Men: Save money by cutting your own hair

Click on the image to buy the best value set of clippers available at the moment

When the goal is early retirement sometimes you have to get creative.

I cut my own hair and estimate that it will save me about $2,473.87 over a ten year period, and a whole lot more by the end of my life.

One of the remarkable things about modern western society is that we have become incredibly competitive about our consumption of stuff. It seems that it doesn’t really matter what it is, but it’s important that other people know that we’re buying it. It’s a phenomenon known as conspicuous consumption and was first explained by Thorstein Veblen in 1899. He noted that some of the rich were using their wealth to be ‘socially visible’ – rather than useful.

It’s a phrase that has more application than ever. You only have to look at the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and even the food we eat to know that it’s not just about function – large portions of the way we spend money as modern people is to show our station in life for all to see.

One of the ways we do this is to pay people lots of money (equivalent to the value of several hours of our life at work) to cut our hair a little bit shorter every now and again. But why? It’s an almost purely an aesthetic expense that we do to fit in and because other people do it.

It’s also something you can do yourself if you’re happy with short haircuts.

I decided to opt out of the system of paying for haircuts because the value and utility is almost zero given you can do it for free at home with scissors or hair clippers. Almost all short haircuts are easy to achieve with clippers and a few of the attachments they normally come with.

The beauty of doing this is that the result is normally extremely similar to that of a cut from an expensive salon. Only today, a few days after a recent cut using my trusty clippers, I received a compliment on my new haircut and was asked where I had my hair cut!

This is just another small step on the way to a life in which I aspire to be able to do more myself, reduce my reliance on others, simplify my life and worry less about what others think.

The best part is that is will save me a bucket-load of money that will allow me to retire just that little bit earlier.

How much do you pay for a haircut? Have you ever cut your own hair?

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Men: Save money by cutting your own hair — 29 Comments

    • $15 doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but it adds up. I guess I’m happy with a slightly basic haircut in exchange for not paying the $180 a year he does. For me, it’s a big expense when I’m trying to get down to a 25% spending rate.

  1. I have cut my own hair for the last 8 years. I was tired of trying to find someone to do it for me, so I decided to give it a try. My wife loves it and I don’t mind saving $20 each month to trim down the hair. It is an easy way to save money and you don’t even have to think about it.

    • Nice work Grayson. It feels pretty awesome saving money in these non-traditional areas. I love the secrecy of it to be honest – I love people thinking I’m just a normal consumer when in fact I’m living on a fraction of their budget. It’s motivating to me for some reason to keep doing better.

  2. LOL! I love how in the title is says men right off the bat, because I’m pretty sure every single females reaction was like, “whhhuuuuuut!!!???” There may be a few brave female souls out there. I’ve only cut my bangs, and that took a huge dose of courage. :)

    • Yeah, I didn’t want to be sexist about it. Of course females can do it, it’s just that longer haircuts (another generalisation) tend to be a bit harder to do at home! Any girls with short cuts should give it a try! It’s really pretty easy.

  3. I’ve not pad for a hair cut in probably 15 years, if not more. I bought a set of clippers in college for $15 bucks and would just have a friend shear my head every few weeks. Those clippers lasted a solid 12 years, give or take. Now my wife cuts my hair with the second set of clippers I’ve had to buy. I am thankful for her, because I know I’d look like a fool if I did it on my own.

    • Hell yeah John! Way to go – 15 years is an awesome effort. I have a bet with a co-worker (who now knows my secret) and I will earn a handy $300 if I don’t pay to have my hair cut … for 10 years. I’m that confident! It’s going to be a breeze.

    • Haha. It’s really not that bad – there is no magic with haircutting. Your hair just gets shorter… It really doesn’t matter who’s on the other end of the clippers if you’re having the same length all over. Even if you had a bit more hair, it’s really easy to change the lengths on top. I use three different lengths so it’s blended. It looks just like it did before. Worth a try!

      Put it this way – if you bought one and did it twice and hated it, you’d still come out in front financially!

  4. We’ve got this electric shaver and my wife shaves my hair pretty short every couple months. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been to a barber! For men, it seems crazy to get our hair cut professionally — do men really notice or care that much? I know fo rmy wife she goes to a cost cutters palce because so far I havent’ been able to cut her hair straight, haha :-)

    • Most men aren’t focused on other men’s hair – agree completely. I’d love to find a girl who does it herself. Or one brave enough to let her partner do it!

  5. I cut my own hair with clippers quite a few times but to be honest I did a fairly crummy job. I then used those same clippers on my pet and retired them. I do go to a barber about once every 4 months ($11) I let it grow and then take it down short. I have thought about getting a new pair though.

    • Get a decent set and have someone else do it. It’s really not hard and there are heaps of good quality cheap sets around (like the one linked in the thread). Your barber sounds awesome. There is one near me that cuts beards for $5 – and he throws in a free beer too! I seriously have no idea how he makes money, but he’s quite popular as you can imagine.

  6. I don’t cut or color my own hair – possibly you anticipated this since the past is addressed to men, lol.

    For a typical cut and color with tip, I pay my stylist $175. It takes him about three hours to do my hair.

    Sometimes I’ll save money by getting my hair done for free at hair schools or at salon training classes, but my stylist always does the best job. :) For me, it’s about choosing what I spend my money on. I don’t mind this expense, but I tend to spend less than other people on clothes and makeup, foot example.

    • Yeah, unfortunately for us in our society there appear to be different rules for men and women. I wish that it wasn’t like that and we could all just have our hair however we liked and no one would care. It never ceases to amaze me how much women’s haircuts and colouring costs. I suspect it’s for precisely the point I’ve made here – it’s easy for men to do at home, but not for women – hence the huge markup. If you ever go crazy and do it yourself, let me know – it’d be a cool article I reckon.

  7. I started cutting my own hair about 5 years ago, mainly because I had already lost most of it and needed to go short anyway. So, out of necessity, I bought a hair trimmer and have not paid for a haircut since. I love it and it has saved me a ton of money over the years. In regards to females doing this, I’m not sure how feasible that would be.

    But for guys, of course, I’d suggest that most of us do it.

  8. I get my hair cut every couple months by our mate who has set up shop in her basement. She has quite the clientèle likely because she is so cheap, smart I say. My cut costs me much less than going to the shops, much less. I can’t complain and there’s no way I’d let my wife near me… :-)

  9. I am always snipping at my own hair and actually receive more compliments than when I go to a pricey salon, LOL. But regardless, no matter how badly it gets flobbed, hair at least will grow back. Salon prices are outrageous and the results just don’t justify the cost for me.

  10. I used to do that all the time until my wife told me i was doing a bad job and that i should just pay to get it done…then my sister graduated from cosmetology school and i have been having her do it ever since…sure i get her a nicer christmas gift but not nearly what i spend on hair cuts…

  11. I’ve been doing this now for about 12 years and want to say that Wahl clippers are awesome. For the first 5 years, I’d go through a clipper a year. Despite following the directions and maintaining it, they would die.

    Somehow, I stumbled on a Wahl shaver and the thing is awesome. 6 or 7 years later it is clipping like the day I bought it.

    As you alluded to, paying someone to cut your hair is a major drag: Drive to the haircut place (I don’t want to take my bike as I’ll sweat and be nasty). Sit there and wait for your turn reading stupid sports magazines for up to an hour. Sit there another 20-30 minutes while making dumb chit chat with the barber. Pay $15. Drive home. No thanks.

  12. lol.. you are a brave soul. I could never forego my haircuts though. For $18, it includes a cut, wash, 3 minute head massage and 2 minute back rub. Well worth it and I always look forward to it. :)

  13. My wife has been cutting my hair for years. saving a couple hundred dollars a year there at least. Now my step daughter is a
    hair stylist so my wife gets freebies as well.
    Side note though grooming related, is I always shave with a plain old soap lather. habit I got into when I ran out of shaving lotion when I was younger. Learned that for me at least it worked just fine, one less thing to buy.

  14. i don’t know what the big taboo is all about that only men can get their haircuts at home and women’s hair is somehow too difficult so we have to run to the salon and pay a lot of money. I have my guy trim my hair for me every 6-8 weeks, does a great job and I figure it saves me over $500 a year with all factors considered. He has never given me a bad haircut (too many terrible ones at the salon) and it is far more convenient to just tell him I’m due for a trim and he cuts it for me, than make an appointment and waste half the morning at the salon and then leave with a haircut I’m not happy with.

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