Read This & Save A Bundle
Where to go, what to buy, and how to outfit your wardrobe, your home, and your life without going broke.
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Keep your high-fashion look—just get it for a bargain-basement price.
Go to the Pros
You can save money without the Flowbie-style home haircuts. Catch one of these deals, and you can still visit some of our favorite salons, stylists, and spas—and save a few, too.
We love going to Pleasantville’s Beautiful Hair Color Salon and Spa (914-741-2428), and we love it even more now that the salon is offering a phenomenal “Economic Crunch Special.” Get a haircut or color from a junior stylist, and you’ll spend only $25. (Women’s haircuts generally range from $50 to $105, depending on the experience of the stylist.) And the junior stylists at this Best of Westchester-winning salon are nothing to sneeze at: owner Franco Marino trains them himself. ➜Savings: $20 to $80.
Helping a new stylist learn how to perform a perfect service just may be worth your while. Visit one of Paulo’s Atelier Hair Salon’s classes (914-666-2800), held every other Wednesday night in Bedford Hills, and a junior stylist will give you a treatment for free just to practice. Call to find out when your particular service will be offered and sign up ahead of time. (Note: Paulo’s also offers a 25-percent discount on every first visit for one service.) Le Collage (914-241-0084) in Mount Kisco offers its free cuts on Tuesday nights and free color on Friday mornings to train its stylists, and the Richard Scott Salon and Day Spa (914-242-1700) in Mount Kisco also offers these free sessions periodically. ➜Savings: $65-plus for cuts, $65-plus for color at Paulo’s Atelier; $68-plus for cut and $75-plus for color at Le Collage; $65-plus at Richard Scott.
Keratin treatments are all the rage, but you’re looking at spending $150 an hour to get those stress-free locks. Get your keratin treatment from Static Hair & Skin Salon (914-997-2600) in White Plains on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and you’ll get your keratin treatment at a 10-percent discount. ➜Savings: $15/hour.
Looking for a new stylist? Mention this article to the folks at Oggi Adam and Eve Salon and Day Spa in Scarsdale (914-472-0010), and they’ll give first-time clients a 50 percent discount on salon services with participating stylists on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The offer is valid through April. ➜Savings: $30 for single-process color, $32 for haircuts, up to $75 for highlights, and $22 for manicure and pedicure.
We love going to the spa but just can’t afford to get as many treatments as we did in those halcyon pre-recession days—until now. When you go to the Tranquility Spa (914-713-0066) in Scarsdale, if you purchase a $180 massage and facial combo, you’ll get a Loofah Body Scrub thrown in for free. ➜Savings: $50.
You only have a certain amount of dollars to spend on spa services. Stretch them by visiting the spa during Spa Week (like Restaurant Week but for spas). Twice a year (April and October), prices on selected spa treatments are cut to just $50 each. In the past, places like Advanced Laser and Medical Spa of Rye, Epidavros Day Spa, Euro Laser Services, Holistic Med Spa & Laser, Laser Cosmetica, Rachele Rose Day Spa, Red Door Spa, The Haven Spa & Wellness Center, and The Ritz-Carlton Spa have participated, but visit spaweek.com for additional spas, more information, and even year-round deals that happen outside of Spa Week. ➜Savings: Varies by spa.
How much money are you blowing on your gym membership? According to Smart Money, the median annual cost for a new gym member is a budget-unfriendly $775. Those people haven’t heard of West Harrison’s Strata Health Club (914-694-4656). The fees to work out here are just $32 per month—with $75 personal training sessions available—and no membership contracts necessary. ➜Savings: Roughly $391 per year.
Shop for Beauty
Skip the department-store makeup counters. You don’t find the pushy, hard sell at the following stores.
Shoppers well practiced in hunting through stores like Loehmann’s, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods should check out the deals on cosmetic items at Harmon Discount in Hartsdale (914-683-0451). The tri-state-area chain, part of the Bed Bath & Beyond family, offers everyday makeup at reduced prices—for example, we saw a tube of Revlon 3D black mascara there for $6.79, while at CVS it sold for $9.99. Sure, it’s just a couple bucks, but with your savings you can get a coordinating eye shadow.
For higher-end makeup, though it may surprise you, beauty chain Sephora is a better bet than its neighbor in the mall, Nordstrom. “The ‘cast members’ at Sephora, unlike traditional makeup counters, do not work on commission,” says professional makeup artist Liz Varenne. “When you ask them about a product, they give you their honest answer. And remember to ask for samples—they have samples, but you have to ask. They have little tiny containers that they can fill with cosmetics to try at home.” Adds professional makeup artist and hairstylist Ilise Harris: “Sephora has a beauty insider’s club, and they e-mail its members with periodic specials. Of course, this is a means of getting you into the store and invariably buying something you didn’t come in for, but with some personal discipline, you can take advantage of the special and not buy unwanted or unneeded items.”
Our beauty pros give us their secrets for saving.
Get the right tools for the job. “The right brush will not only help you apply the product in a more accurate and professional way,” says Liz Varenne, “but it will also save you money, since you use less product and keep fingers and sponges out of your makeup—two surefire ways to encourage bacteria growth and waste product.” Varenne notes that more expensive brushes aren’t always worth it—take, for example, the Chanel brushes that are actually manufactured in China—and actually prefers the $14 Sonia Kashuk Brushes available at Target, which “spread cream or liquid product evenly and flawlessly.” ➜Savings: Roughly $25.
Stop splurging on mascara, which goes bad quickly and needs to be replaced more often. Our pros swear by good ol’ Maybelline. “Maybelline Great Lash has a fantastic viscosity and is only five dollars—and it has the blackest black color for more drama,” says Varenne. “For more oomph, I like Maybelline XXL mascara. It gives you a white primer, or base coat, resulting in long thick lashes.” Adds Harris: “Maybelline Great Lash remains a great inexpensive mascara. My favorite, though, is Blinc. It doesn’t flake, smear, run, or move at all, until loosened with a little pressure and warm water. Then it literally peels off, leaving no trace. I guess you save on cleanser that way, too.” ➜Savings: Roughly $25 for Maybelline mascara, $5 for Blinc.
Save money on makeup by making it last longer. “The key is to keep the items in their natural state,” says Varenne. “This means keeping liquid items as clean as possible to discourage bacterial growth, and keeping powder products dry. Do not keep your makeup in the bathroom. The moist conditions will destroy your powders.”
You multi-task—why can’t your makeup? “A good way to stretch your cosmetic dollars is to use products that have multi-purpose abilities,” says Rosemarie Pomilla, a professional beauty stylist with the Dobbs Ferry-based N.Y. Prostyle. “Try using your concealer, which covers blemishes and under-eye circles, as an eye primer as well. Cream blush can double as a lipstick. Or use a tinted moisturizer, which lightly evens out skin tone, hydrates, and most have sun protection. These will not only reduce cost, but also save time in the application process.”
Treat yourself to do-it-yourself-at-home spa treatments. Ilise Harris recommends The Galvanic Spa, a handheld device that runs a micro-current over the face and neck. “It does several things for the complexion: it deep-cleanses, gives the skin a clarity and brightness, it stimulates the lymph system to reduce puffiness, and it also visibly lifts the skin,” she says. “Results can be seen with one treatment, leaving the face looking less haggard and totally refreshed. This is a great alternative to costly and potentially toxic injections—it’s non-invasive and good for you!” And cheap, too. Harris notes that a micro-current treatment in a day spa usually runs about $125 to $150, with results that last about three days. This machine, with a month’s supply of product, is $285, and ongoing treatments cost about $8. “That’s a great deal,” she says. “I love this thing.” ➜Savings: The machine pays for itself in two treatments, then saves at least $142 for each additional treatment.
Skip the weekly manicure—go monthly instead. “In between manicures or pedicures—or instead of them—I love those three-sided nail buffers,” says Harris. “They allow the nails to breathe while creating a nice shine.” ➜Savings: $20 to $30 per skipped manicure
Let your fingers do the walking (and clicking) at this baker’s dozen of e-retailers, where great deals often can be had with free shipping—and no sales tax.
Art.com—Deck the walls with every type of photo, litho, giclée, canvas, and mural imaginable. Its virtual room allows you to see what your piece of art will look like on the wall, while its virtual framing studio allows you to choose frame, mat, and glass.
Bagborroworsteal.com—Thrifty fashionistas can rent designer handbags and other accessories—by the week, month, or season—and return them with free shipping. Or purchase rentals.
Dailysteals.com—Touting itself as the “online bargain bin for electronic and other items,” dailysteals.com offers just one new item each day (a recent item: a Logitech wireless computer keyboard and optical mouse for $9.99).
Deepdiscount.com—The definitive destination for rock-bottom prices on CDs and DVDs with free standard shipping and no sales tax (unless you’re unlucky enough to live in Illinois!).
Ebags.com—Far from just an e-tailer of designer handbags and purses, ebags.com offers a mind-numbing selection of backpacks, luggage, men’s wallets, duffel bags, laptop carriers, all-purpose totes, toiletry cases, and travel accessories.
Ewatches.com—In business since 1998, this Miami-based e-tailer sells authentic brand-name men’s and women’s watches with a 30-day no-hassle return policy. Be sure to check out its one-hour watch,” a deeply discounted watch for sale for exactly one hour.
Giltgroupe.com—This online purveyor of haute couture discounts men’s and women’s designer fashions, though quantities are often limited. (You have to shop really, really fast if you want to purchase anything.) Both browsing and buying require a (free) membership, which is officially “by invitation only.”
Heavenlycouture.com—When it’s time to stock up on basics (sweaters, hoodies, pants, tops, skirts, etc.), your dollars will go far at this Beverly Hills-based online outpost, where, at press time, everything on the site was under $17.95 (with free shipping on orders of at least $75).
Overstock.com—This granddaddy of e-tailers offers everything from mattresses and watches to power drills and sports equipment. Be sure to check out its Worldstock section of imported, fair-trade handicrafts and gifts. Tip: sometimes even better deals can be had at Overstock’s lesser-known sister site, ehalfoff.com.
Redtagcrazy.com—Bargain-conscious fashionistas will be transfixed by this site, which posts a new designer deal every couple of hours around the clock. Currently their offerings are limited to women’s clothing only.
Winecountrygiftbaskets.com—No matter what the occasion, wow them with a basket of great wine and gourmet goodies. With options at nearly every price point (as low as $25 and free shipping!) winecountry.com’s well-edited selection of foods and beverages takes the guesswork out of gift giving, whether your recipient is a wine aficionado
Woot.com—This site sells just one product at a time, at a ridiculously cheap price (a recent example: a Polaroid 10-megapixel digital camera with a 3-inch touch screen, for $69.99). The product goes on sale at midnight until 11:59 pm (Central time), or until it sells out.
Zappos.com—Fancy some new footwear? Buy a new pair of shoes, boots, and more (houseware, clothing) at Zappos, which offers free shipping both ways (for exchanges and returns). And it has a 365-day return policy.