If you like department-store cosmetics, you aren’t alone. Many women feel that high-end cosmetics perform better than their drugstore counterparts. There’s one problem, however: Department store cosmetics are really expensive. How can we save money on department store brand cosmetics? It’s not unusual for a department store mascara to run $25 or more. To put this into perspective, drugstore mascara is about $10. Luxury brands seldom, if ever, discount their products. You either pay full price or forgo the makeup you love.
However, there are a few ways to save money on department store brand cosmetics. Here are a few of of our favorite tips:
1. Visit the websites of your favorite luxury cosmetics brands and sign up for their mailing list. This will entitle you to email (and often postal mail) offers that include freebie gifts with purchase (more on that later), special events (such as free makeovers at stores), samples and news of the occasional sale. Many sites will give you a discount on your first purchase.
2. Join SwagBucks (by signing up here) or another cash-back rewards program. Before making an online purchase, log into your rewards program account. Visit the department store site through the rewards interface. This will get you points that you can redeem for gift cards and cash back later.
3. Check to see if your favorite brand’s e-commerce store offers free shipping. Many do so once you meet a minimum purchase requirement. Consolidate your purchases so that you can qualify for free shipping.
4. Purchase your cosmetics with a credit or debit card that gives you cash back rewards.
5. Review gifts-with-purchase offers regularly. While department store brands don’t often discount their products, they do frequently offer free products when you make a purchase. These free products may come in smaller sizes, but they can still represent a great value.
6. Compare offerings on the manufacturer’s site vs. department store sites. In some cases, you may get a better deal by making a purchase through the department store site. This is often the case when you use a department store credit card. Remember to consider the following factors when making a decision about a purchase: Actual cost of item, shipping costs, the included gift-with-purchase, and points/cashback through both rewards site AND your debit/credit card.
7. Review department store coupons to see if they can be used at the cosmetics counter.
8. Ask for sample products whenever you make an in-person purchase. Many sales associates won’t offer samples. However, they often have them behind the counter. So, ask if samples are available.
As every serious couponer knows, “stacking” multiple offers and discounts is the best way to save big. For example, keep your eye out for a particularly generous online gift-with-purchase. Once the offer is on the website, log-in through your rewards site, purchase enough product to get free shipping + the gift with purchase, take advantage of any additional sample offers and then pay for the order with a cash-back credit card.