France does many things better - French wines, cheese, perfume and even these cute European toys for little ones. Usually you have to pay more for European chic, don’t you? Recently with expensive European currency, that was true, but now, European shopping is becoming more affordable since Euro/USD exchange rates are showing new lows. I’m going to share my tips and tricks on how to save up to 70% off your purchase and make international shopping even more rewarding.
I am personally in love with French cosmeceutical brands. French laboratories offer amazing products for the price just a bit higher than typical American drugstore brands, and less expensive than high-end luxe products. Nuxe, Phyto, Vichy and La Roche Posay are my must haves and luckily, they can be found at any Target, Sephora and even CVS chains. Do you know why I don’t buy them from these stores anymore?
We all got used to the situation that on a competitive US market foreign brands often offer the best prices to gain a market share. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that I could save almost half of the price if I order my favorite cosmetics directly from France instead of buying it at Sephora or Target.
I will give you just several examples of my treasury hunt for French cosmetic goodies.
Nuxe oil huile prodigieuse - a multi purpose dry oil, cost $29 for 1.6 Oz at Target.com or the same on the official Nuxe USA web site. I managed to order one from France for €11.99 minus VAT, which comes to just $10.51. It gives me 70% off, which is not bad!
Phyto shampoo is my must have for a sensitive scalp. Here in the US it’s on a pricey side with a $22 price tag for 6.7 Oz bottle. You can always find it on Ebay for the best price of $16, but I'm not a huge fan of Ebay when it comes to beauty purchases – there is too much fake and expired staff there. If you order directly from France, the price will be around $8 after the VAT is deducted. It’s 63% off!
CVS has been selling La Roche Posay skin care line for a while and sometimes you can find a “$10 off $30” deal on it. Just for example, hydraphase Intense cream from the brand costs $35.9 in US stores. The same product cost me just €15.75 in my online order from Europe.
To illustrate the difference, I made comparisons of shopping carts from US retailers, online stores and from European stores that I use for my purchases.
Sephora vs Cocooncenter.co.uk - 67% savings
Target vs. Cocooncenter.co.uk - 58 % savings
67% off sounds like a music, but unfortunately it doesn’t work for everything. So be smart, compare prices and follow our tips on international shopping:
You need a credit card to be able to shop online - Visa, MasterCard and American Express works equally fine at most European e-commerce sites. You should pay attention to international transaction fee, which may add up to 3% to the bill. All Capital One credit cards don’t charge this fee; some other cards with no foreign fee – in our review.
I always use my PayPal account for online shopping. It provides more security to my credit card and allows me to open a dispute in case of any delivery issues. Most US credit cards also offer one or another kind of purchase protection, but I prefer not to type in the number of my credit card on the web site that I use for the first time.
Earn bonus points while shopping. Use the credit cards that give you maximum cashback or flexible points for beauty purchases or online shopping. Even if you pay with your credit card through PayPal, you still get rewards.
Make a bulk order to save on shipping costs. I don’t recommend ordering just one item if you can split delivery expenses between 3 or 4 items at one time. Usually I go for the economy option and it takes about a week to get my order in the mailbox. It’s even better if the store offers free shipping for orders $100 and more.
I don’t speak French, so I only choose from the web-sites with English version. I use Google search query like “French pharmacy online” and look through first three options. First, I pay attention to delivery options, and then I compare prices. Finally, I look for reviews about this particular store to avoid fraud.
Follow these tips and you won’t be disappointed with your shopping experience. May be you will save enough money for your next vacation in Paris?