Resources for Reducing the Cost of Professional Services

by Kathleen Tencza
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Hiring a professional doesn’t have to be costly. You can find room in your budget for professional services using these resources.

When it comes to retail shopping and the purchase of tangible things, whether groceries, home goods or even cars, frugal shoppers seem to look for discounts automatically and even expect them.

The same isn’t always true for many services. It is often harder to find ways to save on beauty, medical or business-related services. However, obtaining free or reduced-cost professional services is easier than you think.

Tax Preparation

Those who are inexperienced with doing their own taxes might think they need to splash out for a CPA, head to a chain store like H&R Block, or pay for software. But for uncomplicated tax filings, free options are available via the IRS and companies like TurboTax. The IRS provides free software to people making under $73,000, and free fillable forms for those making more.

If you like talking to a human for tax prep advice, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program also offers free help to people who make under $60,000, people with disabilities, and limited English speaking taxpayers. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site near you, use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887.

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Credit Monitoring

Monitoring your credit doesn’t require paying $30 a month or more. Credit Karma is absolutely free for viewing your TransUnion and Equifax informational VantageScore.

You can also get free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus from Typically you can get request free copies once per year, but through the end of 2023, you can get free copies weekly.

Business Accounting

Small business owners know every dollar counts, and that reducing overhead costs are paramount to a company’s financial health. One way to trim the budget is by using free and low-cost expense tracking software to send invoices, manage receipts, and perform basic accounting.

All these features are 100% free via Wave, though they offer payroll and payment processing services for additional fees. Expensify, likewise, has additional features you can unlock for $5-9 per active user per month – a small fee for a closely-held business compared to other well-known accounting software.

Hair Services

According to data collected by, the average cost of a U.S. haircut is $10 to $90 for women and $15 to $40 for men. While the cost can be justified by the boost in confidence that comes with having a great hairdo, cheaper (and often FREE) styling options are available! See if any professional stylists in your area need styling models.

Professional stylists seek people of all ages, races, and hair types to get pampered at low or no cost. Why? Because often, when a stylist moves to a new city, they’ll need to “audition” for a spot at a salon, using a model to demonstrate their skill set. Experienced salon trainers also use models to demonstrate techniques to newer stylists – everything from ombre highlights to pixie cuts to gray coverage. Even Sally Herschberger Salon, a celebrity favorite, seeks styling models.

Beauty Services

The beauty counter is no longer just a place to try new products and fend off pushy salespeople. At Nordstrom, over a dozen luxury beauty brands offer a variety of beauty services that don’t cost a dime. Among their comprehensive offerings are a 45-minute expert makeover and lesson from Dior, the Kate Somerville Signature Facial, makeup application coaching from Georgio Armani, contouring lessons, and foundation-matching services. At Sephora, beauty advisors also give demos like lash application and smoky eye tutorials for absolutely free.

Much like hair stylists, makeup artists seek demo models to promote their businesses. Instagram has become one of the most popular promo platforms in the beauty business. Experienced artists often give free treatments in exchange for just a few photographs posted to their virtual portfolio.

Dental Care

A study published in the Journal of the California Dental Association found that one out of five individuals reported being unable to afford needed dental care. Respondents to another study cited costs and lack of dental insurance as the biggest reasons they’d forgo a dental visit. One solution for obtaining free or reduced-cost dental care is to find programs offered through university dental schools. provides a comprehensive list of links to local universities that give teeth cleanings, x-rays, and even reduced-fee emergency dental services, all supervised by qualified faculty members. Each location’s requirements and fee schedules are different, but they can devise treatment plans based on an individual’s financial means.

Veterinary Services

Going to the vet costs an average of $50 just to show up! Search to find providers in your area that offer discounts or payment options that can help make vet care more accessible for your pet. If you live near a veterinary college, see if it offers discounted services.

You don’t have to pay full price to get quality service! Happy deal hunting.

Reviewed July 2023

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