DEAR HARRIETTE: My grooming habits have taken a serious nosedive as of late, and I think it's affecting the office climate at my place of work. I'm aware of what I need to do to take care of myself, but my current financial situation tells me I have to pick and choose what I can pay for. For example, I used to go to the barbershop every two weeks, and now I go every two months. I welcomed the extra hair on my face because it's been beneficial bracing against the brutally cold weather we have had as of late. Secondly, I haven't been able to clean my clothes on a consistent basis. I am embarrassed because I really care about the way I look. I need some advice because I want to become better. -- Grooming is Important, New York City
DEAR GROOMING IS IMPORTANT: First, review your whole situation. If you are working at a place that does not afford you enough income to handle your basic hygiene, you may be working at the wrong job. That said, even with limited means, it is possible to stay clean, neat and tidy. Regarding your hair, you can purchase an electric razor and grooming kit and cut your hair yourself. Many men do so. It may seem daunting at first, but it can save you thousands of dollars over time. Second, you can wash your clothes at home. If you do not have access to a free washer, use good old elbow grease. Put your clothes in the tub with soapy warm water. Soak them, scrub them, rinse them and hang them.
By paying attention to yourself before you leave your home, you can make a difference, even if you have limited resources. Bathe thoroughly, wear clean clothes and learn to do everything you can on your own to cut costs.