Money Saving

How to Buy Luxe Beauty Products for Less

If you’re partial to luxury beauty, then listen up! I adore certain brands like Dior and Urban Decay but it’s not always within my budget to spend £40 on a makeup palette. When it comes to buying makeup, I’m pretty savvy at finding luxe beauty products for less. I’ve recently found some amazing bargains and I think I have it down when scouring the internet for gems. So, if you’re wondering how to find luxe beauty products for less, here are a few of my secrets;

Blog sales

Blog sales are amazing for finding bargains. I recently found a new Urban Decay Naked Smokey palette for £19 (thanks Adrienne!) in the Sunday Girls blog sale. However, I have definitely seen a few other great blog sales around. My tip is to search on twitter or Instagram under the hashtag #blogsale and to follow your favourite bloggers on social media. Many bloggers sell brand new items on Depop – try downloading the app and following your favourite bloggers!

Beauty sales

Beauty sales are my favourite way of finding discounted luxe makeup. My favourite sites are Feel Unique – the By Terry Ombre Blackstar Shadow Sticks are currently reduced to £15.95. But, you can also get 10% off the majority of brands if you have a student discount card. I also love TK Maxx, Fragrance Direct and Escentual.

Random finds

It’s always worth checking your favourite brands for discounts that aren’t advertised. I recently found the Dior Backstage Eye Reviver Illuminating Neutrals Palette for £20 (half price) – its still on site so go, go, go!!

Store loyalty cards

Store loyalty cards are always worth signing up for as you can save up your points for a discount. The best ones are Boots (obvs), Debenhams and Space NK.

Student discount

As I’ve mentioned Feel Unique offer student discount as do ASOS, Look Fantastic, Urban Decay, Fragrance Direct, Benefit, Aveda and others.

What are your favourite ways to buy luxe beauty products for less?

 

How to Create An Effective Skincare Routine on a Budget

effective skincare on a budget

Budget skincare has come a long way in the past few years and it’s likely to get even better. No doubt you’ve heard of Deciem and their affordable brand, The Ordinary, who are killing it right now. I’ve used their Salicylic acid and Retinol – both of which get the thumbs up from me.

Creating an effective skincare routine on a budget is pretty easy, thanks to some of the amazing products on the high street and internet. I admit, I used to be a skincare snob, but in the past few months, I’ve found several products that work well in harmony together for a clear, radiant complexion. If you’re looking to create an effective skincare routine on a budget, then here are a few suggestions as well as retailers that are perfect for finding skincare gems.

Cleansing

As cleansing essentially involves removing dirt and impurities from the skin, I find it makes more sense to save money on cleansing products. I love using the Salcura Daily Face Wash as it’s super gentle and makes my skin feel clear and refreshed. If you’re into more creamy cleansers, the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser is a lovely option (the muslin cloth is so-so but you can buy some great cloths from Primark for a couple of pounds).

budget skincare

Toning

Toning is an essential step to remove any cleansing residue or to deal with your specific skin type. After cleanser, I use the Nip & Fab Glycolic Acid Night Pads which are around half price when they’re on offer at Superdrug and Amazon, then I follow with La Roche Posay Serozinc. Using a green tea or tea tree toner is perfect if you have oily or combination skin – Lush have a great tea tree oil toning lotion. If you’re on the dryer side, a rose water will be effective at providing hydration – I suggest buying pure rose water from Amazon or your local supermarket rather than one with added ingredients.

Serums

Remember when serums used to hella pricey? These days, it’s relatively easy to find a super cheap serum thanks to The Ordinary. As I said at the beginning, I love the salicylic acid and retinol, but I’ve also heard good things about the hyaluronic acid. I also use the Salcura Antiac Activ Gel Serum which is amazing for breakouts. If you’re searching for other affordable serums, Boots Botanics range or Una Brennan skincare is well worth a look.

Moisturisers

Moisturiser is where I tend to spend a little more money. I generally use the Bioderma Intensive Purifying Care which works well under makeup and as an evening moisturiser – it’s really light, so good for oily skin. Escentual regularly has 1/3 off French skincare promotions so it’s worth picking up when on offer. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is ideal for dry or sensitive skin – there are no nasties in this either! Olay Regenerist 3 point cream is something I use on my fine lines and neck and it’s definitely improved the tone of my skin – Amazon is where I tend to buy this as its cheaper than other stores. For oils, Trilogy Rosehip Oil is incredible, as is the Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Oil.

Masks

If you’ve got oily skin, the Loreal Clay Mask is effective in leaving the skin feeling balanced and refreshed. Clay is a cheap ingredient so there’s little point in splashing the cash here. The Avene Soothing Moisture Mask is highly calming and cooling for dry or dehydrated skin types.

The best shops for creating an effective skincare routine on a budget are

Amazon, Superdrug, Boots, Escentual, Feel Unique, Lush

What are your favourite stores for buying budget skincare? Do you have any amazing affordable gems you want to share? Let me know in the comments!

How I Made My First 1k Online in 45 Days

How I made my first 1k online in 45 days

Three years ago, I made the decision to become a freelance writer – it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. That’s not to say it’s been easy. There’s a lot of hustlin’ and business analysis that’s gone on behind the scenes but if it wasn’t for my blog, I wouldn’t have the job that I do now.

Today, I thought I’d give you an insight into how I made my first 1K online. Making my first £1000 wasn’t just from freelance writing – I definitely recommend that anyone looking to make money online or by working from home doesn’t put all their eggs in one basket. It certainly pays off to be focusing on more than one income stream.

So, how did I manage to make my first 1k online in 45 days?

Freelance writing

Around 70% of my first 1k came from freelance writing projects. I had zero experience in writing for clients when I started applying for jobs and I managed to land a couple of small gigs in my first 45 days. Here’s the strategy I used at the time to gain my first gig;

The only published work I had at the time was my own blog posts and a couple of guest posts on beauty blogs. Before I applied for any writing jobs, I searched through my blog to find my best work and 2-3 posts I could use as writing samples to put forward in job applications.

I then crafted a draft application which I could send to prospective clients – view my post on 5 actionable steps to become a freelance writer to see the structure I use when writing about myself.

Armed with samples and an application template, I then searched for freelance writing jobs – the two sites I used were People Per Hour and Pro Blogger Jobs. I still used these boards today and would rank them as two of my favourite sites for job leads. You can also find some more good freelance writing boards here.

I landed a couple of small jobs on these sites – writing blogs for a language learning company and writing articles for a range of websites in entertainment, health and fashion. I won’t lie, the pay was shitty because, at the time, I didn’t realise that my writing was worth more. However, despite the pay covering my outgoings, I decided to add another string to my bow.

Etsy

To supplement my freelance writing income, I opened an Etsy shop selling blog designs. This made up around 20% of my first 1k. I’m not a web designer but I learnt how to code blogger templates via google and would tweak my own blog a lot. At the time, I saw a gap in the market for affordable blog designs so I sold them fairly cheaply but still made a profit as once I had created a template, I could sell it more than once.

I was pretty lucky that I could write about the products on my blog and link to my shop. At its peak, my blog was receiving almost 100,000 hits per month which meant a good amount of traffic to my Etsy shop.

As my freelance writing career took off, I decided to close the shop as I didn’t have enough time to promote the products, answer queries or make any new templates. However, it was a good extra source of income at the time.

If you’re thinking of setting up an additional source of income, Etsy is a great platform as it already has an audience of its own. But, if you have creative talents, you could also use Society 6 to sell your own products.

My blog

The final 10% of my first 1k came from my blog in the form of advertising, Google Analytics and sponsored posts. I used to offer small adverts on my blog for other bloggers and small businesses. It doesn’t seem to be a very popular method of making money from your blog anymore. These days, affiliate marketing and sponsored posts seem to be the way forward. Whenever I’ve written a sponsored post, I’ve been asked via email but if you’re in the UK, the UK bloggers Facebook group is a good source of sponsored post opportunities.

Google analytics isn’t something I would recommend. It took me around 6 months to earn £60 with a small advert. You could probably earn much more with another company. However, it was still a lil’ bit of passive income and it was an unobtrusive way of making money.

Remember, if you’re making extra money online, you need to declare your income for tax purposes. If you’re in the UK, you can find out more here.

How to Save Money on Your Favourite Beauty Products

I’m sure most of us love buying a little treat now and then but buying your favourite beauty products can add up, especially if you’re purchasing a luxe item. Luckily, I have a few money-saving tips up my sleeve and these may help you to save a lil’ cash on your favourite beauty products.

Do your research

If I’m buying an expensive beauty item, I always shop around to find the best price. Usually, I’ll type the product name into Google and click on the first few links that come up. Generally, I always find that places like Feel Unique, Look Fantastic and Beauty Bay can be slightly cheaper than other retailers, though it does depend on the product you’re buying.

If you’re looking to test a product before buying, try Love Me Beauty or Latest in Beauty – these sites allow you to build your own subscription box so you can see exactly what you’re spending your money on. Latest in Beauty also have ‘pre-made’ collection boxes that you can buy.

Cashback sites

I’ve used cashback sites for the last couple of years and they’re a great way to get money back on your purchases. You can also use them when you’re signing up to buy a mobile phone, insurance, finance etc. I’ve made over £500 back with Topcashback and 100% recommend it to anyone looking to save money on their purchases.

Cashback sites track your purchase and you’ll either receive a percentage of your spend back or a certain amount. For instance, if you were to currently spend £50 at Space NK online, you’d receive £4.50 back via Topcashback.

As well as a wide range of stores, including Feel Unique, ASOS, Fragrance Direct, The Body Shop and Cult Beauty, there’s also exclusive discount codes.

It takes a few weeks to get the cashback into your account and if you don’t want to add your bank account to have your cashback directly transferred, you can opt for Amazon vouchers, Love to Shop vouchers, Paypal and more.

Amazon

Amazon is a goldmine for saving money on your favourite beauty products. You need to spend £20 to get free delivery unless you have a Prime account – you can get a free 30 day trial of Prime if you haven’t had one before. You can cancel it straight away in your account and you’ll still get the 30 days free.

Just make sure that you’re buying directly from Amazon as there are many fake products sold by marketplace sellers. I’m not saying they’re all fake but its better to be safe than sorry. A few current bargains include;

Real Techniques Core Collection Brush Set 

DE’LANCI Eyeshadow Palette (Morphe Dupe)

Revlon Colourstay Foundation

Nip + Fab Glycolic Night Pads

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream

GHD IV Styler

Search discount sites

Discount sites offer many reduced beauty items. However, it’s important to know that some of these cosmetics may be discontinued lines or shades. Still, you can save a bit of cash by searching for your favourite products. Fragrance Direct and All Beauty are two sites that I’ve used with no problems. I’d also recommend TK Maxx – they have quite a good beauty selection online but you may find some gems instore too.

Discount codes

Websites such as HDUK show you the latest instore and online offers. You can search for hot deals as well as recent discount codes. I also like to use voucher sites to see if there are any current codes floating around the net. My favourite sites are;

Voucher codes – You’ll find codes on here for stores and restaurants.

Paypal shopping – If you’re paying by PayPal, take a look at the offers on this official website.

NUS Codes – If you want an NUS card to save money on your purchases, buy this Microsoft Course for £4 by e-careers and you’ll be able to apply for a £12 NUS card. Use your NUS card to save at least 10% at ASOS, Superdrug and Office as well as half price Spotify, six months free Amazon Prime and 25% off at Odeon.

eBay

While I don’t recommend eBay for makeup as its overloaded with fake products, its great for buying makeup brushes. The makeup brushes I’m talking about are the dupe versions that you can buy for as little as 99p. I’ve purchased many brush sets and they’ve all been excellent quality. Some of them are even better than shop purchased brands. Here’s a heads up on affordable brushes I rate;

Pro makeup metal brush set

Kabuki style brush set

Spectrum brush dupe set

Zoeva brush dupe set

Unicorn brush set

Indie brands

Finally, I thought I’d mention some of the amazing indie brands on the beauty market. You’ve probably heard of Colorpop and Makeup Geek but I wanted to note some of the other affordable brands you may not have heard of. Obviously Morphe are well-known for their incredible palettes, but lately, I’ve been loving BH Cosmetics – their shipping to the UK is also cheaper than Morphe and you can find some of their products at Beauty Bay. I’ve also heard great things about Coloured Raine and LA Splash.

Do you have any money-saving tips? What’s your favourite way of saving money on your favourite beauty products?

How To Save Money On Your Christmas Shopping

There’s no doubt that Christmas is an expensive time of year, but there are plenty of ways you can save money on your shopping this year. From saving a few pounds to making substantial savings, everything counts.

Make a list

Before you consider spending, make a paper or mental list of what you need to buy. This will prevent panic buying from kicking in and ensure you only spend what you really need to. It’s also great for researching prices online or in stores. Once you have your list together, it’s time to start shopping.

Search money saving websites

Deal websites like HDUK show you offers that are on both in-store or online. A lot of these might be offers you might miss otherwise or glitches. You can search the hottest deals and the newest deals on the site as well as voucher codes. I normally use the search tool if I’m looking for something specific.

Also look on voucher sites for discount codes or printable coupons you can use in-store. Here are a few of my favourites;

Voucher codes – on here, you’ll find codes for stores and restaurants. For eating out, just download the code to your phone/email address and show it to your waiter/waitress when you pay for your food.

Paypal shopping – If you’re paying by PayPal, check out the offers on this official website as you’ll find money saving offers for several stores.

Latest free stuff – You’ll find lots of freebies on here as well as discount coupons.

Coupon Mama – You’ll also find lots of coupons on here to spend in-store.

Cashback sites

I always use a cashback site when I’m shopping online and I’ve made over £500 back in cashback so far.

Cashback sites work by tracking your purchase at the time of your spend. You may get a percentage of your spend back or a specific amount. For example, you can currently receive 7.35% cashback when you make an online purchase at Boots via Topcashback.

You can get cashback at a wide range of store via Topcashback and you’ll find exclusive discount codes.

Current stores include Feel Unique, Groupon, Debenhams, Fragrance Direct, Matalan, The Body Shop, Cult Beauty, and more.

It normally takes a few weeks to months to receive your cashback into your account but its well worth signing upto as you can potentially save so much money on your shopping, phone suppliers and insurance.

Amazon

Amazon have many deals and offers throughout the year, however, I find the site is best for specific products, such as books, DVD’s and beauty. A few current offers include;

Real Techniques Core Collection – £11.79

Vera Wang Princess 100ml – £23

GHD Styler – £89

Face by Pixiwoo – £9.99

Little Women (Rifle Paper Co Version) – £7.49

Ebay

Many brands have outlet stores on eBay offering good discounts. Here are a few stores to check out;

Boohoo outlet – up to 50% and free delivery on many items.

Ann Summers – Half price items.

Joules – 50% off.

Littlewoods – Savings on products you’ll find at both Littlewoods and Very.

Office Shoes – Auctions starting at 99p.

Tesco – Savings on homewares to fragrance.

Discount stores

If you’re braving the shops, consider looking in discount stores for bargains. B&M, Home Bargains, TK Maxx, HomeSense, as well as outlet stores are all good places to look to save money on a range of Christmas gifts.