t drink coffee, so that is one less temptation.)

      And giving up Taxis – at leat you are not stuck in traffic! 🙂

      Our perfume community is amazing, isn’t it? The most generous people I have ever encountered.

  22. I hope this doesn’t come off sounding dark, because it really isn’t….but what I gave up for perfume was art. Even before my brain tumor was diagnosed, I’d begun to have a lot of physical difficulties which impacted my being able to wield an inkpen/brush as readily or dexterously as I used to. I desperately needed something fruitful to focus on, so perfume (and perfume blogging) started to play an ever-more-crucial role. Creating art from my life often resulted in negative emotions like anger or sadness. But perfume is positive. It makes me happier than art. So it’s not a terrible price to pay.

  23. MdM says:

    Food for the children.

  24. Eva S says:

    I don’t think I’ve given anything up for perfume, but then I’ve been moving up the ladder so to speak during the last couple of years and had an increase in income at the same time I started my perfume obsession, and I don’t have a family to provide for. I buy less music, I use Spotify instead, and less books, since I don’t have time to read them all! I try to limit my perfume-buys somewhat, at least FB, mostly to avoid having a lot of “albatrosses” cluttering up my collection!

  25. Dionne says:

    I can’t think about what I’ve given up, but then I’m the subset: frugal perfumista. Frugality is kind of a way of life around here, due to a large family and one income, but there’s something to be said for enjoying the simple things. I honestly believe that learning contentment with what you have is an act of will.

    We love camping (and live beside the Rockies near Banff, so the camping is world-class), I’m on a first name basis with most of the staff at my local library, Clothes and shoes are thrifted and eating out is a rare and thoroughly enjoyed indulgence. Our family has two older vehicles that are paid off and no debt besides the house, and that is a great feeling.

    I have a modest monthly budget, which works out great for really getting to wear each sample thoroughly with time left over to enjoy what I own. So I suppose all I gave up is the presents I used to get for Valentines/Mother’s Day/my birthday/Christmas, because that is usually when I get full bottles. Honestly, what did I use to get for presents? I honestly have no clue, which is pretty telling. Especially since now I can easily point to every bottle and say, “Mother’s Day 2010, birthday 2011, Christmas 2011 from son 1, Apres l’Ondee will be Valentines 2012….”

    I suppose it could be boots. I love knee-high boots, but I’ve only got two pairs. I’d probaby be rockin’ the boots otherwise, but I’d rather smell fantastic. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      What a beautiful thing it is that you can attach your bottles to important dates in your life. You have fond a definite upside of having to be frugal. Your attitude is admirable, Dionne! Thank you for commenting and all the best for you!
      Enjoy the wonderful Aprés l’Ondée!

  26. Suzy Q says:

    Wine. Well, I didn’t give it up but I’m buying box wine now and only a “special” bottle ($15, LOL) once a month. Wine tasting was a hobby until perfume overtook it.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Suzy Q,
      it must be incredible helpful to have a good nose (and tastebuds) for wine, when it comes to perfume. A very interesting hobby! But I guess perfume has won for you! 🙂

  27. Eldarwen22 says:

    I have been an infrequent lurker on your site and decided to hope in. Thus far, I have given up on getting gift sets, the ones that come with body wash, lotion and a bottle of perfume and stuff from Bath and Body Works. I’m too fickle now to wear the same thing for months. In the past 2 years, I have only spent $180 on books. Before perfume, I would spend $2,000 on books alone.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Eldarwen,
      Glad you decided to delurk!
      I can’t use scented body products as well – the commitment! 😉
      I think spending money on books is an investment in the future, they will be with you forever.

  28. Natalie says:

    This is such a great question. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s answers. I have a few things that I really love, and have not stopped buying them (shoes and vintage accessories), but keeping everything in balance makes me think more about how much things cost. Like Tara, where before I might have happily bought something, now I think of it in terms of the perfume I could buy with it. And sometimes I look at a perfume and think about a pair of shoes I’d rather have. What I have given up is probably time. It takes time to keep up with all the people and blogs online that I want to keep up with, and to write my own blog as well, and I’m still trying to figure out the balance for that.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you! 🙂
      It is so funny how we weigh everything against the new currency of perfume now, isn’t it?
      Time is a huge commitment as well, I wonder what I ever did with all the time I had before I fell down the rabbit hole?!

  29. civava says:

    I save a lot because I’m not buying a lot of shoes, bags, cosmetics, clothes. Fortunately I don’t have strict dress code for the job so I don’t need buying suits. I have enough clothes even if I don’t buy anything in 2 years I’ll be fine. I don’t smoke, I don’t go out very often. I can save here too. I can never have enough perfumes;-). I’m an addict ;-). I simply enjoy looking at my bottles and use them of course in accordance to my current mood.

  30. skyonfire17 says:

    It’s Thursday, can I still reply?? I’m not as far into this as all of you and Ive only just discovered this wonderful blog, however, I now live in leggings (2 pairs) from Noa Noa and Toast (they are so hard wearing!), one pair of sheepskin boots and an assortment of black tunics from TKMaxx! It meant that this month I felt justified in buying 24 Faubourg on a whim…. I’m still not sure of it, but I’m using it because I hope I’ll get to like it! I’ve given up silly magazines for more time to spend contemplating which perfumes I would physically like to collect having mentally already done so. I have also given up envy, deciding only to appreciate what I have which means picking up old perfume bottles and remembering where I was in the world when I wore it, rather than gluttinously yearning after someone else’s scent. I’m off to a job interview in an hour (made the bad mistake of spraying on my summer perfume this morning, and it does not smell right at all). No time for another bath, either! Still, new job means more money and that means only one thing…..which perfume to buy next? It doesn’t sound like I’m giving up perfume actually, does it? Oh dear.

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