5 Ways I Save Money on Makeup

Sorry guys, but its girl-talk time! I should probably just come clean up front…I love makeup. I love the experience of swatching new shades of lipstick in the store and the excitement when I wear it for the first time with an outfit I knew it was made to be worn with. It’s thrilling! However, it can be extremely expensive. But I’ve learned that it’s only expensive if you allow it to be.

Throughout our journey of paying off $60,000 in debt, we made a point to be able to spend a fixed amount on ourselves. Honestly, I think that’s a huge factor in why we were able to remain so laser focused. We allowed ourselves to live and not get burnt out.

There has to be a limit though if we were going to reach our financial goals. Here are some ways I’ve found to get the most splurges out of my makeup spending money:

  1. Subscription box

This may seem an odd one to put first, but bear with me. Not all subscriptions boxes are created equal, and I spent a ton of time researching which would be the best use of my money monthly. I wanted it to be worth it! So, after all my research, I decided on Boxycharm. I get 4-5 (sometimes 6!) FULL SIZE products from expensive brands for $21 a month. Most other boxes just give you samples. The box’s value is always above $100, usually over $150! I’ve found that getting this monthly has allowed me to still get that excitement of receiving new products without breaking the bank. I’ve gotten it since last July and I honestly use the majority of the products I get. If I don’t use one, I can sell it or trade it for something I really wanted in these online groups. The timing is almost scary sometimes, like they are reading my mind! I was out of my eyebrow pencil and literally that same week I got an eyebrow pencil in my box from It Cosmetics! I’m actually still using it because it’s great! The same thing happened the month after with mascara.


You have to be careful with subscription boxes though, if you try one out and you find after three months that you are just not using the products, cut the cord immediately!


  1. Dupes (Less expensive alternative products)

There are definitely products that cost significantly less but give the same result as expensive items. It seems like there are more and more options every day! Here are some dupes I’ve found that are just as good or in most cases even better than their expensive alternatives:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($21) dupe: L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer ($9).
  • Too Faced Better Than Sex Masacara ($23) dupe: L’Oreal Lash Paradise ($10).
  • Beauty Blender sponge ($20) dupes: L’Oreal Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender ($8) and Morphe Flawless Beauty Sponge ($7).
  • Benefit Hoola Bronzer ($29) dupe: Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer ($14).
  • Instead of really any lipstick (easily $20+), try any Colourpop lip product ($6!).

These are just a few that I could think of off the top of my head!


  1. Shop smarter

I’ve honestly never bought any makeup at Sephora. I don’t need to! Ulta, drugstores, even some grocery stores have everything you could ever want. I believe that the base prices are usually the same at Sephora and Ulta, but in my opinion the points and reward system at Ulta tips the scale. I also never buy anything from Ulta full price. There’s no need to! It seems like they run multiple sales a week and always have coupons circulating. An Ulta tip- don’t spend your points as soon as you get them. They exponentially go up in value, so the longer you hold off on using them the better.


  1. Spend a little time doing research

I guess you can say I’m terrified of buyer’s remorse. But I really just don’t want to spend my hard earned money on something that isn’t going to work for me and will sit in the back of my drawer. I’ve found great value in finding a video on YouTube reviewing a product before I buy it. There are a ton of good quality, non-sponsored, honest video content out there! I will also check on the reviews on Ulta or Amazon before buying a product.


  1. Cut the impulse buying

Watching videos and checking reviews help also with impulse buying. I look at this the same way I look at grocery shopping- I have to go with a list and stick to it! When I use a product up, I write down a note on my phone so that my list is easy to make and I don’t have an excuse.

I hope this sparked some ideas on how to save money even while loving makeup! What are some of your favorite ways to save? Have you found some awesome dupes? Let me know in the comments below!

-Haley Klaas

If you would like to read more about our story, click here.


Jubilee D Meyer

Such great tips! I have noticed how terribly overpriced sephora is, Ulta is definitely better. I will have to look into that subscription box. It sounds like a steal!

Hi Jubilee, thanks for your comment! I enjoy it! Have a great day!

I’m a Sephora addict, and you don’t have to worry about buyer’s remorse there! Their return policy is so awesome, I’ve even brought in products I’ve used a few times that just weren’t what I wanted and they happily took them back!

Hi heather, that’s cool! Ulta does the same. Have a great day!

Kathleen Betancourt

this is so helpful!!

Hi Kathleen, thanks for your comment! Have a great day!

Amy Kennedy

Great post! I love that you gave great dupes, and I am a lipstick lover and have never tried Colourpops! I will give it a try!

Hi Amy, thanks for your comment! I hope you enjoy those, their eyeshadow palettes are my fave as well!

The way I save money is I just don’t buy it 🤦🏻‍♀️ I’m so bad haha. I need to update my make up in a bad way. These are great tips!

Hi Brittany, that works too! Haha make sure to check out drugstore brands, they have great products now! Have a great day!

Great tips!

Hi Natasha, thanks for your feedback! Have a great day!