I have have my hair professionally permed many times. The problem is that I have fine hair and that means I've gotten a lot of frizzed perms. So I started perming my hair with my mom. The results were much better. Also the savings much, much better.
You will have to buy perm rods but that's a one time purchase. The rolling your hair on perm rods is probably the hardest part. It's easier and quicker if you have someone that can help you. I know some that can do it themselves but it does take practice. I will have a perm day with my mom and we do each other's hair. My daughter has helped me before and she was 14 at the time. Most anyone can do this!
Most perms average $60-$80 depending where you get one. Ogilvie perms are around $10. If you perm your hair every 3 months that's a big savings! The smell is not bad either. I hated the smell of perms as a child but they have really improved the scent! I have had such good results from Ogilvie that I wouldn't buy any other perm at a retail store.