I'm a level-headed girl who switches up her splurges with wallet-friendly or DIY techniques in the interest of saving money. However, pricey salon visits to banish the grays often keep me out of the black.

If this sounds familiar, we're not alone and many people are switching shops to keep their cash. Since real estate is cheaper in, say, malls than the premiere locations of high-end alternatives, franchise salon development is going strong. I'm immediately nervous whenever anyone has chemicals or scissors near my hair (no matter the price), but shelling out hundreds of dollars on nonessential services makes me want to say the buck stops here . . . in my head at least.

If you've already tested out the services of beauty school students in the recession, would you turn your back on your independent salon and take a seat in a chain location to save money?