On a recent visit to a newly opened Fairfield County apothecary, I was treated to a chair facial and makeover that included an application of a kind of nectar from the beauty goddesses: Natura Bisse’s Inhibit Tensolift. In skin-savvy circles, this near miracle-working serum is lovingly referred to as “Botox in a bottle.” And at first glance, the moniker seemed well-deserved.

No wonder it costs $715 for a two-ounce bottle. Which, by the way, is more than I paid for my first car in 1991, an early 80s stripped down model of the Honda Accord. Despite the price, I found myself momentarily mesmerized by my newly lineless visage and actually considered shelling out the cash to perpetuate the more youthful face in my mirror.

I didn’t do it, because I just couldn’t justify the expense. But I got me to thinking about the price American women are willing to pay for beauty and the perpetuation of youth. According to Bundle.com, a Website dedicated to personal and household spending analysis, “The average U.S. household spends $60 a month on personal care, or $720 annually, according to Bundle data, an amount that includes visits to drugstores, cosmetic stores, salons, spas, and gyms.”

This number is well under the $715 price per bottle of Natura Bisse’s enviable elixir. Still, whatever our budget, we women seem to prioritize beauty. But despite personal budgetary constraints, experts in the beauty field feel confident about consumer spending. "If [consumers] aren't feeling good about the finance and the economy, they'll want to feel good about how they look," Anthony Vendetti, analyst for Maxim Group, told CNN Money.

It would seem that American women feel compelled to put their best face forward, no matter the price.

“Looking my best makes me feel good,” says Fairfield’s Shana Chaikin. “I don’t have $715 a month to spend on how I look, but yes, I budget in some dollars toward beauty expenses. It always comes after essentials like the mortgage and bills, but a new lip gloss or eye cream is something I enjoy.”

Like Chaikin, I too budget beauty-related expenses into my monthly flow chart. Wendy, a Westport-based family therapist said it this way: “Women spend more than men do on how they look. And if their partners want them to remain the beautiful women they love, they need to know this.”

So my question is, how much do you budget in for beauty? And, if financial constraints required, what items would you cut out before you cut your beauty budget?