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by Jackie Silver, author [Link Removed] 

With today's belt-tightening many people are thinking about where they can afford to cut corners and save a few dollars. There are plenty of inexpensive but effective alternatives to everyday essentials that replace the need to splurge on big-ticket beauty items. Here are just a few:

Can't afford a pricey spa? No problem - bring the spa to you. Sequestering yourself in the bathroom for an hour or two of pampering can go a long way toward rejuvenating the spirit. Start by setting the mood with a few smokeless, battery-operated candles and soft, relaxing music. Then apply a nice mask to your face while you soak your cares away in a soothing bath. Ask your healthcare professional about Natural Calm Bath from Peter Gillham's Natural Vitality ( "With Natural Calm Bath you are getting the advantages of a mineral salt bath with Real Salt and of Natural Calm, the best-selling magnesium supplement in the natural products marketplace," says Ken Whitman, Peter Gillham's president.

Can't afford a pricey gym membership? No problem - bring the gym home. There are plenty of exercise programs that can be done right in front of the TV, most notably the new workouts that are springing up for Nintendo Wii. The Wii itself can be pricey, but compared to years of paying for a gym membership and the gas and time to drive to the gym, it looks downright economical. If you're a cable or fiber optic customer, check the on-demand section of your system for a variety of free workouts for every activity level, from hard-core aerobics to yoga, pilates and even Bollywood dancing.

Can't afford a pricey salon hair-coloring? No problem - plenty of do-it-yourself products make it easier to touch up roots, create highlights or change hair color completely so you can make fewer trips to the salon. Just check the shelves at your local pharmacy or big-box store and you're sure to find racks and racks of brands and color choices. Roots can be touched up in a matter of minutes with one of the many new products available, while over-all color and highlights may take a bit longer. I find that for "bigger" jobs, such as at-home highlights, inviting a friend over to help goes a long way toward achieving a more professional result. [Link Removed]

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