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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Frugal haircuts

Do you stealthily make your way down back alleys, ducking into that dark doorway, in the name of getting a frugal do?

I am opening up a very controversial topic here. There will be some in the camp of "don't do it, or you'll regret it for at least 6 weeks of your life", and others who will be of the position, "sure, give it a go, save a few bucks, what could the harm be in trying?"

My two daughters have long hair that just needs a trim from time to time. I can do that, and am now considering letting them trim each other's. (They should learn the skill at some point.) My husband and son have short layered-type men's haircuts. We have one of those razor trimmers with comb attachments, that works well on men's hair. Up until my son became an adult, I did his hair with that thing. Not too bad, but definitely looked home done (I've never quite gotten the hang of it).

For my hair, I must confess, I've trimmed my own on numerous occasions. *gasp* And it doesn't turn out all that badly, either. I also do the cheap haircut every couple of months when I can find a deal. I don't think I've paid more than $15 for a haircut in the last 25 years. And I've gotten cuts recently for as low as $7.99.

I wait for places like Hair Masters and Great Clips to offer coupons. Currently, Great Clips has a coupon for $9.99 for adults, and $7.99 for kids. I just found it in the weekly ad circular this last week. It's good till mid-September.

I went online and found that many Great Clips around the country are also offering this deal right now. Some coupons are available through (a coupon site fairly reputable for having valid coupons). If a Great Clips haircut would interest you, you might try googling "Great Clips", "coupon" and the name of the town nearest you, where they have a shop.

I understand, some hair just seems to require special handling, and you might have a particular stylist who can manage your hair type.

But for those who have found ways to reduce the cost of hair maintenance, could you share? Have you tried a cosmetology school? Do you have a friend or family member trim up the edges? How do you feel about the cheap places? Do you feel your haircut looks cheap afterwards? Any tips on getting a good haircut from these places? I'll be going in to Great Clips (coupon in hand) later this week. I hope I get the guy who did it several months ago. I don't know his name, but he did a good job.


  1. I have been known to frequent the discount haircutters when money was especially tight. I kept my hair in a simple style so that it didn't really matter who cut it.

    However, as soon as the budget allowed, I went back to a quality hairdresser. I have a short hairdo right now & have stopped coloring (my gray is showing as a white streak in the front & doesn't look too bad). This is my one real splurge for myself and I do sacrifice in other areas so that I can get that haircut. It helps that I've finally found a gifted hairdresser in my area!

    I cut my kids & husbands hair for a while but I found it to be too stressful because I didn't really know what I was doing. They go to Great Clips now and are fine with that.

    Sorry, I don't have advice. I think it's the luck of the draw with those places.

    1. Hi Sharon!

      I guess I've never found someone who I felt could do a good enough job for the money, when looking at quality hairstylists. I am keeping my hair style very simple these days. They always want to add layers, but tell them not to. It's easier to "fix" their mistakes if there aren't any layers.

      I know exactly what you mean by it being stressful, cutting someone's hair when you don't know what you're doing. That is how I felt with my son's hair. It would take over an hour, and I'd still be unsatisfied. I didn't know how to blend the varying length of layers (how the layers are shorter over the ears than in front, etc). I just did my best, but could never duplicate my work from one cut to the next.

      My son now has a barber who does such a good job and is only $15. We joke about how my son must be her youngest client. The waiting area is always filled with retirees.

      And my daughters are thrilled that I'm letting them trim each other's hair now. They still remember how mad I got, all those years ago, when they cut their own hair, the night before a big visit from the grandparents!

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Great Clips for the kids ... Supercuts for the husband ... but I pay more to go to my hair cutter. I currently have a short style and short hair (especially for women!) needs skilled hands. There are some things I think it's worth the money to spend, and I don't begrudge the money for a style that allows me to to look put-together with a minimal amount of time and effort. That being said, if our income was suddenly and drastically reduced, I'd be going to Great Clips myself! I will add that I try to stretch out my visits. Many women with short styles go every 3 or 4 weeks but I try to go every 6 (okay, 5 in the hot sticky summertime).

    The other area where I think it's worth it to not be too frugal is a decent pair of supportive shoes. Support for your feet has long-term implications for your joints over the years. It would be interesting for you to do a post on areas that others feel it's worth spending more money on. :)

    1. Hi Kris,

      Okay, so now a question, how did you find a really good stylist? One that you felt would be worth the money spent? I know, ask around, especially when you find someone else with hair like yours. That's the familiar advice. So far it hasn't worked for me.

      My sister in California is the person whose hair is most like mine, and those would be mighty expensive haircuts (airfare, hotel, taxi, plus the cut!), but really, really fun!! I could squeeze in a day at the beach, a day at an amusement park, a few meals out! Okay, back to reality -- getting a good haircut.

      Stretching out the time between visits is a good way to cut down on how much you spend overall. I do this, and will trim up the edges myself in between if needed. This is especially helpful if your hair tends to grow more slowly.

      Shoes, absolutely. I feel it when my shoes begin to wear out. I can get an extra few months by adding gel insoles.

      I've been thinking about asking what others splurge on. It's different for all of us. And always interesting to hear what others think is most important in their lives.

      Thanks for your input!

    2. Well, yes, I found someone with a hairstyle similar to mine. She always looks great so I now go to the same stylist (is that the correct title?) she does. I will add that I literally go half as often as this other woman does! So my hair probably looks good only half the amount of time hers does ...

      California would be quite a commute for a haircut!

    3. Oh, but it would be so much fun!!

      The other problem I have with a more expensive cut, is I don't think my husband would find the value in it.

  3. The best and the worst haircuts I've had were done at high-end salons--the best because the stylist listened very attentively and had a lot of experience, the worst because the stylist was too cool for school and didn't listen to a sodding thing I said I wanted! My haircuts turned out fine at the very inexpensive places--really, as long as the stylist listens to me and knows what they're doing I'm okay. I've gone to the inexpensive chain places or a hairdresser's home where she ran her own sideline or full-time business and they worked out quite well.

    1. Hi Pamela,
      Those are good pointers, using a stylist who really listens to you, and knows which end of the scissors to hold onto (okay so it's more than just that). That could be why my last haircut turned out well. I was very specific with him on what I wanted. And I didn't have anything intricate in mind.

      I'll keep that in mind this week when I go in for a cut. Wish me luck!

      Thanks for reading!

  4. As for cutting hair at home, that reminds me of one of the Henry Huggins stories by Beverly Cleary. Henry's mother buys some hair clippers that are on sale at the drug store and gives Henry a haircut. She does a bad job and Henry is embarrassed and wears a hat to school. His mother solves the problem by calling the mother's of Henry's friends and tells them about the sale on hair clippers. The next day all of Henry's friends show up wearing hats at school because their mothers gave them bad haircuts too. Henry is no longer embarrassed because he is not alone.

    1. Hey live and learn!
      That's laugh out loud funny! Too, too funny!

      Fortunately, my son's haircuts were never hat-worthy. But as the one who did the haircutting, I could see I did a terrible job.

      Thanks for the laugh!

  5. Nice post! I'm impressed that you cut your husband's and son's hair yourself. As a teenager I used to help my father with his hair, but he just buzzed it off on one particular electric razor setting; it was pretty much like mowing the lawn.
    I once tried to cut a college boyfriend's hair, but that, well, just came out terrible. He had to get it fixed by a barber that day.
    Needless to say, I haven't touched my husband's hair with scissors or a razor (partially because it is loosely curly and has a mind of its own). Though I am able to forgo haircuts every once in a while by trimming my own hair (mind is very curly and no one would notice if I trimmed it slightly unevenly), my husband needs to have his haircut every 8 weeks. No questions. Or else he looks like a caveman. We go to a quality salon, but the woman who cuts his hair (and mind sometimes) is a family friend. I'm certain we're not paying her full price, but it's still a lot to us.
    When my daughter needs her haircut (which I may protest for another year or so) I will probably do that myself for a while. She's been blessed with curls, as well, which can hide a not-so-quality trim.

    1. Hi Mrs.Beardface!

      Cutting hair in layers is definitely a skill! If you're not trained (as I'm not), it's hard to do, stressful, and there seems to be no guarantee that one cut will turn out like the last. I haven't done any men's cuts in almost 2 years now. I would really dread it. Yes, it was that bad.

      I once cut a guy friend's hair, in college. Needless to say, we weren't all that close afterward. Hmmm. He did have to go have it "fixed" the next day. I hope he's forgotten all about it by now.

      My daughters' hair, on the other hand, is just a matter of trimming the ends and bangs, very easy. My hair is naturally curly. Even when I use a flat iron on it, it has so much body that any uneven trimming on my part goes unnoticed. The blessing of curly hair.

      I'm sure you'll find trimming your daughter's hair to be fairly easy. When my kids were little (and squirmy), I'd sit them in front of the TV to cut their hair. They'd hardly notice me clipping away. And of they were particularly squirmy that day, then I'd just give it up for the moment and try later. That's something you can do with your own child. But if I had taken them to a salon, and they just did not want to sit still, we'd have to leave without finishing the cut.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I wait for a coupon from Great Clips and go then. I would like to be able to cut hair at home and even tried one of those home hair cutting systems, but it didn't work very well.

    1. Hi Belinda!
      Do you remember something called a Flow-bee? It was this vacuum suction, haircutting contraption that would suck your hair up into some chopping blades. I remember the late night infomercials from when my twins were newborns (and I slept all of 3 hours a night -- watched a lot of infomercials then). Anyways, I always wondered if those things worked at all.

      Learning how to properly cut hair is on my list of things I'd like to learn someday. It just seems that it would be so very practical. For the time being, Great Clips it is.

      Thanks for your input!

  7. The worst two cuts/styles I've had have been higher priced. I've sworn them off since then. Think afro for one and frosted for the other. Bad, bad, bad...ugh

    The girls in my family (mother, sister, daughter and me) have a stylist come over to mama's house. We all visit and she does the work for each of us. Saves her having to pay booth fees and since she and her husband have their first child (and money is tight) we help her at the same time. In fact, we've all become friends.

    I'm not as frugal on cookware because I know I will use pieces to death. I'm also not as frugal on hubby's clothes. A combination of work environment and how long he will wear things are taken into account.

    I do cut his hair and sons

    1. Hi Shara!

      Not really knowing of a great stylist in our area, this is what I fear -- I'll pay an exorbitant price and come out with a cut worse than any cheapo haircut I've ever had. Back when I was single, I had one good stylist. Then he moved away, and his replacement did an awful job. But even with the good stylist, I had a bad experience. I wanted highlights, I got frost that made me look 65, when I was in my 20s.

      The situation you have now seems ideal, for your family and for the stylist. That is what I'd like to find.

      Any tips on cutting men's hair? I'm guessing you use a razor for some of it. I find it very difficult to blend the layers.

      I appreciate your input!

  8. I hated that I wasn't allowed to have my hair cut when I was a child. At age 9, I went in the bathroom and cut my own hair, been doing it ever since. I became a licensed cosmetologist worked for a while, but I still do my own and my family and friends hair with the exception of my son's one lives 2 hours away, the other has to have a military cut and likes a barber in town (where he gets a discount for being military and a corrections officer) I do all the grandkids and friends grand children as well. There was one time my boys asked to be like their friends and go out to get their hair done, they were so unhappy with how it turned out they never wanted to have anyone but me do it until they moved away.

    1. Hi livingsimplyfree!
      Wow! Now that's determination for you! And it blossomed into a career to boot! That is funny, how your boys wanted to be just like their friends, then discovered what the other guy's got isn't always so great. And that's wonderful that now you can cut your grandkids and friends' grands, as well. This is one skill I do want to learn properly.

      So, when you cut your own hair, is there a trick to getting the back even? I do a pretty good job in the front, but the back is, well, just not visible. And as a cosmetologist yourself, what do the rest of us need to know to insure a good cut in a salon?

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  9. I got a $15 hair cut the other day and I thought that was cheap! Wow I didn't know you could get them cheaper! When I was in MA there were a lot of salons (Rob Roy) that fresh graduates from the Rob Roy Cosmetology school had to work at for a year or two before they got their official certificates, and they had discounts for walk-ins, but I think I still paid $20-30 for a wash, cut and dry. Maybe it was $18, I'm not sure, but I also try to tip well. I did a mall place once, it was fine.

    Mostly I just don't worry too much about it looking bad because right now my hair is really long and if it gets messed up, I don't mind having someone else fix it!

    Also, once in high school I tried to cut my brother's hair and give him a tasteful faux-hawk. Did not go well!! Haha!!

    1. Hi Mallory,
      So funny about you giving your brother a faux-hawk! Now that would make a great picture! Hope your brother doesn't hold it against you!!

      I do try to tip well, too. I know a lot of these stylists who are just starting out don't make much, and probably rely on tips. And for some occupations, tips are automatically factored into their incomes for taxes, whether they've received tips or not. Not like it used to be, where the employee determined how much they made in tips, on their tax returns.

      Thanks for visiting!

  10. Yesterday i have taken my son jack to great clips as the back to school time have started and luckily i had a coupon which cost only $4.99 for haircut.It was really cheap.

    1. HI,
      Wow! That is cheap! I haven't seen that coupon yet! But that is great, and now your son has a nice new haircut for back to school. I'm glad for you.

      Thanks for visiting!


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