A Frugal Beauty’s Guide to Not Making Your Wallet Cry

A bright and shining morning to you all!

I want to first apologize for my lack of activity here. Between running The Crazylegs Classic and The Color Run plus everything that happened in between, my life became rather hectic and is going to be for the next couple of months at least, longer than I expected. However, I finally got my new makeup mirror in, and it’s going to make doing my makeup so much easier! I’ll post some pics of this new baby when I get the chance.

I did want to cover a topic that I know affects a lot of makeup enthusiasts, myself included. Money is always on my mind (college loan repayment is the very bane of my existence at the moment) and I’m not always the best at managing my spending. It’s especially hard when you see a new beauty product, fall completely in love with it, then try your best to ignore that price tag. I’m sure all of you know how real that struggle is.

So, with a little inspiration from a thread I saw on the MUA subreddit some weeks ago, here are tips that can help give your wallet (and your monetary anxiety) some relief!

  • Don’t knock ’em til you try ’em! Drugstore products, that is. It’s very easy to get caught up in the idea that big name brands are everything, but let me tell you that while they can be fantastic, drugstore brands still hold their own. For example, I recently purchased Wet n Wild’s lipstick in Cherry Bomb for 99 cents and it is an incredible color that I had no trouble applying at all. Real Techniques, EcoTools and e.l.f. cosmetics have some great brushes if you’re looking to start your collection on a budget. And personally, I have a major lady boner for NYX’s lip products as well as Revlon’s ColorBurst Matte Lip Balms. You’ll never know what you’ll find when you peruse your local Walgreens or Target.
  • Dupes! Dupes everywhere! Going along those lines, you don’t always have to reach high to get exactly what you want. Saw a MAC lipstick you love but just can’t afford it right now? Try finding a drugstore dupe. Same can go for other beauty staples. MUA is a great place to look but you can also find other dupe recommendations from a simple Internet search. Speaking of Internet searches…
  • RESEARCH! I cannot stress this enough, and it extends far outside of beauty purchases. When you don’t exactly have high disposable income and every purchase you make leaves a noticeable impact, it’s not always best practice to just go out on a whim and pick up a product. This isn’t necessarily the end-all to avoiding a product that won’t work for you but it could still save you a lot of trouble the majority of times. Better to spend $40 on something you will use than $50 on something that’s either going to sit there or get thrown away. The MUA subreddit is great for this purpose as is Makeup Alley as there are a lot of reviews on there. And of course blogs! 😉 But really, Google is your friend.
  • Makeup Exchange. Like I said, you’re still going to have those times where something didn’t work for you or you just didn’t fall in love with. This is where you might want to consider giving /r/makeupexchange a shot. Makeup Exchange is a subreddit where you can offer to outright sell your unwanted makeup or offer it up for a swap of something(s) you do want. You can also make requests as well! Obviously these products are not brand new, but neither are the ones you’re offering. The seller/trader should specify the condition of their product, but most likely it has been used once or twice.
  • Set goals for yourself. This has been something that I have used as a tactic to combat my careless spending. I have pushed myself to finish up the products I currently have. Once I’ve finished a product, I’m allowed to buy a replacement of either that same product or something new. This blog has also been part of this endeavor in order to push myself to use products and get creative with them. Push yourself. Have some free time? Play around with that Naked palette a little and see if you come up with a new look for yourself. What about that colorful lipstick you bought weeks ago that you haven’t touched? Incorporate it into a look for your night out with the girls. Half the fun of makeup is playing around with it!
  • Remember that everything is a transaction. If you’re really struggling with a purchase, think about where else that money can go. The money for that YSL lipstick can go towards that new book you’ve really wanted to read, a night out with friends, dinner and a movie with your significant other, etc. Remind yourself of those things first before you decide whether you can swing that purchase or not.
  • There will always be sales. I think these are the exact words my boyfriend told me when I made my NYX Macaron Lippies purchase on the day they came out. I had a code that brought my total down from $36 to $27 for six of them. I ultimately went for it, but right now I could get the other six from Ulta for around $27 as well with their BOGO 50% on NYX face and lip cosmetics (*PSA* Yeah, this probably totally goes against this whole post, but yeah, if you were unaware, the last day for this promo is tomorrow (Saturday, May 10)!). I’ve decided against it. This isn’t the first time Ulta has had this kind of sale and it won’t be the last. I actually got several NYX butter lipsticks with this same deal back in March. You’re going to be bombarded with emails that have coupons and advertisements for sales. Understand that Sephora, Ulta, and other vendors are going to have some promotion going on every week or every two weeks, and obviously if there is one that is popular they’re going to do it again at least one more time in the year. You’ll have your chance. On the topic of email ads, if you find that you just don’t mentally have the strength to remind yourself to stay away from the sales, send those ads to a different folder in your email other than your inbox so that you have to go to that folder in order to see them, or unsubscribe from them entirely for a while.
  • But sales can be your friend. With all of that being said, if you’re genuinely in the market for something and not looking to take advantage of a sale for the sake that it is a sale, this would be a great time to buy a product you’ve been waiting on. I generally like to pick up a product on sale when it’s at least 25% off, though depending on the price I’ll go as low as 15%. My previous point was to discourage taking advantage of any and every sale. Sales are still good and can definitely be used to your advantage! Its how I got my Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette for $30 instead of $49 and it came with Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance. Also, that Ulta sale I mentioned above. Still a good thing.
  • Utilize your piggy bank. Yes, people still have actual piggy banks. I do. It’s a pig painted like Bucky Badger and I love it, bring on the judgment! Okay, you don’t need an actual piggy bank for this step, just somewhere you can put money aside, whether it’s a physical object like a jar or something or a savings account at a bank. Every week, put some money away from your paycheck or allowance. It can be a dollar, five dollars, ten dollars, whatever, and it doesn’t have to stay constant. Put away a little every week. The amount you want to save is up to you; you can either save for a single particular item, or several, or promise yourself that once you save up a certain amount of money you can do a haul from your favorite store or brand. As great as buying something right away to have that instant gratification is, it can feel so much better to know that you disciplined yourself and this is your reward, especially when it’s a haul of stuff! Did one of your favorite brands announce a collection you’ve fallen head over heels in love with? Start saving now. Even if the release is months away, putting away that money now means you have dedicated funds for it instead of having to sacrifice money for other things on the spot.
  • Designate a period of time as your no-buy time. This could be one of the the heaviest, going-cold-turkey options of the list. You’ll often see people on the MUA subreddit lamenting over a new product or special sales deal during their no-buy month. A “no-buy time” varies for different people. Your no-buy could mean that you don’t buy any new products and stick only to replacing what’s in your current stock when it runs out, or it could mean you don’t buy absolutely any makeup products at all (advised if you have several different types of basics like foundation, primer, concealer, etc.), or somewhere in between. The goal is still to discourage excessive purchasing when you already have so much stuff to work with. This could be a great option to use in tandem with saving up for products or hauls. Also a great option for Lent.

These tips aren’t going to work for everyone all the time. You’re not going to sacrifice your go-to, Holy Grail, I-know-it-works mid-end range foundation for a drugstore brand that won’t live up to the standard, but you could supplement other things in your routine or wishlist with drugstore brands to save some money. And of course, there are collections that are limited edition, but that’s why we saved up for them beforehand, right? 😛 Pick one of the tips to start with, or pick a couple that could work well together. Didn’t like my tip but it gave you an idea for something that could work? Perfect! Just like finding the right shade of foundation or that perfect red lipstick, you have to find the right money-saving method that works for you.

And above all, don’t get discouraged. If you try a no-buy and after one week buy that eyeshadow that was screaming BUY ME, BUY MEEEEE as you walked past it, remember that you haven’t failed. You’re not infallible, you’re human and you were meant to make mistakes. The only failures are not learning from your mistakes and giving up completely. Try again, think about what did and didn’t work for you. Maybe the no-buy was too extreme? Take a step back, start smaller and gradually work into a bigger step.

I want you all to be beautiful, but I don’t want you to be beautiful and starving, broke and/or homeless. Know that I’m working hard at this right along with you!

I hope this gave you plenty to work with! There’s always more than we can do to budget our passion. What are your money-saving tips? Have you tried a no-buy before, and how did it work for you? Have you discovered any inexpensive products that are now a staple in your collection? Leave your answers in the comments!

Have a wonderful rest of your day and a fun, fantastic weekend. I hope you’ll be blessed with as beautiful of weather as I’ve gotten lately. And hopefully I can get some more stuff up now that I’ve got my new makeup mirror to play around with. Until then, stay well, stay beautiful!