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The Case for Spending $100 on a Haircut (Or, Anything Really).

November 28, 2017
The Case for Spending $100 on a Haircut (Or Anything, Really) | Tiny Ambitions

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):

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.

The Case for Spending Money on a Haircut (Or, Anything Really) {Pin} _ Tiny Ambitions

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

  • Secret Agent Woman February 20, 2018 at 9:20 am

    How you budget is such a personal decision that I can’t see telling someone which particular things they should or shouldn’t spring for. As long as debt isn’t involved, what does it matter. For me personally, I haven’t had my hair professionally cut since shortly after my divorce, about ten years ago. And I hadn’t been for quite a while before that. But I wear my hair longish and in a ponytail, so it doesn’t require a professional cut. I also stopped coloring it a year ago and am embracing my silver. That’s all just me, though – I have other expenditures (like travel) that would make other frugal people cringe.

    • Britt February 20, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      I agree! What you spend your money on is your own business.

  • reasonstostaysite December 16, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Lol, perhaps a bit off topic, but any tips you can now share with other curly-haired women?? I do go for regular cuts – well twice a year, for 180 South African Rand – but I still feel every morning is a struggle not to let my hair look like a rat’s nest as you say! Please if you learned any life-changing tips, do share!

    • Britt December 16, 2017 at 11:34 am

      That’s a really good question! I’ve had good success with using Aveda Curl Prep. I just brush my hair after washing it, towel dry it a little bit, run some product through my hair and then scrunch the curls for bounce. The product keeps it from getting all tangled and disheveled which is super nice! Thanks for reading.

      • reasonstostaysite December 17, 2017 at 9:55 am

        Thank you for the reply! I will Google Aveda to see if I will be able to find it in South Africa xxx

  • Heather December 16, 2017 at 9:44 am

    There’s nothing wrong with paying someone to cut your hair, and spending what you consider to be worth it. I occasionally cut my own hair because I have 3 young children, but it looks terrible and I don’t kid myself. I’ll be off back to the hairdresser as soon as I can get the time.

    • Britt December 16, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more!

  • Terri December 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

    $200 a year comes out to what, like $25 a month? That is not a lot at al! And if it makes you feel good and you get a lot out of it, who cares what others think? It’s your life! And your hair! 🙂

    I am like you – I didn’t get my hair cut professionally for something like ten months and when I finally did, just at a Supercuts, it still felt really good to me to have someone else do it. It gave me a mental lift and boost I needed.

    People are always so wiling to judge others that they don’t even know – it amazes me! And congrats on your new job, btw.

    • Britt December 15, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Thanks Terri! It was definitely worth the value it gave me knowing I was going to have a good hair day every day!

  • reachingforfi November 29, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Sounds like $100 well-spent! So far I’m finding ways to visit my parents/get a $30 haircut with the woman who’s been doing my hair since high school in the process. Because I’m too cheap to pay $50 minimum for one up here when I can do it when visiting my parents/I’m worried it’ll take me a bit to find someone I love.

    But on the other hand, I went a year without getting my hair cut and it looked horrendous by the time I did finally get all the dead ends hacked off a few months ago. So was saving money worth that? Probably not. Good thing I’m fine for another few months before I have to think about this again 😉

    • Britt November 30, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Haha I just got to the same point where I basically looked like I had a rats nest on my head all the time. Well worth the money to get my hair sorted out! Though, I wouldn’t say no if I could get the same cut at a cheaper price. 😂

  • Amanda of My Life, I Guess November 29, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Ah yes… I remember saving up to get my hair cut when I went back to working full time. When I worked with kids, the hair was always pulled back anyways, so there were more important things to spend my money on. But just like you said, I too needed that professional overhaul for myself. (Hey, it might be time to do this again as I’m starting a new job next week!)

    I can’t really think of anything that I spend on that people might consider “not worth it” because I don’t spend money on anything anymore. (At least that how it feels!) I know I used to get some flack for eating Subway as often as I did. In my defense, I lived alone at the time and was working 60+ hour weeks so not having to spend the time cooking (or grocery shopping, some weeks) was worth it to me 🙂

    • Britt November 30, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Congrats on the new gig, that’s so exciting! And I highly recommend a professional overhaul- it feels great.

  • Lisa | Simple Life Experiment November 29, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Hurrah for having a good hair day all the time! I definitely think getting a proper haircut from a professional is a great investment, since personally, when I keep my hair trimmed and looking nice, it really gives me a boost. When my hair is looking great, I have noticed that I am a lot less conscious about the rest of my appearance. I think it’s a wonderful way to lift one’s look naturally without the need for makeup or spending hours receiving beauty treatments.

    But to get to the underlying idea here, I completely agree that purchases are more than what we see at face value, and I think this is especially true for services/experiences. For me, investing in the service economy is really important and a great rebuttal to ‘if everyone was a minimalist, the economy would crash’. Buying experiences and services rather than material things seems like a triple win to me because the purchaser gets something that brings real value to their life (and zero clutter to boot!), it’s often better for the environment compared to buying ‘stuff’ with that same amount of money, and a lot of the time it supports local businesses rather than corporations (eg. haircut at a locally-owned hair salon vs. buying new clothes at a chain store).

    • Britt November 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Purchasing services/experiences really are a great triple threat! I will never understand the ‘if everyone was a minimalist, the economy would crash’ narrative. Almost every developed economy in the world has shifted to a service economy over the last twenty years. And nothing terrible has happened to the economy (notwithstanding the crash of 2008, but that was not because of a surge of minimalists).

      Also, I agree that haircuts are a cheap way to boost your look. Which is great because I am terrible at applying makeup and avoid wearing it as much as humanly possible.

      • Lisa | Simple Life Experiment December 4, 2017 at 1:11 am

        Agreed! I think it is often just an excuse to justify our overconsumption as a society. And I am with you on the makeup front. Soooo not into it either and I avoid using it most of the time – I can think of better things to do with my time!

  • Veronika @ Debts To Riches November 29, 2017 at 12:29 am

    I’m sure some in the personal finance world would have an aneurysm if they saw the things I’ve purchased.. even though it’s not their own money somehow it’s personal?

    I pay more for clothing if I can be confident that it was manufactured ethically and sustainably. I buy ‘frivolous’ things like video games and makeup and perfume that serves no practical purpose. I’m still in debt and haven’t saved enough to retire by age 30 so I shouldn’t buy anything non-essential until I have a million dollar net worth, right? That’s not my dream, but sometimes it feels like there’s a lot of pressure to live up to that one narrative.

    • Britt November 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      I think there is a similar narrative in the minimalist community. If everything you own doesn’t fit in a backpack and if you don’t wear only black and white, you’re somehow a minimalist failure? It’s just never made any sense to me. Good thing I’m not the follower-type or I’d be compromising my own journey! Thanks for sharing Veronika! (PS. from someone who spells their name differently, I love the way you spell yours!

      • Liz December 16, 2017 at 2:50 pm

        Oh my gosh, the two of you don’t know how much better you made me feel. I like regular haircuts, makeup, perfume and other occasional “frivolous” things (red lipstick is my jam). I almost never wear black, white and grey unless I’m at a funeral. Neutral colors just aren’t my thing and I was feeling like a failure because I can’t have a neutral capsule wardrobe where everything can be worn together. Colors make me happy whether in my hair, on my face or on my body. To me spending my money on these things is worth it for my confidence and sense of well-being.

        • Britt December 16, 2017 at 5:10 pm

          Whoever said Minimalists have to only wear neutral colours is dead wrong! My closet is full of prints, colours and some neutrals for balance. Would a post about a ‘colourful’ capsule wardrobe be useful for you? I’d write one if it was!

          • Liz December 16, 2017 at 11:42 pm

            Yes, please!!

          • Britt December 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

            Deal! Now I have something I can work on in the New Year. Thanks, Liz!

  • therinkydinklife November 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Who knew haircuts could be such a divisive topic! I used to only get my hair cut once a year and used boxed dye. I’ve had gray hair coming in since I was 21! I’m not ready to embrace that ‘natural’ life yet. Anyway, it started to get really frustrating dying my hair myself. The dye was so messy and it was hard for me to do it alone so I often asked my husband to help me which just lead to us getting irritated at each other 🙂 Eventually I found a salon and started getting my hair done professionally and I’ve never looked back. I spend a ridiculous amount but I’m comfortable with my stylist and because my hair is so thick, I generally can’t go more than 2 1/2 without my stylist working her magic. I like that I can also tailor how much I want to spend—I can turn down the blow dry and styling, I can choose one solid color instead of color and highlights, all of those things would save money. For me, it’s definetely worth it getting my hair done because it helps me have more confidence and it’s just so much less stressful.

    Also, I thought your opinion at the outset on buying ‘quality over quantity’/elitism was really interesting! I’d love to hear more about this! No pressure 😉

    • Britt November 28, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      That might have to be a topic for this week’s Tiny Bites! It’s hard to articulate what I’m trying to say in mere written words. 😂

  • theluxestrategist November 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I remember that Twitter thread! And when I posted about my haircut I was surprised how it was such a hot topic. Who knew?

    Here’s the thing about hair: you might have a hairstyle that needs regular maintenance (like, short hair), or have difficult to style hair. I would never tell those people to go get a cheap haircut! Haircuts are one of those things where what you pay for and what you get is such a gamble. So if you find someone you really like, it’s worth sticking with them and paying the price. The time and energy in trying out new places and wasting money on bad haircuts should be accounted for, too.

    • Britt November 28, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      I had no idea it was such a hot button issue! My new stylist showed me why my hair is the way it is and why I’ve been fighting with it my whole life. It was a serious game-changer. Now I shudder to think how awesome my hair could have been if I hadn’t been skipping out on good cuts!

  • Ms. Steward November 28, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Sounds like a great investment! We easily spend $300 a year on photos between prints and photographer sessions. Our littles change so fast, so it’s important to us to capture them regularly while they are little.

    • Britt November 28, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      That’s such a good investment! They will literally never be the same as they are today, you might as well do everything you can to capture it!

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.

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