The average cost of a manicure at the salon is about $20, while the average bottle of nail polish costs around $8 and lasts around 40 two-coat uses (according to NAILS Magazine). The average cost of a pedicure at the salon is around $30. Salon manicures do tend to last a few days longer than at-home manicures and the end product is usually noticeably superior, but the savings definitely add up if you practice doing some of them on your own. If you get your nails manicured at the salon once a week, the cost adds up to $1040 a year, or $41,600 over 40 years (excluding interest)!
I personally like to get my nails done in the salon about once every two months and maintain them on my own in-between that time. I haven’t quite mastered the salon manicure and pedicure look and I trust salon employees with my cuticles more than I trust myself. Shellac manicures, while more expensive, last much longer and can be useful for big events, so I tend to splurge on those about three times a year (examples from this last year: job interview, friend’s wedding, my birthday). I would love to improve my own manicure skills to have even less visits to the nail salon each year! I’m just not very good at them…
For tips on giving yourself a manicure, check out: http://beauty.about.com/od/manicures/a/manicures_how_to_give_yourself_a_manicure.htm
For tips on saving money on manicures, check out: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/07/26/savings-experiment-how-to-nail-a-manicure-deal/