Ah, a day at the spa. I dream of it often…a relaxing few hours, getting a massage, or getting pretty nail polish painted onto pedicured toes. Although my dreaming of a day at the spa is ideal, the strain it puts on our strict budget is not. Since we’re saving for a home, there's not much extra lately—especially not for spa luxuries. But, being the stringent saver that I am, I just knew there were ways to save on days at the spa, too! I was right! Even luxury can be had for a discount! Check out these sneaky ways to save on a little pampering:

1. Search for nearby beauty schools

Often, beauty schools offer discounted services in order for their students to practice. These options are best if you plan to go alone for services like pedicures or manicures, since they are often not as formal or upscale as retail spas. Usually they take place at the school. Although it can be busier and less relaxing, the prices are great. I can get a local pedicure at the beauty school for $12, whereas a pedicure at the spa nearby will set me back $32. That's a savings of $20!

Local massage students usually have to do some practicums or internships, and that can be a great way to save on massage or massage therapy in lieu of more expensive options. Also, keep an ear out for friends and family studying beauty or massage; they usually have to accrue a certain amount of hours of practice.

2. Utilize sites like Groupon

We don't live in a city that has local Groupon deals, but Eugene, Oregon has many offers, including deals for massages that are 40-50% off. A few searches show that there are several similar deals all across the US (if you live in a larger city). Check with your local news stations and your local newspaper for “deals of the day.” In my city, I can save 50% on spa or salon treatments just by taking advantage of those deals when they pop up!

3. Go on off-days

Spas are busiest on the weekends, so some will often offer discounts on days earlier in the week, or even during the lunch hour! Although it's an odd time to go, if you're able to have a flexible schedule, it would work to your advantage. Call your local spas to add your name to mailings and emails, where you’ll be able to see special prices the moment they pop up. Be sure to ask detailed questions when you call to make an appointment, such as, "Can you give me a total cost on the services I would like?”, “Are there any additional fees?”, “Is the tip included, or should I plan to add that later?" If you know all the costs up front, then you won't be surprised!

Note: Don't be stingy with your tip. You need to factor that into your total cost—not skimp on it at the end.

4. Go to the parties you keep getting invited to

I know we have all been invited to parties for products such as Avon and Mary Kay, and I (ashamedly) often ignore or decline the invitation. I often feel obligated to buy items that I don't need, so I stay away. But, if you use these types of products, a party is a great way to get free facial treatments. Often, the consultants do types of facials, show you new makeup tips, or even give foot treatments (similar to a spa day)! It can be a really fun and money-saving way to mingle with friends—and give your skin a refresher. Just make sure to set a budget before you go, and only carry cash so you don't get roped into buying products you don't need or want. Be clear with the hostess if you don't plan to buy anything!

This is a guest post by Grace from Medford, Oregon.