DIY Haircuts

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!

Cal before haircut

I start out by using the clippers with the longest attachment to do the bottom section.

haircut 1

haircut 2

Then I trim up the edges with my husband’s beard and mustache trimmer.

haircut 3

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.

haircut 4

And, here is the finished cut. It’s by no means perfect or professional looking, but I think it’s ok.

finished haircut

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.

champ with haircut

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.



  1. I would say that you are saving a lot of money. We do haircuts at home too. My husband is the barber/stylist that gives haircuts to my children as well as cutting mine. I have him trim mine every other month and the children get theirs cut about once a month. I calculate my savings to include haircut, tip and transportation at $.55 a mile to be about $70 every other month, my children’s at $55 a month that’s over $1000 a year. I tried doing the children’s hair at first, both insisted my husband do it as he does a better job. That’s ok with me, they are still done at home. Since he started coloring my hair a couple years ago when the grays became too numerous, I save even more. I have him use henna, no toxic chemicals that cause cancer going on this lady’s head. He does my full hair length every three months and root touch up at the six week point. Always a great job, I had a lady who runs a salon stop me in the grocery store to compliment how good my hair looked and ask where I had it done. She was impressed with his work and was glad more guys are not willing to do it, it would ruin her business. If I were to go the salon route, it would be over $1000 a year for color alone and they don’t use henna.
    We also have a couple small raised beds that we garden as well. Like you, I am looking forward to a larger piece of property in the near future. Want the fruit orchard, berry patch, vegetable garden and to raise chickens to have fresh eggs.

    1. That’s great, Cheryl! I hadn’t even thought about the mileage – that really adds up too! I also like the flexibility of not making appointments and juggling multiple commitments. So glad you stopped by and shared this. It’s always nice to know that others find these frugal practices as rewarding as I do. 🙂

      1. I had to have a new water pump and tires put on my vehicle this last year. Ouch$$, the vehicle is paid off, but running extra trips are a cost I consider. I try to consolidate errands and I add the cost of what I am doing/getting. An extra 30 mile round trip adds $16.50 to my cost. It adds up. As you mentioned the hassle of appointments, my neighbor waited over a hour and a half after she got to the salon before they got to her even though she had made the appointment over a month earlier. She paid $130 for the cut and color and hers is quite short, just brushes her shoulders. Mine being waist length would be charged the “long hair extra ” and be closer to $200. She happened to stop over at the time my husband had just caped me and had about half my hair sectioned and pinned up. She shared the story as she watched and told me how lucky I was that my husband is both willing to and capable of doing a great job on my hair. I always hated the wait in the salon, now I don’t have to go anywhere and I can do things at home during the time I have the henna on my head versus waste a morning or afternoon in the salon. At first a couple friends thought it was crazy that I let him cut my hair, but after seeing the results after he started coloring my hair, the last time I posted before & after photos, a couple friends asked if he would take appointments.

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