It never hurts to pinch a few pennies. We asked salon owners and nail techs for some of their best money-saving tips and added a few of our own. Here are 25 ways to stretch a dollar and help your business stay in the black.

1. “I cut paper towels in strips for toe separators. They look clean and I can toss them without feeling like I’m wasting.” - Dominique Redmon, Belle Vie Salon & Wellness, Lacey, Wash.

2. “No base coat is needed when putting gel-polish on acrylics.” - Amanda Moore, via Facebook

3. Mix over-the-counter polishes to create custom nail shades. Since they are inexpensive, it’s not a big loss if the colors don’t mix or sell well.

4. Save on an advertising budget by partnering with local businesses and growing your social media accounts. These strategies can bring in more new clients without any cost to you.

5. Get crafty and make your own gift certificates.

6. “I use peroxide and alcohol when I can instead of buying expensive cleaners.” - Peggy Bagby, Childersburg, Ala.

7. Make a shopping list before going to the beauty supply store — and stick to it.

8. Tired of playing the same old DVDs, CDs, or having the same books available for clients to read? Go to and trade in your materials for a new batch.


9. “Split your tissues in two before you roll them to act as a toe separator. McDonald’s always gives me too many serviettes in the drive through so I save them up and use them when doing acrylic nails to clean the liquid from the brush. I always wash the salon towels on economy cycle to save on energy.” - Victoria Halpin, Carrigaline, Ireland

10. Install LED bulbs. They use less electricity, thus saving you money on that monthly bill.

11. A programmable thermostat is a good idea so that heating and cooling can turn off while you’re not at the salon. This can cut your energy bill down significantly.

12. If you and another tech live close to the salon, consider carpooling. By alternating drivers you will save on gas money and the wear and tear of both vehicles.

13. Cut your landline. If you are having clients text you or call your cell phone for appointments, then your landline is obsolete. If you don’t feel comfortable giving out your cell phone number, encourage clients to book online.

14. Follow social media accounts of the brands you use most. Not only do many companies do giveaways, but they also offer special discounts and promotions to followers that you may not see otherwise.

15. Turn the water off when you’re done. This will keep your utility bill from running over.

16. Use a SmartStrip surge protector to save power when electronics are off.

17. Cancel your trash pickup service. Take trash to the dump yourself and save a few bucks.

18. Buy in bulk. Go to Costco and stock up on items you go through a lot such as bottled water or toilet paper. You can also go with a friend if you don’t have a membership and split the cost and items.

19. Instead of buying flavored waters, add your own lemon, lime, cucumber, orange, or mint for a fancy and refreshing drink.


20. You don’t need a mini fridge to store wine. Keep your bottles in the bottom of a cool, dark closet instead to save on electricity costs.

21. Create an inventory list showing what items you have and how much you paid per unit. For products you buy often, make a price comparison for where you are shopping.

22. Cancel any cable or satellite channels you aren’t watching.

23. Subscribe to a ton of magazines at your salon? Switch over to the digital editions or recycle old issues to create anything from furniture to jewelry. Search “recycled magazines” on Pinterest and see what we mean.

24. “Good old-fashioned foil and cotton to remove gel-polish instead of expensive wraps.” - Georgia Berthelsen,  Hello Gorgeous Salon & Boutique, Aurora, Neb.

25. If you have a no-show, use the time to take care of other needs around the salon or help out a fellow tech. Clients will appreciate the fact that the salon is running efficiently and your coworkers will be grateful they don’t have to stay extra late to re-stock polish or sanitize implements. Time is money, so the more quickly things move along, the better for the salon.

Illustrations by Yuiko Sugino


These websites will help you budget your money and spend wisely.

  • Pinterest is free to sign up for. Use it to catalog DIY ideas and then put them into practice. You can find pins on everything from fixing furniture to creating your own nail polish rack.
  • Websites like Bundle Monster ( offer great deals on large quantities of product.
  • is a free website that organizes and categorizes your spending for you. Set goals, remind yourself to pay bills, and track investments, all at
  • Sign up for Daily Worth, a daily e-newsletter that shares money management ideas for women.
  • To compare the cost of thousands of products and services, search

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