If you’re anything like me, you have a beauty wish list about a mile long, and growing. With the industry constantly churning out new and exciting products, the only question is how you can stretch your beauty dollar further. Here are five ways to do just that.
1. Sign Up For Rewards Programs And Email/Mailing Lists
If you are shopping frequently at specific retailers for cosmetics or skin care, ask if they have a free rewards program. Most programs work on a point-per-dollar scale: The points you collect earn money off purchases, extra coupons, or special goodies. Some places, like Sephora and Ulta, offer a free annual gift for rewards member birthdays (that’s how I discovered my favorite CK One Mascara). Additionally, if you sign up for emails from your frequented retailers, you often get first access to sales and special discounts in-store and online.
2. Always Check Clearance And Special Discount Retailers
The first place I hunt down when I walk into Sephora, Target, Ulta, etc. is the clearance section. It can be a pain to weed through all the lesser items, but every now and again you find a deeply discounted gem. I found the Deborah Lippmann polish I used for this tutorial on clearance for $9 (normally $20) at Ulta. Discount chain stores like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and Ross also stock high-end brands at dirt cheap prices. But always check for an expiration date and be mindful of whether the seal on the lid is broken. And make sure it isn't a fake.
3. Know Where To Find Coupons And Sale Information
Just like in the grocery store, coupons are a great way to save a little extra dough on your makeup purchases. Ulta almost always has a $3.50 off $10 coupon for non-prestige brands. The best way to get coupons is to sign up for email lists and enroll in rewards programs. Also check websites like Retail Me Not for coupons and coupon codes (which, sigh, can sometimes be expired). It’s also a good idea to check retailer websites for printable coupons.
4. Plan A Product Swap With Friends
Every few months or so I take stock of what beauty products I haven’t used or have only used once or a small handful of times. Then I call a couple of makeup-obsessed girlfriends to come over and do a swap. This is the perfect way to get new (or new to you) goodies without spending a dime. Use caution with products like eyeliner and mascara, though.
5. Familiarize Yourself With Return Policies
While trying before you buy is ideal, samples and in-store testers aren't always offered. Always check return policies before you purchase to avoid being unable to make a return. Check whether you can get a full refund on an opened product, or if the store only offers merchandise credit. If a retailer doesn’t allow returns on used merchandise, make sure to check online reviews (ones with swatches and product pros and cons) before you purchase. It’s not foolproof, but it’s better than going in blind.
- What are your tricks for stretching your beauty budget?
- Tell me about your awesome clearance finds, the best rewards programs, websites, and email lists you swear by.