How to Save Money on Toiletries

How to save money on toiletries

In my quest to shave a few dollars off of my shopping trips, I am often guilty of cutting corners. Recently, this manifested in the toiletry aisle, where I opted for the $3 package of razors instead of the $8+ package. Since saving was my primary goal, this seemed entirely logical – until I used the first of the cheap razors, promptly gave myself an all-over bout of razor burn, and had to go make a smarter, more expensive, razor purchase.

I have since started to re-evaluate how I purchase my bathroom necessities, knowing that quality isn’t something that my body appreciates me skimping on. Here are a few ideas I’m trying out.

Do It the DIY Way

Ironically, DIY products – while initially time consuming to put together – seem to be significantly friendlier to a variety of skin types than over the counter products that rely on chemicals to increase their products staying power. And thanks to all the DIY lovers on pinterest, you can quickly find a recipe for whatever you’d normally schlep to the store to buy.

In a quick search I was able to find recipes for hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, facemasks, body scrub, lip balm, body wash, and bubble bath.

I was able to make a facemask using the ingredients I would normally reserve for my breakfast: oatmeal, honey, banana, and milk. In the end, my skin felt naturally softer and smoother than any facemask I forked over $10+ for.

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Utilize Sample Subscriptions

In recent years a variety of businesses have popped up that offer sample subscriptions. For a monthly fee you receive a box with a variety of products centered around a theme or purpose.

I subscribed to Birchbox for a monthly fee of $10 and for the past year I’ve managed to stock up on a variety of high-end face and body washes, hair and nail products, and makeup. The sample sizes are generous (sometimes they even throw in a full sized item), and tend to last a few months. They are also great for travel as most come in travel sized containers.

Since the businesses whose products are featured are hungry for the exposure, the subscribers benefit by receiving everything at a steep discount. The downside is not being able to select your items and thus just hoping you receive something you can use.

(For beauty products, check out Birchbox, Julep Maven, Goodebox, curlBox, Glossybox.)

This is also where Dollar Shave Club managed to shake up the razor industry. For $1-$9 a month (depending on the quality of razor you want), you receive 4-5 cartridges a month shipped right to your door. This can easily beat any store’s recurring razor cost.

Automate It With Subscribe and Save

Similar to subscription boxes, but geared towards you being in control of the products you choose and the frequency in which you receive them, online a la carte subscription services like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save service can not only save you money, but save you time and trips to the store as well.

It’s pretty simple: browse the eligible Subscribe and Save items online (everything from toilet paper to shampoo to trash bags), select the frequency in which you’d like to receive the item, and pay. It will tell you how much you are saving by using Subscribe and Save, and the more subscriptions you make, the higher your saving percentage will be. (They boast a savings of up to 15%.)

While some items are comparable to store prices, other items have significant savings – the mascara I use was $2 dollars cheaper on Amazon than at Target, for example.

Compare Ingredients and Go Generic

When it comes to over the counter medicine, I routinely go generic and have yet to notice any difference. In fact, some generics are said to be up to 80% cheaper than their brand name counterparts, yet they have the exact same active ingredients. Unfortunately, people routinely mistake familiar branding with trustworthiness.

I’ve noticed the same thing with shaving cream, some face washes, face wipes, a variety of hair products – the list goes on and on.

Don’t skimp on quality, but if the ingredients are the same, you’re simply paying for fancy packaging and expensive advertising.

Being proactive in my search for quality bathroom products at a reasonable price means that I can treat my body well without spending a bundle in areas I’m not thrilled about.

And I can certainly guarantee that there will be no more fraternizing with cheap razors for me.

How do you save on toiletries?

Image credit: takot

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  • ALJPR

    Nice tips, thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Glad you liked them! Thanks for your comment.

  • Kali @ Common Sense Millennial

    Breaking up with brand names is always a smart savings tip. Generics are just as good and cost a whole lot less! Great ideas here :)

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Yes! If you can get in the habit of buying generic, you can save quite a bit. Thanks for your comment.

  • JSRoberts

    I joined the CVS Rewards Card program and generally get a 25%-30% coupon in my email at least once a month. It can’t be used on items that are already on sale but I have saved quite a bit using it. I stock up on items that I know I will need (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) and shop only when I have a coupon. CVS also sends I receive dollars off coupons.

    I also receive 2% back in rewards quarterly. I buy toilet paper, paper towels, kitty litter, snacks, pretty much anything I need from CVS because it helps boost my quarterly rewards. I have just found that by shopping there I save quite a bit of money every year-at least $200. Sure I could probably find cheaper prices shopping at Walmart (but frankly I can’t stand shopping at Walmart). CVS is more conveniently located right next to my job and the checkout process is much easier and faster.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      That’s interesting. If you’re getting 25 percent off (or more) that is a pretty good deal. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  • Ed

    Going old school and using a safety razor instead of electric or cartridge razors saves a ton of money, gives a closer shave and less irritatio! Lots of women also switch to safety razors with great results!

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Interesting tip! Thanks for sharing, Ed.