When you're buying a posh designer scent, you're buying more than a bottle of liquid: you're buying into the branding, the expensive advertising, and the hope that it will make you smell sophisticated and expensive. Now one expert claims you can do all this for the bargain basement price of £4.
Martin Lewis, the money saving expert, has identified that Lidl's £4 scent Suddenly is a smell-a-like for Coco Mademoiselle - advertised by Keira Knightley. Neither the German discounter or the French fashion house are likely to make such a claim themselves for obvious reasons, but Lewis told The Sun that he had conducted blind sniff tests, and half of hose who smelled it either couldn't tell the difference, or preferred the Lidl scent.
The difference in the perfumes isn't just branding, as the pricier perfume will have more expensive natural oils, which tend to last longer on the skin. So in the end it comes down to whether you're happy to pay £70 a bottle for the superior ingredients, or whether you're happy with a smell-a-like for a fraction of the cost that will fade faster.
If you decide you're happy with the cheaper scent, there are plenty of options which either deliberately or accidentally smell a little like designer scents.
Zara Woman Gold, for example, smells similar to Paco Rabanne Lady Million, but costs around £15 instead of around £50. Similarly the £8 nSpa Orient bears a similarity to Armani Code for Women at £55, Next Just Pink at £12 smells similar to Ralph Lauren Romance at £40. And the £16 Autograph Isi by M&S smells somewhat like the £70 Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey.
Again, you are likely to find that the scents don't last as long, because they don't use the same expensive ingredients, but if you're happy to reapply once a day, you'll still make a vast saving.
Cut the cost of the designers
There will be people who aren't tempted, despite the potential savings, because they prefer the designer scents. If you fall into that bracket, then you'll need to try five money-saving tricks in order to bring down the cost.
1. Buy online
There are a number of online discount perfume stores, which regularly undercut the high street by 15% or more.
2. Hunt for a voucher code
There are usually plenty around, which can take 10% or more off the cost, so before you choose a store to buy in, do a general search for perfume discounts.
3. Try the supermarket
It won't make the slightest difference that the perfume came from Asda or Home Bargains, but you will often get it for less than you would in a more upmarket store.
4. Wait for a promotion
Boots, Superdrug and Debenhams will run regular promotions offering up to 50% of some of their range. If you plan far enough in advance, you should be able to time your purchase to coincide with a deal.
5. Buy during a Christmas event
Large branded chemists and department stores will offer special shopping days in the run-up to Christmas, and while some will not offer quite such generous discounts on perfumes, you should be able to get 10% off. You might also be in line for a free gift.