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Ask DSM Readers: How Do You Save on “Luxury” Toiletries?

by Tara Kuczykowski on July 8, 2010 · 49 comments

Electronic Toothbrush SavingsPhoto by pau.artigas

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

Recently, Kristin emailed me with this question:

My husband and I switched about a year ago to a power toothbrush. It has been a great investment. Neither of us has had any cavities since, and our dentist appointments are always so fast because they don't have to do a ton of cleaning. However, we do have to buy replacement brush heads for the toothbrushes every 3 months and the cost adds up. I think investing in our health is a money wise decision, but I'd still like to save money. My question is, how do DSM readers save on power toothbrush heads?

If you've been deal seeking for very long, you probably have a stockpile of free toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and more. But what about "luxury" toiletries, such as electric toothbrush accessories, makeup and tanning lotion?

How do you save on toiletries that may not have Extra Care Bucks or Register Rewards offers as often as everyday toiletries? Where do you find the best deals on these items? Do you buy them in bulk?

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melody July 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I don't have too many luxury toiletries. But one thing I can't give up is my "Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus". At the salon it's anywhere from $19.99 to 29.99. But I have found that Meijer carries it and they occasionally put it on sale for Buy 1, Get one 50% off. So I always get some then whether I need it or not so that I have some stocked up.

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2 Samantha July 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm

You can also find these at Ross and TJ Maxx and Marshalls! I buys Big Sexy Hair and Biosilk for like a 1/3 of the cost!

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3 Juanita July 9, 2010 at 1:19 am

I buy these items when JCPenney sends out their $10 off $40 salon purchase. There are always great deals during this sale anyway, so I am able to get tons of these products for $30!

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4 Jane July 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Go through shopathome.com get cash back, use Walgreens Register Rewards do a cost benefit analysis. Is processed FREE food worth the damage it causes? I gave up gushers b/c I accepted they are garbage food.

How much does poor health cost?

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5 Tara @ Froogaloo July 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I have a Sonicare toothbrush, so I registered with the Sonicare website. Periodically they will send coupons for replacement brush heads. Also, my dentist office sells the replacement heads at a discount. Ask if your dentist does the same. You can also buy the Sonicare heads at Kohl's. Wait until you have a 30% off coupon and earn Kohl's cash for even more savings.

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6 Renae @ Madame Deals July 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I am a dental hygienist and most electric toothbrush heads can be changed every 6 months. Read the instructions on your brush, but most of them do say 6 months is sufficient. This is due to the fact that you are not scrubbing with the brush and wearing out the bristles. Manual toothbrushes wear out quick due to the scrubbing action. Of course, if you are sick you will want to replace your brush too!

If you have a Bed Bath & Beyond, you can use the 20% off coupons on the toothbrush heads. If you belong to a warehouse club like Costco or Sams club, check there. Many times the clubs will offer a discount on the multi-packs of brush heads.

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7 Anne July 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Thats a great idea. I didn't think about the 20% coupon for BBB. We usually buy them at Sam's because they are a little cheaper that way. But boy are they still expensive.

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8 Dawn July 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm

All I can suggest is finding "money maker" items to mix in when she buys the brush heads. Doesn't sound like a 'luxury' to me if it saves time and money in the long run! Definitely worth the cost! Also, you could try to contact the manufacturer to see if they'll give you any discount q's or freebies for being such a loyal customer.

As for me, the only luxuries we can afford at all right now is for me to have sesame seed bagles for breakfast and some boxed wine (2 boxes a month is more than enough for me, but is so good to have a glass with dinner). I just go ahead and plan for those things to be spent in my budget.

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9 KB July 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I just had to deal with this problem myself! I cashed in some points on a credit card or MyPoints (can't remember which) and got a $25 CVS gift card. Then I went in when the CVS brand replacement heads for the Sonicare toothbrush were B1G1 50% off. I ended up paying a little bit out of pocket, but not very much, and I got 4 replacements.

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10 zuly July 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm

not sure how much replacements cost but what i do when i need to buy stuff that are not on sale is combine with an item i will get free or make money of and combine with $5 off $20. i've done that when i've had to buy pull ups at regular price. for a long time i was using target brand diapers until i found out about deal seeking mom. now i buy huggies and pampers at a price a lot lower than target brand. sometimes even free! i love it. thanks tara! :)

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11 Jenifer July 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I used the recent medco offers for my sonicare replacements. They were shipped to my door for $13 for a 2 pack. This was better than any other scenario for me. It was part of their $10 off of $10 promotion. I would do that again in a heart beat:-)

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12 Lauren July 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Good question :D We don't use electric toothbrushes, but one comment I'd make is that if your dental check-ups are faster and they have to do less cleaning, they are typically billing you less as they bill in time increments for each of the cleaning items, so that is a savings :D

I'll build up ECBs or RRs and use them for that kind of thing that you don't get the sale on or just don't get free :D

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13 Jaime July 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I'm a dental hygienist and I've never worked in an office that uses time increments for billing....it is a fee per service basis. But I agree that if your visits are faster and easier, and you are not needing the extra services (i.e. fillings, which can cost quite a bit, even with insurance), then that is a money maker right there!

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14 Veronica Cooley July 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Another cost savings idea to look into is if you have the option of a "flex spending" card through an employer. If you can get your dentist to "prescribe" the toothbrush (my coworkers did), they were able to charge the brush and replacement heads on their FlexCard, which comes out of their paycheck PRE TAX! Now everyone's plan is different, but its something to consider.

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15 Shelly July 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I agree, I think that CVS is a great way to get some of the luxury or more expensive toiletries or even baby stuff for less. I try to do it with manufactures coupons and CVS coupons like $4 off $20 coupons. I try to roll a lot of ECB, buy the “free” items or high ECB items, with my luxury purchase, and use the coupons. I do my best to get the overage to apply to the item that I want for myself. I have done this a few times with the more expensive products, but sometimes you have to be patient for good coupons to get e-mailed to you or the CRT’s.

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16 Sue July 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I check online for everything. Often Amazon has items you want. If you use Swagbucks, credits add up, and can offset the cost.

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17 Tia @ TiaSavingCents July 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I have Sonicare and we replace the heads every 3-4 months. I either stock up on our replacement heads at Kohl's with a coupon when they are doing Kohls cash or at Target who seems to offer gift card deals on these about 2x a year. I am able to pair the Target gift card deals with coupons I get from registering at the Sonicare website to stock up and maximize the savings. I have also noticed many rebate deals around the holidays. I would suggest checking out the manufacture website for your brushes to see if they have any offers available.

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18 Nikki July 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I buy the Sonicare replacement heads @ Costco. You usually get 4 for the price you would pay for 2 @ a regular store.

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19 Samantha July 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

For my Luxury toiletries, I shop Ross, Tj Maxx and Marshalls. Especially, fancy soaps and hair care items. I purchaed a Biosilk hair care for $6.99 and it normally costs about $18-22 at other places. So even if the other places are BOGO 50% I still work out better at Ross/Marshalls. I do shop Costco and find that the replacement heads are better priced there than anywhere else even when they are on sale at other places. Sometimes they have a coupon in the mailer as well.

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20 Jen July 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I don't think replacement Sonicare heads are a luxury, especially if they're saving money on fillings! As for true "luxury" toiletries, I just look for sales, just like any other product. You'll find sales if you look hard enough, plus it helps avoid impulse buys.

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21 Kelsey July 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm

At CVS, there's a clearance sale twice a year on any makeup being phased out. It lasts for about a month, and a ton of items in every brand are either 50% off or 75% off, plus you can use coupons on them (although they aren't eligible for sales). If you're willing to limit your choices of shades, etc, you can get some items that are almost free after coupons.

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22 Cristyn July 8, 2010 at 6:39 pm

We have some type of Oral-B electric toothbrush, and I have actually found replacement heads on E-bay very inexpensively! I was thrilled with this find...so it's worth checking out.

Also, my attitude is this: if I don't spend ANY money on toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc. and often even MAKE money, I can splurge on a few things that don't go on sale. (Like my Bare Minerals foundation!)

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23 Donna July 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I buy heads for my toothbrush in bulk on ebay for cheap.

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24 Kelley July 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

One of my luxuries is my Clinique skin care. It is the only skin care line that makes my skin consistently happy. To offset the cost, I redeem points from MyPoints, e-Rewards, Inbox Dollars, and my rewards credit card. Then, I purchase the items I need ONLY when there is also a Gift with Purchase (Macy's, Lord and Taylor, etc.) I always end up getting my skin care for free and I get the free gift!!

The same logic can be applied to the replacement brush heads by redeeming for Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS, Walgreens, and Kohl's, combining the GC with sales, coupons, etc. for the cheapest prices.

Even better - redeem for a Visa pre-paid card, and buy in bulk at BJ's when you can also use a coupon and then get a mail-in rebate from the company
(check on their websites for frequent promos.)

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25 Liz July 8, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Help. I like Clinique my daughters do too. What are MyPoints, e-Rewards, Inbox Dollars? Thanks.

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26 Jan July 9, 2010 at 8:48 am

These are websites where you can earn points for clicking on emails (mypoints, inbox dollars) or taking surveys (erewards--but you have to be invited to join that one, as I recall). Set up a separate email account, for example with gmail or yahoo, to use for mypoints or inbox dollars, because they send tons of emails and you'll get spam, too. You can check the sites out at mypoints.com and inboxdollars.com. Opinionoutpost.com is another good survey site; you can redeem their points for Amazon codes!

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27 Barbi July 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Always, always, always check out the clearance sections at stores. You never know what bargain is waiting for you! Also if I get a gift card or rebate card for a purchase I have made, I usually save them to use on items that I can never seem to find at a bargain price.

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28 Janette July 9, 2010 at 10:56 pm

I found the replacement heads for my Oral B at Wags on clearance for 1.89 was so supper excited even bought them without a coupon. We have a motto in this house if we don't have a coupon we will wait till we do! LOL

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29 Plumeria July 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I bought my last Sonicare (love that thing!) brushes on Amazon.com. I found that they are part of the "subscribe and save" program, if you do subscribe (can quit program at any time) you save 15% right there. Also shipping is free, and most states, no sales tax. I track the price of the things I want and buy regularly, because it's like the stock market at Amazon.com! When the price is low that is the time to buy. There are several price tracking programs out there, just do a search and see.

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30 Gayla July 8, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Watch for sales at Bed, Bath and Beyond for the toothbrush heads. Combine the sale with $5 off coupons found (infrequently) in Sunday inserts. Every little bit helps!

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31 Heather@BecauseMoreIsMore July 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm

After working in dental offices for 12 years, I was shocked at home much floss, toothpaste, etc cost! I get all that for free with coupons, RR, etc. For my Sonicare I either get them at Costco or use Swagbucks & get them on Amazon.

For my skin, I am a product whore & only use what most consider "luxury" products. I always order with a discount code from Sephora.

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32 Carrie July 8, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I use some dort of Oral-B battery operates toohbrush and occasionally there are coupons for packs of replacement heads.
As far as other items go, my mother owns a hair salon, so I get my salon products for free. And I use oatmeal & witchhazel to wash my face (my skin has never looked or felt better!) I have a stockpile of lotions. I don't buy products that are tested on animals, but I am often able to find ones that aren't animal-tested and are good quality at Big Lots. (Which is where I stocked up on my Tom's of Maine toothpaste.) I am, however, a toilet paper snob--only charmin ultra-strong in my house. And that I usually get when Target has a gift card deal. I do spring for Venus razor blades. That's worth it to me not to save the skin on my legs! (I got a good supply of Method brand shave cream when it was on clearance.) Oh--and Reach gentle gum care floss. I swear by it. Thankfully, I can find coupons for that :)

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33 Brigitte July 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Ebay.

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34 SUmmer Highfill July 8, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Here are my shopping tips! Always stock up when the make-up counters are offering gifts with purchase! It is an easy way to get products for FREE and products you already need or stash product for birthdays, etc. If you happen to use Mary Kay offer to barter with your consultant, maybe she needs some deliveries, some help with an office project, etc and you can score free or reduced priced product. Host a class too and you can earn some FREE product that way. I love Yonka Skincare, but I don't like the prices at my local spa. I have found "professional sized" product on eBay that is new still in packaging for a fraction of the retail sized product sold at my spa. During the holidays (Oct/Nov-Dec) Macy's runs a "thanks for sharing" program. You pay an enrollment fee, but then you get a 10% rebate. If you plan to do your holiday shopping and will spend $250+ you have already earned your enrollment back and then FREE $ after that! This is the only time you will get a kick-back on cosmetics/fragrance. I like to stock up on some Origins products during that rebate period as Origins does special holiday boxed items at a fraction of the regular retail price! Last year they also offered coupons for products during the Dec retail window, these coupons included offers for $ off or FREE product! It was great, I stocked up for what I needed for the whole year and hope they will offer similar incentives again. Sign up at their counter to get all the rewards! Watch for all the freebies/samples coupons that many companies offer and take advantage of them!

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35 Carrie July 9, 2010 at 12:56 am

i use an oral b electric toothbrush and the monthly pg insert often has coupons for them. cvs also has coupons at the end of the receipt for a few dollars off any oral care product.

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36 Juanita July 9, 2010 at 1:30 am

I'm a high-maintenance girl, but I tend to get my high-end toiletry items free or pretty cheap. As I mentioned above, a great way to get salon-quality hair items very cheaply is to shop when JCPenney's salon has the $10 off of $40 purchase. When these coupons are available, the JCPenney salon also tends to have their products like 2/$25 or BOGO 1/2 off, so, in combination with the coupon, you get a ton of stuff for your money, and this hair stuff can last all year! Another thing I do at JCPenney's salon is look at their clearance section a month or two after Christmas. They tend to sell their boxed sets of shampoos, conditioners, and hair products through their clearance section, and most of the time these clearance items are eligible for an additional percentage off! Combine all of these savings at JCPenney with their usual coupons, and it's a great way to save on the high-end hair items. Now, for toothpaste, lotion, floss, and razors, I go through CVS--I tend to get these items for free after all the couponing! For the Sonicare heads, which I use, I also tend to clip the coupons when they come out in the newspaper inserts, and I find that Target tends to have great deals on them, so I use the coupons there. Finally, for the high-end colognes, perfumes, and smelly lotions, I also find great deals at TJ Maxx on these items.

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37 Jamie July 9, 2010 at 7:38 am

My "luxury" toiletry is my makeup - Estee Lauder. About once a year, the department store is allowed to sell the products at a discount, so I take advantage of that. Other than that, I buy when they are having a giveaway (you spend $40 and you get a bag of sample cosmetics). This way, I get all my lipsticks for free and usually a trial size of mascara. I make sure I keep a stockpile by only shopping during these special events. Plus, the lady who works the counter is very generous with me and will often throw in some extra stuff. I also charge it to my Visa that gives me cash back (and pay the CC off every month!!!).

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38 Jody July 9, 2010 at 10:53 am

Well, if u are looking for cheaper toothbrush heads, i would sugest you buy them in bulk, at Sams Club or Costco, they are much cheaper when you buy them there. You may be getting more, but its not like they can go bad or anything, just store them in a closet and as you need them, take them out.

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39 Jody July 9, 2010 at 10:55 am

If you are looking for cheap make-up i would suggest walgreens or rite aid, they almost always have some makeup on clearance and you can save alot of money

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40 Jessica July 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

We use an OralB electric toothbrush and buy the heads at either Costco or Ebates + Drugstore.com. Remember that Costco takes coupons!

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41 mamacoups July 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm

These replacement heads go on coupon quite frequently at Costco. Sonicare and Oral B

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42 rebeccazw July 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

My big splurge is Aveda shampoo and conditioner. It is pretty expensive and I don't know of any way to get it at a discount. They do have a rewards card and I try to time my buying to when they are offering bonus reward points with a purchase. I will occasionally have enough points to get free products, but that's about it. However, it's pretty much my only splurge these days (along with blinc mascara!) so it is worth it to me:)

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43 Jessica-MomForHim July 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I've put them on Christmas lists before (or good for stocking stuffers). If each person gets a 2pk refill for Christmas, and you replace every 6 mo as one person mentioned, then you're good for the year!

I've never thought about using ebay or amazon before, so I will look into that for the future.

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44 Jessica-MomForHim July 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm

here is a coupon for $2 off Spinbrush product, including refill heads
http://www.spinbrush.com/SpecialOffers.html

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45 Francie Schmuhl July 9, 2010 at 10:52 pm

For anyone who shops at Meijer, they are currently running a sale on the Oral-B brush-heads for our "power" toothbrush. If you stack the coupon for Oral-B that just came out with the Meijer SummerBucks, plus the current sale, it only costs about $15.00 for a refill pack of three!

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46 Ruth Ann July 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I stock up when I can, trying to combine sales and coupons. Target can be pretty good for that, especially if you can combine Target and manufacture's coupons with a sale. That's what I'm often able to do with Sonicare toothbrush heads, sunscreen (extra sensitive skin means I can only use a few brands and they're not the cheap ones) and face wash.
I also request every sample for every personal care product I can find. The little bottles of hair care and little bars of soap aren't a lot, but they're usually the good stuff and they last for a handful of uses. And those are uses I don't have pay for the products.

Also, on the topic of toothbrushes, I've found that soaking the toothbrush in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes and then letting it dry does a good job at killing the nasty bugs. I had just replaced my sonicare toothbrush head when I came down with strep throat. Rather than throwing the head away, I soaked it in alcohol for a few minutes after brushing every night for a week. No recurrance of strep and I got the full life out of my toothbrush head.

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47 Alli November 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm

I know this is a few months late, but I just had to share. I'm sure someone has said this before, but my tip: always keep your eye out for clearance bins. I was just at Fred Meyer. They had a pack of 3 Sonic Care heads on clearance for 50% off. I had a $5 off any multipack coupon so what normally would have cost $30 I got for $10!

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