10 Tips to Trim the Cost of Haircuts


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There are ways to save money on just about everything — including something as simple as haircuts. Check out our alternatives to pricey salons and ways to go longer without a professional trim.

When it comes to haircuts, we could all use a little off the top – of the bill. (Unless you’re Justin Bieber, whose locks of hair sell for $40,688 each.)

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $596 a year on hair care and bath products. Hair care doesn’t need to be a nightmare, though. There are plenty of ways to trim that annual cost. Watch the video below for some suggestions, and read on for even more.

For a closer shave on your next haircut, here are a few ideas, including the ones mentioned in the video. The easiest to do are listed first:

  1. Coupons. It’s not always easy to find national coupons for salons and barbers online, although Supercuts will give you $2 off for signing up on their site. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t discounts. Check your local paper and the coupon books you get in the mail, which are also more likely to have discounts for independent hair-cutters. Groupon often has spa and salon discounts for more upscale services.
  2. Group rates. You might be able to work out a discount if you bring in the whole family, so call and ask. Find out what day the place has the least business too. It’ll be less busy and they’ll be more likely to clip the tab.
  3. Care for your hair. Taking care of your hair means less need for hair care. Take it easy on the curling and flat irons – and the blow dryer – which cause more split ends. Replace brushes when their bristles start to fray. You don’t need to shampoo every day. Depending on the condition of your hair, every second or third day is fine.
  4. Don’t over-tip. There’s no need to be stingy, but some people give a huge tip because they feel guilty or uncomfortable about asking for change. Keep some dollar bills in your wallet and remember 20 percent is a decent tip.
  5. Friends and retirees. Ask around in your circle of friends and family – somebody’s bound to do hair, or know someone who either does or used to. They might even do yours for free, though you should still offer a tip.
  6. Cosmetology schools. As mentioned in the video above, beauty schools are great at cutting costs and your hair. Don’t fear getting an amateur with scissors. Students receive hundreds of hours of training before they get to practice on people. That misconception helps keep rates affordable, though, so don’t tell all of your friends.
  7. Barbers over stylists. Simpler haircuts cost less, so if you aren’t fussy, try a barber shop instead of the salon. Simple styles usually require less maintenance too – which means fewer visits.
  8. Keep it simple. The simpler your style, the more likely you can maintain it yourself and stretch out the time between professional jobs. Longer hair styles usually require less maintenance that short ones – in terms of cost, if not tangles.
  9. Barter. If you’re really adventurous – or really cheap – you might look online for people willing to trade goods or services for haircuts. Check out the local barter section on Craigslist or try BarterQuest.
  10. Learn to do it yourself. This thought terrifies some people, and guys are probably more likely to try it than girls. But the savings could obviously add up over the years. And if you learn well, maybe your friends will start coming to you for haircuts. A few tips: Don’t cut wet hair (because it’s harder to see mistakes until it’s too late.) When using a trimmer, start with the longest setting on the guard and work your way down until you learn what length suits you. If you have young kids, practice on them – you have about until middle school until they become obsessed with their appearance and tell you it’s not cool.

There are few areas of life where you can’t save a few bucks – and that includes haircuts.  Check out The 10 Golden Rules of Saving on Everything, and start thinking about cutting other things. Snip, snip!

Stacy Johnson

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