Best dance class for Gaga wannabes Lindsay Ritter Dance National Ballet School, 400 Jarvis St., 416-817-5460
Learn to vamp like a music video star in Canada’s best pop-jazz classes—basically modern dance with a few kicks and turns thrown in. Artistic director and instructor Lindsay Ritter emphasizes what’s new and hot in her 90-minute classes, where so-you-think-you-can-dancers learn a routine set to the biggest pop hits (including Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”). All sessions are drop-in and just $14 each, which means you’ll have plenty of extra money to buy that meat dress you always wanted.
Best Beckham hair Vidal Sassoon Academy 37 Avenue Rd., 416-920-1333
The classic Sassoon cut is a graduated bob—sleek, sophisticated and pricy (between $78 and $110). Cut costs without snipping style by serving as a human teaching tool at the salon’s Toronto academy, where tress tamers are schooled in the Sassoon ways. Teaching sessions generally last between two and three hours, so be prepared to plant your butt for a little longer than usual. Pass the time plotting how to spend all the money you saved. Haircut $19.
Upscale alterations Stychin’ Tyme 2502 Yonge St., 416-485-6970
For 20 years, the dressmaker, seamstress and tailor Penny Bedford has been doing Gucci-calibre work for Gap prices, which explains her devoted following of frugal fashion plates. Services run from the basic (hemming from $15) to the more involved. Bedford, who trained in men’s tailoring in England in the ’60s, is a master at altering men’s suits, making her the go-to person for the post-Atkins Bay Street crowd.
Eyebrow expert Avalon Esthetics 541 College St., 416-963-9093
Most hair maintenance can be handled with a pair of tweezers, but to do the bushy brows of the season right, you’ll want to consult a professional. Joanne Sabatini at Avalon salon uses wax to blast unruly unibrows and shape arches. The service is less than half the price of big-name salons, which is a good thing, because growing in those over-plucked, early-millennium-Drew-Barrymore-style brows may take more than one visit. Eyebrow waxing $10.
Pooch bathing Soggie Dog Company 1054 Queen St. E., 416-406-2626
Leslieville’s canine-to-human ratio is among the city’s highest, so it makes sense that the east end ’hood has myriad puppy primping options. To get the best bang for your buck, try the Soggie Dog’s DIY wash service, which offers top-of-the-line washing products and equipment for use in a comfortable setting. No cleanup required means you can wash and go, or drop an extra $10 to outsource dog-washing duties to one of the pros on hand. DIY wash starts at $22.50.
Louboutin rejuvenation Nick’s Custom Boots and Shoe Repair 169 Dupont St., 416-924-5930
Urban winters will do a number on your runway-worthy footwear. But before dropping triple digits on a new pair, try taking last year’s model in for a professional cleaning with the city’s shoe makeover master. Boots are treated with a chemical desalting agent and stain remover, then polished, conditioned and sprayed with a protectant to prevent—or at least postpone—this winter’s beating. $20 and up.
High-speed Internet TekSavvy teksavvy.com
Technological life can be complicated and costly, which is why it’s so nice to find a no-brainer: cheap and easy high-speed DSL wireless service. TekSavvy is a sort of wholesale service provider, offering more bandwidth for less money than the retail giants. That’s especially key for anyone using a computer as a TV-slash-movie-theatre. A $60-per-month Rogers plan limits free downloading to 100 gigs per month, and with the average Netflix movie screening at about five gigs, watching the final season of Desperate Housewives could cost you more than just your self-respect. $47.97 plus a one-time $99 start-up fee buys you a more-than-sufficient 300 gigs per month.
Junk removal Junk-Out 416-253-7533
If your basement is beginning to resemble the Island of Misfit Appliances, it’s probably time to call in a professional. To save money, avoid the big billboard names—Henrique Vieria of Junk-Out will get rid of your unwanted drywall, dishwashers and other discarded stuff for between $350 and $400 per 14-cubic-yard bin. Running a small business with low overhead means he can charge a whole $100 less than crap-clearing Goliaths.
Emergency plumber Adrian Plumbing 416-880-1029
Master plumber and former Mr. Rooter employee Adrian Heji can undercut his old employer thanks to lower operational costs (he’s the labour) and minimal overhead (he owns a truck). Call him ’round the clock for toilet installation (starting at $120, compared with Mr. Rooter’s $200-plus), leaks, drain problems and pretty much any piping disaster, as well as home heating issues and malfunctioning furnaces. Service is prompt, professional and plumber’s-crack free.
Snow tire storage Tire Source 141 Queen St. E., 416-362-1235
Stressing about where to store those winter tires when the freezing season finally lets up? (It will let up, right?) Avoid tucking them away in your garage, your basement or, if you’re a condo dweller, your living room. These may sound like good ways to save a buck, but tires kept improperly (where unwanted moisture can get inside them) can quickly lose the qualities that made them so pricy in the first place. Plus, they tend to be covered in road grime. Instead, drop and store winter wheels at the centrally located Tire Source. Removal and full off-season storage for $120, which is as cheap as it comes.
By Andrew D’Cruz, Matthew Hague, Rachel Heinrichs, Emily Landau, David Lawrason, Jason McBride, Mark Pupo, Peter Saltsman and Courtney Shea. (Images: Jess Baumung)