Broke Ass Financial Coaching: The Cheapest Haircut in the World

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While being young, broke and beautiful is all well and good, some people’s finances are more jacked than others.  That’s why we’ve invited Betsy Crouch (aka Coach $izzle) to come onboard and dole out some much needed advice.  She is a professional financial coach after all.  If you’ve got a question you’d like answered please email her  Maybe your question will be the next one answered.

First of all, I thought the Flowbee was something that was invented for Waynes World.  And secondly, is that Jeff Foxworthy??

First of all, I thought the Flowbee was something that was invented for Wayne's World. And secondly, is that Jeff Foxworthy??

The cheapest haircut is the one you give yourself.

The Wall Street Journal reported an increase in hair clipper sales as a sign of an increase in DIY haircuts, due to the recent economic downturn.  We know that select Broke Asses, Frugals, and people with simple haircuts have been cutting their own hair for years.  My Dad has been giving himself the same simple short nice looking haircut for over 40 years, with scissors!  Think of how much money he has saved…

Ask three people about haircuts, where they get their haircut, if they think you should cut your own hair or if they would consider cutting their own hair, and you’ll find out that this is a charged topic, if you didn’t already know.

When it comes to haircuts I have gone to many different places and stylists.  Over the last several years my haircuts have cost around $70 to $80 plus tip, every 10-12 weeks.  A week ago I woke up one day and said, “I NEED A HAIRCUT!”  I thought about calling one of the last two people who cut my hair, and I thought, “I don’t want to spend the money,” “I am going to be traveling and pulling my hair back, why should I pay to get a nice haircut,” “They won’t be available this afternoon which is when I need the haircut,” etc.  So, I gave myself a haircut.

My first thought about this is that it was radical to cut my own hair.  Well in our culture since there is so much emphasis on image, and it is much less common for long haired people to cut their own hair.  Then I thought, “why is this so radical?”  It is my hair and it is going to continue to grow, why would I not invest the time to get good at cutting my own hair.  After all, I could save that money and put it towards something that is a higher prioritiy for me.  What is a higher priority for you?

If you invested the money you saved from haircuts for one year only, assuming 8% average annual return, in 40 years:

$300 invested, in 40 years: $6517.36

$500 invested, in 40 years: $10,862.26

$1000 invested, in 40 years: $21,724.52

Here is a list of Investment Calulators from

You may say you don’t want to invest that money, and that is fine.  Just know the potential value of your money is the greatest when you are young!  “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest,” said Albert Einstein.  If getting your hair cut is a high priority and you love doing it, please go to see your stylist often and tip well!  Then “we” the DIYs won’t feel quite as bad for not supporting the industry.

My conclusion after all of this is that I don’t really want to become good at cutting my hair…I don’t think.  I know I will want to have a nice haircut one of these days and it isn’t practical for me to basically become a professional stylist.  What I need to do is find an inexpensive stylist who I really like who gives me a reliable haircut.

I think I did pretty well with my haircut.  It isn’t totally even, but I have a LOT of hair and it is really curly, and therefore pretty forgiving.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not a great haircut, but everyone who I have gotten opinions from have said they are surprised that it wasn’t bad!  Good start.

So this week I am asking you the question.  Which salons and stylists are the best for an inexpensive haircut in San Francisco and New York? I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but I know they exist!

What do you think of DIY haircuts?
Comment here or email

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Betsy Crouch - Coach $izzle

Betsy Crouch - Coach $izzle

Betsy hates to brag, but she grew up in Michigan. An unhappy materialist/rabid consumer turned minimalist, Betsy feels right at home in the warm socially responsible arms of San Francisco. With an Economics degree, a basic financial certification, and a range of personal experience, she has developed a unique financial coaching philosophy. She wants you to feel a sense of serenity with your finances and she shares what she has learned from coaching almost 200 people one on one. Betsy wants you to embrace your "sizzle," and for you to become a more confident and empowered Broke Ass.


  1. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    December 1, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Lately I’ve been going to Public Barber Salon in SF. They are well priced and do a great job. I wrote about it here:

  2. Ash
    December 1, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I’ve been working in the beauty industry for years here’s my two cents: many salons have an assisting or apprentice program (usually on Mondays) where you can get cheap services like cut, color, blow dry for $15-$20 or sometimes even free. I know in San Francisco Blade Runners in haight does it, Di Pietro Todd, oxenrose, Festoon, Cinta, just to name a few. You can also try a beauty school like Paul Mitchell or Marinello for huge discounts. Though you are seeing a student they should be supervised by a licensed instructor/stylist so you can still walk away with great hair. The downside? Typically these services take a little longer. With all the money you save on the service, don’t forget to leave a nice tip. Most assistants make minimum wage and we all know students are broke! Remember, it’s just hair. It grows back.

  3. BAS Writers
    December 1, 2009 at 11:51 am

    V Salon in NYC–ask for Ronnie! I wrote about it here:

  4. December 1, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I have been going to Public, too. I have been going for about a year and a half and Steve has always made my hair look fantastic on the cheap.

    As for DIY, I highly recommend the Flowbee. No bullshit. I regularly use it to cut one of my friend’s hair it does a good job.

  5. Joe Petersen - Classist Columnist
    December 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    For the dudes in NYC, Neighborhood Barbers is a great cut for a great deal. While the prices did recently go up (from $12 to $14 for a haircut(!)), a friend told me that this place is legendary and that he’s seen fashion magazine editors in here. I’ve been three times and have yet to be disappointed.

  6. December 4, 2009 at 5:40 am

    I go to the most NY of hair salons…Astor Place Barber Shop . Back in my punk rock 80’s childhood, i used to get the back and sides buzzed off, now I have longer hair with bangs and it never costs more than 20 bucks…go see Sarah in the back right hand corner, she is a woman with few words but lots of talent….anyway there is no glamour there but lots of old school atmosphere and since switching over there from more expensive salons I fail to see the difference….

    • Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
      December 4, 2009 at 8:46 am

      Awesome! I’ve always wanted to go in there! I think we all had some pretty silly hair cuts at some point or another 🙂

  7. Ruth
    December 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Mere moments ago, I got really mad at DramaticsNY for not telling me the price over the phone. (That means 50 bucks, children.)

    I was going to Aveda Institute for a long time but I got butchered this summer and they were NOT great about doing it over.

    I’ve never been actually disappointed in Astor.
    I’ll give em a shot and report back.

  8. Christine Witmer - Sparing Stringer
    January 10, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Panyc Salon in NYC is reasonably priced and gives a great cut.