Thursday, January 18, 2007

How Far Will I Go to Save Money?

I'm considering doing the reckless and ridiculous, taking a scary step into the frugal abyss. I'm considering cutting my own hair.

I think I've mentioned that I have lots of thick, fine curly hair. I love my curls. Partially, though, I'm able to love my curls because for the past few years they've been generally well-tended: healthy, shiny, low-frizz, and well-shaped. I do not want to botch a home cut and end up hating my hair like I did at 15.

I'm having a kind of baroque argument in my head:

Adventurous Frugality: I'm haircut-competent; I cut Alice's hair that time! It turned out great!
Cautious Vanity: Alice has straight hair.
A.F.: But that last haircut in [city in which I went to college], the woman just cut it dry until she liked the shape.
C.V.: And then I praised her artistry to the skies for months.
A.F.: If I were still in [see previous], I could get another cut with her. She was awesome. Her cuts were only $40.
C.V.: New York is more expensive. I have money saved for this purpose; I can afford a cut at Devachan. Or maybe, if I'm willing to risk sacrificing quality for cost, Ringlet.
A.F.: I could put that money into my Roth! I could put it towards travel!
C.V.: Or I could put it towards not looking like a teenage girl!
A.F.: A wealthily-retiring, well-traveled teenage girl.
C.V.: A teenage girl with long, shapeless hair. What happened to my resolve to never have long, shapeless hair again? The amazing lady who did the last cut gave it such an awesome, funky shape!
A.F.: Which I could do at home. I watched her. I saw that she was basically sculpting with a scissor.
C.V.: I also saw that she could see the back of my head.
A.F.: If I pooled my clothing and haircut funds, I could more than double my travel fund. Or I could buy a ticket to Burning Man without feeling the pinch.

So far, it's a draw.


gen3ric said...

oh no! don't do it. I've done it and had to go get a buzz cut after all was said and done. If you are looking to save some money, the barber or beauty schools give reduced priced hair cuts.

John said...

I made this decision a few months back. I bought a buzz shaver for about $20, and my has been cutting it. Fortunately I look good with a one centimeter buzz cut. Sadly, I haven't visted my barber of about 15 years, since then. This move will save us approximately $250 a year.

John said...

Addition: My wife has been cutting it.

Ms. MiniDucky said...

Oh dear, this reminds me how lucky I've been. I found a Paul Mitchell school and have been paying about $13 every couple of months for a haircut I usually love as opposed to my usual refusal to cut my hair for an entire year at a time because last year's haircut cost me $60 and traumatized me.
*good luck* maybe you'll find a happy medium ....

Clever Dude said...

My wife has been cutting my hair since we married 3 years ago. I can get away with it because I'm going bald and I just don't care about having styled hair.

The less I need to do in the morning to get ready, the better.

Also, at about $15 per cut (including $1 tip), we're saving at least $100-150 per year. And it's a little bonding time with my wife, and I show her that I trust her.

Eyebrows McGee said...

Oh, do it. I have thick, curly hair and basically all they do at salons is take ages to cut it straight across. Even ends keep the curls neat; that's all you really need. And since it curls, if it's not perfectly even, you can't even tell.

I have my husband do mine (combed flat wet, right out of the shower).

It's straight-haired people who need salons. :)

Or hit the library and read "Curly Girl" by Lorraine Massey for lots of tips and tricks for curly hair to get your courage up first.

strange bird said...

I am far more convinced by CV. I think cutting money from areas other than hair is smart, but haircuts don't need to be terribly expensive and make a huge difference in how (I) feel (about myself).

Stingy Student said...

I think the quality of the haircut depends more on who you pay than what you pay. I've found people who are artistic generally have a good sense of aesthetics, so I had a very artsy friend of mine cut mine (even though she had never cut hair before), and it came out perfect! Of course I am a guy.... but girl's love my hair, so maybe I have girly hair? Either that or I'm narcissistic......

cupcake said...

Aloha EM,

From one curly girl to another, do not cut your own hair. I repeat, do not do it. The reason being (I'm also on a personal finance crusade), curly hair only needs to be cut twice a year. I drive 1.5 hours to have the same stylist do my hair. I hate to spend money and I don't like to drive but I do this because looking good helps you feel good, in turn affects all other areas of your life. Just save the money to have it cut. Think of it as an investment in yourself.