Spend Less At The Beauty Salon

Trimming your budget? Here are some tips for cutting costs at the hair styling shop without giving it up completely.

Many women feel the need to get their hair expertly styled on a weekly basis. Others seldom if ever see the inside of a salon. Chances are you fall between these two extreme groups, visiting a stylist for a haircut or a color touchup every month or two.

If a hair salon, or what used to be called "the beauty parlor," remains a fixed line item in your personal budget despite efforts to trim costs elsewhere, it may be time to trim your salon fees along with your hair. Here are a few possible ways to save money when planning your next visit.

1. Use discount coupons. Look in the newspaper or check local coupon distributors. You also can ask the salon directly for a coupon. If they do not have coupons, inquire about upcoming sales or discount days. For example, some salons pronounce Tuesday evening from six to eight p.m. as "children's night," when all kids' haircuts are two dollars less than usual. If your current salon offers no or few discounts, start looking for another shop.

2. Do your nails yourself. Having your nails done professionally can look great, but the monthly fee can be costly. Invest in quality nail polish in a couple of attractive colors, along with the nail care tools that a salon specialist uses. Ask a stylist how it's done or study her technique the next time you pay for the service. Then save future fees by managing your own nails for free.

3. Just say "no" to auxiliary services. You don't really want to pay ten dollars to have your eyebrows plucked, do you? For that amount you can spend five minutes at home doing them yourself, as you probably did for years before considering the salon's offer to manage them for you. Why not save fifty dollars on a permanent and have a friend do it for you instead? Or try a home hair coloring kit instead of paying thirty-five dollars each time. Always follow directions to get the best possible results.

4. Offer to trade services. If the shop is locally owned or operated, you may be able to barter a skill you have for a service you want. For example, turn your typing into a nail job by offering to design a flier advertising a new product. Or perhaps you can spend an hour sweeping the shop and cleaning up after hours in exchange for a perm. Be creative in your efforts to exchange skills.

5. Visit a cosmetology school. Often sponsored by a technical or vocational high school, students who are under an instructor's supervision often provide quality services at low fees since they are still learning their craft. Even if you don't want to have all your cosmetic work done there, perhaps summertime hair highlights or a quick trim can help you save a few dollars here and there.

Don't moan about rising hair care prices. Use your energy to get the best return on your dollar at the salon you frequent. Then smile all the way to the bank while sporting a lovely hairstyle.

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