If you have read my earlier post all about beauty downshifts, you will know that I have taken inspiration from grocery downshifting and applied it to my beauty products. However, a little luxury now and again never did anyone any harm and let’s face it, I think everyone has their own “swear-by” items that are worth paying extra for. So, if you can get them at discount, even better!
Here’s 5 ways I get my favourite brands for less. Note: This post may contain affiliate links, but I am simply sharing the products and methods I use.
- Gift sets – especially if reduced after Christmas
It has always baffled me how gift sets containing several products can often wind up being cheaper than one or 2 of the individual same-size products, and that can often be before any post-Christmas reductions. My absolute personal favourite of these was from Elemis through the QVC shopping channel. The 6 piece skin and body care set was £49.95 and included a 50g cleansing balm, 30g marine cream moisturiser, Toner, handwash, handcream and shower gel. The moisturiser alone retails at £28.00 for the 30ml size, so it really did prove good value for money.
Elsewhere I have always had success with Boots – the brands I tend to look out for in the sales are Umberto Giannini, St Tropez and Soap and Glory, as well as perfume gift sets. You can check out my Boxing day 2017 post to see what I blagged last year. The No 7 advent calandar is also great value (and always very popular) – I was lucky enough to receive it as a gift from my Mum last December, and the mini size products are great for nights away. This year one of the advent gifts was a voucher to redeem in store for a bronzer to match your skin tone. I was very impressed to find this was actually a full size product worth £12.50 which I now use every day!
Obviously with gift sets all contents vary, and sometimes there can be some that fall short of the mark in terms of value, so it is always worth doing your homework and checking the product sizes and price per ml when sold separately.
- Save up and cash in loyalty points
I do love my Boots Advantage card and make a special effort of saving up all my points each year to use in the post Christmas sales. When combining this method with the one above, you can pick up products for even less – or practically free!
I also make sure that I maximise my points by checking the Boots app – there are often offers on there that you simple ‘load’ onto your card by clicking on the app, and the best thing is, they are stackable too. So for example, if there was an offer to receive 200 points when spending over £20, 50 points when buying any hair dye and 100 points for buying a No 7 product, you could receive all of these points on the purchase of, for example, a £7.50 hair dye and a £13 No7 mascara.
I never go out of my way to buy things I don’t need simply for the points, but I do make sure that provided there isn’t a much better offer available elsewhere, I buy my more expensive items (such as Lancome foundation or gifts for others) at Boots.
- Beauty boxes
There seems to be a subscription box for everything these days, from gourmet cooking to dog treats, and beauty boxes have been doing the rounds for a while now. I have never subscribed to one as I don’t like the idea of being suckered in by a free offer and then missing the cancellation date – been there, done that! However, Latest in Beauty boxes are fab because alongside a subscription service they offer individual purchases too. Prices range from between £20-£40 for a box full of travel sized treats usually valuing well over £100-£150.
I have bought them for myself in the past a couple of times and was impressed with the contents. Even though not all the products suited me it was still good value for money and a few items did make it into my essentials collections. I have also bought them as gifts for friends as I think they make the perfect present!
- Discount websites / online offers / outlet shops
There are an absolute multitude of beauty websites out there, some of which claiming to be “discount” suppliers. However in my experience I haven’t found any that seem to be substantially cheaper, especially when postage costs are taken into account. One site I checked had Lancome Tient Idole Foundation “reduced” from £36.50 to £36.00! Pointless when Boots has it for £32.00 and I can earn my Advantage Points, so I have to be honest, I am not much of a user of these sites so there may be some offers that are passing me by. (If so, please leave me a comment below as I would love to know!)
However, if you do shop for beauty online whether discounted or otherwise, it makes sense to combine this with codes and offers that can bring the costs down even further. Whenever I am purchasing anything online, I always check sites such as voucher codes and hotdeals for any discounts on products or delivery as well as cashback sites such as Topcashback and Quidco for money back on your purchase.
Catalogue shops like Very and Asos often have sales or offers on across the entire range, and it can be forgotten that they stock beauty products too. High end products can end up with large discounts so these sites can be good places to stock up.
Additionally if I have had an offer such as spend over £50.00 and get free next day delivery, but the dress I want is £48.00, adding a relatively low cost beauty item to qualify for the offer means you get a product for a discounted price – if you were going to have to pay for the delivery, you might as well get something extra out of it!
- Compare and Save
They say comparison is the thief of joy, and it certainly will be if you pay out for that expensive must-have foundation or new shade of lipstick, only to find it a lot cheaper elsewhere. Luckily, the online nature of everything makes comparison shopping a lot easier. Never make a purchase without trying at least three different stockists. Sites are always running special deals, promotions, new user discounts and brand offers, so it’s worth checking multiple sources to find the best price. There are even sites like FeelUnique that let you pick one favourite brand to always receive 10% off on – for life! So if there’s a brand you know you love and always want to try the latest new product from, that’s well worth it. This applies to all areas of your online shopping – it really is shopping made easy, whether you’re sourcing contact lenses, in the market for clip-in hair extensions or wanting a pricey new concealer. Never purchase from the first website you land on. You might just miss an amazing deal. And even if you are out in real-life shops, make sure you run an item quickly through the ‘shopping’ tab on a search engine on your smartphone before you take it to the till. It’s amazing how much you can save yourself with a really minimal amount of research.
6. If you can, ASK for specific presents or vouchers!
Ok, this one seems a bit of a cop out and stating the obvious a little, but when you are short of money and your birthday or Christmas rolls around, it can feel frustrating if you receive an unwanted gift you know cost a certain amount of money but there was something else you may have preferred.
It might sound ungrateful, but when buying gifts most people simply want to know that they are buying something you will like. To give an example, a relative of mine always used to buy me clothing for Christmas that simply wasn’t my style (At the time I was around 30 and into River Island and Topshop, and was getting bought John Rocha and Wallis tops that were more suited to my mum!)
It was frustrating because I knew the person in question was spending around £30 and because I never had the heart (or maybe the balls) to ask them for a receipt, the clothing had always gone down in the sales after Christmas so wasn’t even worth swapping. In the end I think I used my pregnancy and changing dress size as an excuse to ask for vouchers so I could choose my own. It worked a treat as I used them in the sales so doubled what I could have got! I think the relative in question was also relieved that it was an easy thing to buy for as I’ve had them ever since! And of course this principle could easily be applied to beauty products with Debenhams or Boots vouchers etc.
Some people may say that spending vouchers in the sale isn’t really in the spirit of Christmas – but if you are in need of saving some money, I feel it’s a worthwhile use of something that could otherwise be an unwanted, expensive piece of clutter in your house.
What do you think of these tips? Are there any you are going to try, or any you would add? Let me know in the comments below!