Ways to Save on Grooming Expenses – Part I

by Dr. Charlotte Gorman

Simply put, most people have to have at least a minimum amount of grooming. Some require more than others because of their particular jobs or contact with the public.

If not carefully controlled, the buying of grooming aids and services can take a large bite out of your budget. The suggestions below will help you keep you and your family properly groomed while keeping the expenses to a minimum.

1 . Buy grooming aids (such as hair color, hair spray, makeup, nail polish, facial tissue, razor blades, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, hand and body lotion, and cleansing cream) on sale whenever possible instead of paying full price for them. Sometimes you can even find them at half-price or on special at "buy one, get one free." Buying your grooming aids on sale could amount to sizable savings. If the sale prices warrant it, then stock up. You may even want to buy as much as a one-year (or more) supply if you have adequate storage space.

2 . Buy the generic grooming aids. The quality should be relatively comparable to store brands and name brands, and the prices should be much lower than the name brands and somewhat lower than the store brands. At least give the generics a try; if you like them, you could save yourself a substantial amount of money.

3 . If you absolutely refuse to try the generic grooming aids, then at least give the store brands a try. Store brands usually are considerably cheaper than name brands. Many store brands will be of comparable quality to that of name brands.

4 . In general, select grooming aids that are reasonably priced. Don’t just assume that a particular lipstick selling for $7.50 a tube, for example, is better than a $1.50 tube or that a certain men’s hair spray at twice the price of another hair spray (not labeled "men’s" hair spray) is really superior. At least, give the less expensive ones a try. When you consider all of the many different grooming aids you use, say, over a year’s time, you could save yourself a big chunk of money.

5 . If you simply don’t intend to change from your long-time national name brands of particular grooming aids, then at least shop around for the best prices. The prices of identical items can vary from store to store. The same item may be cheaper, for example, at discount stores, but more expensive at some drugstores and at cosmetic counters at "ritzy" stores. Saving even small amounts on several items can make a noticeable difference over time.

6 . Regardless of whether you buy generics, store brands, off brands, or national name brands of grooming aids, shop around for the best prices. Compare prices at various places such as discount stores, general department stores, dollar stores, drugstores, grocery stores, cosmetic stores, clothing stores, cosmetic companies selling door-to-door, cosmetic companies selling through home party plans, various specialty shops, and mail-order companies. Also, prices on identical items can vary among the same types of stores, for example, from one drugstore to another drugstore or from one grocery store to another grocery store. Buy your grooming aids where they are the cheapest.

7 . If you must buy a particular name-brand grooming item, then shop around to see if some stores may be offering a free item or several free items with the purchase of the particular item you need. For example, one well-known cosmetic company has periodically given a free gift package of several of its full-size cosmetic items with a $7.50 purchase of a company product or products. If you are going to buy a grooming item anyway, why not get some free items with your purchase. Getting free items decreases your overall cost for grooming aids.

8 . Buy in quantity if you can save money over buying the same items individually. For example, if soap selling at 49 cents a bar can be bought for three for $1.00, that would be a saving of 47 cents on the three bars. If shampoo selling for $1.89 a bottle is available at two for $3.00, you could save 78 cents on two bottles.

9 . Pick up free samples and trial sizes of cosmetics, cologne, body lotion, and other grooming aids at various stores. These free items often will be in small baskets on a counter in the cosmetic area or possibly other areas where various grooming aids are displayed. These items could reduce (even by a small amount) your expenditures for grooming aids.

10 . Check out the garage sales for various grooming equipment. The best performing electric razor I’ve ever owned, I purchased for $1.50 at a garage sale. I’ve used it for years, and it still works well. This particular model of razor sold for approximately $50 new. My savings, therefore, amounted to $48.50, which went a long way in buying groceries and paying bills.

11 . When you need to buy grooming equipment, consider putting an advertisement in the newspaper. The ad might be worded, "Want to buy a good, used hair dryer on floor stand. Call ——-." You should be able to save a great deal over the price of similar, new equipment. However, do be very careful in buying used equipment. You could be buying the problems of the owner. It is probably doubtful that the seller will be willing to give you a guarantee on the used equipment. Even if you are given a guarantee, you might have difficulty in getting the seller to stand behind it if you experience trouble with the equipment. On the other hand, buying used grooming equipment might prove to be an extremely wise investment.

12 . If you use cologne, buy a bottle without an atomizer if it is cheaper than one with an atomizer. Also, one large bottle without an atomizer may be less expensive than the same amount in two small bottles. If you want spray application, then pour the contents of the bottle into a clean pump bottle (hair spray or other suitable container). I, personally, prefer using an old, clean, pump hair spray bottle rather than one of the empty atomizer bottles with screw-off lids which are for sale at various stores. Anyway, buying an atomizer bottle costs money. Using an old hair spray bottle is free.

13 . Get the last, possible bit of body lotion, liquid makeup, mouthwash, roll-on deodorant, and cologne (without an atomizer) from containers by storing them upside-down when you have used nearly all of the contents to allow the remaining contents to drain down for use. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many more days’ use you can get from the containers.

14 . After draining bottles of shampoo, bath "bubbles," liquid soap, and hair conditioner upside-down, rinse them out with a small amount of water to get the last possible drop for use.

15 . Soak several small pieces of soap in a small amount of water for 15 to 30 minutes or more, if necessary, to soften the outsides. Then squeeze them together in your hand to form one larger piece. There is never a need to throw away even tiny pieces of soap. Throwing away soap is throwing away money.

16 . If pop-up, wet, disposable "towels" dry out, run a little water over the top of the towels in the container to rewet them. Rewetting them allows you to continue to use them.

17 . Squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom and flatten and roll the tube up from the bottom as you use the contents. I find that a piece of tape or a clamp is needed on a plastic tube to hold it in place after I have rolled it up. With the above method, I find that I can get the maximum amount of toothpaste from a tube.

18 . Give yourself your own facials, manicures, and pedicures rather than go to the beauty shop for them. You can do them yourself for much less money.

Part II of Grooming Expense can be found here.

*Dr. Charlotte Gorman is an Extension Agent – Family & Consumer Sciences, Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A & M University System.  She is the author of "The Frugal Mind", "The Little Book of Living Frugal, and co-author of "Speak for Yourself:  A Handbook on Practical Public Speaking."

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