You don't want to walk around looking homeless with wild crazy looking hair. But at the same time, you don't want to spend $20+ on a haircut. I feel you. My unwillingness to pay someone else to cut my hair stopped me from getting haircuts for a long time. Seriously, a VERY long time.
When you're trying to save money and cut back on expenses, one of the first places most people tend to look is services that aren't 100% necessary. I know, a lot of you will argue haircuts are necessary, but the reality is there are plenty of ways to avoid paying for a haircut.
It kind of reminds me of a scene from the Office when Dwight explains why he refuses to tip his barber.
But there comes a time in every man's (or woman's) life when you have to suck it up, stop being cheap and go get your haircut. However, that doesn't mean you have to pay full price.
Average Cost of a Haircut
So how much money can you actually save on haircuts? Depending on where you live, haircuts can cost you anywhere from $15 to over $50 for a guy. But on average you can expect to pay within the mid $20's per haircut.
For women, things get a lot more complex and pricing because of the styling and different techniques that go into it. Women can expect to pay anywhere from the mid $50's to over $100 for a haircut.
And if you live in a major city, be prepared to pay more than the average customer. The mobile payment company Square made this chart of the most expensive cities to get your haircut for men and women. I feel sorry for people in San Francisco!
If your haircuts are costing you more than ~$30 for men or ~$60-70 for women, you might be overpaying!
Here are some tips on how to save money on a haircut. Most of these tips are tailored towards men, but could also apply to women as well.
1. Go to a Local Owned Barber Shop
Some guys are strongly against men going to unisex salons like Supercuts to get their haircut. The Art of Manliness recommends every man go to a barber shop if they want a cut. Personally, I say if you're a salon guy, go for it. However, be aware that you're probably paying a premium for it.
For some reason salons tend to charge more than barbershops. It may have something to do with the people that working at salons being "stylists" rather than a barber. So they're a bit "fancier" but the reality is skilled barbers can do just as good of a job, if not better.
Instead of running to the nearest chain salon, look for a locally owned barber shop. The classic barber shop has made a big come back recently, and some have that old school mentality of not overcharging for a haircut. Depending on what you're getting done, you can get a basic haircut for around $15-20 plus tip!
2. Don't Overtip
Speaking of tips, one of the most common questions guys have about going to the barbershop is "how much should I tip my barber?"
I happily admit I Googled it before I started going back to the barbershop. The reason most people look up this info is because they're afraid of under-tipping. However, you also need to be mindful of tipping too much.
Bevel Code did an awesome article on tipping your barber. They asked barbers in different cities what they consider a good tip, and the general consensus seemed to the standard 15-20%. One shocking takeaway was some barbers didn't expect a tip at all. But I would HIGHLY recommend you don't go that route. Always tip your barber. Take care of them and they'll take care of you.
If you're tipping more than 25%, you're probably overdoing it. Stick to around the 15-20% range to be reasonable.
Wait But Why put together a chart of how much to tip different occupations. Here's a bit I pulled from the barber/hair stylist section.
% Of Customers Who Tip
% Of Salary That Comes From Tips
3. Get a Haircut Less Often
Unless you have some type of freakish hair growth hormones, there's no reason to be getting your haircut more frequently than a couple times a month. If you're at the barbershop every week here's an easy way to save money on a haircut --- Stop going to the barber so often.
Seriously, with some minor at-home grooming most men can go a few weeks without visiting the barber. Of course if you have an event or special occasion you want to look good for, that's different. But for your day-to-day look there's no need for weekly appointments.
4. Learn Basic Grooming/Styling
Which brings me to the next tip on how to save money on haircuts. Learn to give yourself at least a basic trim and touch-ups. During the years when I didn't want to pay for a haircut, I was cutting my own hair.
All you need is a decent pair of clippers or scissors if you prefer and a mirror. Here's a great kit from Andis you can use that's affordable and high quality. I like it becomes it comes with the clippers and trimmers for outlining and doing your edges.
Don't worry if you've never messed with your own hair before. There are a ton of YouTube videos with tutorials on how to do everything from trimming your beard to giving yourself a fade and anything else you want to do.
If you make a mistake, always remember that it'll grow back. And worst case scenario you can always go to your barber to see if they can help you fix it. It's at least worth giving it a shot.
You don't want to sacrifice quality to save a few bucks though. If you try touching up your hair yourself and it doesn't look good, this tip might not be for you. But don't worry, we have plenty of other ways to save money on your haircut.
5. Go to a Barber/Salon School
Did you know some salon and barber schools will give you a free or deeply discounted haircut if you let students practice on you?
Don't worry, it's not like a complete novice that has never cut hair before is about to butcher your hair. These are barbers that aren't at the beginner level, but also don't have the experience of the pros yet. So you can still get a good cut, but it just may not always go as smoothly as going to a professional.
Do a Google search for schools near you and see if they offer haircuts there. They'll let you know whether or not they do, and how much it costs.
6. Cut Your Own Hair
Last but not least, if you really want to save money on a haircut, there's always the option of doing it yourself.
Like I mentioned earlier, this probably isn't the best option if you don't know what you're doing. But for instance, if you have short hair (a buzz cut) you can do that on your own.
You don't have to go out and buy super expensive equipment. In addition to the Andis clippers I mentioned earlier, I really like Wahl. Here's a high quality affordable model that's great for beginners.
Wahl Professional 5-Star Magic Clip
- High precision zero-overlap blades for superior speed and ease
- 50% more power than standard-grade clippers
- Designed to cut all types of hair
- Comes with guards, a comb, cleaning brush, clipper oil & a storage box
There you have it. Six ways to save money on haircuts. Of course, there are are other things you can do like looking for discounts or deals on haircuts, or Googling "cheap mens haircuts near me". Never stop looking for ways to save!
Once you start saving up little bit and can afford it, I'd definitely recommend going to a barber. There's nothing like a quality cut from a pro.
But for now, save yourself a few bucks and try these tips out to cut down on the cost of getting your hair cut.