Sunday, February 17, 2013
A year of self-haircuts
It's been a year since I bought a Wahl clipper per Mr. Money Mustache's advice. In that time I shaved with a razor maybe half a dozen times, and I never went to a barber. I can confidently say that this has been one of the easiest and biggest wins for me during my time as a Mustachian.
In terms of pure numbers it's a no-brainer. I estimate that I used to get a haircut every six week or so. That's about 8 haircuts per year, rounding down. At $17 per haircut ($14 plus tip), that's $136 per year on haircuts. I usually shave every two to three days. Let's say I replace my Mach 3 Turbo blades every 3.4 weeks, to make the numbers convenient: that's 15 blades per year, which I can find on Amazon right now for $15.99 for a 5-pack or $28.99 for a 10-pack; let's take the lower $2.90/blade number and say that's $43.50 per year. Shaving cream is $1 per can, and let's say I go through one every six months, for $2 per year.
My Wahl clipper was $25 and saved me $181 in a year, which by my count is a 624% return on investment this year. Pretty good!
I saved a lot of time, too. A trip to the barber takes somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, including travel time and wait time. Cutting my own hair takes maybe fifteen minutes in the comfort of my own home. And the time saved is prime time: I visit the barber on the weekend, usually during the day when I could be doing anything else with my time; whereas I can (and do) cut my own hair on a random Tuesday evening. So I estimate I've traded 9 weekend hours for 2 weeknight hours, which is a pretty awesome trade.
Now, I don't want to pretend like it's all roses. The average quality of haircut I receive from a barber is noticeably higher than that which I give myself. I screwed up my sideburns once or twice while I was learning how to cut my hair, and I haven't even attempted the fancypants layering technique that the professionals can do. At best I've learned how to make my hair passably well-kept, which is good enough for me. If I were so inclined (which I'm not), I think I could pick up a technique or two approximate more closely the haircuts given out by professional barbers. That is time and effort that you may be willing to invest yourself.
It remains to be seen how long my clipper will last. It shows no noticeable signs of degradation, and I freely admit I have not been doing much to maintain it. Whenever it does decide to die, either tomorrow or in one or five or ten years, it will have paid for itself many many times over.
In conclusion, I highly recommend buying your very own Universal Men's Grooming Device (or clipper or trimmer or whatever you want to call it), and using it to maintain all your facial hair. I was skeptical at first and now I am a true believer. Worst case you spend a little more for a crappy haircut and go back to your life at the barber shop. Best case you save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours over the course of your lifetime. Give it a shot!