Living on a college budget is going to be difficult in pretty much every area of life (hence the ramen stereotype).
That said, budgeting living is no reason to drop the ball on your beauty routines. After all, confidence is a huge part of success, so looking your best will help you to feel and perform your best as well!
Here are some tips for maintaining those beauty goals while on a tight college budget.
Question the Price Behind Branding
There is a balance to be struck between cutting corners to lower costs and inflating prices because of aesthetics.
Of course, you don’t want to only choose the lowest prices with everything you buy, particularly when it comes to beauty. Sure, 99 cent shampoo costs virtually nothing and will last about as long as luxury brands, but it will also damage your hair.
That said, many brands and ventures are able to hide behind presentation as they upcharge you. Make sure you aren’t just paying for advertising and aesthetic, because there is almost definitely going to be a cheaper alternative that offers the same quality.
The best way to do this is to search for reasonably priced ventures and products and then looking for the specifics (this may take a little research).
For instance, know what ingredients you should be looking for (or avoiding) in your regular skincare, hair and other beauty products. For ventures like med spas, research the specific treatments you are looking for so you know how to narrow down your options based on service,
knowledge and testimonials rather than biased advertising.
Make a Spa at Home
Facials, luxurious baths, mani-pedis and other relaxing treatments don’t have to be found at day spas – they can be found right in your own home!
Even if you live in a small apartment or dorm with several roommates, it’s more than possible to set up a relaxing self-care station for yourself. All you need to do is set aside a specific block of time and stock up on any necessary materials like nail polish, face masks, wax or any other treatments that interest you.
If you are looking for some DIY fun, you could even make your own facials, scrubs, bath bombs and plenty of other spa-day must-haves. The important thing to remember is that this is your time, so structure it however you want and maybe even put together a playlist to really get yourself in the mood for some pampering.
Best of all, since you are doing all of it yourself, you will be paying a fraction of the price that it would cost to go to a professional. A good rule of thumb is that if you can do it yourself, it could be fun (and economical) to try!
Take Advantage of Free Consultations and Offers
For the things you just can’t do at home (medical procedures, professional insight, etc.), make sure you are taking advantage of special offers and free consultations so that you are getting the best deals and service possible.
Luckily, for ventures like med spas or dermatologists, most places will offer those consultations to help evaluate your specific situation and give you invaluable advice.
By taking advantage of things like this, you will make sure that you aren’t wasting money on the services you are saving up for. After all, for more significant needs, it may take some time and planning to pay for it with a college budget.
Dr. Sarah Bennett, a naturopathic doctor in Scottsdale with a med spa of her own, pushes her free consultations more than anything:
“I always try to get those brief meetings with potential clients for a number of reasons. Firstly, it makes it possible to determine whether we make a good match or whether I can help direct them to more appropriate assistance. Secondly, it gives me the chance to really evaluate the individual and give professional advice on treatments and solutions. Lastly, though, I can really
work with the person and their specific situation so that we can be honest about the “less fun” matters like money and availability. That way, I can really work with them and help them get the services they need on the budget they have.”
Since most places will have special deals or, at the very least, free consultations, you can probably rule out any ventures that don’t as an easy process of elimination.
After you’ve done that, feel free to book some of those consultations to get advice on how to proceed with your financial and personal situation.
No one likes budget planning, especially when they are tight on cash and have academic responsibilities that make it harder to boost income.
That’s no reason to let your self-care and beauty routine take a backseat, though. By questioning the branding of your products and services, doing all that you can do yourself at home and taking advantage of special offers and free consultations, you’ll be able to keep up with your appearance and maintain your confidence.
For more great articles on budgeting, be sure to look through our other posts!
About the Author
Katherine (Tori) Lutz is a graduate of Florida State University and current student at Columbia University. Professional, she is a writer and editor with a great deal of freelance experience surrounding articles, marketing, and other various areas. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and hopes to one day be a journalist.