Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The beauty of a Beauty School

I used to pay $50 for a haircut (without tip). I had a friend recommend a beauty school when we were getting ready for a formal event. So I went with her and got my mani/pedi while she got an updo and a facial.

I was surprised at how 'trendy' the inside of this beauty school looked. It looked like any normal salon I would go to. I started talking to the girl who was doing my nails. She told me they are required to learn everything from haircuts/color/perms to nails, extensions etc.. i asked the cost for a haircut. It was $9. $9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What!!! Why did I not think of coming to this place to get my haircut!! This would free up at least $40 in my monthly budget.

Well i know why. I was nervous they would royally screw my hair up.

10 months later, I am still a huge advocate of beauty schools. Not only are the prices so cheap, I feel like a lot of times I was getting much better service since the students are getting graded on what they do. They are so careful and want it to be just right!

I have had a few bad experiences at a few different beauty schools. Nothing major - luckily. Mostly because I didnt speak up and say what I wanted.

With that, I have compiled a list of things to think about when you go to any beauty school to get any type of service done.

1. SPEAK UP!!! If its not what you want, say so! Its a good idea to know what you want before going in (take a picture in with you) that way the student and the instructor know what you are looking for
2. Coloring- I have had my hair colored multiple times. The one time I did not speak up I ended up with a color i hated. Make sure you ask the student to show you the color book, discuss the color options so everyone is on the same page
3. Time-expect any service done at a beauty school to take a little longer. Average time for a haircut is 1 hour. Average time for color (depending on length etc) is about 2 hours. Keep in mind the student is learning. I have found this time factor was a positive thing for me - I get what i want. The previous stylist who did my hair would have me in and out (styled and washed) in 30 minutes. Towards the end she didn't even listen to what I wanted. Probably because she didn't have time given the 30 minute slot alloted for me.
4. Length - One thing i discovered at the beauty school is the students are afraid to cut to much off. I have left a couple of times when it looked like i didn't even get a cut. Here is another time when you should speak up. I actually would take my hair and show her how much I wanted cut off.
5. Price - Yes you might be shocked when you get your haircut under $10 or colored for under $30. The prices there are still baffling to me--just because I can't believe i didn't get in there sooner.

All in all beauty schools are an awesome way to cut down expenses in your budget. I have found that I can get quite a bit done, really cheap.

I still walk out feeling great about my cut/color etc.. I feel even better because I know it didn't break the bank!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Emailing the grocery store

I made a big decision a few weeks ago.....(drum roll please).... I decided to switch grocery stores! This was a big deal for me because the store I now choose to go to was not one of my favorites the first time I went to the store.

My reason for switching is I firmly believe this grocery store is lower in prices and has more items on sale. One of the other reasons is this is the only grocery store in the area that offers double coupons. I can learn to like the layout of the store.

Prior to my decision to make the big switch, I got a coupon in the mail for $8 off a $50 purchase. At the time, this did not excite me to much. Now I would do something crazy to get this coupon! This is a great coupon! And I didn't use it when it was valid and now there are no more in circulation! I know this because I emailed the grocery store and asked.

Yes you read it right, I emailed the grocery store and asked!

I wanted to know if the company regularly sends out the $8 off a $50 purchase coupon. I got a response from Bret, the Consumer Response Specialist, who told me "The **store name** coupon that you mentioned was what we call a targeted mailer. It is mailed to a specific number of households near a particular store or stores that we are targeting. There are no coupons of this type in circulation currently." (Dang)

My other question to the grocery store was if they matched a $10 off $50 purchase that is available at the competition - and former store where I used to shop. Bret told me "Thank you for your message. We are very sorry for any misunderstanding with regard to the "match" of **competitors** offer.

When this competitor discontinued their paper coupon program and began to advertise automatic deductions (in mid-January of this year), we made a decision at that time to stick with our own program, which included the lowering of more than 10,000 prices... for ALL customers, EVERY day. At that time, we removed all signing in our stores that communicated any matching of competitors' offers. We do not accept this promotion at any of our stores.

We understand the short-term attraction to an offer of this type but for now we plan to remain committed to our overall price-lowering efforts. We will, however, certainly let our marketing and merchandising teams know of your thoughts and opinions."

Ok Bret, I can get that. I do believe their prices are lower. And when you combine the double coupons (up to 40 cents) with items that are on sale, you can get a pretty good deal...

On my last trip I walked out saving $23 in coupons! The cashier did not like this, she seemed annoyed actually. She scrutinized each coupon and then went through the bags to make sure I had bought the item!!!