Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Look Like a Million Bucks without Spending a Fortune

Years ago when I began buying beauty products, I regularly reached for the cheapest option on the shelf. As a starving student, fancy makeup was an indulgence I could ill afford and this often meant opting for chalky powders and waxy creams – many of which just didn’t last. About a decade or so later, my eureka moment happened. I was travelling and my compact got smashed. Due to the dearth of selection near my hotel; I was forced to splurge on a high-end face powder. Instantly I realized I could never go back to the ‘kewpie doll’ look again.

The next challenge was to find my favourite products at a reasonable price. Then I discovered department store beauty give-aways. Every few months, major chains provide generous bonus ‘gifts’, when you purchase name brand cosmetics. For example buy $60 of Estee Lauder make-up and get $175 worth of product thrown in for free. These offers often include a mix of high-end, like brand cosmetics, toiletries, creams, attractive makeup bags, and/or purses. It may seem a lot to spend on a wand mascara and tube of lip gloss, but when you consider the entire offer, it is the smart way to shop. You can quickly accumulate a plethora of top-shelf toiletries, for the same price as comparable products from discount lines. You’ll also receive several impressive extras.

Assuming I’ve convinced you to give cosmetic bonuses a chance -- let me share a few tips to get the most out of these lucrative offers:

·         Request to be on department store ‘beauty offer’ mailing lists, for advance notice of cosmetic giveaway dates (via post, email or phone).

·         Choose bonus offers where you’ll use at least 50% of the gift. If most of the extras aren’t any good to you, it isn’t much of a bargain.

·         Ask friends about their favourite cosmetics and occasionally try competing brands. You might discover a new preference and it’ll provide you with multiple bonus opportunities, year-round.

·         Lux department stores may require the biggest initial outlay, but gifts tend to be far superior. Prioritize upscale store giveaways.

·         Avoid buying beauty items in-between special offers. If you plan well, you should have few purchasing emergencies.

·         Track inventory and replenish, but don’t stockpile toiletries for too long. Cosmetics don’t stay fresh forever.

·         Share lipstick colours and superfluous items that you’ll never use with friends and family (or put them in a bag for your next charity drop).

·         Don’t get married to any one brand. Sometimes the less costly option is just as good. No need to splurge, if it’s not necessary.

Sometimes we get stuck in false economies. Buying cheap generally offers minimal satisfaction and the product often comes up short on results. Practice these simple steps and you can indulge your preferences, look your absolute best and keep your cash in your wallet.

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