Cut your own hair: freedom and frugality (CHF 4'740 more in 10 years)!

It's been a long time since we've talked about frugality on this blog. It's been too long. We had to do something about it.

Until mid-2014, I used to go to the hairdresser like everyone else. About once every six weeks, eight times a year. Prices vary from canton to canton, but on average, a man's haircut is worth CHF 40 (with or without shampoo, depending on where you live...).

After many easy optimizations, because they were only administrative (change of internet provider or health insurance for example), I decided to tackle something harder than a few clicks.

Because even if CHF 40 is not much, as some people say — and what's more, to be pampered for half an hour, it's still CHF that go away.

Especially when you calculate that over a year, that's CHF 320 that are far away.

And I'm not talking about what you lose in savings over 10 years with compound interest. We're talking about a four-digit number. CHF 4'740 to be exact (with an annual interest rate of 7%).

So I challenged myself to cut my own hair.

What's the best hair clipper to use?

First blocking point when you decide to go for a DIY haircut, you don't want to play it Jean-Louis David's style (I don't know any other name that speaks to everyone, sorry :D) with the school scissors of one of your children!

So I went looking for a man's hair clipper. Little precision, I've never been and will never go to the barber even if it would make me even more hipster! I shave myself, so my hair clipper was also supposed to replace and serve as a beard trimmer. You don't do things by halves when you're frugal!

I went through a few comparison sites and Amazon to see the ratings of the best brands and all converged on the Babyliss brand which had (and still has) a good value for money. This confirmed what Mrs. MP had told me about her own experience with such "beauty products".

You can say thank you to YNAB for this one, because I had noted the exact model when I bought it : Babyliss E960E beard/hair trimmer for CHF 81.84 :)
This precise model does not exist anymore but there are two which replace it:

  • Model "BaByliss For Men - E951E - Hair trimmer Pro 45" which can also be used for a beard but rather to trim (very short) than really shave completely. It's available on Amazon.fr (about 78€) or Amazon.de (about 50€) (affiliate links)
  • Model "Babyliss E950E Hair / Beard Trimmer Pro 45" that does hair and beard. It's available on Amazon.fr (about 148€)

If I had to choose today, I would go for the cheapest E951E model on Amazon Germany because it suits my needs.

The advantage of these two models is that they work as well on battery as on AC adapter so it's convenient.

If you want to save yourself hours on comparators like I did, then you will make a good investment by choosing this brand.

I'd choose this hair and beard trimmer with all its accessories

The 4 steps to cut your own hair

It's like a fashion blog over there!

Joking aside, it's quite reassuring to have this kind of mini-tutorial because you ask yourself a lot of questions the first time you put this thing on your skull :D

One of the prerequisites I read is that you have to do this on dry hair, and go slowly, always tilting the hair clipper the same way to avoid irregularities.

I cut my hair following these four steps:

  1. Sitting in a chair, head forward, I shave quite short in 9.5mm all over. I start on the right side and go all the way around the skull, then I do the top. One thing to watch out for is to go over the top of the forehead several times because it tends not to cut everything in the first pass if you go too fast
  2. Then Mrs. MP comes to the rescue to do a second 9.5mm check in case I missed any spots. I put the mega "Warning!" here: when you've finished point 1, you usually want to take off the comb heads to quickly remove most of the stuck hair. Just be very careful to put the comb heads back on before you give the hair clipper to your SO. I've already experienced giving it back without it, and I ended up with a completely shaved strip, so I had to clip the rest of my skull without the comb heads...
  3. Once the 9.5mm check has been done by your SO, you can remove the comb heads so that she shaves the neck, and around the ears
  4. That's it, all you have to do now is vacuum and take a shower to remove all those little hairs that usually scratch under your shirt when you go to the hairdresser (one of the other advantages of the DIY method!)

In case you're not 100% reassured by my tutorial, you can search on Youtube there are plenty. You just have to start once and then you can't go back, because it's so handy (I cut my hair on sunday evenings — no problem with opening hours!) and frugal.

You're nice MP, but what if I'm a woman?

Ah, yes, that's true. So, let's be honest, I haven't convinced Mrs. MP to let me cut her hair yet.

Nevertheless, that doesn't stop you from trying it yourself. Because I know some frugal blogger friends who have dared to take the plunge and do it themselves. Respect!

If you're more like Mrs. MP, you should know that she's not lacking in frugality because she does two things that you can learn from:

  1. She goes to the hairdresser's on average once or twice a year — she likes to get her hair done before the Christmas holidays to look her best at this special time of year. When I hear discussions with her friends about how often they go to the hairdresser (once per month), I think to myself that I'm very lucky with Mrs. MP!
  2. When she wants to change her look with a slightly different shade, she does that herself at home too. Again, respect!

As we always say in the Team MP: "Your life. Your rules of the game."

And you, do you cut your hair at home or do you let CHF 4'740 fly away?!


PS: a big thank you to the two new patrons @Laurent and @Chris for their blog sponsorship via Patreon. I am very grateful.

PS 2 : congrats to @Cocinellezen (FR section: CHF 2’158/year) and @betube (EN section: CHF 110/year) for having won the Challenge March 2020


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