As far as expensive habits go, spending absurd amounts of money on makeup is more socially permissible—and a lot safer—than drugs, but that small consolation doesn’t make it any less of a drain on your bank account. Having Chanel taste on a Wet n Wild budget is a fate worse than debt.
Most people can’t rack up a $1,200 tab at Sephora in one go like it ain’t no thang and still make their rent, and for that, there is a solution: extreme couponing. JK, nobody has time for that. Smart shopping, on the other hand? They don’t call it “smart” for no reason. Unless you’re Kylie Jenner, saving a little bit of money here and there is essential to remaining financially solvent, and there are so many ways to give your credit card a breather if only you look around.
Fortunately, the good people of the internet have already done that digging for you. Below, five key tips from Reddit that will help you keep your money where it belongs—in your wallet, not your makeup bag.
Get on the Mailing List
It doesn’t cost a cent to sign up for newsletters from your go-to sites and brands, and you’ll be the first to know about sales and promotions—sometimes they’ll even give you a discount just for signing up. Keep an eye out for those big Friends & Family events, which let you in on insane price cuts despite the fact that you are not technically a friend nor family member of the brand. Just be sure not to let the email alerts get lost in the abyss that is the Gmail Promotions tab.
Stalk Blogs and Social Media Accounts Devoted to Tracking Down Sales
Praise the blogger behind Nouveau Cheap, which has been posting money-saving makeup tips since 2009. She pays particular attention to weekly drugstore deals, and you can even set up text alerts to get notified each time the blog is updated with a new deal—twice a day or more. TrendMood Deals is an Instagram must-follow: The account constantly posts sale codes for brands such as Tarte, Laura Mercier, and Anastasia Beverly Hills, so you can be a beauty snob and still stay budget-friendly.
Hit Up an Outlet Sale
If you’re willing to spend some time sifting through products in person to get a really, really good deal, then check online to see if there’s a Cosmetics Company Store or outlet in your area. These megastores stock mostly products that are being discontinued or reformulated, and because it’s such a mixed bag it can be hit or miss, so it’s up to you to decide whether the 30- to 40-percent discounts you’ll find are #worthit.
It’s important to go into the experience with an open mind, and don’t expect to be able to test anything before you buy. Browsing the beauty aisles in stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s can also yield some impressive finds among the sketchy “As Seen on TV” items and inexplicably sticky shampoo bottles.
Sign Up for Rewards Programs and Rack Up Points
Some larger stores that stock numerous brands, such as Ulta and Sephora, offer free or inexpensive rewards programs that really pay off if you’re a frequent shopper (and if you’re already this invested in hunting for the best beauty deals, you probably are). The more you buy, the more points you’ll accrue to get special perks such as free travel-size products, free shipping, and even discounts or freebies on your birthday.
Wait for the Right Time
The impulse buyer in you probably won’t be too stoked about this one, but once you get over that you can score some serious deals by waiting for the holiday season to come around. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are perhaps the best days of the year to stock up, since practically every brand gets in on the markdown game. Holiday gift sets—as in, the kind you keep for yourself—are also a great way to save; plus, they’re usually made up of smaller versions of your faves, so you’re less likely to waste product if you don’t use it ’til the last drop. Everybody wins, except for maybe the person who thought you were buying the gift set for them.