I use Mondays for clearing out my mailbox. This week’s topic is saving money by cutting hair at home. Is learning this simple skill worth the hassle? You bet it is!
Question: How does your family handle haircuts?
How do you do haircuts? Do you cut their hair or does anyone get their haircut elsewhere? I have five kids and would like to save all the money I can.
Answer: Mom serves as a live-in barber!
Learning to cut your children’s hair yourself is an excellent way to save money. I’ve been the main barber in our family since before my husband and I ever married.
According to my husband, one of the first times he ever spotted me on campus, I was giving free trims to male classmates. Those poor guys couldn’t afford professional cuts and were willing to let me practice on them. I got lots of practice during my college years.
Doug claims he asked if he could be next, and I told him he’d have to get in line. I have only the vaguest recollection of that initial conversation. So it’s a good thing he was persistent and later tried a different tack to get my attention. 🙂
I’ve never taken any classes in haircutting. Back when I was first learning, there weren’t even any YouTube tutorials to help. I learned by trial and error, but steadily improved with practice.
The savings really stack up
Taking into consideration my children’s ages and frequency of haircuts (twice a year for the girls who don’t wear bangs, once a month for everybody else), I estimate that I’ve saved our family $34,198 (so far) by cutting hair at home.
That’s not chump change, is it?
And now that we’ve added grandkids to the mix, the savings are growing exponentially!
My husband is the only person in our family who lets anybody but me cut his hair, mostly as a matter of convenience . He isn’t always at home during our regularly scheduled haircutting sessions. About the only time I’ve cut his hair since he finished his residency 17 years ago is when he’s been dissatisfied with a professional cut and asked me to even things up for him (as happened a little over a week ago).
I calculate that we could have saved an additional $3,780 if he’d just let me cut it for him in the first place all those years. But he didn’t. So that money has gone to help support some very hardworking cosmetologists who normally do a great job. And don’t have to live with him if they do goof it up.
It’s a trade-off, but probably worth the price if it helps keep the peace.
My children, on the other hand, weren’t given a choice. Even so, they seem pretty satisfied with the cuts they get from Mom. Both my dental student (in the photo above) and my medical student (not pictured) requested that I give them fresh haircuts while they were home for Christmas.
Here’s how I go about cutting hair at home:
Tools of the Trade
You’ll get much better results if you invest in good-quality hair-cutting supplies. For girls, you could probably get by with a comb and a good pair of scissors. But if you have sons, I suggest getting the following basics:
- hair clippers – I like Wahl clippers, but Oster is good, too. Just make sure the kit you get comes with a set of guide combs. These will allow you to trim hair at varying lengths.
- hair cutting scissorsc – Even if you are only giving buzz cuts, you’ll need a good pair of hair cutting scissors to even up the hairline around the ears and across the back of the neck. Just make sure to store them in a safe place and don’t use them on anything but hair.
- barber cape – I used to have a couple of plastic capes to keep the hair off my kids while I was cutting their hair, but those capes were hot and uncomfortable. And so much hair got caught in the velcro closures that they eventually stopped working altogether. Now I use a fabric cape with snap closures that is far more comfortable and easier to clean, as well.
- thinning shears – depending on how thick the head of hair you’re trying to cut, you may also need to invest in a pair of good thinning shears, as well. Use them closer to the scalp to take some weight off.
These are the easiest haircuts you can give, once you get the hang of using a pair of clippers. This is the model I currently use. The professional quality has held up very well — I’ve only had to replace the blade once in the past ten years.c
This particular clipper comes with three cutting guides, but unless your guys all favor closely cropped crew cuts, I recommend getting a bigger set of guides, which will allow you to trim hair anywhere between 1/8″ to 1″ long.
The trick is to keep the flat part of the guide pressed firmly against the scalp as you cut, rather than trying to comb through the hair with only the teeth of the guide touching the head (the mistake I often made as a teen when my father tried to teach me how to clip his hair).
When giving buzz cuts, I usually clip the hair to the desired length, and then use a pair of scissors to even up the edges.
For traditional cuts, I do things in the reverse order. First I trim the outer edges — cutting the hair over the eyes, around the ears, and across the back of the neck.
Then I cut the hair that’s left so that it tapers nicely to the edges of the cut and appears even any way you comb it.
As the finishing touch, I take the guide off my clippers and shave the back of the neck