6 ways to live luxe when you’re broke


It seems like we're broke all the time. Maybe that’s because we stop into our favorite stores too often, or redecorate our apartment twice a year, or have a buttload of student loans, but living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for many of us in the “working world.” 

Even when money is tight, it’s possible to get your beauty fix and feel all luxe and fancy without maxing out your AmEx at Sephora. Just don’t buy box dye attempting to go platinum blonde, okay? You better leave that one to the pros.


Sign up for a beauty box.

Birchbox is way overrated, so don’t waste your money. However, fragrance beauty boxes from companies like Olfactif send out luxe, niche fragrances each month with a $10 coupon toward a full bottle. Perfume is not cheap, and if you like to dabble in different scents, a fragrance box might be your thing. From a beauty box standpoint, Allure’s Glossybox is the best bang for your buck. It’s a bit more expensive, but the products are larger and better quality than what you’ll get from another company.

Follow your salon on Facebook.

If you’re not already a fan of your favorite salons, “like” their pages right now. Stylists often need color, cut, and blowout models when they’re training and learning new skills, and if you’re in the right place at the right time, you can often snag a professional’s skills for cheap. Usually, you’ll be charged only the cost of materials, which isn’t more than $20. Following local blowout bars on Facebook is another great idea; when they train new stylists, they need heads of hair to practice on. Why shouldn’t that head be yours?

Do a beauty swap.

Invite your friends over and tell them to bring a handful of beauty products they aren’t using. Most of us have purchases from Target and Sephora that don’t work out, and what didn’t thrill your best friend might be perfect for you. Maybe your aunt gave you a birthday fragrance that just isn’t “you,” but it might be your coworker’s jam. So call up your pals, get a box of wine, and swap!

Start sampling.

Don’t go from store to store groveling for samples, but know this: Most beauty retailers and department stores are generous with their samples. If you’re unsure as to whether you should splurge for that fancy foundation or expensive perfume, ask an associate for a sample — they won’t mind! Sephora is great for this, as is Nordstrom.

Get your makeup done.

Are you stopping at MAC to repurchase your favorite eyeliner? If it’s a slow day, the makeup artists might just be game to do you up, as long as you’re buying something. When I worked at the Mall of America, I got friendly with most of the Nordstrom beauty counter associates, and got my makeup done for free all the time when it was quiet, and they were bored. I bought products often enough to make their time with me worth it, and I discovered a bunch of new favorites, too.


Yeah, we know. But hear us out: Groupon can be a pretty legit source of cheap — but good! — massages, and no one should say no to a massage after a very long week of work or a particularly stressful Mercury in retrograde. Just do your research on the location before you click “buy,” and maybe avoid lip injections via Groupon.