How We Save on Haircuts (Frugal Friday)

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This probably isn’t earth-shattering, money-saving advice, but I do believe it saves us at least $420/year, so here we go. I am the barber around here.

Yep. Really. I suppose I could say I’m a stylist, but that would be stretching things. A lot.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I ever set foot in a hair salon myself. My dad or my aunt always trimmed my hair as well as that of my siblings. My dad was self-taught, and it worked out okay.


In our years of being dinks, hubs and I both paid big bucks on haircuts. Once we had kids, we scaled back, going to a less-expensive walk-in salon. I grew my hair long so I wouldn’t need to cut it very often. And I learned to cut the kids’ hair myself.

Admittedly, there were quite a few bowl-cut years. We called it the “surfer cut.”

Even when we lived in Kansas City.

Cutting my kids’ hair has saved us a ton of money over the years. A ton.

My eldest son has particular tastes, so I’m fine taking him to Sports Clips. It’s not terribly expensive, and it gives him good practice in communicating his preferences to someone besides me. I’ll clean up around the ears and neck in between cuts, so that we can stretch the cuts out a little more.

I’ve taken the other boys on occasion as well — like when we had a fancy event to go to and I was running short on time and patience. However, once I realized that all they wanted were buzz cuts, I said, “Forget that. I can do that for free.”

So I do.

This may not work for every parent, child, or head of hair. I have one child who detests the buzz cut, but who also has very wiry, unruly, every-which-way kind of hair. He’s on probation this month to keep it groomed and tidy, otherwise it’s the buzz cut for him, too. I think he’ll do fine, though.

Like I said, this has been a great way for us to save on salon costs, and it’s usually more convenient than hauling people somewhere to get their hair cut. I can take them to the hair studio (aka the backyard) in my pajamas.

How do YOU save money?


This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.

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  1. Oh, haircuts. I feel like I have so much to say on your blogs this morning!
    I have pretty easy hair. I go to the cheap walk-in salon maybe 3 times a year. For a while I was growing it super long (waist length) and then chopping it chin length to donate, but I’m kinda tired of that. It gets really heavy. I also grew out my bangs for a while to save on time going to get them trimmed, but I finally realized I don’t like the way I look without them. So instead I got a pair of decent hair scissors.
    The hubby used to go to the cheap walk-in salon, too. Then he realized his hair was receding. He blamed it on our getting married. I blamed it on his dad. 🙂 So we shaved his head Thanksgiving 2010. Awesome. Less awesome with the beard trimmer, so a while later I got him the Wahl, recommended by a coworker. A few weeks ago I noticed the hairdressers at my cheap walk-in salon use the same one!

  2. Hubby cuts his own(with me trimming up his neck) and I cut our son’s and trim the oldest daughters(16..I wont do a drastic cut on hers, its super thick) I have yet to take scissors to the 6 year old, but she has super curly hair(like me) so she might be the one that has to eventually go to a salon(I don’t care if I mess up my hair, one advantage to curls, it don’t all have to be even, lol, but I don’t want to mess her’s up bad)

  3. I have cut my 5-year-old son’s hair from the beginning–he’s still never been to a “real” barber. I handle the scissors, while my husband cleans up the back with the trimmers. I LOVE cutting his hair–I find it therapeutic:). and, I think I’m getting pretty good at it too. Plus, I love the money it saves us!

  4. When my kids were young, I did the same. I started by checking out some books at the library on hair cutting. It helped a lot.

  5. This is such a great tip! I don’t feel confident in cutting my daughter’s hair but for buzz cuts for the boys, we have done this for years and saved lots of $. We get itchy around here so we have a cape that we use and the kids shower immediately after because a few stray hairs get here and there. The hair just blows away in the breeze (we live on acreage tho).

  6. We cut everyone’s hair at home.

    We started with me cutting my husband’s hair. Now he usually cuts it himself and has me finish up the back and trim around the ears.

    My husband cuts mine, with a pair of hair cutting scissors (you can get them at Target or Walmart). I have a bob and it’s pretty simple. I do ask him to angle it towards the front, and he does that, too. I started having him cut mine when I couldn’t afford to get it cut, and he did such a fantastic job that I was thrilled to have asked him. Now, it’s super convenient to have him do it. Once I was feeling frustrated because my hair was a bit too long one morning before church, and I had him cut it right then–and we still were able to get to church on time–an instant solution to what would have been a bad hair day.

    For the boys, it’s pretty simple to use the clippers. You can’t cut shorter than the attachments go. We usually cut 5/8″ on the sides. We do the sides first, making sure to go up a little extra in the back of the head (where the hair swirls) so that nothing is too long there (this prevents anything from sticking up in the back, Alfalfa-style).

    We cut the top with the 1″ attachment, unless they want it longer, and then we’ll use scissors.

    I use scissors to do around the ears. We use the clippers with no attachments to cut the sideburns and the back at the bottom (the neck and the bottom edge of the hair).

    It takes less time to cut the children’s hair than it does to drive somewhere to get it cut. It saves us gas and time as well as the haircut and tip–and really, it looks pretty good!

    We cut all of the girls hair, too. Their hair is super easy–a straight cut across the bottom. I have bobbed two girls’ hair before as well (a little longer bob with it in front).

    It’s so easy to cut everyone’s hair at home.

    1. Brandy you are so right. My boyfriend cuts my hair for me as well. I love the convenience of getting it done at home and getting it done exactly as I want. I started having him cut it when I was complaining about needing it cut, hating going to the salon and a haircut was not in my budget that month. He told me he could dot it for me. He explained how he would do it for he and I said OK, let’s do it. He got out his hair shears and clips and I was getting a haircut. Afterwards I dashed to the mirror after he brushed off the clippings and cleaned up. I was very pleased and relieved. I had just let my boyfriend cut my hair! So he has continued to be my stylist and has taught me how to cut my children’s hair as well. Using the clippers as well as scissors. It has saved me hundreds of dollars and the results are better than I got in the salon. I have gotten compliments on my children’s haircuts as well. One lady asked where I got their hair cut because they looked so good. She was surprised that I had done them and asked if I was a trained stylist. I laughed and said yes by my boyfriend. She was displeased with the quality of haircuts she had been getting for her children, but did not want to be spending $40 per child. She had bad memories of her mother badly chopping her bangs with kitchen scissors, so the thought of at home haircuts was something she said she would never have considered. But as you have mentioned, it is not too difficult with the proper preparation, the right tools , patience and practice. And based on the number of haircuts you are doing at home, I am sure you are probably saving over a thousand each year compared to what it would cost you at the barbershop and salon. And it sounds like the family is satisfied with the results as well.

  7. I’m cheap too, I buzz cut my 2 boy’s hair and the hubbys as well. I use that money to get mine cut and my eyebrows (super thick) waxed and for the first time in a year some highlights again! Not that my stylist is expensive she does all that for $65. Oh and I usually buy some chlorine stripper from Malabo from her as well (not the shampoo a stripper as vinegar doesn’t always strip it all).

    however, I haven’t bought a buzzer yet. I borrow my MIL’s buzzers and than bought a trimmer for in-between use.

  8. For years my sister-law cut the kids hair since she’s a beautician but when we moved to California I had to take over. She taught me a few tricks and I’ve been doing it ever since. My girls have grown their hair out and donated it (and gotten a free haircut in the process). I do go to a salon for myself every 3-4 months to tame my super thick hair.

  9. Dh cuts his own hair (buzz cut) and occasionally does mine as well. After one nighmare cut we decided he was smart enough to figure out how to cut my hair and he did.

  10. We save money this way too. I cut my daughter’s hair, sometimes buzz my son’s & hubby always cuts his own. I have long, straight hair and get it cut once or twice a year. One way I’ve noticed we save money is by doing our own yard work. There are many lovelier and more coordinated yards in our neighborhood, but I know we save a ton doing it together as a family and we actually enjoy it now. This month we are also saving big bucks replacing our feces ourselves! We’ll have some help from my in-laws but the end product will be better and thousands cheaper.

  11. My mother tried this with me, however, I am curly curly curly headed like her and after that one time (and presumably struggling with curly hair home cuts her whole life) I’ve been going to a salon ever since. I try and only get it cut ~3 times a year though, but it is one expense I can’t live without. Although finding a good person is key. My stylist just gave me free product because its my birthday ($20 free!) and runs $15 off/referral. So she’s amazing!

  12. Growing up my dad used to cut my hair, too! Now, I cut my girls’ hair, and my husband cuts our son’s hair. For cutting our girls’ hair, I have a super easy way to layer it in less than 5 minutes using two piggy tails, which I discuss more in depth here.

  13. My husband cuts his own hair does my son as well. In fact, they just did it last night! The Boy usually gets a buzz cut too. I cut The Girl’s bangs and trim her ends. I’m the only one in the fam who gets it cut outside the house, and I go to Super Cuts!

  14. Please have the mole checked on this person’s back. It looks suspicious . Thank you. Elaine Ross

    1. That’s not a mole. It’s a clump of hair stuck to his back. We’re very good about mole checks since I am very moley myself. Thanks for your concern, though.

  15. Do you have a favorite how to Youtube video? I’m trying to learn to do this, but I’ve either ended up with the Spartacus look or the bowl cut… I have 3 boys, so I need to figure this out…

    1. Ellen, when I decided to start doing my son’s hair I took him for one last cut at the salon and watched really carefully. Then I tried my hand at a trim a couple weeks early before it lost the shape the stylist cut. After a few months of trims every couple weeks I got enough practice and confidence to let it grow longer between trims and to eventually change things up every now and then.

    2. I would love some tips (from websites) or links to You Tube videos, too, if anyone has them!

      I have three boys as well and I’ve tried to pay close attention at the salon or from a friend who cuts hair but it’s difficult to take notes while wrangling the kids. I’m very visual and need step-by-step instructions. We are not fans of buzz cuts so I need help with shape and style. Also, how do you get the little ones to stay still?! I guess this is when an iPad would come in handy…!

      I have three boys as well and this would save us a lot — right now I can’t get my cuts to look halfway decent so if it’s a special occasion (Easter, Christmas, wedding, etc.) I’ll go to the kids’ salon with a coupon.

    3. One of the hair trimmers I bought over the years came with a DVD. I watched that. I bet you can find some at the library.

  16. I still cut my husband’s hair in the backyard. The kids are old enough to pay for their own cuts now but when they were young I cut theirs too. Lot’s of grumbling but they never looked that bad. I on the other hand spend an obscene amount of money on my hair because I’m the Mommy and I deserve a treat. lol

    1. I’ve been cutting my son’s hair for many years now. My sister was trained as a stylist, so she taught me how to do it. Now that it is summer, I’m also cutting my husband’s hair. He is a teacher and wants a certain look during the school year, but during the summer he bikes a lot and just wants it short. As for me, I treat myself to a great stylist with the savings from the boys haircuts at home. I have short hair that requires more maintenance, but I don’t color it. I’m fortunate to have an awesome stylist that frequently runs promotions.

  17. The day before our second child was born Hubs had a communication failure with the stylist and wound up with a buzz cut. Much to my chagrin he insisted on continuing to pay someone to maintain it. Finally, after seeing that I do a better job on our 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter’s hair (neither as simple as a buzz) than the fancy kids salon did he let me do his hair. It came as a real shock when he found out I also cut my own hair.

  18. I do the same. My hubby loves not waiting in line or driving, and I know what he likes. I just went to get my hair done, since no one can do MINE for me!

  19. I have 3 boys, grown now, but I learned a long time ago that a great pair of hair clippers was a good investment! I cut their hair each time. I’ve even been able to do cuts that weren’t the buzz cut. Sometimes they turn out better than other times. 2 of my grown boys still live at home, ages 21 & 19. Just the other day I cut my 19yo before he had a job interview. The 21yo has gotten smart & started cutting his own! 🙂

    1. Yep, don’t buy the cheap kind. I learned the hard way. I still buy the set from Walmart, but not the low end one. Makes a huge difference.