How to Ball on a Budget: Part 2 – Beauty Tips & Tricks (1)

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February 23, 2017 by Payton Shiver

   I apologize for the second installation of “How to Ball on a Budget” coming in a full year after the first, but I’m about to be a blogging machine!

   I am a recent college graduate, still getting the hang of this “adult” thing. Since I’m nowhere near the seven-figure-a-year mark I desire to be, I’m forced to make small changes in my life to save money. My “How to Ball on a Budget” series was designed to share my helpful tips and tricks with you! Read Part One: Alcohol & Downtown here.

   There are multiple ways I save money each month when it comes to beauty: hair, nails, skin, makeup, masks, etc. Companies con you into buying and spending boatloads to make you “the best you,” when in reality the best you is the one that isn’t too broke to show off those nails and that full face downtown this weekend.


   A lot of women (and men to be honest), spend between $50 – $150 on salon visits every six to eight weeks. I spend approximately $8.00. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a WONDERFUL stylist in my friend Kaylee, but she knows I only see her about once every 15 months. My occasional visits can be chalked up to time (I never have enough of it), the 2.5 hour distance between us, and the cost. I am a natural-born blonde, and I’ve had every single color in my hair (yes, ALL of ROYGBIV). It hasn’t been an easy journey to find “my color,” but there are a few quality products I come back to every single time.

   Before I continue, I want to be clear: if you have high-maintenance color or a fashionable cut with layers and bangs that require perfection, perhaps your bathroom isn’t the best salon for you. I, however, don’t have a crisp Benjamin to drop every month. That’s where my favorite dyes and products come in.

   I have been cutting my own hair for close to a decade, and my hair is one length with the exception of my long bangs and the few pieces that angle my face. This makes it easier for me to maintain my cut at home. I “dust” my hair with professional scissors often and I’m on a two day schedule (dry shampoo that makes my color last WEEKS longer than washing daily). Every six months I ask my mom to snip a half inch, but mostly to make sure the back of my hair is still looking good. I use deep conditioner regularly and I use heat on my hair very, very sparingly. And when I do, I always use protection spray, followed up with an oil to lock in my style. The results are silky, salon-looking hair when I actually take the time to straighten or style it. You have to take care of your hair at home, too – your stylist can only work so many miracles.

   I am a fan of the bold colors, and I’ve had violet hair for approximately ten months over the past three years. My “color” is always a shade of auburn – I’m most comfortable and confident as a redhead. You want to keep this in mind when you do your hair at home. If short hair makes you feel vulnerable, keep it long. If blonde makes you feel like you’re ‘faking’ it, darken it up a few shades. Below are some of my favorite coloring brands, and a few products that have significantly increased the life of my color. Click to try it out!

The Comparison:
Salon Cut & Color at an Average of $80/visit every 8 Weeks: $520/Year
At Home Color & Cut at an Average of $8/box every 8 Weeks: $52/Year
Savings: $468/Year (or a Roundtrip plane ticket to Hawaii)

*If you absolutely cannot cut your own hair and you’re only looking for an inexpensive trim, I suggest chains like Great Clips, or Walmart’s in-store salon. Hint: the uniquer the salon’s name, the higher the price of an adult cut.*

**If you’re still skeptical, take a trip to your local Sally’s Beauty Supply. They have more product, more colors, and higher end brands than your local drugstore. All the employees are usually knowledgeable and willing to help. This will bump your price point up to about $12 every eight weeks, but still significant savings.**


   Many women (and men, no discrimination on this post today) spend a chunk of money on nail salon visits. Fake nails, gel nails, and regular mani/pedis run approximately $20 – $50 a pop, depending upon the type of service and the tip. (NOTE: IF YOU CAN’T TIP, DON’T GO OUT.) Nails are a little more high maintenance than hair, so these visits are closer to a four week time period between appointments. There’s a huge difference between treating yoself and regularly dropping $50 on things you are more than capable of doing at home.

Image result for treat yo self gif
   You can spend a couple of bucks gathering supplies like a pumice stone, cuticle ‘nipper,’ buffer, and a standard manicure kit with a nail file, clippers, cuticle remover and pusher. Throw in some brown sugar, cheap mouthwash, a little oil, and some lotion and you’re on your way to a spa day! (See below for step-by-step instructions!)

   In addition to saving money on the “spa experience,” you save money by extending the life of your mani/pedi. Two of my favorite, long lasting products are Jamberry nail wrap applications and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel.

   I painted my toenails the day before I left for a ten day vacation on October 2nd, 2016 in Boho A Go-Go from Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel line. There was still color on my toes in January 2017. Before you call me gross let me explain: winter is obviously a horse of a different color for all women. We’re covering up our bodies more and more as temperatures drop, resulting in less shaving and certainly less bare feet. While I maintained my toenails with clippers and filing, I didn’t see the need to maintain the color if I was wearing tennis shoes, boots, and closed-toe flats every single day. While my nails grew, the color grew out with it; but it still stayed on my toes. Chipping was absolutely minimal, and I know almost everyone’s pedicure lasts longer than the manicure. With this product, your toes will be set for weeks. (Chipping on nails tops out around the two week mark.)

   Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is a two-step system that doesn’t require UV light. My favorite thing about it (aside from it’s longevity), is that it acts like a nail polish. True gel requiring UV light has a serious tendency to not only peel off, but leave the nail dried out and damaged. When Miracle Gel chips, it chips like normal polish leaving your nail in far better condition than gel and fake nails.

   The beauty of Jamberry is the incredible range of adorable, quality products that provide salon level alternatives to the damaging fake nails and gel we all love. Jamberry is a type of ‘nail wrap,’ or sticky “wraps” that attach to your nails and don’t chip. Jamberry comes in $15 sheets that can easily turn into two and a half to three applications because of the generous application size. Note: if you tend to keep your nails long, it could be a different story. Bonus: There are usually great deals (example: if you order 3 sheets, your fourth is free!). Bonus BONUS: By shopping through a consultant, you have the opportunity to empower local business women supporting their families like this hot mama here!

   If you’re the type of person who likes eight single-color fingers and two accent nails, one Jamberry sheet could potentially last you four months. That’s crazy savings! For example, if you were to purchase one of the wraps pictured below and only accent your manicure for a few months, you could use approximately five-to-seven different colors that still match/accentuate that single accent nail.

(Jamberry also offers different lacquers and products, but I’ve found the wraps to be most effective and longest lasting.)

At the affordable price of approximately $30.00, you can own your own gel nail light. Gel is well known to last longer, chip less, and look better, so a small investment now can lead to huge savings for years. As I mentioned above, this isn’t my first choice in terms of nail polish because it still causes damage. (Especially when you’re sitting at work and you notice that small corner starting to pop up so you just HAVE to peel it off because you can.) That being said, it’s still going to be cheaper to do it yourself and the results are going to be the same as a pricey salon visit.

 The Comparison:
Nail Salon Mani OR Pedi at an Average of $30/visit every 4 Weeks: $390/Year
Nail Salon Mani/Pedi Combo at an Average of $50/visit every 4 Weeks: $650/Year


At Home Mani/Pedi Combo Assuming Purchase of One New Nail Color at $10 every 4 Weeks: $150/Year (includes first time “spa” supplies to last for a year)
At Home Mani/Pedi Combo Assuming Purchase of Gel Lighting Kit & 13 New Nail Colors: $180/Year (includes first time “spa” supplies to last for a year)
At Home Jamberry Mani Assuming New Nail Applications every 4 Weeks and One Sheet Containing 2 Applications: $125/Year (includes first time “spa” supplies to last for a year)


Savings 1 (At Home Mani): $240/Year
Savings 2 (At Home Mani/Pedi): $500/Year
Savings 3 (At Home Mani w/Gel Lighting): $210/Year
Savings 4 (At Home Mani/Pedi w/Gel Lighting): $470/Year
Savings 5 (At Home Mani w/ Jamberry): $265/Year


   And remember: once you have the gel nail kit, that’s an additional $30/year you’re saving in the future. After two years, you’ll have approximately 26 nail colors. Now, don’t get me wrong I LOVE nail polish, but after 26 nail polishes you should be nearly set for another year. That’s an entire year of savings totaling approximately $650 a YEAR! (The next year you’ll have to replenish some supplies in terms of your favorite colors, but the savings infinitely surpass the distant future replenishing.)


   Hopefully these suggestions can begin to help you on your way to saving. Stay tuned for my upcoming beauty installments, which will focus on makeup and skin care!


At Home Spa Pedicure Ingredients and Recipe
What You’ll Need:
– 1 cup of brown sugar (or salt, but sugar is less abrasive)
– 1/4 cup of mouthwash (any brand is sufficient)
– a few drops of your favorite oil (I suggest lavender or even a bath oil works well)
– hot water
– a small foot-sized tub
Optional: 1/4 cup white vinegar (I would add if you’re looking for extra help sloughing off that dead skin)


– There’s a couple different ways to do this. A lot of places suggest clipping and filing your toes before soaking, but that can defeat the purpose. Soaking allows the skin and nails to become more supple, resulting in easier manipulation for the perfect pedi.
1. Fill up a small tub with warm water. I would suggest something large enough to come up to your ankles, but anything too big and the mouthwash and oil could lose effectiveness.
2. Add in mouthwash and oil.
3. Let your feet soak for about three minutes, then begin using the brown sugar on your feet, paying special attention to your heels. Exfoliate for about one minute per foot, then put both feet back into the tub to soak for another ten minutes.
4. At this point, the dead skin on your feet will be easier to remove, and your nails and cuticles are prepped and ready for shaping.


– Make sure to add lotion or oil back to your feet and legs when you’re finished. This will keep your skin supple and healthy looking. Adorably painted toenails are awesome, but dry and cracked feet will leave people grossed out instead of admiring your (affordable!) salon-looking pedicure.


Author’s Note: all the prices listed here are an approximation based on personal savings. There’s potential to go over or under what is listed, but unless you go bananas and buy enough hair dye and nail polish to last 6 years, you’re going to save lots of money.


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