Beauty shopping is fun event in itself. But when sometimes in all the excitement, we leave free products, discounts, and even cash back that we could use for even more beauty hauls, just sitting there on the table. That’s why today I wanted to share a few tips, tricks, programs, and sites that I’ve come across that help me save (and even earn) money when burying skincare, makeup – you name it – both online and IRL. Here are seven ways to keeping those beauty products, samples, and cash back rolling in!
Take advantage of credit card rewards
The first thing to consider is how you’re going to be paying for your beauty purchases. These days, paying with a credit card has many advantages over paying with cash or a debit card, especially when it comes to cash back bonuses. (Not to mention, it’s one of the safest ways to make purchases, especially when you’re doing a lot of online shopping!)
One example is the Discover More card (also my personal favorite). They give you 5% cash back at Ulta and Sephora, which you can then trade them in for a statement credit. Or better yet, trade up your $45 cash back for a $50 instant e-gift card to either one of these stores!
Of course, choosing a credit cards all comes down to your own personal spending habits. Maybe beauty products don’t take up a large chunk of your expenses, but you still want to take advantage of cash back and rewards for your occasional hauls. No matter your priorities or hobbies, there’s a card out there that can help you save money and maximizes rewards in the areas that matter most to you.
One great way to find the perfect fit is through a unique tool offered by the folks over at CreditCards.com. They’re all about empowering us to use the right cards in the right way, which is why they’ve created the CardMatch tool.
The tool works to match you with a credit card in less than 60 seconds (and don’t worry, it will not impact your credit score!). So if you happen to be on the search for your very first card, or just want to find one that offers you more rewards for those frequent beauty purchases (or really any other expenses), CardMatch is a great place to start!
Look Out for Coupons
Before checking out at any online beauty store, I’ll always search around to see if I can find some coupons – I’m talking those 10%-40% off discounts. These deals often fall on/around special events (like new product releases, holidays, etc), or they can be completely random and require some digging. Here are the places I’ll typically search:
- In your email inbox – If you’re on their mailing list, often times you’ll find out about all their current offers, discounts, and sales through their newsletters.
- Brand’s social pages – A lot of times brands will post coupon codes on Facebook or Instagram, or mention a discount in the caption, so make sure to browse their latest posts.
- On their website – Discounts (or, at minimum, free shipping offers) are a lot of times found in the top-most banners on the brand’s homepages.
- Check coupon sites – Coupon sites like Retail Me Not and Dealspotr are frequently updated with codes that people get from all over the web.
- Load up your cart…and wait – If you are signed into a brand’s website (so that they have your email), and you leave your cart sitting for a few days, occasionally brands will send you a little ‘push’ in the form of a discount code in your inbox. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s a pleasant surprise (and often worth a few days wait!)
Scout the sales
Brands these days are constantly producing and marketing new products, and as a result, some older yet still amazing products often land on their sales pages. The mark downs are often pretty significant (~40-60% off) and are definitively worth a quick browse. You never know – you may just find a product or two that’s on your wishlist!
Snag those free gifts and samples
Most beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora offer free-gift-with-purchase promotions. So before you make a purchase, check to see if an offer fits a product in your cart.
Example of free gifts found on Sephora’s Weekly Specials pages
And of course, almost all higher-end beauty stores offer samples, so be sure to ask for a few to take home with you (or add them to your online cart) – you just may discover your new favorite makeup or skincare product!
Save up & trade in rewards points
A lot of stores offer rewards points that add up whenever you make a purchase, or even refer friends. You can typically trade these in for coupons or even free products. Here are some of my favorites programs:
- Sephora’s Beauty Insider rewards program lets you rack up points with each purchase and redeem them for free sample products and sets (all pre-selected).
- Green Beauty store The Detox Market rewards you with Detox Points for making purchases, reviewing products, and referring friends. Save them up to get $10, $20, or $50 coupons to use toward any beauty purchase in their store.
- CVS’s ExtraCare Beauty Club Card rewards you $5.00 in ExtraBucks for every $50.00 you spend on qualifying beauty items at CVS (pre-coupon).
- Other favorites: Ulta’s free Rewards program and Birchbox‘s Points – both allow you to redeem your points on any beauty product(s) in their store.
Celebrate your big day!
Have a birthday coming up? You may want to hold off our some of your beauty purchases until your b-day month to snag some coupon codes and discounts. At least one month before, make sure you’re subscribed to your favorite beauty store’s mailing lists (and completed your profile – birthday and all). Around the first of your b-day month, you’re likely get a little surprise email! For example, this year, both Birchbox and Tarte sent out special birthday discount codes, both good for 20% off.
For brands that offer rewards programs (like Ulta and Sephora), make sure you’ve joined to get your complimentary birthday day gift, which is typically in the form of 1-2 deluxe-sized beauty products. You can add them to your online shopping cart for free, or grab them just by stopping in your local store!
What are some of your favorite ways to save or score free goodies when you’re beauty haulin’?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.