Look like a star without spending like one

We all want to look our best, but the cost of beauty can be pretty high. According to a report published by American Salon, the average haircut for women ranges from $21 to $44—depending on the location and salon size. Additionally, manicures cost an average $20.53. Weekly manicures can drain your wallet by more than $1,000 each year. In a study conducted by Sustainable Youth in conjunction with Kelton Research, one out of three American women said they would be willing to give up 10 percent of their savings in order to look 10 years younger for the rest of their lives. Looking good doesn’t have to cost a fortune; and certainly shouldn’t comprise your financial future. With a little creative maneuvering you can still care for your skin, hair, and nails without leaving a hole in your wallet. Check out the following beauty tips and look fabulous for less.

-Make an appointment at a barber/beauty college. Visit your local beauty college and get your hair done for a low cost or, in some cases, for free! It may sound scary to have an inexperienced aspiring stylist “practice” on you, but a licensed professional is also onsite supervising.

-Find great skin/hair products in your home. Olive oil has many nutritional values in many areas besides cooking. It is good for your hair and skin. Pour a little olive oil in your bath for a great skin softener or try using it as a conditioner for your hair. It’s also a great cleansing cream. One tube of Vaseline can be used 50 different beauty ways including – lip gloss, cuticle cream, lotion, healing cream for dry skin on elbows and feet, and a quick faux eyelash extender.

-Give yourself a mani/pedicure. You don’t have to spend salon prices for a good manicure and pedicure. You can pamper yourself at home by buying a home-spa kit. Call up five of your closest friends and make it a girl’s night!

-Get your hair done on a Monday or Wednesday. These are the days with the least amount of traffic for most salons, so the best deals are offered on these days to help drive business. Plus, you’ll get lots of attention from the stylist when business is slow.

-Research coupons and specials. A little research goes a long way. Look up coupons online or sign up for promotional events through email. Many of the leading cosmetic companies offer great summer deals as do many salons. Visit Web sites like Mommy$avesBig for valuable beauty coupons.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s important to treat yourself well—no matter what the circumstances. The economy is causing a lot of financial stress, which can have a profound effect on your overall physical health. No amount of cosmetics will reverse the negative affects of worrying, so follow the number one beauty tip – always find time to distress.

Renee McGruder is a former communications coordinator and grant writer at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.