Ok I know many will disagree with me but I am going to let you all know gray hair is a sure way to age yourself.
It doesn't matter if you are 27 with gray or 78 gray adds ten years.
My great aunt Florence who is 87 years old in May wanted to grow out her color because of the money. I agreed to let her do it. After a month or so we gave her a perm and trimmed the last of the color off. We set and styled her hair. She took one look in the mirror and said Oh MY I look like and old lady. The next tuesday she called and asked if I would have time to color her hair on her usual day.
Now be sure if you are coloring your hair and are older 40 or more it is time to lighten up too. A shade or 2 lighter than what you used to be is good. Even use a color that is temp that will blend gray in.
I know money is a big issue when it comes to having a professional hair stylist but think about a few things maybe you can do to save when going to the salon.
After finding a reputable salon or stylist ask if a cut comes with any chemical services. Find coupons for your salon.(always go to the same salon unless they suck) do you have a profession you could share?
Do you do book work? Are you an accountant? Are you above doing some cleaning? Some salon owners would be happy to trade some services for a few colors and cuts a year. I know I would love that. I actually have a client that cleans for me and I trade for hair services. It never hurts to ask. Some salons will give you a discount for sending people to the salon or stylist. Ask your stylist if you get them 3 client if she could cut some off your next color.
Is time your problem? Most salons are open in the evenings and Saturdays. If early morning is better for you see if you can book that slot. Most beauticians work a long day and are happy to make an appointment for your convenience. Be sure if it is not a usual time to leave a nice tip for them to accommodating you. Take the hour and half to get pretty with shinny colored hair. It will make you feel good and look younger.
Just ask my Great Aunt she will never stop coloring her hair. At 87 she is not ready to look like an old lady yet. LOL
If you must do your color yourself choose a color 2 shades lighter than your darkest part. It is always easier to go darker but not so easy to go lighter once you color it. Try a temp color if you like it go permanent for a longer lasing effect.