Woman on a Budget: 5 Things You Can Do Yourself

One of the habits I developed when I was doing the “P100/Day Diet” was looking for other means to save. An adult woman actually has to spend on many services just to keep herself groomed and clean-looking. Unless, of course, the girl is born with nice nails (ones that don’t crack and trap dirt too often), nice hair (straight and silky) and nice skin (soft, smooth and hairless). Unfortunately, I was born with brittle nails, rebellious curly hair, and hairy legs.

For men, it’s so easy. Just get a haircut, some decent dark pants, and some decent dark shoes. For women, it’s not. A simple concept such as cutting nails isn’t really that simple for many women. And I’m not even interested in nail polish!

Anyway, before I started cutting down my expenses, I’d spend thousands of pesos monthly on salon services such as waxing, pedicure (no polish), and facials (for cleaning up icky whiteheads and acne). Plus it frustrates me to no end that women’s garments and shoes are made with planned obsolescence in mind, so they’re not very durable and many of them are uncomfortable. Because maintenance was so expensive, these were the first things I reviewed on my budget list.

And then here’s what I did:

1. Repair clothes instead of buying new ones.

I bought myself a sewing kit from Saizen and National Bookstore, where everything is cheap. I love the variety of thread colors Saizen offers. I’ve already used these on many of my clothes, particularly the ones with weird coloring.

2. Give yourself a facial.

I have had this Neutrogena Wave for about two years now. I rarely used it before, when I temporarily lived with my parents and I’d ride with my mom to work. I started using it twice a month when I started walking to work and then once a week when I changed jobs and started taking jeep rides. I swear it helps me get rid of those icky white heads and other bumps that form on my face. I always love the feel of my skin when I wake up in the morning after using this at night.

The cleansing pads are worth about P400 (I bought the pads on sale, buy-one-take-one) and there are 30 of them. If you use them once or twice a week, that’s about P13-P26 on a monthly facial already. How much do you spend on a salon facial? Yup, that’s huge savings right there.

3. Do your own pedicure.

This took a bit of practice, especially when cleaning the sides of my largest toe. Most of the stuff you will initially spend on are tools. You can get a complete set for less than P500 or if you’re really on a tight budget, just buy one item at a time. You’ll need a nail cutter, nipper and pusher first. The brush is optional. I used soiled clothes for removing debris before I bought the brush.

The rest, like cuticle remover and the cuticle oil that gives your nails a pinkish glow, won’t even amount to P50. I have been doing this for months and I have yet to replace the cuticle remover and the cuticle oil.

Can you imagine how many times I’d visit a salon to have my toe nails cleaned in a month? I’d spend about P200-P400 per visit, so that’s about P400-800 a month. And that doesn’t even justify the stress of having someone forcefully remove an imaginary ingrown. Gad, I remember that girl telling me that she had to remove it because it would hurt. It only started hurting when she tampered with it!!!! GRRR.

4. Wax yourself.

I tried sugaring back in my early 20s and it took too much of my time that I decided to just let salon people do it for me. I would spend about P500 a month on waxing. It’s also not a very relaxing experience unless the attendant is good at what she does.

When I got into the P100/Day challenge, I sought out cheaper options. I tried Epilin, which my sister swears by, saying it is the easiest for her to use. Hah! I’m so stupid at anything beauty-related that I couldn’t even follow the instructions. Plus I thought I burned and tore off my legs when I removed the wax. That was one excruciating experience I dare not repeat.

When I saw these Veet wax strips at PCX in Greenbelt (around P200+) I bought them immediately.

There are about 6 pairs of wax strips, giving you a total of 12 strips you can use. I can’t believe how economical this is. I’ve only been able to use 3 pairs on both my legs. If it takes about 2-3 weeks for my hair to grow back, that’s still P400-P500 worth of monthly savings.

I was also surprised at how quick and almost pain-free it felt, which is in stark contrast with my Epilin experience.

5. Coffee or sugar for foot scrub.

One of my favorite salon services is the foot spa/scrub: my feet always end up looking near my age after we’re done (I have the teeth, feet and hands of a 50-year-old and that’s nowhere near my age). At salons, I’d usually spend about P500-600 for this because I have really tough calluses, thanks to impractical female footwear. (Related rant: Flats make me trip, high heels kill my knees…but it seems those are the only two options we have in shoe shops. Unfortunately, rubber shoes are not considered corporate attire.)

I have resorted to buying foot cushions (inexpensive but still…damn you shoemakers) and then using sugar or used ground coffee for scrubbing the scaly parts of my feet. I get the same result I’d get if I went to a salon. And it’s still cheap, if you consider that you brewed coffee for drinking and then you get to recycle the used coffee beans.

Is there a service I can’t let go of?

That would be a good massage at Mont Albo, which is directly located across my condo. Though I have this 3M’s Nexcare First Aid compress that my room mate Aileen swears is effective for her stiff neck, I still like the old-fashioned hilot method. There’s something about exerting pressure on my stiff muscles (and the warm stuff they put on my back) that relaxes me.

If I want to feel a deeper level of relaxation, and if I have the budget, I’d go for Wensha Spa (I find other spas too expensive). For almost P700, you can already avail of an eat-all-you-can buffet + body massage package.


  1. MrsMartinez

    March 25, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Ginagawa ko yun numbers 1 and 3 ; p


  2. skysenshi

    March 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Di ba? Nase-stress kasi ako pag iba gumagawa ng kuko ko pero noon kasi di ako marunong. This year lang ako natuto.

  3. Andy Uyboco

    March 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Pwede ko bang i-wax ang ulo ko? Nakakapagod din mag-shave every 2-3 days ha. ;D

  4. skysenshi

    March 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Try mo lang. Hahahahahaha!

  5. Mikaela Kaimo

    March 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I only wear flats because I can't walk in high heels. This week I found a lovely pair of shoes that was a perfect compromise: it has a heel height of around 1 inch 🙂

  6. animetric

    March 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Oh Veet has wax strips pala. I always buy Sally Hansen. I should try that.

  7. skysenshi

    March 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Oooh! Where did you get beautiful 1″ heels? I've been looking forever for those. The only ones I've been seeing “manang” shoes.

  8. skysenshi

    March 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Hm. Lemme check out Sally Hansen too! I wasn't able to see some on my last visit to PCX.

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