I cut my own hair for seven years

(and saved nearly $4,000)

I cut my own hair for seven years (and saved nearly $4,000)

Yep, you read that heading right. (Welcome to the Credit Simple blog, where I confess all my deepest, darkest money secrets.) For seven years, I cut my own hair.

Of course, it’s not as drastic as it sounds, but the end savings result is rather gobsmacking.

For seven years when I was in my twenties, I DIY’ed my tresses. Why? Well, I’m slightly introverted and I hate the small talk you have to engage in at the hairdresser. I’ve also got serious trust issues when it comes to people wielding scissors near my face. For these reasons I dread the experience of going to the hairdresser. It’s totes awks.

I had long hair, and you don’t really notice someone’s haircut when their hair is long. More to the point, you don’t notice if it’s been cut unevenly. So one day, unable to face the scissors and the small talk, I washed my hair, combed it out, and chopped a good inch off the bottom.

It didn’t look any different from a professional cut, and voila, I’d saved myself $80.

This was all before deal sites like Groupon, where you can pick up a $35 haircut occasionally. (If I’m honest, it was almost before the internet itself.)

I was recently expounding on the virtues of DIY haircuts to a group of students and we decided to run the numbers. According to Statistics New Zealand (which tracks these things as part of the Consumer Price Index), in 1951 a women’s haircut cost 3 shillings – roughly $8 in today’s terms. Bargain! Today, price sampling shows a women’s haircut ranges from $35 to $118, with a mean price of $63.

Taking that $63 price and assuming you’ll obey the hairdresser’s command to come back in six weeks, I saved $3,822.

I was rather poor at the time (the seven years spanned my university years and early working career) but I still think we should question the wisdom thrown at us from those who stand to make a profit  –  such as beauty services. Every six weeks is too much unless you have short hair (or if you’re uncontrollably hirsute), and if you can get a better deal (whether it’s through beauty apps such as Flossie or daily deal sites such as Groupon), grab it with both hands. Just be careful with those scissors.

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