When it comes to cutting back on spending, some things are easier to eliminate than others. Cutting back your daily lunch spend and bringing a sandwich from home isn’t fun, but once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly easy. Health and beauty spending on the other hand can be harder to give up.

If you’ve written out all your expenditure and have noticed a glaring hole in your bank account at the hands of shellac manicures, ritzy salon hair cuts and blow drys, and pricey massage appointments, you’re not alone. As a woman, enjoying these simple pleasures is, for many of us, a confidence booster we rely on. Do you ever feel yourself more than when you’ve got freshly threaded brows, a fresh shellac mani in a glossy shade of ‘sunset cabana’ and a hot set of perfectly natural yet equally bouji set of lash extensions?

So why would I, Emma, of The Broke Generation squad of nifty-not-thrifty financial cadets, ever tell you to give up something makes you feel good?

I wouldn’t.

So here are five ways to cut back on your beauty spend. With a little bit of DIY, a few investments in at-home tools and a couple of nifty swaps, you can still look like a solid 10 while stashing that cash.

Get a Shakti Mat

I recently posted about my Shakti Mat on my Instagram stories and got a ton of DMs asking what on earth I was thinking laying on a spikey mat that feels like stepping on an upside down piece of Lego.

Basically, the Shakti Mat is an acupressure mat. It has a similar effect to dry needling when used on painful, tight muscles – which is basically the western medicine equivalent of acupuncture. Same idea, but the needles are stuck inside your painful muscles than on specific pressure points.

I’ve found I have to visit my physio or massage bar far less often now I have the mat, and it really helps with day-to-day pain relief. Prevention is always better than cure, so a few minutes a day on the mat can actually relieve common tension and prevent more severe problems occurring. If you work at a desk, workout at the gym or run, this is a must have for you!

Shop here.

DIY Gel Manis

Ok hear me out. I know the idea of painting one’s own nails brings back haunting memories of peel-off pink nail polish and stick-on nail art. But investing in your own at-home gel kit will take your DIY manicures to the next level.

I recently bought the Sensationail LED Gel system – yep, no harmful UV – and have been giving myself 2-week chip-free gel manicures for a few months now. It’s saved me a fortune, not to mention avoiding spending an hour at the nail salon while the manicurists bitch about your love handles and emerging bogey in Vietnamese.

If you’re worried about being a messy nail painter, I must say that the gel polish application is actually much easier than regular polish. You apply such a thin layer because it’s getting cured by the LED light, so your risk of smudging and unsteady paint strokes is much lower. I’d also recommend getting an electric manicure tool to help with buffing and removal – I have this $9 from Kmart and it’s a lifesaver.

Get a Blow Dry Brush

I had a phase about 18 months ago where I fell in love with getting my hair blow dried at the salon. I’d swag on in there with my almond capp and pay $60 for someone to wash and blow dry my hair. It was an expensive habit, and I did eventually kick it. But one thing that helped me cut myself off from the salon was getting a hot air blow dry brush. No, not one of those hot brushes that claims to straighten your unruly mane in a single stroke, but one of those barrel brushes that actually blows out hot air. The range of nozzles and power of the hot air helps you achieve a finish that’s very nearly as good as the salon, but without the sore arm from that weird dry-pull-repeat cycle they do with your hair that looks so easy but is actually impossible.

Switch Lash Extensions for Lash Lifts

I used to love my lash extensions. Before you judge me, they weren’t gross and tacky, and no I didn’t look like I’d borrowed them from Nicki Minaj. They were natural and light and saved me time applying mascara every morning. But with that came a three-weekly infil payment of about $40-$60. I can’t totally remember as it was many, many years ago. But it was a lot, and it was definitely not appropriate for my income.

A relatively new offering is the lash lift, which basically perms your lashes so they curl upwards and outwards. It’s incredible what can be done with even the shortest of lashes – though the longer your lashes are naturally, the better the result. The appointment includes a tint, too, and only costs between $50-$90 depending on where you go. There’s no need for infills, and the results last 6-8 weeks. At that point, you can either get them re-done, or just leave them. The curl relaxes naturally.

So not only are you saving time and money on the extensions, infills and those pesky fall-outs, you don’t have to get them removed, either – or wait for them to fall out themselves and spend 2-3 weeks looking like a Chucky doll.

5 | Spray Tan With Your Mates

If you love a spray tan before a festival or a golden glow for holiday, there’s money to be saved on your appointments. Many places offer a discount if multiple tans are booked together, so rally round your pals and make a tan-together pact. If you want more savings, go full Broke Generation and split the cost of one of these at-home spray tan kits. I’m yet to try this but, but it’s been on my radar for a while. If you’ve got a tan-loving squad, getting together in your paper panties and doing each other’s tans could be a massive money saver – not to mention a laugh. Pick up a cheap tent from eBay, watch some YouTube tutorials to get the perfect result, and turn your lounge room into your very own salon. Wine is most definitely recommended.

So go forth and save money while still looking like a solid 10! Have you any other money-saving tips for health and beauty? Tell me on Instagram!