Frugal Living, Ulta

Insider Tips to Save Money at Ulta (From a Former Employee)

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I never understood my husband’s fascination with Lowe’s or Home Depot and the incessant need to walk around for hours on end looking at every single thing in the store, until I walked into Ulta. The bright lights, the vibrant colors, the smell of high end make-up and fragrances just sucked me right in, and that was just my first day working there!

I helped open and worked at my local Ulta store while I was in college. At the time, I was a newly-wed and of course obsessed with everything at Ulta, but couldn’t exactly justify purchases for make-up and hair care products when we had a mortgage to pay. Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to figure out all the insider tricks to save money at Ulta!

Learn how to save money at Ulta from a former employee who is revealing all the tips and tricks she learned while working there!

Since I learned all the insider tricks to save money at Ulta, I want to share these tips with you!

Here is how to save money at Ulta:

1.  Sign up for the Ulta Rewards Card.

The Ulta Rewards Card is FREE and it’s NOT a credit card. With it, you earn one point for ever $1.00 you spend in store, or online. Once you hit 100 points, you can redeem it for $3.00 off your purchase. The points you earn last for an entire year. The more you spend, the more points you earn and the more you can redeem to save money at Ulta.

  • Membership is free.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend.
  • Earn points on any product or Beauty Services in-store or at ulta.com
  • Redeem points as soon as you have 100 on any of our 20,000 products in-store or at ulta.com
  • Receive member-exclusive magazines (up to 15 a year).
  • Receive member-exclusive offers (worth up to $75 per year).
  • Earn points faster with special bonus-point offers.
  • Earn double points on all your purchases during your birthday month.
  • Get invited to member-exclusive events.
  • Get a free gift on your birthday plus earn 2X points on all purchases in your birthday month. And if you’re Platinum, you get an extra special birthday gift.

When you spend $450.00 in a year, you earn Platinum Status! This gives you MORE coupons, gifts, and you earn points quicker.

2. Get a FREE Birthday Gift!

During your birthday month, you can score a FREE item! The item changes each quarter. In order to receive your free item, you have to sign up for Ulta emails and have your Ulta Rewards Card connected to it. After you do that, watch your email when your birthday month rolls around to print your coupon for your free beauty product.

3. Try the Ulta Line. 

Ulta has their own cosmetic, bath, and hair care line! The items are comparable to more expensive brands, but you can get them for less! A bonus? You can use the Ulta coupons on the Ulta brand items!

4. Use Ulta Coupons.

There is almost always an Ulta coupon you can use to save money at Ulta. Usually, the coupon is to save $3.50 on a $15.00 purchase. You can get these coupons one of five ways:

  1. In the sales paper/ad.
  2. Online printable coupon (you can find it here.)
  3. The Ulta mobile app (pull up the coupon in store and they can scan it).
  4. Emailed to you when you are on their email list.
  5. Mailed to your house (this comes with having the free rewards card).

Keep in mind, you cannot use the Ulta coupon on certain items in the store-mainly “Prestige” items and clearance. Prestige items are the higher end make-up, hair care, fragrances, and hair appliances. You can use the coupon on Ulta products, “mass” products (brands that are sold almost anywhere else), bath and body, and more.

5. Stack Ulta Coupons WITH Manufacture Coupons.

Since Ulta does sale brands such as CoverGirl, Revlon, Garnier, and many others you can find in many retail and drug stores, they accept manufacture coupons for those items! To use the manufacture coupons WITH the Ulta Coupon, you just need to make sure the purchase amount will be the minimum required to use the Ulta coupon, and give the cashier the Ulta Coupon first before handing over the manufacture coupons.

Learn how to save money at Ulta from a former employee who is revealing all the tips and tricks she learned while working there!

For Example:

6. Stack Ulta Coupons WITH Manufacture Coupons AND Sales. 

You can really maximize how much you save at Ulta when the stars align and you can combine a sale with manufacture coupons, and an Ulta coupon.

For example: 

7. Gifts with Purchase Items.

Ulta almost always has gifts with purchase promotions going on. Sometimes, you get a free mini lip gloss with a certain purchase, and other times (around the holidays), you get a much bigger item when you purchase a fragrance (like a robe, set of wine glasses, etc.). If you’re planning on purchasing a particular product or brand anyways, it doesn’t hurt to check to see if there is a gift with purchase going on for that brand. You can check out the current gifts with purchase items here.

8. Combine Sales & Gifts with Purchase Promotions.

Learn how to save money at Ulta from a former employee who is revealing all the tips and tricks she learned while working there!

Not only are there gifts with purchase items, many times there are sales on the items you have to purchase to receive the gift. I was in Ulta a couple weeks ago, and the TIGI Bed Head Hair Care products were on sale two for $20.00 (reg. $19.95 and up), AND when you purchased TWO items, you got a FREE Bed Head Mini Masterpiece (a $9.99 value). This promotion alone is a 50% savings on a good line of hair care products PLUS a FREE item! Watching for these kind of sales and gifts with purchase is a super easy way to save money at Ulta!

9. Shop the Clearance Section.

Learn how to save money at Ulta from a former employee who is revealing all the tips and tricks she learned while working there!

An easy way to save money at Ulta is by shopping the clearance section. Normally, items in this section are at least 50% off (sometimes even more). You cannot use an Ulta coupon on clearance items, but if there is a manufacture coupon to match, you can stack a manufacture coupon with the clearance prices. (Check to see if there is a coupon on a particular product here.)

10. Redeem Mobile Rebates.

Both Checkout 51 and Ibotta offer rebates on particular items at Ulta. Although using the rebate won’t bring your out of pocket cost down in the store, it’s an easy way to save money at Ulta (even though it’s after you leave). Always check these money saving apps to see if there is a rebate you can use.

11. Go to the 21 Days of Beauty Event. 

Usually twice a year, Ulta has a 21 Days of Beauty Event. During these events, there is a different cosmetic name brand featured each day (over the course of three weeks). On those days, you can get free tips and more one-on-one details on how to use that particular product. Additionally, there is usually a super hot deal on that brand of cosmetic for the day!

12. Learn How to Use Make Up for FREE!

Not only is Ulta super fun to shop at, you can also get one-on-one tips and training on how to use make up! If there is a particular brand you’re interested in, you can try the samples (there are fresh Q-tips, applicators, Kleenex, and brush cleaners) to see if it is a color you like. You can also ask one of the Prestige Consultants (the girls who are in the higher end make-up section) for help on picking out the correct color you need and how to apply it.

13. Refer a Friend and Save $10!

If you use the Ulta Salon, you can refer a friend to save $10.00 on your next visit. To do this, click here, and send the information to a friend (who has never used the Ulta Salon before). When he/she makes an appointment, they will save $10 on their first visit, and then you will save $10 on your next visit!

14. Sign up for Text Alerts and Emails. 

Sign up for Text Alerts and Emails to learn about sales, special offers, and receive coupons. You can sign up here.

15. Check the Ulta Ad. 

Ulta doesn’t have a new ad each week; instead, they have a new ad (about) every three weeks. Before going to the store, be sure to check the ad to see what is on sale, and check current gifts with purchase. Even though Ulta is a fun store to shop at, if you don’t go in with a plan, it can end up spiraling out of control. Treat Ulta like you do when you go grocery shopping: make a list, have your coupons, and have a budget.

16. Price Check. 

Sometimes Ulta’s prices are a little higher than you would find in other places. I always scan the product with my Amazon app to see how the price compares to Amazon. If the price is a little more in the store but I can use a coupon (or coupons) on the item to bring the price lower than Amazon’s price, I will go ahead and purchase it.

17. Ulta Rewards Credit Card. 

I’m not a big fan of credit cards mainly because you end up spending way more (with interest) than you would have if you would have paid cash for your purchase. If you are good with credit cards and pay off your credit cards monthly, then the Ulta Rewards Credit Card may be a good option for you. With it, you can save an additional 20% on your first purchase, earn additional points on purchases, and more perks.

Using these tips can help you save money at Ulta.

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