Why Cut Your Own Hair?
Have you paid someone for years to cut your hair but are now considering cutting it yourself to save money?
Why should you cut your own hair?
Should you even cut your own hair?
We’ll visit those questions and go over the numbers in just a moment.
A Quick Backstory
Growing up Asian in predominantly black and hispanic hispanic ghettos, and later white neighborhoods in the 1990’s meant that the local barbers didn’t know how to cut my hair.
It’s understandable that if majority of your customers are not asian, you’re not going to have much experience cutting asian hair, so you’re going to do the best you can.
Sadly, when they try to cut my hair, I’m left with what looks like a puffy mini afro of straight black hair that juts out at awkward angles.
I looked like the kid in the tv series “Fresh off the boat.”
This look does not fit my face 😅
My mom ended up cutting not just my hair, but my dad’s and brother’s as well.
As I got older though, I didn’t want my mom to cut my hair anymore because it was mainly the bowl cut look lol.
The nearest Asian barbers were in Chinatown in New York City and I didn’t want to commute 1 hour into the city for a nice styled haircut once a month.
That’s why, at 14 years old, I decided to take matters into my own hands and cut my own hair.
Only two hairstyles fit my face:
the clean look of a buzz cut,
the long-haired Zac Effron surfer dude look.
I wore the surfer dude hair-style for as long as I could because:
- It’s cheaper than cutting my hair all the time.
- Less bedhead.
I was able to roll out of bed and start my day without fixing my hair because it was long, straight, and flat.
So no mess.
I had to get rid of it and replace it with a clean buzz cut look because of entering the work force and the surfer dude look isn’t taken as seriously (sadly).
But when barbers cut my hair and it looked so bad, I figured “Why not cut my own hair?”
How Much Money Can You Save By Cutting Your Own Hair?
Your numbers might vary based on how fast your hair grows and how often you choose to cut your hair.
It might also differ based on where you live and how much it cost to get your haircut.
For example, I’m 26 now.
The average hair cut when I was in high school cost around $12 plus $3 tip for a total of $15.
Now, they average $20 plus $3 tip for a total of $23.
Let’s round up to $25 for easy math.
I usually cut my hair about once a month.
So from 14-18 years old, that’s:
12 months times 4 years = 48 months.
48 months times $15 = $720.
From 18-26 years old, that’s 8 years times 12 months = 96 months.
96 months times $25 = $2,400.
In total, I’ve saved about $3,000 by cutting my own hair for 12 years.
I wish I could say that I’ve invested that money and can FIRE faster but let’s be honest.
With the $15-20 I saved per month, as a teenager, I probably spent it on food and video games.
As a college student and post-college young adult, I probably spent it on hanging out with friends (and drinking, let’s be honest lol).
For you, the numbers might be less.
Or it might be more.
From what I’ve observed when my girlfriend goes to get her hair trimmed, it costs on average $40 for a female haircut!
So if the cost of your haircut is higher, then if you cut your own hair, you could end up saving even more money to invest toward FIRE faster.
But What If You Can Minimize The Cost of Getting Your Hair Cut?
Recently, my girlfriend told me how there’s another approach like when it comes to getting your eyebrows threaded by the eyebrow threading ladies in the mall.
You can go a couple of times a year to get your eyebrows threaded so they stay in good shape but between the threading, do the maintenance yourself.
You do this instead of just seeing a professional every single time and spending money.
Applying this concept to haircutting, in that case, I would be doing maybe one major haircut every 3 months with a barber for $20 plus $5 tip, so $100 a year.
But in the months between barber visits, I would trim and keep it looking orderly myself.
Hey, $100 a year doesn’t sound too bad to have it professionally cut and styled every now and then versus $25/month x 12 months = $300.
Opportunity Cost of Your Time and Money
BUT there’s another aspect to look into when it comes to cutting your own hair.
If you’re not ambidextrous and cannot reach behind your head to shape it and cut it, it might not look as good.
So you’re better off getting a barber to do it if you don’t have friends or family to shape it.
I can cut my hair in 15 minutes for a buzz cut.
This includes looking into the mirror to shape my sides and behind my head.
A barber would take about 10 minutes because they can go around my whole head while standing.
That five minutes is not much of a big difference for me right now for a rudimentary buzz cut that I can do myself for free.
So it just depends on your situation.
If you’re someone who has to constantly be on the phone and send important emails and text messages all day long, then having someone cut your hair might be better so your hands are free.
Also if you’re someone who just takes a while cutting your own hair, say 30 minutes, while the barber can do it in 10 minutes, is that 20 minutes saved important to you?
Or, to put a money aspect to it, will the cost of going to the barber outweigh or not outweigh the cost of your time to do it yourself?
Say you have to drive 15 minutes to the barber, 10 minutes to get your hair cut, and 15 minutes drive home.
That’s 40 minutes of your time.
If it takes you 1 minute to go to your bathroom, 1 minute to pull out the buzzer, 10 minutes to cut your hair, 2 minutes to clean up, and 1 minute to put back the buzzer, that’s a total of 15 minutes.
In that 25 minute difference, could you have done some freelance work on Upwork.com to make more money?
Upwork.com is a freelance website where you set your own wage and apply to people’s virtual jobs/gigs that they post.
So 25 minute difference times 12 months in a year, assuming you cut your hair once a month, is 300 minutes.
If your wage on Upwork is $100/hour, 300 minutes is 5 hours.
That’s $500 of your time you could be making if you cut your own hair.
Yes, situations will differ per person, but do you get the idea?
If you’re charging people $25/hour on Upwork and you have 5 hours over the course of the year freed from cutting your own hair, that’s still $125.
That’s all money you can invest toward reaching FIRE faster.
Not to mention, that time difference is based on how far your trip to your barber is from your house.
If it’s farther than the hypothetical 15 minutes I put down, then your savings of time and money might be more, and vice versa.
One Con of Cutting Your Own Hair: Limited Style Choices
By cutting my own hair, I am limited in the styles I can do.
For example, I am not skilled in the feathering or thinning technique for thick hair.
My limited style choices include a buzz cut and a bowl cut, of which the latter is soooooo 90’s so nahhhhh.
If you want the latest fancy hair styles, you might be better off spending the money and going to the barber.
If you’re like most FIRE peeps I know, then you could care less about hairstyle and instead are salivating over the price of that no brand shampoo at Aldi’s because it’s cheaper than Target 😆
Regardless of whether or not you end up cutting your own hair after reading this article, I just want you to be aware of where else you can save money in your daily lifestyle habits that could be put toward FIRE 🙂
And ultimately, to do the cost analysis of not just the money, but your ability to earn money with the time saved versus the time spent doing a particular lifestyle habit.
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