On a Broke Girl Budget: The Thrifty Nail Hack

I have been obsessed with my nails since middle school. I know a lot of other girls go through this because I noticed many 8th graders begin to get acrylic nails and bragging about being allowed to go to the salon. All throughout high school, getting acrylics was a normal routine for girls. There was almost a sense of status to it- showing that some girls could afford to have their nails “blinged” up, which is quite expensive.

I really started going to salons and getting my nails done during my sophomore year of high school. I’ve only ever had one good experience getting them done and that was during my senior year for prom. Once I went to the salon and the nail technician picked up the wrong color, then proceeded to do my nails with it. On another visit,  I went to get my acrylics removed and the women proceeded to take clippers and clip them off (this happened more than once, but I remember the women specifically because it hurt). I remember one of the women didn’t cut it down as short as I wanted and kept shaking her head when I told her to go lower. All these experiences were very expensive given that a full set can be $25 to $40  and getting gel polish can jack that up an additional $20, getting bling adds $5-$10 to your total and getting a different shape than square can add ANOTHER few extra dollars.  Some people come out the salon having spent 60 plus dollars on a bi-weekly basis. I always got basic nails, square with regular polish and spent roughly $35 each time. If I was just getting a refill on my acrylics it was $15-$20.

 Why did I keep going to the salon if all my experiences were horrible?

I kept going because I wanted my nails to look pretty. Having pretty nails really helped my confidence and I didn’t have a ton of that during my high school years. I stopped going when I started college because it was pricey and I didn’t have a means to get to a salon every two weeks. One day while shopping with a friend I picked up a set of glue-on nails for only $7. I researched online the best glue to use with these nails because the glue that comes with the nails is always crap. After buying a bottle of glue from Amazon for four bucks, I applied the pack of nails.Photo courtesy of Zeairah Webb

They stayed on for two entire weeks!

I no longer go to the salon, I just buy nails from stores like Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid, Walgreens or Etsy. I recommend it because the nails look like they were done at the salon when, in reality, it was done in a dorm room. It only takes 15 minutes or less to apply them, leaving you more time to get things done during the day and more money in your wallet. They are usually as strong as acrylic nails (this depends on the nail brand and glue). I’ve worn one set for almost three weeks and helped both freshman and upperclassmen move in without one nail popping off or breaking. There are sooooo many selections and you get different nail sizes, bling or shapes all for $7 to $20 a set.

Treat yo’ self, collegiettes!

Photo courtesy of Zeairah Webb