Live Well On Less
Take a chance on a student.
Lawrence recommends contacting hairdressing or massage schools in your area
to connect with stylists and bodyworkers in training. These students are
required to practice on real-life clients, usually with supervision, before
receiving professional certification, and services will cost you a fraction of
the usual price. "I get my hair highlighted three or four times a year, and
that can add up," says Cari Dineen, 32, a REDBOOK staffer who lives in
Westfield, NJ. "Luckily, I discovered a nearby beauty school where I pay a
third of the cost of a regular salon. The students take a little longer, but
surprisingly, their work is second to none — they want it to be perfect to
impress their teachers!" Find a reputable beauty school near you at
Use the card (not the credit card).
Did you know that you can get CDs, DVDs, and even video games for the price
of a library card (i.e., zilch)? Julia Rhodes Davis, 25, an event planner in
New York City, often borrows CDs to keep her playlist of dinner-party music
fresh. "I've taken out everything from Miles Davis to some kooky
compilations that I'd never actually buy but are still fun," she says.
Make talk cheap.
Irene Unferdorfer, 28, from Union City, CA, was frustrated that her cell
phone was costing her $100 a month even though she was only using it to call a
handful of friends. Enter billshrink.com, a Website that analyzes one of your
monthly statements for free and recommends the best packages for you, taking
into account who you call the most and when, the features you use, and which
company offers the best coverage in your area. "By following the site's
suggestion, I've lowered my monthly bill by $40," Irene says. "It was
so easy, and I didn't have to do a ton of research." BillShrink will soon
expand into the credit card market, directing users to the best card for their
individual spending habits.
Put your talent to work.
What began 12 years ago as a hobby for Barbara Stanley, 53, in Blairsville,
GA, has turned into a gift-giver's dream. Inspired by items she'd seen at local
art fairs, she creates her own handcrafted gifts for friends and family.
"An attractive, functional gift doesn't have to cost a fortune," she
says. "Plus, during holiday season you don't have to fight people in stores
to get deals on expensive electronics."
5 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Buy
Money can't buy happiness, but it can sometimes buy stuff that makes
you happy. Before you fork over your hard-earned cash for a purchase, determine
whether you're investing in something that will truly add joy and utility to
your life. Ask yourself:
1. Is this something I will use at least once a week? Will it be useful for at
least a year?
2. Will this thing make me smile at least 10 times? Will it contribute to
3. Have I recently seen an ad for this item or experience? If so, am I secretly
kidding myself that it will make me as skinny and giddy as the actress in said
4. What am I willing to give up for this purchase? Would I be willing to eat
ramen noodles for a week or give up my premium movie channel to finance
5. Can I wait until this goes on sale to buy it? Or at least 24 hours? (Hint:
The answer to this one is always yes!)
Originally published on August 19, 2008
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