Looking after ourselves often costs more than we might anticipate, but from keeping fit on a budget to getting an eye test, Which? members have plenty of ideas to help.
During May and June 2015 we asked 341 members about the savings they’ve made on health, beauty and grooming.
Here, we bring you some of the highlights and more unusual ways to pay less.
Find out more: Throughout the year, we survey thousands of Which? members to see how they save money on everyday bills, services and purchases. You can read our members’ money-saving tips every month by trialling Which? Money for £1.
Save money on toiletries and haircuts
Offering to ‘model’ at a hairdressers, either for training or testing new products can result in a discounted or cut price cut or colour. Heather Eliot, 63, saved £40 when her hairdresser was trialling a new brand of dye.
Linda Keller, 60, saved £156 last year by opting to visit a neighbour who offers hairdressing services from her home. ‘I’m not put under pressure to buy expensive salon products’, she told us.
Toddy Peters, 43, makes the most of MySupermarket.co.uk to compare the prices of toiletries as well as food. She uses the ‘price drop’ feature which alerts her when pricier branded products such as Aussie shampoo and L’Oreal face wipes are on special offer.
Find out more: See our branded toiletries basket – which shops were cheapest?
Consider travelling abroad for significant dental work
Members reported significant savings after travelling to Hungary, even with the cost of travel and accommodation factored in. Susie Barwick, 61, from Bourne End, Buckinghamshire saved £1,000 on her seven-tooth bridge.
Some arranged their treatment via UK branches of the Hungarian dentists and were able to have follow-up appointments when back at home. Peter Hobbs, 72, saved more than £1,000 on dental i surgery after meeting a Hungarian dentist who had travelled to Guernsey to meet residents and quote for treatments, which were less than half the cost of the private practices on the island.
Others believed they had saved money just looking after their teeth, using floss and interdental brushes, as per instruction from dentists and hygienists. Cathy McLeod 71, invested in a Waterpik flosser (£40) and subsequently reduced the frequency of her trips to the hygienist.
WARNING: if you decide to seek treatment abroad, make sure you do your research thoroughly and don’t assume there will be a safety net if it doesn’t go to plan.
Find out more: Toothpaste Tested – should you pay more for premium products?
Pay less for the gym
Tying yourself into a lengthy and pricey gym membership seemed to be a thing of the past in the opinion of the members we surveyed. Budget chains with monthly contracts and pay as you go initiatives were popular ways to work out for less. Paul Creasey, 60, uses PayasUgym which allows him to try a number of centres and classes across the country depending where he is. ‘It’s cheaper to buy a monthly pass through the site, than at the gym itself’, he said.
Local authority gyms often have similar core facilities and activities to bigger, private chains. Switching from a David Lloyd to a council run leisure centre saved Chris Humphreys, 60, £510 on his annual fee.
Off-peak memberships were popular with retired members, as well as any age discounts available.
Consider the options beyond your optician
Being seen by a trainee optician and even ordering glasses or contact lenses through a university might prove to be cheaper than the high street. Jenny Stevens, 69, does this through City University, London, and not only receives a free check-up for being over 60, but gets lenses at ‘competitive’ prices.
Some members obtained prescriptions from an optician on the high street, but took to websites such as Glasses Direct to buy the frames and lenses. Sue Stephenson, 63, saved almost £200 by doing this.
Find out more: Best and worse optician stores – who came out on top?