It's no secret that college students aren't exactly making snow angels in piles of money these days. Some of us millennials force ourselves to stick to a budget and others take baby steps to work on limiting those midnight Taco Bell runs (way harder than it sounds if you were wondering). However, a select few are diving deep and taking a little more drastic of measures to save some funds on high-end beauty products in particular, and their success stories seem to be totally worth it.
Instead of opening their wallets, beauty bloggers, environmentalists, and people just looking to save (and make!) some money are instead heading to cosmetic stores and opening up trash bags.
YouTube dumpster diver Destinee Rodriguez began her hobby after coming across videos showing how successful others had been. While still not totally convinced but wanting to give it a shot, she went in her first night of diving with pretty low expectations. However, after coming across a box labeled "returns" filled with everything people had brought back to the store that wouldn't be resold (AKA a jackpot in the world of diving), Rodriguez knew there was no turning back.
"The excitement made my hands tremble and after that, I was hooked," she tells MORE. "At that moment I knew the videos weren't fake, and I later found out that removing all of this makeup from the dumpsters actually helps save the environment! So why not get a free palette and save the world at the same time?"
Youtuber and environmentalist Jessica Casler couldn't agree more, as she also uses diving for more than just "the thrill of getting a $50 eyeshadow palette for free."
"My favorite thing about dumpster diving is saving things from the landfill," she tells MORE. "It pains me to see what is thrown away. I believe this country and this world are abundant. I believe there's no need for world hunger — it's not that there's not enough food to feed everyone — it's that the resources aren't equally distributed. I feel good about taking things out of the trash and donating them or getting to feed the homeless. That's my favorite part about diving."
*Insert all of the praise hands emojis*
Let's be real, though, getting hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of dollars worth of free, perfectly good makeup is definitely something we could get behind. But these two divers explained that it takes a lot of perseverance and consistency to really prosper.
Rodriguez tells MORE: "I have been very successful, but most nights I get absolutely nothing. There are more times when I come home empty-handed."
Casler even goes so far as to use an Excel spreadsheet to track her outings and the garbage pickup days for each of her diving spots, and if that's not some serious dedication, we don't know what is!
Obviously, divers have to be cautious of the kinds of products they're taking, passing over anything that can't be sanitized or that runs the risk of spreading any diseases, but in addition to safety, Casler tells MORE that she also asks herself three questions: 1) "Will I use this?" 2) "Will any of my friends or family be able to use this?" 3) "Can I donate it to a shelter?"
"[Dumpster diving] has made me reflect on my own habits of waste in that it makes me think twice about the things I want to purchase," Casler tells MORE. "Will I really use it? Do I need it? It's definitely been a good reality check."
Who would have thought that sifting through some trash could have such an impact on millennials on both personal and global levels? While it might be an unconventional way to save money and a little more complicated than recycling to save the environment, we're loving the methods behind these dumpster divers' madness. Many states differ on their laws on diving, so before you dig in (figuratively and literally), make sure to check out the dumpster diving laws in your area, as well as Jessica Casler's and Destinee Rodriguez's YouTube channels for tips!