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Recession-Proof Product Junkie-ism

7:00 AM

I say over and over again, that I am a recovering product junkie. As much as I try and walk the straight and narrow, I relapse from time to time -- especially during those times I repeat in my head, "I'm just looking, I'm just looking". On this particular evening, I found myself visiting Ulta Beauty, the super-posh salon, cosmetics, and fragrance mega store. I'm still on the fence as far as how I feel about Ulta, but this wasn't a typical store visit...or so I thought. I was actually at the store doing some investigative journalism, which will be featured soon enough here and on Black Girl Long Hair.

I cruised the aisles, secretively snapping away pictures on my trusty tablet and doing my necessary digging. I almost made it out unscathed -- that is, until I got reeled in by my need to grab a new face masque. As an aside, I am a HUGE fan of Queen Helene's Grapeseed Masque (I'm a weirdo...I love that feeling of peeling the masque off), and of the Mint Julep Masque. Since I have a little Grapeseed left, I went ahead and grabbed the Mint Julep from the bottom shelf for $3.99. As I rose from my squatted position, one of my favorite words beckoned me, from the corner of my eye. CLEARANCE. Oh, Jesus. Don't do it Christina... Don't do it Christina... Dangit, I'm doing it. I'm not even sure how I got to the clearance section -- I think I honestly might have floated over there.


Even though I went into Ulta with plans of buying nothing, my product score was WELL worth the change in plans. For as long as I could remember, I wanted to try TIGI's Catwalk line of products -- but the price point kept me at bay. To my excitement, squarely in the middle of the clearance section stood a 25.36oz bottle of TIGI's Catwalk Oatmeal & Honey Conditioner.... for $6.99. I squealed (yes, I really did...please don't judge me), and hurriedly snatched the bottle off the shelf. Still in disbelief, I roamed the other clearance section, looking for a second bottle, or even another product from the same line. Nothing. This bottle was for me! For good measure, I went to the section of the store where TIGI's products were. Nothing there. At this point, something clicked. Recession-proof product junkie-ism is possible. And the price point makes it okay. 

See the crack? lol...
Sidebar: I convinced the cashier that the hairline crack in the conditioner pump warranted an additional discount. She took of $2.23. So my conditioner which normally retails for $23.99 ended up costing $5.76.... that's a discount of over 75%!!!

For those of you that can't resist the urge to splurge on new products, here are a few tips for how to minimize the damage to your debit card:

1. Cruise the clearance section. Often times, you'll be surprised at what you find. Pricey products can find themselves on the clearance endcaps for any number of reasons. Sometimes, that particular line of products may not be doing well at the store, and the retailer is trying to fast-track the phasing out. Other times, the manufacturer has re-vamped the product formula and packaging, and the retailer needs to make room for the newbies. Some products end up in the clearance section because they are damaged or used -- I would steer clear of these. Any product that looks previously used, opened, or has obvious damage (like a completely broken nozzle, or the screw-on lid is shattered) is essentially a last-ditch salvage item for the store.

2. Stock up during sales. Walgreens and Target are known for having pretty dope sales on the Shea Moisture line, so when those roll around, I know to rack up. Check online, and sales papers often for your favorites, or for products you're interested in trying.

3. Spring for sample sizes. Many manufacturers employ sample giveaways in an attempt to drum up new business. Take advantage of those opportunities to try out products that you're curious about, or that are too rich for your blood. As a matter of fact, Miss Jessie's is giving away products at their website right now... if you're interested. Click here

4. Always ask for more off. This may be off-putting to some folks, but it has worked like a charm for me. If an item is on clearance, or reduced for quick sell, there is almost always an opportunity to get an extra 10, 20, 30 percent or more off. All you have to do is ask. I barely noticed the crack in my Catwalk pump, but it was enough to get nearly 30% off an already significantly reduced item.

5. Deals at discount retailers. Most people typically think of Ross, Marshall's, and TJ Maxx as places to find discounted clothes, shoes, and purses. A lot of us see the hair products, tools, and body lotions and keep walking. Next time, slow your roll. You'll typically find salon-level products at upwards of 50% the retail store price. The only down side is that because their stock always changes, there's no guarantee that your product will be there next time.

Do you have some recession-proof product junkie tips? Share!

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