How To... Maximize the Beauty Budget

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Blah blah blah economic crisis blah blah blah. We all know the story: times are tough and folks are looking to pinch a few pennies, meaning that little luxuries might be on the chopping block. Given that you are reading my blog, I'm going to guess that beauty products might be an area where you are looking to do some thoughtful trimming.

Certainly I'm no financial expert, but here are some suggestions on how to stretch the beauty bucks.

1. Take stock of what you already have. Take a long, hard look at your stash. Do you have every conceivable shade of gloss? In multiples?! If so, consider thinking longer and even harder before purchasing more. Do you really need another beige-y pink?

2. Rotate the stock. Get out some things not often worn and put them in regular rotation. Stow others that can be re-visited again in a month or so. They will seem new and fresh without spending a penny. (Seriously, this really works!)

3. Multi-task. Ditch your pricey eye cream for a regular facial moisturizer. It might not be the miracle serum you love, but any moisturizer is better eye cream than no eye cream at all. Try using some of the congealed liquid foundation on the cap as concealer. Buy 3-in-1 products (Philosophy has an amazing selection of shampoo/body wash/bubble bath combos). Get out that tub of Vaseline for a cheap alternative to gloss. Use it at night under gloves or socks for intense hand and feet hydration.

4. Use up what you've got before you buy more. It sounds simple, but can be hard to do. If you are absolutely desperate for something new and different, hit up cosmetic counters for samples and freebies. Just remember to leave without buying.

5. Shop smart. Shop where you can sample products to prevent at-home disappointments. Investigate return policies (Total Beauty has a fantastic roster of stores' policies). Keep the receipts. Watch for sales.

6. Set a budget. Stick to it. Or, more severely, institute a "no buy" period. Enlist a friend for support. Track progress on paper. Consider rewarding yourself if successful.

7. Make a list of things you really want to minimize impulse buys. Prioritize and go for items that you know you will love. Similarly, prioritize which items are worth the splurge and then cut back in other areas.

8. Treat yourself... within reason. If you are dying for one (or more...) of the Spring collections, choose one item to purchase, not the whole thing.

9. Don't underestimate Beauty Schools. Most areas have a local cosmetology, hair styling or nail technician academies that offer significantly reduced rates for pretty much any service offered at a standard salon. It's been my experience that it takes twice as long as it would by a pro, but the results are just as good. Aveda Institutes are located in many states and are reliable and reputable schools.

10. Do some swapping. Did you know that makeupalley has a swap feature where you can set up trades with beauty fanatics all over the world for just the cost of postage? If you don't want to deal with shipping, consider swapping with friends or relatives. Have a party where everyone brings things they aren't using for swap. Obviously, trading something like used mascara or gloss may be ill-advised due to risk of infection and contamination. But blush, some moisturizers, and nail polish are all things that can easily be traded.

11. Pull a Martha. Desperate times call for DIY. Scrubs are an easy place to start, but check out this extensive list of bath and beauty products to whip up in the kitchen. Not only will you shave some cents off your beauty budget, but may discover a cheap way to entertain yourself on a Friday night.

12. Look for duplicates. Take a swatch of an expensive product to the drugstore to find a match. Drugstore cosmetics often follow the higher end brands in terms of trends, you might be surprised by the selection.

Additional resources for penny-pinching tips:
Bella Sugar's Guide to Keeping Beauty Spending Under Control
Beauty Bits & Tips
Beauty & The Budget



Tierra M Wilson said...

Thanks for all the practical tips! They're so helpful and a great reminder! I like to save money by trimming my split ends with a nice pair of hair shears (and doing the same for friends). It really saves money and keep my hair style going longer!
Here's the pair I like:

March 2, 2009 at 5:49 PM
Kyl said...

Hi Tierra:

Thanks for the tip and the link!
March 3, 2009 at 2:44 PM

liposuction said...

Thanks for the tip !
They're so helpful !
It really saves money !

April 10, 2009 at 5:56 AM

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