6 Ways to Save on Essential Oils

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Essential oils are used most commonly for minor therapeutic purposes, from soothing an upset stomach to boosting energy to alleviating pain to inducing sleep, and so on. For consumers who abide by the oils' perceived powers, taking the cure requires no small investment. One 15 ml bottle can run anywhere from $10 to nearly $100, with the average price hovering around $20. The cost of a few bottles adds up quickly, which puts a premium on getting the most out of each drop. These tips can help.

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Getting the full benefit from essential oils is possible with just two or three drops at a time. It's easy to go overboard when applying some oils "neat" (i.e., directly on the skin without dilution), which translates to wasted product. The solution: Dilute the oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond, that costs less than $10 for 16 ounces. This is a frugal way to make the few precious drops of essential oil go a long way.

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Essential oils can be diffused for up to 8 hours at a time, depending on the diffuser (prices start at about $30). This small device lets users reap the benefits of a few drops throughout the day or night. Because the oils diffuse into an entire room, multiple people can take advantage of the same few drops, which yields even more value for the money.

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There are an endless number of single oils and blends, but collecting one of every kind doesn't make sense. Consider the purpose of using the oils before buying any. For example, if the goal is to combat allergy symptoms, peppermint, lavender, and lemon oils might do the trick. If headaches are related to the allergies, peppermint is touted as effective for these, as well. And while blends seem appealing, a DIY approach may be more penny-wise. Assemble a small stash of single oils and make your own concoction; be strategic in your choices to keep the investment to a minimum.

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Most online vendors of essential oils maintain clubs that grant perks to members. They typically require a modest fee to join and come with a bonus delivery of free oil with each annual renewal, which partially offsets the cost of membership. Many clubs also offer wholesale prices to members that equate to savings of 10 to 30 percent. Additionally, members are privy to monthly incentives, such as price discounts or freebies when orders are placed.

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Sellers of essential oils tend to specialize in one brand. Although the vendors would prefer an exclusive relationship with customers, buying oils from a variety of sellers may be a more frugal strategy. Some sites, such as DoTerra and Young Living, give away free oils each month to loyalty customers who place orders worth a certain number of points. Barefut sometimes offers a free product for the price of shipping ($4), and others promote an "oil of the month" that sells at a discount. Ordering from multiple sources and leveraging the deals can grow an essential oils collection for a lower total cost.

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Most vendors sell essential oils in 5 ml and 15 ml bottles. If you need a particular oil for a specific but rare occurrence, buy the smallest quantity possible. While economically it may seem like a better deal to buy the larger bottle, essential oils can evaporate and lose their potency after a year or two. If it hasn't been used up, that's money wafting through the atmosphere.