Beauty on a Budget: 4 Ways to Save Some Serious Cash

By Julissa Treviño Updated on May 8, 2019

As someone who's beauty-obsessed, it's not hard to overspend. I'm not alone. According to a 2017 survey by online beauty retailer SkinStore, most American women spend up to $300,000 on face products alone in their lifetimes. 

With new product launches, massive sales and a wave of new trends each year, beauty expenses easily add up. But if you're on a budget (who isn't?), you're probably always on the lookout for money-saving tips. Here are four ways I save money on beauty products.

1. Don't buy right away

It's easier said than done, but avoid impulse shopping by planning your purchases. Instead of heading to Sephora or getting lured in by an online ad, take the time to research every product you're interested in buying.

Watch YouTube and online review sites to see whether the purchase is worth it, then try it it out at a store or get a sample before you buy.

You might also want to implement a waiting period of a month or two. If you still want a certain product after that time has passed, then you can allow yourself to buy it. Chances are many of the products you wanted to buy on impulse won't make the cut.

2. Find affordable dupes

Luxury and high-priced items sometimes are sometimes miracle workers, but sometimes they're just good products with great marketing.

Beauty websites like Temptalia, in addition to YouTube, are a great resources. You'll be able to find a slew of similar but less-expensive versions of your most sought-after skincare and makeup products.

Whether you want a Dior lipstick or a Tom Ford perfume, always be on the lookout for ingredients, colors, textures, finishes and results that can be found in more affordable products. 

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3. Buy better qualify, but less often

To stay within our budget, many of us will try to find cheaper versions of the products we want. But sometimes you just really want that $150 hair cut or $89 eyeshadow palette, and even though you'll try products similar to it, you're going to keep obsessing over the real thing.

This is where the philosophy of buying better quality, less often, comes in. Prioritize the items you want, and make a pact with yourself to only buy those things (in other words, avoid those Target runs where you buy $5 lipsticks you never use). This way you're minimizing trivial purchases to afford the higher-priced items you really want.

4. Buy during sales

Sephora, Ulta, drugstores, department stores and online retailers usually have an annual or bi-annual 15-20% off sale.

Save your pennies all year to stock up on all of the dry shampoos you'll need for the year, your expensive but effective face wash, and that $200 blow dryer you've been eyeing.

If you're careful about being frugal throughout the year and limit your spending to the sale season, you can save hundreds of dollars on purchases that you would be making anyway.

Looking for more personal finance tips? Head over to our Financial Future series

About the Author
Julissa Treviño

Julissa Treviño is a writer and journalist based in Texas. Her work has appeared in BBC Future, CityLab, Columbia Journalism Review, The Dallas Morning News, Racked, Teen Vogue and other publications. She enjoys traveling, playing with makeup, biking and trying new food. Follow her @JulissaTrevino. Read more by Julissa Treviño