Getting started with essential oils, frugally

I'm sure by now you've seen a billion testimonies about how essential oils are the best thing since sliced bread. People are talking about how they use essential oils for cleaning, healthcare, aromatherapy, pets, disease treatment etc etc. You've no doubt also taken a look at these products are realized just how much money it costs for some of these 'starter kits'. I've seen some that were almost $200! Ouch! So, how can you get started with essential oils without spending a ton of money?

Name brand essential oils bought on sale

There is a much cheaper way to get started with EOs! Not only is it cheaper to start, but you'll also find out if you really like and use them before you end up stuck with a 30 oil kit.

I simply started with a few individual bottles based on what I'm planning on using the oils for. I did some research and picked affordable brands that were well known to be high quality. I went with general oils like tea tree and lavender which aren't expensive to begin with. 

After I used those for awhile I added a 'set' of oils to my collection. As I got more experienced with them I branched out to more expensive brands, but let me explain my process so far....

Getting started with essential oils cheaply

It was quite by accident but my first 3 essential oils happened to be 3 of the most popular and common ones! I think though, that this gave me a certain level of confidence being that there was so much information on these EO's and their uses readily available.

The first one I started with was Tea Tree Oil. My step-sister had raved about it and I decided to give it a try. This was probably 18 years ago! I buy this one now. You can read here about how I used it on foot fungus last year. I've also used this for cleaning and my husband uses it on acne. I use tea tree oil a lot so it makes sense for me to buy a larger bottle.

I then bought a bottle of lavender essential oil. I use lavender aromatherapy at bedtime. The scent of lavender is so relaxing it puts me right to sleep! I used this to make candles for the bedroom and some lavender scented, rice filled eye pillows for bedtime. This one was also a larger bottle since I use it for candles and make a dozen or so at a time.

Next I ventured into peppermint oil. I bought a large 4oz bottle with the plan of using it to make foot soaks and lip balms for Christmas gifts. I knew I was going to use a lot! In addition to making beauty products with it though, I have also used it for nausea, in my headache relief blend and for exhaustion. 

Set of 6 essential oils

Up to this point my experiences have been great except for one thing, I wanted to try so many more essential oils! The cost of all these starter kits was holding me back though. Luckily I found this set of essential oils on Amazon. It was under $20 and had 6 different therapeutic grade essential oils. (this brand is often on Groupon too!) 

I had only tried two of these so far so this seemed like a great way to try the rest. Here are the properties of each oil that I was interested in:
  • Eucalyptus: Decongestant, uplifting scent, stress and muscle soreness.
  • Lemongrass: Soothes muscles and ligaments when applied topically.
  • Sweet Orange: Uplifting scent, antidepressant, antibacterial.
  • Rosemary: Improves memory, lowers stress, relieves headache. 
  • Peppermint: Boosts energy, headaches, sharpen memory.
  • French Lavender: Relaxing, helps to induce sleep, bug repellant.

Most of these oils have other uses, but those are the ones that interested me. I like to use them in this diffuser/humidifier that I keep on my desk. I also keep a container of Sweet Almond Oil on hand to use as a carrier oil when I want to apply them topically. I sometimes use coconut oil also. 

Of course there are many more carrier oils to pick from, they just happens to be the ones I usually have.

I've enjoyed experimenting with these different oils and I was ready to try a few more. I went with a 4oz bottle of lemon essential oil from Now foods next. Lemon is excellent for household cleaning! I found that certain oils are naturally cheaper to make and so a large bottle can be quite affordable. 

You definitely don't want to skimp when using EOs to clean. You need to use enough for it to be effective and a large bottle keeps me from cringing at the price each time I mix a new cleaning solution up!

Cheaper essential oils that are high quality

Where to find good prices on Essential oils

I have bought pretty much every major brand out there and have to admit that I have seen almost no difference between them. I like to order from Lucky Vitamin online and they have different brands of EOs to choose from. Watch for sales or discount codes. 

I just got an order from Barefut essential oils, they have a few different oils super cheap or free each month. They are good quality, though they send the smaller 5ml bottles. 

I also ordered from Revive who is fairly new on the scene but their prices are crazy low and the quality is very high! I have found lots of great sets of essential oils on Groupon and individual bottles from well known brands like Aura Cacia in TJ Maxx or Marshalls. 

Stores like whole foods, Fresh Thyme, Trader Joe's, GNC and other health food stores usually carry a selection of essential oils. Sometimes the prices are good but the selection limited (Trader Joe's) some have a great selection and average prices (Fresh Thyme) and still others seem more expensive than other stores. 

Know your prices before buying so you don't become overwhelmed and pay more than you should. 

The nice thing about many of these stores though, is that they allow sampling. It's a good idea to smell new oils before you buy them. I have a bottle of lemongrass I will never use because the smell makes my stomach turn. I actually grow and use lemongrass, but the EO is horrible to me and I did not know that before I bought it.

A word of caution: when buying essential oils do not be confused by fragrance oils...they are very much different but some people get confused because they're packaged to look alike. They will say right on the bottle/box which one it is! 

Sometimes it says aromatherapy oil, in which case just assume it's a fragrance oil unless it also says essential oil or the ingredient list says otherwise.

Last but not least, some essential oil safety:
  • Most essential oils should not be applied to your skin unless mixed with a carrier oil. Generally a 1 drop EO to 1 tsp carrier oil ratio is acceptable.
  • Do not ingest essential oils. There is no need to take essential oils internally....anyone telling you otherwise is selling something. 
  • More expensive does not necessarily mean better. 
  • There are a LOT of different opinions on how, when and why to use essential oils. When choosing an oil and it's uses do plenty of research and use common sense. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
essential oils bought on sale

Related reading: Make your own Lavender sleep sprays! Face mist and linen spray recipes!

While I believe essential oils are very useful I also think that jumping in too quickly and spending tons of $$ can be counterproductive. You don't want to burn yourself out or get overwhelmed before you really get started! I think that starting small with 1 or 2 individual oils and judging whether this is a good fit for your lifestyle is the smarter option. 

I have bought several EOs from the 'big two' MLM companies and found no difference between them and Aura Cacia, Now Foods, Plant Therapy, Revive and many other affordably priced oils. 

I also bought some of the super cheap oils and found that some were pretty good, and others I needs to double or even triple the usual amount to get results. I really don't recommend the off brands. Though some are good, it's hit or miss trying to find them.

Please, please don't fall for the hype with any brand telling you that only their brand is the best! That is a marketing ploy and many independent reviews have been written comparing EO's of various brands and price points. Cheaper is not worse and more expensive is not always better! Do some research and pick a brand that fits your budget!

Once you have determined that you can and will use EO's daily then it's time to look at multi oil kits and even start using essential oils to make your own health products!  Still not sure where to start? Check out my list of the 10 most popular essential oils.

Update: I have started getting the monthly Subscription Box from Simply Earth and I'm really happy with both the quality and the way they provide tools and recipes to make your own products using EOs! You get a box with 4 full size, high quality EO's every month along with recipe cards and accessories you need to make them. 

Essential oils subscription box contents

When you join (and like every 6 months or so) you get a free big bonus box with oils and containers to help make the recipes. You can check it out right here at Simply Earth and if you decide to join enter my coupon code at checkout: LISAM5027 to get $10 off of each of your first 5 months! 

One of the best things about this sub box though is the video series they send after you join to help you learn more about essential oils. It's super informative!

Want to read more about taking care of your health naturally? Click here for my other posts on natural healthcare!


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I am not a doctor or other health care professional nor do I claim to be. I am not trained in any medical field. I am simply passing on information that has worked for me. This information is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. see a Dr if you are ill. Click for my full disclaimer.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you chose to purchase something through the link, I will get a small payment from Amazon. It will not affect your purchase price. Click for full disclosure.)


  1. I love this! So many people don't know where to start or are afraid it is too expensive. The money i invest into oils has definitely helped me save in terms of other medicines and doctor bills.
    Thanks for sharing this on the Homestead Blog Hop. I hope we see you again today.

  2. I love the ideas you put forth in this post!!! I really want my readers to know about this too! I want to share this in my weekly series called "Roll Out The Red Carpet Thursday" - I share bloggers' amazing posts that I've found during the week. I hope that' ok! Have a great night!

  3. Have you tried Up Nature. They sell on Amazon and have 4 ounce bottles for about the same price as the little bottles. I think the quality is great! It is a small company and they don't carry all the oils, but I like all I have tried.

    1. I have not. I've been ordering Revive and Simply Earth recently, but I will look into UpNature. Thanks for the tip!