It is with the anticipation of a child at Christmas that I await the annual Clinique Bonus Time. It runs here in Canada at the Bay from Feb 8th to 26th. When you spend $28.50 you get the bonus pictured above. The last 2 years they've given a choice of colours. (I like choice. Choice is good for choosy people like me.) I don't wander up to the counter and buy whatever looks pretty and makes appealing promises. Nope. Not my style. I arrive armed with a strategy.
Being frugal is not just getting the cheapest stuff no matter what. Quality is an important consideration. To be frugal means to be wise with your money (and time) so that you get the best value.
We all work hard for our money. The things we buy should work hard for us. Luxuries like cosmetics and skin care products need to live up to their promises. Here's how I get the best value from my beauty purchases, including my annual voyage to the Clinique counter.
The first step is doing research to learn what products are the best. The last people to ask are the dolled up gals at the beauty counter. They are salespeople. Their living relies on convincing you to leave more of your money behind in their till. They likely have good knowledge of their products, but it would take a very special (or soon-to-be-fired) salesperson to say, "Oh no, don't waste your money on that product, it's really overpriced for what it does. Try the drugstore for this cheaper brand that works better." That wouldn't be in their best interest. You need someone who will give you unbiased facts and recommendations.
I have found an unbiased source for skin care and beauty information, this site: Beautipedia. It is brought to you by Paula Begoun, author of "The Cosmetics Cop" and other beauty product review books. She rates all the beauty products based on the effectiveness and ingredients. The site has a good search function and you can narrow down the best products based on product line (e.g. Clinique) or function (e.g. moisturizer). (Click here to take you the Best Products summary and search). She then gives a review and an easy to understand rating. Here's the description from her site.
Beautipedia: Explanation of RatingsPaula's Pick Identifies a product that exceeds expectations and goes beyond the criteria for a product in its category with minimal to no concerns. Note: Hair-care products never receive a Paula's Pick rating because there are so many excellent products with remarkable similar formulations, none stand out as truly "superior."
Paula's Pick / Overpriced Identifies a product that exceeds expectations and goes beyond the criteria for a product in its category with minimal to no concerns but is unreasonably priced. Note: Hair-care products never receive a Paula's Pick rating because there are so many excellent products with remarkable similar formulations, none stand out as truly "superior."
Very Good Specifies a great product that is highly recommended because of its performance or impressive formulary characteristics.
Very Good / Overpriced Designates a great product that meets and/or surpasses the criteria set for that category of product but is unreasonably priced.
Average Indicates an OK but unimpressive product, or an OK product that can cause problems for certain skin types. I often use this face to portray a dated or old-fashioned product formulation.
Average / Overpriced Indicates an ordinary, boring product whose excessive price makes it ludicrous to consider.
Poor Reflects a product that is truly bad for skin from almost every standpoint, including price, dated formulations, performance, application, and texture, as well as potential for irritation, skin reactions and breakouts.
Unrated When a product is unrated, it can be for numerous reasons; most often, it has to do with limited or non-existent research confirming the efficacy of a controversial ingredient(s). Certain skin-care products are also unrated if they can be customized by a skin-care professional. Because the level of customization varies, in all likelihood a happy, neutral, or unhappy rating wouldn’t remain consistent. Unrated products should be considered carefully, if at all.
I am armed and ready. I've done my research and I have 2 products in mind (both "Paula's Picks"). I've double checked to make sure that they are something I actually need. My planned purchases total just a tad over the required $28.50. I am ready to get the best value from my Clinique Bonus Time purchase (and I am so excited!)