As a full time professional in a humanities field, and a part time grad student, I’ve learned a lot about being frugal and saving money. Other than my house, I am currently debt free. I live pretty cheaply, but I do often have some beauty splurges. The following tips are how I make it all work.
1. Volunteer to get spammed. If there’s a particular brand you love, like Too Faced or Benefit, sign up for their emails. You’ll get some spam, but you will also be the first to know about deals and coupons. Sephora and Ulta are also your email friends, and when you sign up for their rewards programs, you get a free birthday present. (Bare Minerals does this too, just a side note.)
2. Discount merchandisers are also your friends. In this case I’m talking about groups like Gilt, Hautelook, and Rue La La. These all require you to sign up for a free membership, but then you get access to daily deals. I’ve had the best luck with Hautelook, and reccently went bananas when they had TheBalm 50% off. Their shipping does take quite awhile though, and it does cost extra, but for 50% off I found it to be worth the extra cost.
3. HSN and QVC want you to shop their websites. What I’ve found with these guys is they often have good coupon codes. (HSN recently offered $20 off to new customers, for example.) I also like that these website usually sell sets that are a good value. For example, I recently purchased this Too Faced Forever Young Set. It was priced at $45 for the Better Than Sex Mascara, Sweetheart Blush, La Creme lipstick, and a brush. Too Faced has free shipping, and with the $20 off for new customers, I got all of this for $25 bucks. Not too shabby.
4. Samples and sets give you a small taste. As someone who is addicted to buying makeup, it takes me FOREVER to get through a product. If you aren’t that kind of person, skip this tip. BUT, if you are like me, a lot of brands like Smashbox, Laura Geller, even Urban Decay offer sets with 4-6 mini products. (Ulta currently has a Travel Trio set of Urban Decay products on sale for $12, plus free shipping on all UD products. If you wanted to get on that…) These sets are usually a fantastic value for people like me who don’t need a huge amount of product. Then if I find something I love and want more of, I go back to tips 1-3 to get it for cheap.
5. Coupons collecting is cool. This tip mostly applies to drugstore brands, though sometimes Retailmenot.com has codes for mid range brands. Checking websites like Redplum can get you coupons for brands like Revlon and Maybelline. When buying drugstore brands, I’ve found in my part of the country that Target, Ulta, Walmart, and grocery stores are much cheaper than buying products through Walgreens and CVS. It may not be the same everywhere, but try it out and let me know what you find out!
6. A stealth makeup hunter is always patient. If you want to get a good deal on something, sometimes you have to wait. For example, I waited about 5 months for theBalm to show up on Hautelook with the 50% off deal. And then I snapped that shit up.
7. Sometimes you are going to have to splurge. Sometimes you are going to want a product that doesn’t have any deals. I usually start putting away a small amount of money each paycheck to save up for my dream product. I also cut back on buying small drugstore products. I’ve also been known to wait to buy myself something nice as a reward for accomplishing something. (Chapters 1-3 of my thesis, I’m looking at you.) And sometimes you just have to remind yourself, I could have ten shitty drugstore eye colors or I could have a Naked Palette.
Hopefully these 7 tips can get you started on developing your beauty collection on a beer budget. I’ll be posting more tips soon!
Let me know in the comments your best or favorite ways to save money on beauty!