4 Tips for Saving Money on Self-Care Services

by Jessica Sommerfield · 7 comments


Taking good care of yourself is important, right? Basic hygiene can ward off things like unnecessary dental visits, while keeping yourself neat and presentable can do a lot for your self-esteem, personal relationships, and career. But, when it comes to personal care services like salon haircuts and color treatments, mani-pedis, and other spa services, it isn’t always as easy to justify the expense, especially if you’re trying to trim unnecessary spending from your budget.

Depending on your lifestyle and career, it might be important to get a quality haircut every 6 to 8 weeks and keep your nails looking immaculate. For many of us though, these personal care “necessities” would rightly be categorized as luxuries. Regardless of whether self-care services are more necessity or luxury for you, there are ways to save money on these budget-eating expenses. Here are a few ways for you to try.

1. The Cheapest Alternative is Almost Always to DIY

If you’re into do-it-yourself solutions, you’re in luck: there are tons of online advice for giving yourself every imaginable beauty treatment at home using more natural ingredients, giving yourself salon-quality nail care, and even cutting and dying your own hair. But let’s admit it — many of us just don’t have don’t want to find the time. We also don’t have the patience, nor the confidence in our own skills to DIY. And that’s okay. Just keep in mind that, if you’re in a pinch, it’s always one of the cheapest alternatives.

self-care services2. Snag Discounts on Service-Oriented Deal Sites

Discount and coupon sites aren’t just for saving money on electronics and apparel; many, such as Groupon, LocalFlavor, and Yipit, also feature deals from local service providers like salons and spas. Just be careful to make sure the deal that’s being advertised represents savings compared to any promotional events or pricing the salons or spas are already offering. It’s also smart to follow more than one deal site to ensure getting the best price.

3. Alternate Your Haircuts Between More Upscale Salons and Beauty Schools

If you’ve ever received a bad haircut the one time you chose a different salon, you’re probably someone who sticks with the same place — and the same stylist — to make sure nothing unexpected happens again. It’s scary to entrust our hair to just anyone, but it can also be cheaper to use services like beauty schools and colleges — by as much as 50%. A good suggestion is to go to your trusted salon whenever you want a new style, then visit a beauty school if you just need a trim.

Of course, you might want to switch your haircuts to a beauty school, as well. Hairstylists in training tend to be more careful and attentive to your requests, and their trainers will probably be hovering over them, ready to take over if it’s needed. Since a less experienced stylist may take longer with your hair, be patient and flexible (and remember the savings is worth a little extra time).

4. Be Cautious About Buying Beauty Products and Add-on Services from a Salon

Most salons use high-end line of products and sell them on the side. While it can be tempting to purchase a product right after witnessing the results on your hair, keep in mind that the salon markup is usually significant. Take a picture or jot down the product name to take home, and do your research to find the best price. Often you’ll find the same item at a retail store or pharmacy chain at a much lower price. Don’t feel bad for not buying stylist-recommended products from the salon — you’re already paying them for their services.

Add-on services can also be sneaky. Find out if your salon charges an extra fee for drying and styling your hair, and ask for a price quote before you agree to recommended treatments you hadn’t already budgeted for.

It’s important to take good care of yourself, if even just for the boost to self-esteem. But it’s also good to be frugal, look for cheaper alternatives that yield the same results, and keep personal services a reasonable part of budget.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Carolyn says:

    You are correct, salons always try to sell you more services and products. Like at McDonalds if you order a sandwich, etc. they want to sell you fries, a pie, ice cream or whatever. You are there and their managers want them to sell you more than you planned to buy. That is what the stylists are told, to sell product!
    I have been out of the salon for several years and do not miss it for a second. Shortly after I started dating my now husband, I told him I needed a haircut, had not been to the salon in over a year, and dreaded going. He casually mentioned he had good shears, knew how to use them and had given haircuts to female friends. So I told him I needed one and asked him to cut my hair. Crazy right? He said ok and on Saturday AM I was sitting in his dining room, having him give me a haircut. Net result, he did a great job and he has been cutting my hair for me every other month for me ever since. I now have him do my boys’ haircuts each month and my mom and best friend stop by to get theirs trimmed. Saves me alot of money and he never tries to sell me any products, lol. When the grays arrived, I informed him that colorist is part of the job description. So he does my hair with henna, but he said no to doing it for my mom and best friend, he will do the cut, but said that if they want color, I have to do it. He was hoping to get out of doing the messy part, but he knows that he still has to do mine, he is not getting out of it, even though he tells me I will look beautiful in silver. My mom and best friend are happy with my work doing their color, but neither would trust me with scissors.

  • Do it Yourself can save you a lot of buck in anything as long as you know how to make it happen. However, this requires your time. If you have better thing you can do that will earn you more, it is better to let other people do it for you and pay them

    • David Ning says:

      It’s true – pay someone else to do something you hate so you can spend more time (and energy) on what makes you money.

      Cheers on knowing this. You are truly way ahead of the game!

  • You can also learn to cut your own hair if you’re looking to save even more money. No need to pay someone else or even leave your house.

    • David Ning says:

      My wife just cut my kids hair a couple of days ago, and you right, it’s free AND you don’t have to leave the house at all. There’s no wait either, so it’s super convenient!

  • Interesting article! In reference to your #3 tip, I have some experience on the barber side of things and from what I learned – the clients are very brave to allow for students to “operate” on them, because I remember how shaky I was when I first started! All jokes aside, this is a solid tip because it will save you a ton of money on personal care, especially if you enjoy getting hair color, perms, and have a hairstyle that has a lot of upkeep.

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