Monday, October 17, 2011

Beauty Couponing: How to save the most $$$

I was recently asked where I get my beauty coupons. The answer is many different places. I would like to go over this in detail and explain how to get some great deals on beauty products by combining coupons with sales. While much of this can be applied to couponing in general, but my focus is how to get better deals on beauty products. Think of it as Extreme Beauty Couponing. (lol)


Places I get coupons:

  1. Sunday Paper Inserts: I probably find most of my beauty product coupons in the Sunday papers. Look for the coupon inserts like Red Plum and Proctor & Gamble. Occasionally there are other coupon inserts as well, but those two are the ones most likely to have beauty coupons. Also on occasion you can find manufacturers coupons in a store ad. This happened last week with the Walmart ad, there were about a dozen manufacturers coupons on the back. You can find out what inserts and what coupons will be in the newspaper by going to sites like Sunday Coupon Preview. My advice is to get multiple newspapers so that you can get more than one of the same coupon. I also advise that you check the newspaper before you buy it to make sure the coupon inserts haven't been stolen out of them. This has happened to me a few times. (Lesson learned now, hopefully!) In my area, the Sunday paper is about $2 most places, but if you go to the Dollar Tree you can get it for a $1. If you buy your newspapers there, you are already saving money! (You may as well check out the makeup aisle while you are there, just in case there is anything good!)  :)
  2. Target Website: Target offers online coupons for you to print. There is sort of a catch though, as it can be hard to tell if it is a manufacturers coupon or a Target coupon before you print. Target Savers has a great post about how to tell the difference. It is good to know what you are printing so you don't waste time & expensive printer ink on manufacturers coupons that you may already have. Check your manufacturers coupons first to make sure you already have the ones available, and if not then this is a good resource to print them. You are able to print 2 copies of each coupon, so make sure and do that! Target will let you use a manufacturer and a Target coupon on each item purchased, so by printing their store coupons and stacking them you can save more. The only time this gets even better is if the item happens to be on sale. In that case, you get the sale price and can still use both coupons on each item.
  3. Tear Pads: I frequent my local drugstores just to check out what is new or sometimes because I am looking for a specific new makeup display. These coupons are manufacturers coupons and don't have to be used at the store you find them at. I have been able to get a lot of coupons from the tear pads attached to a display. Most often, the coupons are for $1 off 1 item by that brand. Sometimes they are for specific products or specific types of products, and sometimes it is for any product by that brand. In the last 6 months I have seen tear pads on displays of all the following brands: Almay, Bonne Bell, Maybelline and Rimmel. Maybelline seems to have them the most often, and I have the easiest time finding displays with these tear pads at my Fred Meyers and Rite Aid. When I do see them, I take 2. Don't take more than that though! Be kind to your fellow cosmetic addicts and leave some for them!
  4. In the Mail: I sign up for beauty samples whenever the opportunity comes up. Why? Because I like to try new things. And, because they almost always come with a coupon. I have a lot of coupons for hair products right now because I signed up for several shampoo/conditioner/hair treatment samples recently. Use these coupons during a good sale and you could save a bunch!
  5. Facebook: I "like" the pages of any brand or company I use or am interested in trying. You can often get coupons on their Facebook pages just by liking their page. If they have a coupon available, there is usually a link on the sidebar of their Facebook. Sometimes you can get free samples through Facebook and occasionally even free full size products. Over the summer, Milani did several giveaways. I was able to get a full size baked blush and a full size lipstick for free by signing up for these. Joby Nail Art is another company who has hosted giveaways on Facebook. I got a free sheet of nail decals from them. Sometimes you are not able to directly print a coupon from Facebook, but if you provide an email address they will send it to you. Besides coupons, it is also a good idea to "like" brands on Facebook because you can keep up with the latest information from those brands. theBalm did pre-orders for their Muppet's Cast Your Shadow palette entirely through Facebook. I also "like" stores I shop at, from Bartell Drugs and Walgreens to Sephora and Nordstrom. (You can "like" me on Facebook and see these blog posts there! Cosmetic Addiction on FacebookOften this is the only way or at least the best way to find out first about sales and specials. 
  6. Store Savings Booklets/Ads/Websites: I sometimes get store coupons from the weekly ads in the Sunday Paper. Fred Meyer and Bartell Drugs often have them. Walgreens has a new savings booklet each month that you should be able to get in store. In my local Walgreens there is a rack near the front with the latest ads and these coupon books. There are usually beauty coupons in the coupon books. Rite Aid has their Video Values. If you watch a short video about a product you are rewarded with a coupon at the end. You do have to sign up and make sure you log in to get the coupons. There is a tab you can select all your earned coupons and print them from.
  7. Peel Coupons: Sometimes products will have a $$ Off coupon attached to them. In this case, it is a manufacturers coupon that usually only applies to the product it is attached to. I seen peel coupons on Maybelline, Physician's Formula and Revlon products recently. Sometimes the products with these coupons are on their own display and sometimes they are right on the shelf with the others. If you notice a bunch of peel coupons attached to products of a certain brand, it is probably worth taking the time to look through the products in your preferred shade/type to make sure that you get the one with a coupon if you can.
  8. Store Rewards Cards: Make sure you are a member of any savings club offered at your drugstore or grocery store. Sometimes coupons and/or sales will only apply if you are a member. Fred Meyer has their Rewards Card, Rite Aid has their Wellness Card, etc. If it is a store you shop at and they offer a rewards program of some sort, it is worth signing up as long as it doesn't cost you money. (I actually don't know of any that do cost you money, but in those cases it may or may not be worth spending the money to save money. I suppose it would depend on how often you shop at that store, what kind of products you are buying and how much you normally spend.) 
  9. Email Newsletter: Most makeup brands and stores allow you to sign up for email updates on their website. You will find out about a lot of sales and deals this way too. I always join these. I basically have a "junk" email that I use for everything that requires an email to sign up. This way I can just go to that inbox when I want and look through it to see if anything is worth noting. More often than not, there is a coupon code in these emails. You can use the coupon code for online orders and sometimes there is a link to print a coupon for use in store. MAC Cosmetics often sends out emails with a coupon code for free shipping. 
  10. Bonus tip: If you have an Entertainment Book for the Seattle area, there should be a Bartell Drug page in it. On this page there is a coupon for a free $25 gift card when you transfer any prescription from another pharmacy to Bartell. I transferred my birth control pills to Bartell Drugs, used the coupon and got the free gift card. As far as I'm concerned, that is $25 free to spend on makeup. I was going to pay the same price for the prescription regardless of where I got it from. Bartell Drugs is only located in Washington State, but there may be similar offers available at drugstores near you. It is worth checking out! (PS. There was also a coupon on the same page in the Entertainment Book for $5 off a $25 purchase from Bartell Drugs. This could also be applied to makeup.) There are similar coupons in the 2012 Seattle Entertainment Book as well, but if you have the 2011 copy you still have time to use those. The expire and the new coupons begin on November 1, 2011. 

How to use coupons:
You should consult the coupon policy of the store you want to shop at for specific regulations. I base the following on my experience using coupons at the stores in my area. Store coupon policies differ, so it is important to know before you go to shop. I would recommend taking a look at the coupon policies for stores in your area. I will link coupon policies at the end for your reference. 

It is important to read the coupon and know exactly what it applies to. Coupons all have different exclusions and details. Make sure you know what size of product you can use the coupon with. If the coupon is for a 15 oz or larger Jergens lotion, then you will not be able to use it on anything smaller than that. If it says on the coupon that it is only good on a specific item, such as Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, then that is all it is going to work on. If the coupon says it is good on any Revlon product... you get the point.  
In general, you can usually use one manufacturers coupon and one store coupon on each item. This is called stacking. You can stack those coupons with sales to get even better prices. Often you are able to use coupons on an item that is on clearance. Sometimes coupons will state that they are not applicable on clearance items, so of course in that case you wouldn't be able to. Some stores offer rebates on purchases. You can find sales at Target where you get a $5 Target giftcard if you purchase so many of an item. Another example is Register Rewards at Walgreens, you get a $ Off coupon to use next time when you buy the required item. Or +UP Rewards at Rite Aid. You can see current examples of Rite Aid +UP Rewards on my Weekly Roundup post. With +UP Rewards you get a credit of $$ for spending $$$ on X brand. (Whatever the amounts end up being.)
You have to pay attention to the fine print as well. Some coupons state that only 4 like coupons can be used in the same transaction. This means that if you have more than 4, you will have to do multiple transactions to use them all. Obviously, if a coupon is past it's expiration date you cannot use it.
The absolute best price you can get is FREE. (You might still have to pay tax on free items.) You can get this by combining manufacturers coupons, store coupons and a sale to get a free item. If you have a BOGO Free coupon and there is a BOGO Free sale, use the coupon and get both items free! Many stores will let you use one coupon on each item during a BOGO sale. For example: if you purchase an eyeshadow that is $3 regular price and get one half off during a sale, then use a $2 off one item on each eyeshadow you could get both for $0.50 out of pocket. 

Understanding Sales:
Sometimes, a sale may sound like a great bargain. They are not always as good as they seem. Stores use different wording to make sales sound better than they are. For example, Buy One Get One Half Off sounds better than 25% off overall. You are getting half off something right? But they are really the same. Here is a brief list of the sales in order of value and the different wording that can be used. I don't think I have seen a sale on a beauty product for more than 50% off unless it was a coupon for a free item.  50% Off or BOGO Free seems to be as good as it gets on a regular basis, which is good enough for me! I try not to buy products unless they are at least 30% off and I have a coupon.
  • 10% Off 
  • 15% Off
  • 20% Off
  • 25% Off = BOGO 1/2 Off
  • 30% Off
  • B2G1 Free = 33.3% Off
  • 40% Off
  • 50% Off = BOGO Free!

Recent Coupon Matchups and Freebies:
Here are some of the recent coupon matchups I have been able to get that are still available. Some of these may require certain coupons from inserts in past Sunday papers, but if possible I will link a comparable coupon. I'm no expert, but I feel like I got pretty good deals on this stuff. :)

NOTE: All of the prices I have listed under FINAL PRICE do not include tax. You will still have to pay any applicable tax on these products.

Bartell Drugs:
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss: $7.49
    • 40% Off Revlon (full line) Sale through 10/23/11 = $4.49 each
    • $2 peel coupon attached to each lipgloss (found on a display)
    • FINAL PRICE: $2.49 each!
(I had a balance on my Bartell giftcard from my prescription transfer that I mentioned above. I used the $8.21 left on it when I purchased 5 of these lipglosses. My total out of pocket was $6.31 or about $1.26 each.)


Fred Meyer: 
  • Covergirl Eye Enhancers Eyeshadow Single: $3.49
    • $2 Off Covergirl Eye Cosmetics Store Coupon (These are available in the weekly ad from your Sunday Paper. If you didn't get one, you should be able to get a copy at the customer service desk or the store directory at the front of the store. My Fred Meyers always has copies of these coupons printed out on bright orange paper hanging near the items you can use the coupon on. I would guess most Fred Meyers do this but I'm not sure. You only need one of the coupons for your transaction. There is no limit on the number of items it will apply to.)
    • $1 Off any Covergirl Product manufacturer coupon from 10/2 or 10/16 inserts
  • FINAL PRICE: $0.49 each!

  • Covergirl Brow & Eye Makers Pencil & Sharpener set: $3.49
    • $2 Off Covergirl Eye Cosmetics Store Coupon (These are available in the weekly ad from your Sunday Paper. If you didn't get one, you should be able to get a copy at the customer service desk or the store directory at the front of the store. My Fred Meyers always has copies of these coupons printed out on bright orange paper hanging near the items you can use the coupon on. I would guess most Fred Meyers do this but I'm not sure. You only need one of the coupons for your transaction. There is no limit on the number of items it will apply to.)
    • $1 Off any Covergirl Product manufacturer coupon from 10/2 or 10/16 inserts
  • FINAL PRICE: $0.49 each!

Target
  • Covergirl Cheekers Blush or Bronzer: $3.79
    • $8 off 2 Covergirl Face products manufacturers coupon from 10/2 insert
  • FINAL PRICE: 2 Free Products! (depending on where you use this coupon it could be a moneymaker! I actually forgot to use them in my original transaction at Target so I went right back in to customer service and was given a $16 cash refund for both the coupons I was going to use.)
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Lipgloss: $4.78
    • $2 off one Maybelline Color Sensational Lip product Target Coupon
    • $1 off one Maybelline any product manufacturers coupon (mine were from a tear pad on a display. There was also one in the Walmart ad last week.)
  • FINAL PRICE: $1.78 each!  
  • Rimmel London Glam'eyes Mono Eyeshadow: $2.49
    • $1 off one Rimmel Glam'eyes Eyeshadow Target Coupon (unfortunately it is no longer printable, but you can still get a good deal with just the manufacturer coupon!)
    • $1 off one Rimmel any product manufacturers coupon (mine were from a tear pad on a display I saw at Fred Meyer. There was also one in the 8/28 insert that is valid through 10/31/11.)
  • FINAL PRICE: as low as $0.49 each!  

More ways to save...
     Rewards Programs:

  • Sephora Beauty Insiders Program: 
  • If you are not a Beauty Insider, sign up now! It is free to join. You will get special offers only available to Beauty Insiders. You get a free gift on your birthday, as well as earning points towards deluxe samples. The new Beauty Insiders 500 Point Perk is a Too Faced Eye Loves Shadow Palette with mini Shadow Insurance. It is available online or in store. I got mine yesterday, I can't wait to play with it! I will post swatches of course. :)
  • The Club at Ulta:
  •  This is also free to join, sign up here. You earn points for every dollar you spend and each quarter you are given the opportunity to redeem your points for products or services at the Salon at Ulta. Your rewards get better the more you spend. There are 6 levels of rewards. You will also receive coupons in the mail.
  • Beauty Club Card at Sally Beauty Supply:
  •  This club card costs $5 and is good for one year. With it, you get a discounted price on everything in the store. You will also get coupons for % off. I got a $5 off coupon when I signed up, I assume this is standard, so it is basically free if you use the coupon. You can sign up for the program in store or online. To sign up online, go to this page and click "add to cart" to add the $5 membership to your order.


     Discount Stores: (as far as I know these stores do NOT accept coupons. If I find anymore information about this I will update.)

  • Big Lots: 
  • You can often find name brand beauty products at Big Lots. The selection changes all the time, so there is no guarantee that you will be able to find what someone else said they found. It is worth checking out every once in awhile though. I actually stopped by my local Big Lots today. There were some L'Oreal Nail Polishes for $1, some Wet n Wild and Black Radiance giftsets for $4.50, some ELF lipgloss and nailpolish sets for $4.50, Wet n Wild eyeshadow trios for $2.80, LA Colors Metallic 5-shadow palettes for $1.50 and more. There was a somewhat decent selection of products there today, whereas last time I went there was nothing worth noting. If it is convenient for you to stop by and take a look, it could be worth it. FYI, Big Lots does NOT accept manufacturers coupons.
  • Cosmetic Company Outlet:
  • There is only one location in my state, at the Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip, WA. This is the best resource I have found for locations of this store: CLICK HERE. There is no official website for these stores. What they are is an Estee Lauder brands outlet store. Estee Lauder owns Clinique, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Origins and tons of fragrances in addition to their own Estee Lauder brand. On average it is supposed to be about 30% less than retail. For the most part, they carry overstock or merchandise from past seasons or collections. Personally, I don't really care that my MAC eyeshadow is a couple months old if I am only paying about $10 for it instead of $15. Everything is brand new and they do have testers so you can try before you buy. 

  • Nordstrom Rack: 
  • I have found a few great deals on brands like Smashbox, Too Faced and Stila at my local Nordstrom Rack. They always seem to have at least a few items from each of those brands and at deep discounts. I once purchased the Too Faced Leopard Love Palette there, packaged with the Lashlight Mascara for $19.97. Regular price, the mascara alone is $25. They also carry Jane Cosmetics, Ardell Lashes & Accessories and Palladio cosmetics. You can read about some of my Nordstrom Rack Beauty purchases here.
  • Ross:
  • Ross tends to have a lot of drugstore brands such as ELF, Wet n Wild and Black Radiance. They also have a bunch of generic brands I haven't heard of. Occasionally you might get lucky, like the time I was able to purchase a Bare Minerals set there for $5. Read about it here. I keep checking back hoping I will find a deal that good again, but I haven't yet. You never know though.
  • TJ Maxx:
  • Like at Ross, great beauty deals are pretty sparse. Occasionally you do find something good though, which makes it worth checking back just in case. I mentioned the Muppets Palette from theBalm above, but there was another palette that was just the same only in different packaging. It was the Balm & the Beautiful palette and it popped up at TJ Maxx. A palette worth $45 and not yet released on the official theBalm website was available at TJ Maxx for $19.99. It has the exact same colors inside as the Muppets palette. I have seen a bunch of other theBalm products at TJ Maxx as well, including skincare, blush, bronzers, mineral eyeshadows and the Meet Matt(e) palette. You may still be able to find some of these items if you check your local TJ Maxx.

Resources:
Bartell Drugs Coupon Policy
Beauty Club Card at Sally Beauty (there is a $5 annual fee)
Big Lots Store Locator
Cosmetic Company Outlet Store Locator
Dollar Tree Store Locator
Fred Meyer Coupon Policy
Nordstrom Rack Store Locator
Rite Aid Coupon Policy
Rite Aid Video Values
Ross Store Locator
Sephora Beauty Insiders
Sunday Coupon Preview
Target Beauty Coupons
Target Low Price Promise/ FAQs
Target Savers: Target coupon or manufacturer coupon?
The Club at Ulta
TJ Maxx Store Locator
Walgreens Coupon Policy

Hope this helps you all! All of the above information is true in my experience or through my research. If I missed anything that you think would be good to add, or if I listed anything incorrectly, please let me know! As always, I welcome your feedback! :)

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