Now could arguably be the most difficult time to get your hands on personal hygiene, beauty and cleansing products. COVID-19 and the resulting quarantines have made it harder than most of us can ever remember to find, let alone buy, personal cleansing products.
But don't despair. While it may seem like you need a six-figure income to afford the pricey beauty products and cleansers offered by many department brands, you can find many health and beauty bargains. Here are eight ways to save money while shopping for personal hygiene products in these challenging times.
1. Hit the Dollar Store
From body wash to toothpaste, you can't go wrong with your local dollar store for bargains on the basics. While it's true that you might want to avoid some bargain-brand products like shampoo if you have limp strands or an extra-frizzy mane, when it comes to scrubbing your feet, soap is soap. These shops have become so popular, you can find them worldwide — so you won't go broke or stinky on your next trip.
2. Go Wholesale
One of the reasons why department store brands cost as much as they do is because retailers mark up prices to cover their overhead costs. That mascara didn't cost $40 to produce, but the packaging, shipping and promotional fees add to the ticket. Why not do what retailers themselves do and learn how to shop wholesale to save money on personal hygiene products?
You might need to buy in bulk, but if you have several friends, you can pool your money to place the order. You don't even have to be "besties" to start a wholesale buying club in your dorm or apartment complex. Put up flyers to gauge interest. Who doesn't need to buy things like shaving cream and hand soap?
3. Evaluate Your Brands
What matters to you in life? No, this question isn't part of a job interview, but it can determine how and where you spend your money. Everyone has to decide what to do with limited resources, and you can find ample beauty brands that value environmental sustainability or cruelty-free practices without breaking the bank.
Do a Google search for brands that align with your values, and sign up for exclusive discounts with the manufacturer whenever possible. Many will send you freebies on birthdays or other occasions for being a loyal customer.
4. Buy Generic or Gender-Neutral When Possible
When you have a free moment, stroll down the razor aisle of your favorite store. You'll see products designed for both men and women — notice which ones have a higher price tag? Does it matter if your blade comes with a pink handle if it costs you $2 more for the color alone?
You don't need to remain brand-loyal to every product you use. The active ingredient in most store-label antiseptic mouth rinses is the same as in Listerine. Choose generic products whenever possible, and do your homework when you see goods explicitly marketed to one gender.
5. Sign Up for Store Rewards
Like manufacturers, retail stores now reward you for your loyalty with discounts. Sign up for these promotions — you don't have to fill out every line when you apply. If you don't want to get a glut of emails, for example, use your phone number to verify your account if you misplace the keychain tag.
Take a look at your credit cards while you're at it. Do you have — or can you qualify — for one with cash back rewards? If you can exercise discipline in paying off the balance each month, use your card for necessary purchases. You could potentially amass enough points by year's end to take a getaway.
6. Learn About Product Placement
Retailers are in business to make as much money as possible. That means that when it comes to stocking their shelves, they place the priciest goods in the most attractive places. If you look beyond eye-level, you can find a host of brands at significantly lower prices than those you see immediately.
Be wary of end caps. While stores use this placement for advertising "sales," the products often aren't the cheapest they sell. Unless you are loyal to that specific brand, check the regular aisle before splurging.
7. Buy in Bulk
Advice to buy in bulk is helpful, but not if you live in a shoebox studio with a shoestring budget. That's when you have to be creative. Do you still use many of the same products you did as a child? Ring up your parental units and see if they're running low on toothpaste or laundry detergent to combine your order.
If you shop online but don't have a discount shipping membership, team up with somebody who does. You'll save on greenhouse gas emissions for shipping, too — a planet-friendly bonus.
8. Go Homemade
Those pricey specialty shop lotions smell scrumptious — but you might need a trust fund to afford them. Coconut oil is one of the best beauty bargains you can find. It's solid at room temperature, and you can slather it on like body cream or hair conditioner in the shower. You can even use it as a shaving cream, and it won't run off your legs in the water the way soap does.
Go wild with making inexpensive homemade products by using a carrier oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Argan oil is an ideal cleanser, toner and moisturizer for combination skin, and jojoba oil won't clog your pores if you are acne-prone.