Recession Guide: Philly On the Cheap

Looking to do some proverbial belt-tightening? Consider a novel approach to dining, primping and relaxing on the cheap: make a reservation or appointment at a professional trade school and let chefs, masseuses and stylists-in-training feed you, massage you and beautify you. Whether you are seeking hair-cutting, highlighting, waxing, massaging, eating a meal a good meal for a good price, or indulging in a delicious dessert, there are low-cost options for you.

Updated: June 09, 2009

Professional Training Schools


Jean Madeline Aveda Institute

315 A Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Free yourself from the stress in your life without putting pressure on your wallet. At any one of three Jean Madeline institutes in the city, you can improve your appearance through an affordable haircut, manicure, or hair highlighting starting at less than $20. Other services include hair extensions, relaxation, perms and straightening. One can also get an affordable lip, brow, leg, arm, or bikini wax.


Massage Arts Ctr-Philadelphia

519 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Unwind from a day's work without losing a day's pay. Get an hour-long massage from a student, a recently graduated apprentice practitioner or from a professionally experienced associate practitioner for just $35-$50 per hour. Techniques include therapeutic massage (for relaxation) and shiatsu (stretching and rotating the customer's joints). There is also a maternity massage class for mothers-to-be.


Restaurant School

4207 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Traverse the culinary world without leaving Philadelphia at this cooking school's four eateries that range from an Italian bistro to an American heartland dining room that prepares a three-course meal at an inexpensive price. Items at the various restaurants include spicy corn chowder, white spinach with bacon dressing, firebrand shrimp, chicken breast, pastas, pork loin medallions with peach salsa, trout, and a variety of pastries.


JNA Institute of Culinary Arts

1212 S Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19146

Eat a full three-course meal for a mere $25. Dishes include duck confit and potatoes, mussels, beef tenderloin, duck breast, and roasted spring vegetables. Desserts range from Belgian waffles with powdered sugar and whipped cream to homemade sorbets and ice creams.


The Art Institute of Philadelphia

1622 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Future chefs cook up a four-course lunch for $15 and a six-course dinner for $30 on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the school year at the in-house restaurant, Petite Passion. The student chefs prepare menus that change every few weeks and incorporate elements of international, classical and American regional cuisine. Don't forget to be patient with the servers--they're students, too.