One frugal practice that I’ve been doing for quite a while now is giving my family hair cuts. I even cut my own hair most of the time, until it reaches a point that it needs a professional touch from too many of my self attempts on the back with a mirror. Sometimes my husband is willing to trim the back and I’ve tried to get Mo to cut the rest but she’s not quite willing to give it a try, yet.
I started out this habit by cutting my husband’s hair. He has a really easy cut that is kind of a military style – really short all the way around just slightly longer at the top. I watched a barber do it once and was like hmmm…. I think I can do that. My husband was willing for me to try it, figuring that if I really messed it up, he could just shave it and it would grow back in a few weeks. So for the price of one haircut, I bought a hair clipper set. I was nervous, but it came out pretty good. From then on, I cut his hair. That was over 15 years ago. When I thought about writing this, I wondered how much money we had saved by cutting his hair instead of paying someone to do it. I estimated that he would need 8 haircuts a year, at a low estimate of $10 per cut, for 15 years and came up with $1200. I think that’s pretty substantial. Now if I hated doing the haircuts, that might not seem worth it, but I don’t mind at all and think it’s kind of neat that I can do it.
Knowing that I could cut his hair, I wasn’t intimidated with trying to cut the kid’s hair. I did invest in a good pair of scissors and a haircutting cape from Sally’s beauty supply, so maybe a $20 investment. The girl’s hair was pretty easy – I’d just keep giving them trims and some bangs when they were little. One time, I gave Mo a short bob, not realizing how much her hair had begun to curl and I wasn’t crazy about that look. That was probably the worst cut I’ve done, but it grew in and I was able to layer it a bit which highlighted the curls. For the boys, they had cuts like their Dad for a while which was easy. Now, I do a combination of the razor on the bottom and then use scissors on the top and sides to layer it in.
This is my process for the boys. As you can see in this picture, Cal is in need of a haircut!
I start out by using the clippers with the longest attachment to do the bottom section.
Then I trim up the edges with my husband’s beard and mustache trimmer.
Next, I use a comb and scissors for the top. This is the hardest part, but I’ve found that it gets easier each time I do it. I just try to blend it from the razor part to the top with the top being a little longer than the rest. I try to keep the angle of the scissors lined up with the shape of the head and just go around and across the top until it looks somewhat even.
And, here is the finished cut. It’s by no means perfect or professional looking, but I think it’s ok.
There are a ton of videos out there done by professional hair dressers and barbers, so whenever I have a question, I jump on youtube and get some advice.
I’ve also had good luck with Mo’s curly hair. Curly hair is forgiving to start with so that helps. Last year she wanted a very drastic reverse bob, which is tough to do with curls. She had it professionally done and then I was able to maintain it for a year with little trouble. We would trim a bit, then check it and trim some more. It was probably an unconventional method, but it worked. She’s growing it out long again now, and I’ve learned how to cut curls and keep it in shape.
When Champ came along, I took him for a haircut and $100 later decided I should give his hair a try too. After all, if I wasn’t spending money on the kid’s hair, why should I pay twice the price at least for the dog’s hair. So, we purchased a good quality pet grooming razor for about $300. I figured I’d have to cut his hair 3 times to get my money back. That was a commitment I was willing to make. The first haircut was rough! It took me about 4 hours, totally exhausted me, and left me covered in Champ fur from head to toe. I was thinking that $100 was money well spent, but the idea of $100 every 6 weeks seemed like a lot. 5 haircuts later, I’ve got the process under control. It’s not the perfect grooming that I’d pay $100 for, but I think it’s good enough – Champ has never complained! I don’t mind the task. It isn’t as easy as giving the kids a haircut, but it’s not terrible either. And, I can do it on my time when it’s convenient for me.
I’ve always liked learning new things and doing things for myself. I’m not advocating that everyone should cut their own hair – just sharing what works for us and spreading the idea that you don’t have to do something one way just because most people do it that way. You might save a few dollars in the process. 🙂 I think living frugally is all about finding the right balance that works for you. If the kids told me professional haircuts were important to them, I’d find a way to work it into the budget.