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When cashiers ring you up at stores, they often ask if you’d like to sign up for their free rewards program. In many cases, you may automatically dismiss them. Perhaps you’re in a rush to get home. Perhaps you think you won’t use the program much.In short, it’s definitely worth signing up for programs like these in-store or online. I’ll use the Ultamate Rewards Program by Ulta Beauty as an example.
Just by signing up, you get a free gift on your birthday. This past year, I received a free Urban Decay eyeshadow worth $19. You receive approximately $250 worth of coupons per year via e-mail and snail mail. You earn one point per dollar you spend. On special occasions, you can earn 2-5 points per dollar spent. At least once per year, you’ll receive a coupon for 20% off your entire purchase. On a regular basis, you’ll receive coupons for $3.50 off a purchase of $15 or more. You can combine your accumulated points with coupons! Let’s say you have 200 points (a $6 value) and a $3.50 off $15 coupon. You can get $15 worth of makeup for $5.50.
Brand name items are very appealing, especially when it comes to makeup. I think that investing in high-quality items is the way to go, but a product’s “prestigious” name is not what makes it high-quality. Many drugstore cosmetics and off-label brands are nearly identical in formulation to pricier alternatives.This logic also applies to hair care products, skin care products, and all sorts of related accessories. Below I’ve two differently priced eyeshadow primers as examples. I bolded the identical ingredients in each primer.Out of 19 ingredients in Urban Decay’s primer and 15 in Ulta’s primer, 11 of them are identical. Furthermore, they both have ratings ranging between 4.4 and 4.7 stars on Ulta’s website (at the time of publication). Why spend $8 more on a product that’s nearly identical to the store brand alternative?Sure, doing comparisons like this is going to take you a bit of extra time and legwork. However, you can save tons of cash if you spend a few minutes doing research like this. In many cases, you’ll find that store brands are identical or equal to their brand name counterparts!
Chances are you buy a lot of things in multiples. A few beauty-related examples that come to mind are cotton swabs, cotton balls, makeup sponges, makeup brushes, and bobby pins. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. So, let’s talk about how to get the best deal on these items.A box of 250 cotton swabs for $1 at the Dollar Tree seems like a steal, right? Not exactly. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of dollar stores and discuss them below. But you’ve got to consider the price per item when buying items like this.The PPI of dollar store cotton swabs is $0.0040. A box of 500 cotton swabs at Target costs $2.89. This makes the PPI of the Target cotton swabs $0.0038. Is that a significant amount of money? No, but it sure does add up over time. The amount of money you’ll save is 100% worth it in the long run.I used the Unit Price Calculator to figure out these prices; you simply type in the numbers and get your results. It can be accessed from your mobile phone, so it comes in handy when you’re out shopping. It only takes a few seconds to use, and it’ll instantly save you cash.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to skimp over e-mail alerts. I know that my instinct is to click “exit” on pop-ups, even when they’re for e-mail lists. But I’ve learned that signing up for can save me a ton of money on clothes, makeup, and more. There are two main benefits to signing up for mailing lists – instant discounts and long-term savings.These are just the examples I found by skimming my inbox. Over the years, I’ve gotten literally dozens of free shipping deals, percentage discounts, and more just by signing up for e-mail lists. Make sure you take the time to do this!
Online shopping is a personal weakness of mine, but I use many different tools to my advantage. The Chrome browser extensions I discuss below are excellent ways to save cash while you buy makeup, clothing, and more online. I’ve also given some examples of how they’ve helped me. Honey is an extension that works for both Chrome and Firefox. When you are checking out on a website, this extension shows you any and all available coupon codes for your purchase. A small box pops up and you click “Try Codes” during your purchase. I’ve used it while shopping on Amazon, Groupon, Target, and a few other sites. It can be hit or miss, but it is certainly helpful at times!
I’m one of those people who changes her hair color once a month or more. My hair is also naturally very dark, so I bleach and tone it on a regular basis. As you can imagine, I have to use high-quality dyes, restorative products, conditioners, and so on.However, I budget well for these things and don’t buy products from salons. Instead get my goodies at Sally Beauty, Beauty Brands, and similar stores. Chances are you have a beauty supply store in your area.Beauty supply stores are an excellent place to stock up on all of the hair care and nail products that you need. I’ll make a list of some examples of how I save money at stores like these.
This is one tip I learned as a teenager, and I’ve implemented it ever since. Always look for beauty schools in your area that provide salon and spa services. These services are performed by students who are training to become licensed cosmetologists, estheticians, and massage therapists.They are supervised by their instructors, so you can feel confident that they’ll do their best. And don’t hesitate to give polite feedback; the instructors are very willing to ensure you get the results you want! The best part is the incredible amount of money you save with this tip. Here’s how much money I currently spend and save on haircuts.
As I mentioned above, I do love Dollar Tree and other dollar stores. They have excellent deals on tons of items that are identical to what you’d find at Target, similar retailers, and online stores. Here are some examples of items I found at the Dollar Tree that were absolute steals.Lastly, dollar stores are a great resource for DIY beauty gift baskets. You can get adorable baskets and tons of items to fill them for a few bucks. The same goes for baby shower gift baskets; the Dollar Tree has a product line that’s identical in formulation to big-name baby shampoo brands. Explore your local stores to see the goodies you can find!
That wraps up my detailed list of “frugalista” tricks. By implementing these tools and practices, you can cut costs, get free perks, and so much more. It makes indulging in shopping a guilt-free experience, and you can truly feel good about the cash that you’ve saved.Feel free to view my other Frugal For Less posts about fashion and beauty to learn more about cutting costs while enjoying cosmetics, clothing, and so much more.