I was having lunch with some friends recently and the topic of conversation turned to makeup. One of my friends was lamenting how much money she spends per month on various beauty products and the sum actually shocked me. Now, she’s a successful woman who has a great job and plenty of disposable income but not all of us are in her situation. After talking with her a bit more in private about what she buys and how she spends her money, I helped her come up with a few ways to save a little money on her monthly beauty expenses. In the end, these ten tips were able to cut her monthly beauty bill in half. I’ve decided to pass this advice along to you so without any further ado, I give you 10 of the best beauty tips for girls on a budget.
10: Take Advantage of Free Samples
I love free samples and they’re not as hard to find as one may think. If a cosmetics company really believes in a product they’re releasing, they’ll often offer free samples so their potential customers can give it a try before they invest money in it. It’s a great way to spread the word about a new product and get it in the hands of the people that would be most interested in buying it. Take advantage of this. Before you shell out money on a new product, find out if there are any free samples available. You may be surprised how often the answer is yes. Can’t find samples in a store? Look online. Contact the company.
09: Don’t Fall for Marketing Ploys
It’s hard to avoid ads for health and beauty products. They’re all over our televisions and on every other page of the magazines we read. You might not be able to avoid the marketing machine but that doesn’t mean you have to fall for the hype. If you’re curious about a product, search for reviews of it online. Online reviews are often the best way to get the real story on a product. Look for the overall tone of the reviews. If they’re mostly positive, you’ll likely have a good experience. If they’re mostly negative, you’re probably safer saving your money. If there is a common problem with the product that comes up in review after review, you can expect to have the same problem. Decide whether that problem is something you can live with. If it is, give the product a shot. If it’s not, save your money.
08: Learn to Style Your Own Hair
If there’s one thing I’ve learned while styling my own hair it’s this: it takes a lot of patience. You’re not going to get it right the first few times you style your own hair unless you’re some kind of hairstyling prodigy. If you’re trying out a new technique, give yourself some time to perfect it before you decide to use it for a hairstyle for a night out or a big event. Styling your own hair isn’t all that difficult if you know what you’re doing and can be a great way to save money on trips to the salon. You’ll still want to visit your stylist for cuts and most dye jobs but when it comes to styling, give it a try on your own. You might be surprised by how much you can do with your own two hands and the right tools.
07: Use One Product for Two Jobs
Duel purpose products are always a great investment. Eyeliner/mascara combos, lipstick/lip gloss combos, blush/bronzer compact combos are all great examples of duel purpose products you can buy at your local department store but you don’t have to buy products specifically designed as duel purpose products to use one product for more than one job. Eye shadow can make great eyeliner. Blush can make great lipstick. Lipstick can make great blush. White eye shadow is an excellent highlighter. There are lots of products you can use for more than one purpose, not just reducing the amount of money you spend on cosmetics but also freeing up more room in your makeup bag.
06: Be a Smart Shopper
Compare prices. Look for sales. Use coupons. Fill out rebate cards and send them back. Hit up discount stores, outlet stores or the clearance sections at your local department, drug and even grocery stores. Is there an expensive product you’ve been wanting to pick up but can’t bring yourself to spend the money on it? Check to see if it’s available online. You might have to wait a little while to receive it in the mail but the money you save could make the wait worth it. It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of watching fliers. Stores will often put most of their best deals in their mail-out fliers. If you notice a store is having a great sale, check it out. Most of their best deals are in the fliers but often there are other in store sales going on as well. Have a favorite cosmetics company? Sign up for their mailing list. You might get printable coupons you can use toward your purchase. If you save the coupon for when the item you want goes on sale, you may be able to get it for pocket change.
05: Don’t Be Afraid of Discount Store Products
Some of the products I use every day were bought at a little store in my town called Dollarama. Everything in the store is $3 or less and they really have some excellent products. Their cosmetics section leaves a lot to be desired but their hair products section is outstanding. I picked up my favorite cosmetics brush set there for $2 and I use at least one brush from that set every time I apply makeup. I also bought an eyelash curler there for $1 and it’s turned out to be the best curler I’ve ever owned. The same applies for a pair or pink tweezers I picked up. A lot of people – men and women alike – believe it’s impossible to find decent products at discount stores but that just isn’t true. Take a look around. You might be surprised what you can find at rock bottom prices.
04: Keep Track of What You Spend
How much money are you willing to spend on beauty products every month? Determine how much of your monthly income needs to go to bills, food and basic needs. The remainder is your spending money for the month. Set aside a portion of that spending money that can go towards beauty products and call that portion your beauty budget. Stick to the beauty budget as much as possible. To make it a little easier, think of the products you want to buy in two categories: want and need. Of course, you really don’t need beauty products the way you need food and shelter but that’s beside the point. Things on your needs list should only include items you use every day – foundation, eyeliner, lip gloss, eye shadow or items of that nature. Things on your wants list should include everything else – new shades of items you already have or new products that do the same job as something you already have. Focus on getting the needs first and if there’s money left over in the budget, move on to the wants. Keep your receipts to help you keep track of how much you spend per month and if necessary, adjust your budget when possible.
03: Don’t Buy Things You Don’t Need
Oh ladies, this is a big one and it’s probably the rule I break most often. That was especially true when I first started learning to do makeup. I bought tons of brushes, blushes, bronzers, eye shadows, lipsticks and various other products – most of which just wound up taking up space in my makeup bag – some of it never opened. We all have our weaknesses. Mind is nail polish. I have bottles and bottles of the stuff in every conceivable shade of every color. Here’s the thing though: I don’t need it, but I do use it. If you’re not going to use it, don’t waste money on it – especially if it’s an expensive item.
02: Don’t Be a Slave to Labels
I do the majority of my cosmetics shopping via e.l.f. cosmetics. Their products are inexpensive but high in quality, making them the perfect option for the lady on a budget. You don’t have to go with e.l.f. though. Since the bulk of their stuff is available through mail order, it can be frustrating to have to wait. There are lots of less expensive brands out there that can offer you the price you want while not sacrificing the quality you deserve. The best way to find a great, low cost makeup brand is to check out reviews online and to go at it with good old fashioned trial and error. If a product is inexpensive enough, give it a shot. Some of my favorite products were “try it and see” purchases that worked out well in the end.
01: Don’t Cheap Out on Low Quality Products
It a product has terrible reviews or if you try something and it doesn’t work as well as you’d like, don’t keep buying it just because it’s the least expensive option. Low quality makeup should always be avoided. If you have to apply more of it to get the results you want or if you have to touch it up or redo it several times over the course of an evening out, you’re going to have to replace the product more often. The expense there really does add up. If the low quality product costs $1 and the high quality product costs $5, it is obviously tempting to go with the $1 product but those savings are worthless if you have to replace the $1 product five times as often. Go with the more expensive product that will last longer. It’ll be worth it in the end.