InTruBeauty: Money Saving Tips!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Money Saving Tips!

This isn't necessarily a blog post directly relating to beauty, but it's a blog posting everyone can relate to.  Who DOESN'T want to save money?  Our awesome guest blogger, Lauren, who writes for Married to Music blog introduced me today to a frugal living blog.  Clicking around on her page inspired me to do a post over here about some things I do to pinch pennies.

Food/Out to Eat
  • If you are like me, you might think cooking's a drag and you like to dine out or drive through frequently.  This is a serious money trap!  Recently, my husband and I limited our out to eat excursions to one night a week.  Now, every Friday night I get my mouth watering, because I know that that's my night to eat somewhere new and delicious that's not my house.  I literally spend all week fantasizing about where we're going to go and what I'm going to get.  This is awesome because limiting your out to eat excursions actually gets you much more excited when you do go out, plus you save big money!
  • When I go out to eat, I like to order just a water.  It saves me about $2-3 and I find I'm just as satisfied.  
  • Realistically, many of us eat out for lunch because we're on the job, we forget to pack something, and it just happens.  Grabbing something on the go can be fattening and expensive if you do it every day.  Try to have a cheap game plan- if I absolutely NEED to eat lunch on the go, I grab a $5 footlong sub from Subway.  Eat half now, and wrap the other half up for your next meal.  You don't need pop, chips, or cookies, which can add another $4-5 on to your bill.

  • Use your Sam's Club or Costco membership to buy paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, etc, and buy the rest of your groceries at the regular grocery store.  Buy the store brand if you can!  I recently got 200 tablets of store brand tylenol for less than half the price of one bottle of 50 tablet Tylenol brand.  And there's no difference!
  • Find a few recipes you like that require very few ingredients.  This makes eating at home cheap and delicious.  I'll share a few of my favorites:
    • BLT+ avocado.
    • Mac'n'cheese with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers
    • Oatmeal with cranberries, brown sugar, and honey
    • Jazzed up frozen pizza- add extra shredded cheese, black olives, and other yummy things in your fridge
    • Breakfast sandwich- toast+ mayo+ egg+ pepperjack cheese+ bacon+ sundried tomato

Cosmetics and Fashion
  • Makeup can be expensive!  Know what's worth it and what's not.  Follow beauty blogs (like us!) and find out some good drugstore dupes.  Do you like Laura Geller baked eyeshadows?  I've heard Milani sells some great dupes for much cheaper.  L'Oreal Carbon Black mascara is a cheap alternative to a department store mascara.  Revlon Lip Butters look and feel so surprisingly high end on your lips that you won't even be tempted by the $15-20 lipsticks you used to so love.  I could go on forever, but just read our blog for more drugstore dupes, and check out our "dupe forum" tab.
  • I like to frequent Ebay, Hautelook, Ideeli, QVC, and other websites to kind of scout what is out there for a good deal.  Be careful on Ebay- I don't purchase anything on there unless the buyer has been recommended by ebay, and any cosmetics or perfume need to come in their original packaging and be sealed.  I've been ripped off a few times on that site even while being careful.  And make sure you check the size of the item- many people will advertise for a "Laura Geller Baked Tahitian Bronzer" for example, and rather than being the full size, it will be a sample size worth much less than the advertised price.  So you think you're getting a great deal until you look in the mail and realize you didn't read the posting.  
  • I know I've written this in other postings, but try to buy cosmetics from the department store only when they're doing their gift with purchase.  I like to hoard those makeup bags and extra products and use them when I run out of my full size.  I also go to the mall and ask for sample sizes of my foundation color frequently.  They give these out for free and they last about 7 days.  Not only are they good for travel, but they tide you over when you're broke and out of foundation.  It seems like I always run out of foundation when all my bills are clearing, my account is practically empty, I'm living on peanut butter and jelly, and I don't get paid for another week and a half.  This eliminates the question "Should I or shouldn't I?" because you already have a few little 7 day tubes to last you through until you can repurchase your full size!
  • There are lots of monthly memberships out there these days.  I'm not going to lie to you and tell you signing up for all these memberships will save you money, because it's just the opposite.  But...they are tempting to try, especially since you normally get far more than you're paying for the value of your products.  If you're one of those people who needs a little shopping thrill or surprise in the mail once a month, my advice to you is to limit yourself to one or two memberships at the most, and discontinue them if they dissappoint you too many times.  I had a membership to Beauty Army ($12/month), Birchbox ($10/month), ShoeDazzle ($40/month) and MyGlam ($10/month).  I just cancelled Beauty Army because all they were offering me was skincare and I have enough of that. ShoeDazzle is a membership I keep open but I only buy when I need boots.  Boots for $40 is a great deal- flats I can find for much cheaper.  So I skip every month unless it's the winter.  I was a member of Jewelmint ($30/month) and bought 2 pieces of jewelry from them during my membership, but decided I didn't want to pay top dollar for costume jewelry.
  • Also something we've brought up before--Shop the clearance section for jewelry!  I only ever buy jewelry on clearance, and I have great jewelry.  I love Fossil, Lucky, BCBG and Jessica Simpson Collection, but since it's normally so expensive, I always wait until Macy's has their 75% off sale.  Why pay more than you need to?
Hair Cuts and Colors 
  • Enlist the help of a hair savvy friend, and cut back on hair coloring.  I normally get my hair cut and colored every 7 weeks, and it runs me about $125 including the tip.  That's a ton of money and considering I spend that much an average of 8 times a year, it runs me $1,000 a year.  That's not even including the hair products I normally buy while I'm at the salon- wowza!  I have a pretty low maintenance hair style, with my hair being in long layers past my shoulders.  I could certainly get by getting a haircut every 12 weeks, and dying my hair at home.  Check out Jessica's blog post where she dyed her hair with a $3 box of dye, and notices absolutely no difference from the salon.  It's definitely worth getting a trusted friend to do a home hair dye kit on your hair rather than visiting the salon!

  • A Malibu treatment at the salon costs over $20.  You can easily do one yourself at home for $3 with a store bought package from Sally's Beauty Supply.  If you know you're going to need one, do it yourself!  P.S. Stay tuned for Lauren's soon to come blog series on tips and tricks to dye your hair DIY style.
Organization- Know what you have!
  • I recently bought a ton of organization tools for my makeup and sorted and organized all of it.  It took me 2 full days!  Here are my different compartments:  Skincare, primers,  foundations/powders, bronzer, blush, illuminator, eye shadow bases, eyeliners, mascaras/primers, eye shadow palettes.  My eyeshadows are sorted in these categories:  purples, pinks, blue/green, black/white/silver, orange/gold/yellow, blues, taupes.  My lipsticks are sorted into these categories:  red/coral/orange, nude, clear glosses/balms, brown/bronze, bright pinks, warm pinks, purples/plums, and probably more.  Anyways, after reading that exhaustive list, do you think I need more makeup?  Answer- NO!  Now that I have everything in its place and a better grasp on what I have/where it is, I definitely think twice before adding something to my collection!  
Eek!  So much stuff in here, but it's organized :-)
These are two of my 4 drawers+shoe box overflow+ other places of makeup.  See...organizing helps me find what I really have and tells me I need NO MORE!

  • I have a "stash" of stuff I got for free, on sale, or as a deluxe sample.  I keep them in a huge bucket in my closet, and try to shop the stash rather than buying something new.  I'm not like the Hoarders or Extreme Couponers, but if I can get a free shampoo with the purchase of a shampoo, I'll put it in my stash and hang onto it.  

  • If you really need to get out of town, try to choose somewhere you can go that it's not going to cost an arm and a leg.  I know people who live in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and many other states.  Since I moved to the West Coast, I know a lot of friends who want to come stay with us to visit Seattle and Vancouver, which I'm in close proximity to.  Traveling is cheaper if you can stay with people you know. 
  • If you can't stay with people you know, check Groupon for deals on travel, hotels, and goods.  Check out Priceline for great deals on hotels.  If you're staying in a big city, consider staying at a hostel.  
  • If your family has more than one vehicle, always drive long distances or vacations in the vehicle that gets the best gas mileage.  Duh!  
  • Ask around for a reliable person who fixes cars.  I have a friend back home who always fixes our vehicle for less than 1/3 of what the car chain store says it will cost.  Ever notice every time you go in for an oil change, they claim your car needs $3,000 worth of repairs if you want it to run correctly?  Hate that!
Credit Cards
  • This is a taboo topic, but if I can help just one person by sharing my experience, I'm all for it.  In the last three years since I graduated college, I have dealt with very unsteady employment, lay offs, and while my husband was in school, there were times when we really struggled.  Bills were paid with credit cards, as were groceries sometimes, and debt accumulated.  I had a small amount of debt and so did my husband, and when we joined forces, it snowballed.  When you have several credit cards, just paying off the minimum balance each month can be a struggle.  And if they're all due at different times of the month, it can be even harder to keep track.  I strongly suggest if you're having issues with debt, to join a credit advising program.  It doesn't hurt your credit score, and it's not anything like filing for bankrupcy.  It actually helps your credit score.  Basically, it's like telling all your creditors- "Screw you, I'm sick of not even being able to afford the minimum payments every month, then having all my money go towards interest."  The company you work with will work with your creditors to freeze your interest rate, and then you just pay the credit advising company a flat fee every month.  They work it out with you so it's an amount you can afford, and you have a much better picture of when your debt will be paid off.  I won't tell you how much we had, but we joined one of these companies last January with a LOT of debt, and this January, we are half paid off.  We will be debt free (well, "bad" debt free) next January.  What a good feeling to feel in control of your finances!  Try this website.

  • That said, if you can at all avoid it, never charge groceries, bills, or rent.  Bad, bad bad!  Sometimes it's unavoidable I know, but do anything you can to borrow money before heading down that road.

  • Store credit cards are generally a bad idea.  Most of them have a 25% interest rate per month.  Avoid opening them or using them unless you get a good deal for having it.  My Macy's card gets me an extra 15% off in the store most times I use it, so I keep that one open.  Herbergers, JC Penney, Maurices, Express, and other places offer credit cards that do absolutely nothing to help you.  Not worth it!  

I'm sure I've barely even touched upon how you can save money.  Please, share your tips with me!  Leave a comment below and tell me how you've scrimped and saved, yet still led a fabulous life.  I need to know!

Yours in Beauty,


  1. Yes your tip about organizing is most worthwhile. When I look through all I have I generally feel I do not need to BUY for sometime in the future.
    Thanks for this.

  2. Great tips! Another one for cheap travel is It's a network of people who offer their "couch" or second bedroom, or whatever to travelers. It sounds a little scary at first, but all members must be verified by a current member, so it's like staying with a friend of a friend. You can email your potential host ahead of time and search for hosts by location, gender, and "type" of couch. Members also have the option of selecting "just for coffee." They don't offer a place to stay, but they are willing to meet up with people who are new in town and show them around. I've never done it myself, but I have friends from their 20s to their 40s that love it!

  3. Great advice alll. I do not use store cards and only use credit cards when I travel. Then I have to pay them off before I travel again.Everything goes on a debit so I can track it through online banking. I give myself a certain amount of cash at the beginning of the month and make it last, the cash is for extras or emergency gas,food in a hurry etc. I BUY ONLY store brands as they are the same. Shop grovery sales in the mornings to get the best food items for less money. My grocery shopping i save hundreds as I do not eat meat or processed foods at all. So I shop grains,tea,canned beans,vegatables,fruits and some cheese. Saves me thousands over the course of a year and is healthier. For beauty products you can shop at and receive credits every time you shop and free shipping. I use only natural and sulfate free, cruelty free products so I can save online or shop local stores on sale days. My body lotion is Queen Helena, its 3.000! for a quart and is cruelty free and organic. Lots of great bargins at your local Sally beauty such as organics at cut rate prieces.
    My big beauty expense is my hair, I will not attempt my own color and its 100 a month for color, foils, blow out and style. Its my splurge and I feel like I am worth it. I have early grey hair so color is a must for me. Its my girlie splurge. My pedicures and masks, facials I do only at home.
    When I travel I eat at Subway or a similar sandwich type shope, and make a sandwich go for 2 days, I eat breakfast at the Hotel so only dinner has to be purchsed. I go to activities and museums that are low cost and enjoy walking so my travel cost are low. I leave the car parked when I reach my destination so my only gas cost is driving to and from. Lucky I live in California on the coast so many beauitful places to visit that are free here.
    At home I only buy what is on sale and never shop at grocery stores for anything other then food as their markup on non food items is 300%! For gas buy it only during the week as its lower, car washes I DIY 2x a month and save 60.00 a month.
    Its easy to save and becomes a habit once you learn the tricks. I even found a place to rent without any utility costs, so that is a savings of over 700 a year. My car gets 40 MPG and yes its older , but its paid off and worth the maintaince I pay 2x a year to keep it in perfect condition.
    I shop thrift stores and ocnsignment stores with my friends. I often can find items at a discount for the day that are brand new with tags. I would never buy new jeans as the thrift stores have such great selection of jeans.
    I learned smart saving and thrift living from my Mom who raised 3 kids on her own as a widow. She set a good example for us to be thrifty and do not pay attention to designer anything, as that is a vast wasteland of your hard earned money. You can begin by small changes and making a budget for yourself and find great rewards.

    Pets are a big expense. I love my kitty buy her care at the vet is over 3000 a year so I have to budget for her to.



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