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Pamper Yourself on the Cheap

The price of personal care can be steep, but if you're resourceful, there are ways around the high prices.

A lot of us are cutting back on spending on luxury items such as massages, pedicures and expensive haircuts and colorings during these tough times. But, Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen pointed out on "The Early Show" Wednesday, you can get top notch-services for much less by thinking outside the box and looking toward beauty, massage, or even dental schools.

For instance, the New York College of Health Professions offers 50-minute Swedish massages for only $35 dollars. To put that in perspective: A comparable massage will usually will run you about $150. The college also offers acupuncture for only $30, and "facial rejuvenation" for $40.

Even though most of the treatment is done by students, they're under the watchful eyes of faculty members. Before any patient has any work done, there's a patient-student consultation, then the student presents a treatment plan to the faculty supervisor. And there's periodic faculty supervision during the actual massage or acupuncture session.

Another example Koeppen gave was haircuts and coloring. Most cosmetology schools offer discounted haircuts, coloring, and a variety of other services. The Arrojo Cosmetology School has $25 haircuts. Many schools offer all kinds of salon services, such as manicures, pedicures, and blowouts, all for much less than you'd pay for at a salon. The drawback: It's a student cutting your hair, so it can be a little risky, but for basic services, going to a school will save you money.

These types of services are available across the country. All it takes is a quick Internet search for beauty school and the name of your city to find one near you. Odds are there's a school nearby offering discounted beauty care.

You can also get some medical services inexpensively by going to teaching clinics, Koeppen observed. She had someone on the set who got an emergency root canal for a fraction of what it would have cost at a private dentist. The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, for instance, offers all types of dental services, from basic fillings to more complex procedures, such as root canals and denture implantations.

The savings vary by the procedure and where you are get it done. But typically, you can save anywhere from 50-75 percent by going to a clinic rather than a private practice.

All you have to do is go to a clinic and fill out some paperwork. Anybody is eligible for the discounted services.



To write to Susan, click here