1) Don't be afraid to ask for samples. Sephora, MAC and many other stores will give samples of some products. Foundation can be a huge investment, so I will always ask for a sample before taking the plunge. I used to be embarrassed since some employees can tend to give attitude when asked for samples, but who cares?! I don't want to go wasting my money on something I'm going to hate. Bonus- the samples they give will usually last at least a few days of application so it's like a few days of free makeup!
2) Don't be scared to return something that doesn't work. I hate returning things, I seriously do. But if something doesn't work as advertised, or if it's the wrong shade, don't waste your money by throwing it in a drawer for it to never see the light of day again. Most retailers now will accept returns of makeup with no questions asked, and will often give a refund or at least an exchange. Again, I used to be embarrassed to return things, but it's my hard-earned money at stake! Just don't make a habit of returning things- see tip #1.
3) Bargain stores can be a fantastic source of makeup. In 2016, Wet N Wild repackaged their Fergie line of makeup just to take the Fergie label off and put it all under the general Wet N Wild collection. The entire line of perfectly good "Fergie" makeup (which was a decent line in general) was sent to Dollar Trees across the country. I literally drove to all the Dollar Trees in a thirty mile radius to stock up on the Fergie translucent powder because it is one of my favorites. So I was able to pay $1 for each "discontinued" powder compact when the exact same powder was repackaged and in stores for $4.99. Needless to say I won't have to buy that full price powder for a long time. I was also able to grab $10 eyeshadow palettes...for a buck. $3.99 lipsticks...one whole dollar. I adore the Dollar Tree.
Five Below also has a great beauty section, filled with Wet N Wild, City Color, and Beauty Treats. There are some diamonds in this section, all for $5 or less (oftentimes less). This Beauty Treats palette is a great starter set of neutral shades, and also nice to beef up any collection!
At bargain stores, just remember the adage "Buyer Beware." Not everything you get at discount stores is going to be wonderful- accept it. Do some research, take a chance, and hopefully score big.
4) Look for multitasking products. This is where creativity comes to play. When considering a purchase, or when looking through your collection, see if a particular item can be a multitasker. One of my favorite tricks is that a matte bronzer can double as a great eyeshadow color in the crease! BB and CC creams can double as your only moisturizer. The right shade of lipstick can work as a cream blush. A shimmery, pale eyeshadow can usually be used as a highlight. A blush can also work as a beautiful eyeshadow color. Bonus- use these tricks when you are traveling and you'll save space in your makeup bag!
5) Wait for a sale. This may sound like a no-brainer, but in the makeup game impulse buying is a constant threat. That pretty packaging, those pretty colors, all the new products- they all add up to less money in my bank account. Try and remember that at some point, that item your lusting after will be cheaper than it is now! If it's a drugstore item especially, there is no reason to buy it at full price- ever. Be patient and wait for a BOGO sale, or a coupon (or both!). If it's a high end item, wait for Ulta and Sephora to offer a prestige coupon. Sign up for email alerts for sites like MAC to be aware of their sales (rare, but they DO happen!). High end items are also constantly changing, so that eyeshadow palette you want will eventually go on clearance to make way for newer ones! #5 is all about patience, my friends, and this virtue will save you major dough in the long run. Bonus- Always check your email and also retailmenot.com for coupons before buying anything online! Sometimes I forget to check for any coupon codes in my inbox before completing my order, and I miss out on savings.
6) The holidays (and after) are the best time to buy. In November and December, beauty brands start to release their holiday sets. These are where you are going to get the most bang for your buck. These value sets will usually offer several products at below retail price, so take advantage of these deals. Check to see if the set is offering full size or travel size products, as this will often determine its value for me. I'm more likely to consider it a deal if the set offers more full size than travel or trial size items, and its therefore worth the money. If you're feeling lucky, as it gets closer to the holidays, and immediately following, these value sets will sometimes go on sale since the stores want to get rid of their holiday stock to make room for new products. Just keep in mind, the longer you wait for a set, the higher the risk that what you want will be out of stock.
7) Have a beauty swap. If you have friends who are as obsessed with makeup as you are, hold a beauty swap and trade! This is a great way to try new things, get rid of things you no longer want, and satisfy that craving for new-to-you makeup. This works great for products such as foundation, blush, bronzers, highlighters, and nail polish. ***** Disclaimer: Keep sanitizing in mind when you are swapping. For example, for things like eyeshadow palettes or brushes, you HAVE TO sterilize them first (check out Google for how to do it). I would never swap things that cannot be sterilized- mascara, lip gloss, loose pigments, etc. Just don't, it's not worth the risk. Please keep this in mind, safety first!!! *****
8) Some things never need to be high end. Sometimes, I get caught by the high end trap. A company has a great reputation, it's fancy, it's packaging is impeccable, the celebrities use it- these are all things that the prestige companies use to lure you in. Don't fall for it. For every high end product, there are most likely ten drugstore items that work just as well. Check out Pinterest for dupe lists and save some green by buying the cheaper alternative. There are some items that never, ever have to be high end. Mascara, for example, is generally a waste at the prestige level. It might have a long list of claims and swanky packaging, but I guarantee that you'd be able to find something at the drugstore that will make you just as happy. Why spend major cash on mascara that you'll have to throw away in three months? Maybelline has some of the best mascaras in the business that are under $10 and can easily be gotten on sale.
9) Reward programs are your friend. If you haven't already, go sign up for the reward programs at Ulta, Sephora, CVS, and Walgreens. Even MAC has a rewards program (go sign up, it's okay, I'll wait).
I am a proud Platinum member of Ulta's reward program, and it has paid off through coupons, free gifts, exclusive discounts, and occasional free shipping (although I wish it was always free shipping, pay attention Ulta execs!). I know what you're thinking- didn't you have to spend money to earn Platinum status? Yes, I did. However, since I was going to spend the money anyway, I made the conscious decision to concentrate my spending at Ulta to reach Platinum and therefore receive all those perks. These programs are free to join, so why not?
10) Shop your stash. When your paychecks don't match your caviar dreams, shop your stash. Dig through your beauty bins and rediscover those hidden gems that you forgot you had. Make the effort to use an entire bottle of foundation before you spend money to get the latest and greatest. Check out hashtags on Instagram such as #shopmystash and #projectpan for inspiration. I challenge you to create a "Top Drawer," where each week you go through your makeup and choose the products you are going to use for that week. Be sure to rotate products each week, because if you don't you risk becoming bored and giving in to your shopping urges. By shopping your stash and saving money longterm, you'll be using up your collection, and you won't feel any buyer's remorse when the time comes to start spending again to replace what you've used.
Bonus tip: If you can, put a little money aside occasionally. This will start to add up, so use this little nest egg to treat yourself. Splurge a bit on a new product, go get your nails done, get a facial, whatever you want. A budget doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself sometimes. You'll also be more inclined to stick to being a Budget Beauty when you don't deny yourself all the time.
What are your favorite ways to save money on makeup and be a Budget Beauty? Comment below! Also, be sure you are following me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook so you are always up to date!