There’s nothing quite like the feeling of freshly done nails. You know the feeling, right after your manicure gets done drying and you’re able to go about your day, you can’t help but keep looking down at your hands, in awe of the pretty colors and designs you picked out for yourself. But in today’s economy, many of us are being forced to cut costs where we can — and often, our self-care and personal hobbies are the first to get cut.

Thankfully, we live in a world with a plethora of options, and that includes multiple ways to get your nails done without sacrificing style and the latest trends. So here are six ways to save money without being cursed to a life of neglected nails!

1. Pro At-Home Manicure (Seriously)

Honestly, this tip could be the entire list. When you get your nails done at a salon, you typically have three manicure options to choose from regular polish, gel, or ANC. While ANC has become more popular in recent years, gel polish is much easier on the nail, whereas ANC can cause damage if not correctly removed from the nail. Gel manicures are typically less than ANC, but they’re still not cheap, especially if you want to save money. 

Enter: semi-cured gel nails. Nail strips have been gaining popularity for a few years now. Although they’ve succeeded with their cost-effectiveness and some of the designs are eye-catching, there’s no comparison to a professional manicure. Semi-cured gel nails, on the other hand, are a game changer. The way this type of at-home manicure works is pretty simple but effective.

Like traditional nail strips, they come pre-shaped to fit varying nail sizes. But where semi-cured gel nails are different is the material used is 100% real liquid gel. It’s not vinyl or plastic; it’s the same type of gel polish you would get at the nail salon. The gel is then 60% cured, creating a jelly-like strip that makes applying it to your nail easy. Once applied, you complete the curing process by putting your nails under a UV lamp (which is surprisingly inexpensive and makes us wonder why it’s taken nearing a recession to start doing our nails at home)! 

While purchasing the tools needed for semi-cured gel nails is an upfront cost, the total is still less than a traditional salon gel manicure. But once the extra $20 is spent, all you have to do is buy patterns and colors that match your style. Plus, they last for a full two weeks, meaning you can buy two months' worth of manicures for the price of one nail salon visit. 

2. Coupons & Deals to Not Break the Bank (Or Nail)

Sometimes, we just need someone else to do our nails. Making an appointment, looking forward to the day arriving, and finally walking into the nail salon can bring a lot of joy to our lives, giving us something to look forward to. The best way to do that while still saving money is to scour the internet for coupons. Of course, that most likely means you’ll have to skip your usual place, but you never know; you may stumble upon your new favorite! 

3. Compare Prices of Your Local Salons

If you live in an area with five or more salons within a 20-mile radius, take a peek at what each place charges for their manicures. While you may not see a huge difference, you’ll likely see a range difference of around $20; $20 every two weeks definitely adds up. 

4. Opt for BYOB 

Did you know most salons let you bring your own bottle? They won’t charge you for the price of the polish, and you’ll be able to touch it up at home. Being able to fill in cracks and patches on your own dramatically extends the life of your manicure, which means you will likely be able to go three weeks between visits as opposed to two. 

5. Ask For a Color Change 

When you ask for a manicure, the nail technician is going to give you the full treatment, shoulder massage and all. But if you’re just looking to paint your nails to match your dress for an event, or your old coat looks trashy, you can simply ask for a color change. Typically, this service will cost between $5 and $15. 

6. Thick or Thin? Thin Wins

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the thicker the polish is on your nail, the more likely it is to chip. As long as you can’t see your nail through the polish, you’re good to go. 

Saving money doesn’t mean abandoning the things that bring us joy. On the contrary, putting a budget in place allows us to be creative, learn new skills (like giving yourself a professional manicure from the comfort of your own home) or channel your inner couponer. You got this!