I would just like to start by saying that this isn’t going to be a ‘buy quality over quantity’ blog post. Anytime I hear or read those words, I cringe because it makes minimalism seem elitest. As if you can’t be a real minimalist if you can’t afford someone else’s idea of quality. I don’t believe it.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
I got a haircut recently, for the first time in almost two years, and after I tweeted about it, boy did Twitter have opinions about it.
I tweeted (sarcastically, I might add):
I finally caved and paid someone to cut my hair. I’m pretty sure this means I’m going to personal finance hell.
— Britt (@tinyambitionsbb) October 17, 2017
The replies ranged from the very supportive, like,
Cost per wear, hair is a dang cheap accessory.
That’s a luxury I won’t give up. I go every two months.
To the classic personal finance response,
Oh my gosh, that’s a lot (when I told them the price).
I have no issues with how anyone else feels about a moderately expensive haircut. Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business.
But, the whole exchange made me think about how I spend my money and if I’m making the best use of every penny I make.
I recently got a new job, that unlike my previous job, requires me to work in person, with other human beings. Out of sheer laziness and no need to interact with humans on a daily basis, I had been cutting my own hair. Needless to say, it had gotten pretty ratty.
So, I made the executive decision to break my self-imposed haircut ban and pony up the funds for a professional. Being new to my city, I did what any millennial and questioner-type would do – I google searched for a salon within walking distance from my apartment.
And, bingo! I basically hit the internet jackpot. My new stylist was amazing. Not only did she teach me things about my hair that I’d never been told before (aka I have curly hair through and through), she was also a wealth of knowledge on all things related to our city.
Our 1.5-hour appointment together was equal parts haircut, therapy session, and fact-finding mission. It was a triple threat that was well worth the (roughly) $100 I paid.
Now, I know $100 is a lot for a haircut (depending on where you live). And, it was a lot of money for me. But, I felt comfortable with that decision for a couple of reasons.
First, I knew I was going to need a haircut in the near future, so I saved up for it. Having a savings goal for a haircut might seem a little weird, but it ensured I could pay for it without being worried about my credit card statement at the end of the month.
Second, my hair absolutely needed a professional overhaul. I needed it in order to make myself feel confident in my new job. I’ve written before about how people tend to underestimate me in a professional environment. I don’t really care what other people think about the way that I look, but if I don’t feel confident in the way I’m presenting myself, it shows.
Third, this won’t be a monthly expense. My hair doesn’t need it and my wallet probably couldn’t afford the extra $1200 a year it would cost. Knowing my innate level of laziness, my stylist assured me I could go six months between cuts easily if I wasn’t worried about maintaining the length (which, I’m not). I appreciated her honesty. And, it effectively means I’ll be paying $200 a year in haircuts, which, with some planning, my wallet can absorb.
More importantly, my stylist works for a locally owned salon, she lives in the community and she did a really good job making a newbie feel welcome (not to mention the excellent job she did on the cut). It’s important to me to support a local business when I can.
Should you spend $100 on a haircut?
Well, that depends on about a million factors, all of which are your own decisions.
With the exception of complex family finances (none of which I have experience in), the way you spend your own money is your own business. I’m simply sharing my ‘splurge-worthy’ haircut to let you know that it’s ok to spend money on things that are important to you. Whatever those things happen to be.
I’ve woken up every day for a month (since I got my haircut), knowing that I’m going to have a good hair day. That’s a heck of a good return on investment. Could I have saved myself $100 by continuing to cut my own hair? Probably. But, then I would have woken up every day for the last month stressed about how to not make my hair look like a rat’s nest.
And, that’s the main idea that can be applied to anything you want to buy. ‘Stuff’ costs money (or time, or other stuff) – that’s a fact of life.
Buying stuff and spending money on that stuff isn’t inherently bad.
Will it cost you extra to take care/service the item? Does the item have added value beyond its price tag? Does the item/product/service add something extra to your life? Does it make your life easier?
Your answer to any of these questions will help you determine if something is worth the price you will have to pay for it (no matter what the price tag is).
Was a $100 haircut worth it for me? Absolutely. There’s no question in my mind that I got more than $100 of value out of the experience. and that’s what I’ve learned – stuff (products/experiences) are more than what you see at face value.
Uncovering their true value/worth is the key to figuring out if you want that ‘thing’ to be part of your life.
Do you routinely spend money on something that other people would consider not worthwhile /frivolous/ not worth it? What is it about that item/service that makes it worth it to you? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Today is #GivingTuesday! Like I mentioned in last week’s episode of Tiny Bites, I’m planning on donating to my local humane society today. If it’s within your budget, please consider donating to a cause that is important to you. (And if it’s not, that’s totally cool too).
P.S.S. If you missed last week’s episode of Tiny Bites, all about being grateful when your day kicks your butt, you can listen to it here. You can also catch up on all past episodes of Tiny Bites here. Did you know you can listen to Tiny Bites in Apple Podcasts and Google Play Music? You can!
Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions