Mar 26, 2010

Skills That Save (Merrick)

I recently read a magazine article about saving more than you earn. It went through some basic ideas on how to save money, one of which was to “Get An Education.” They didn’t necessarily mean go to college, but to develop skills and educate yourself on ways that can help you save money. A few of their suggestions were to learn budgeting, computer skills, cooking and/or car maintenance. With the help of a book, internet tutorials, or a friend, you could acquire skills that will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.

One skill that I acquired a few years ago, which I think falls into this category, was cutting my husband’s hair.

Before we got married, Philip went to the local hair school for his haircuts. Like most men who keep their hair short, he went in every 3-4 weeks for a cut. Although it was only $12 or so for a cut plus the tip, it added up pretty quickly when we were forking that over every three weeks.

When Philip suggested, only a few weeks after we got married, that I learn how to cut his hair so we could cut this expense out of our monthly budget, I quickly agreed. Yes, it took a few times for me to really get the hang of it, and yes, one time I put the wrong guard on and the haircut ended in tears (tears from me, not him), but after a few months, my skills improved, I figured out exactly what he liked, and was able to produce a great haircut almost 100% of the time.

Although saving roughly $150 a year on haircuts may not seem like a ton to you, this one skill has given me confidence to learn other skills that will save us money. And if I can learn five other skills that will save me $150 a year each, that will add up very quickly and suddenly I’ll have nearly $1000 per year of extra money that could go toward a vacation, or new clothes, or something way more awesome than a haircut.

So readers, do you cut your husband/children’s hair? What other skills do you have that help save you money?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

i started cutting my husbands and both boys hair about a year ago. it was costing us about $45/month so that was a pretty big savings. every little bit helps in our goal to be debt free by summer 2011!

Heather said...

Oh, I cut 5/6 heads of hair in this house. My own, not so much. But I rarely get it cut. I need to get over the cost and get a good haircut at least twice a year instead of forcing my hubby to try for it. Womens cuts are not as simple as mens.

And, really, my baby hasn't needed a cut, so that's 4/6.

Mary said...

I tried cutting my son's hair ONE time, had to have it professionally fixed and have never tried again. There is no way that my husband would ever let me touch his hair. He is super, super, super picky about his haircuts to the point where he will return to the salon and make the professionals fix them sometimes if he comes home and doesn't like a certain spot.
Luckily for us, my sister-in-law does hair and gives us a great deal. (Though my husband doesn't go to her. I told you he's picky).
In response to the hobbies post yesterday, a great way to find out what hobbies/ talents your kids are interested in developing is to enroll them in the local Community Ed classes which are usually really cheap. Before spending lots of money on lessons, etc. for something your kids might lose interest in, it works great to try out these classes to see how much they like the activity first.

Janssen said...

We gave up Bart's haircuts this year when we got serious about paying off our student loans. But he cuts his own hair, since he did it on his mission and has all the tools. Glad it's free and that I don't have to deal with it.

Also, we noticed over the last four years of him getting haircuts, that it's not like they're doing that awesome of a job anyway. Half the time he came home and hated it.

janet said...

I started cutting my husband's hair about 4 or 5 years ago, and it's honestly not that hard, and like Janssen said, I am not doing any worse than a cheap barber.

In fact, about 6 months ago he went to the barber one time because I was out of town or busy or something when he needed a cut and the guy totally messed up. Which made my mediocre skills look great!

If only I could teach him to cut mine... but I get my mom to cut mine once a year, and I cut my sister's when we're in the same city.

Carly Jane said...

I cut my husband's hair every three weeks (it should probably be every two since it grows like a weed, but three is often enough, thank you!). I don't really enjoy it (I still haven't mastered 100% perfection... after a year and a half of hair cutting I've only done it perfectly once), but I know it's worth it. While we were engaged, I watched his mom cut it a few times (to get an idea of how to do it), and then jumped right in when we were married.

In the last two year I've learned (well, at least progressed in my abilities) to sew. Since our budget is really tight and my family is a BIG gift-giving family, this means I've been able to make almost all my own gifts for people. It also meant I was able to sew cloth diapers for my son, which will save us hundreds (thousands?) of dollars in the long run.

preethi said...

When we were living in Philadelphia, my husband's (cheap) haircuts were at least $18-20, and almost always ended up with me giving them the evil eye when he came home because of their badness (he really didn't care one way or the other). That Christmas, we requested a hair cutting set, and it has been wonderful.

Like you said, the first few ended up with me having a panic attack or two (again, him with the not caring), but now I give him consistently good cuts that both he and I like. It's great because it saves us money, and since I'm more picky about his haircuts than he is, I get to (with practice) have control over the end result.

Packrat said...

I tried to cut my son's and daughter's hair one time each. Disaster both times. I am going to start cutting my husband's hair, tho. Seems ridiculous to pay $12.00 to $15.00 a month to pay someone to cut what little hair is left.

I know how to sew and over the past forty-five years have probably saved (first my mom and then me) thousands of dollars by making family member's and my own clothes, doing alterations, and in the past few years making my daughter's concert black formal dresses.

I know how to cook and bake and forget that so many young people don't know how.

Other skills that I am grateful my grandparents taught me are how to grow fruits and vegetables and then be able to preserve and/or store them.

Mary said...

I've been cutting my husbands hair for about two years now. It has definitely saved us money.

Stacy said...

I've been cutting my husband's hair for probably six years now - I learned from observation since I usually wear my hair short as well and get it cut quite often. We've undoubtedly saved money and frustration - since I know from personal experience how hard it is to find someone who will cut your hair just right.

I've also attempted my daughter's hair a couple times, but since it's long and I'd never cut long hair before I went online and found some video tutorials. I mean, it was still hard cause she's two and won't sit still for two seconds, but it's still better than paying $10-$15 to have someone else do it.

Too bad there's no one around to cut my hair for free...

Camille said...

I desperately need to learn how to do that! Where did you learn? The internet? Or did you have someone teach you in person?

Ang said...

I cut my sons hair, but I'm still too nervous about cutting my husband's.

emily said...

I tried to cut Jacob's hair when we were dating, the night before we got engaged actually and oh boy was it bad. He ended up fixing it himself and had to go super short. I cried and cried! Everytime I see our engagement day pictures I laugh about how short his hair is. I was too scared to cut it for him again so most of the time he cut it himself (sometimes crookedly.....) with a few salon haircuts each year. But we tried again a couple of months ago and it's going better now, and he helps me. It is a little nerve wracking! I can't think of anything else like that that saves money but surely there are some other things...

The Liddells said...

My husband cuts his own hair and always has. It always looks really good and saves a lot of money!

Chelsea said...

I first learned from my dad how to cut his hair and since moved on to sometimes doing brothers' hair and my husbands. It was always nerve racking doing someone's hair because you want them to be happy with it. Something that helped was have them teach me how they like it. They usually know what they like best and then have them walk you through it.

Anonymous said...

camille,
the best way to learn how to cut your husbands/kids hair is to watch a professional a couple times and then it is pretty easy.

Anonymous said...

I have cut my husbands hair for 5 years now. He was in the military and we did not live near a base where the hair cuts are cheaper so I had to learn how to cut it. He was going every 2 weeks to get it cut and i about lost my mind on how much we were spending. So now my husband and both my boys get a hair cut every 2-4 weeks by mom the hair stylist. They all know that i only have one style and that is short so for now it works for the boys. My daughter who is 3 still gets her hair cut by me also. Since i only trim her hair it is easy. i know soon though we will have to go to a professional and have it stylied.

sam said...

just wanted you guys to know that this is a great blog. it inspired me to re-examine our budget for family night activity last week. we're trying to cut down the number of times a month we eat out. :)