Yeah, you probably came here thinking I was going to hit you with some sort of crazy scam. I know ... I see your eyebrows raising. This is not a scam it is a change of behavior that happens to pay dividends. It starts with a little tip... its okay, I swear!
CUT YOUR HAIR YO'SELF
Yes, Yo SELF!
The reason being will become more and more evident as you read along.
I started experimenting with the clippers around middle school. My father didn't get around to taking me to the barber as often as I liked. And honestly, he took me to the barber shop on the military base...those barbers really didn't specialize in the cool cuts if you get my drift. So one day I decided that I needed to put matters into my own hands.
Why I started cutting my own hair
Cutting my own hair was something I did probably because of the male influence I had at the time. My father and grandfather were both blue-collar guys. They sort of exuded this attitude of doing it yourself, because that is what men do. My grandfather understood and worked on his own car. My dad understood and worked on his own car. If they didn't understand something, they grabbed a book, read it, learned what they needed and then fixed what they needed. I understood and respected that approach at a very young age. So I took this do it yourself attitude towards cutting hair when I wasn't pleased with the styles on the military base.
How I did it
Barber school wasn't in the cards for me. Nor was there some sort of short-term apprenticeship. I was doing this all on my own.
The mistakes I made
I remember one of my own haircuts clear as day. It was a disaster. I pushed my hairline back so far that as a 6th grader, I looked how Stephen A. Smith looks now. No disrespect intended, I just want to illustrate how I looked. My friend Corey tried to ease the embarrassment by pointing out that it was "way back" but would grow back soon enough. I dealt with the humiliation for some time but kept pushing forward because I was focused on mastering this. I continued to cut my hair in my opinion, mediocre until I made a breakthrough in college. Funny enough, it wasn't even that hard to make this leap.
How I improved
I had better access to barbershops when I was in college. I wasn't there all the time but I would go occasionally. When I was there I watched attentively. I was able to pick up a couple of nuggets that really made me feel silly in hindsight. Somethings that seemed so natural to the barber appeared this way, to me at least, due to their formal training. However, as I soon learned, I could mimic the same things given I changed one thing. My equipment.
There are many things in life you can become very proficient at without the need of awesome aids. Running, for instance. You can become a great runner without needing $300 running shoes. Running in boots though? You may become good but it will take you a lot longer to become Usain Bolt. This is sort of what I faced with my haircuts. I had clippers, but I didn't have a capable arsenal of hair cutting supplies. I used a towel instead of a barber's cape. I didn't have trimmers to properly line cuts. Barber's comb, what's that? To improve, I had to ante up and get serviceable equipment.
Wal-mart came to the rescue with the Wahl Color Pro clipper set. Fairly affordable, this set drastically changed my approach to cutting my hair. I was now trying tapers and fades. I was able to improve more and more by doing my own hair as well as others. I was gifted a pair of Andis T-Outliners and was truly in business. Business, because I was able to increase my hair cutting experience as well as make money in the college dorms.
Five Dollar Special
When I entered my senior year of undergrad I had the awesome opportunity to be an RA of a dorm. Well, I happened to become an RA of a freshman dormitory. Needless to say, there were many freshman males that were in the same exact position I was once. Always in need of a haircut. This is where my abilities really started to take off. I had different hair textures to work with, which was good for learning to taper and fade.
I charged each student five dollars for a cut. This allowed me to have a high volume of customers. Most haircuts were ten dollars or more in the area, so naturally many people flocked to me for a cut. I did cut hair up until graduation, and basically had my skills polished well for my own haircuts moving forward. I never haveto enter into another barbershop again.
Chief, You're Getting a Cut
When my son was born, I already knew the future of his hair grooming was in my hands. This was different for me because, prior, I was cutting men's hair. One overrated thing about grown-ups is that they have the uncanny ability to stay still while getting a haircut. My son, even at the age of three...not so uncanny. However, it has been a great experience embedded with internal frustration at times. That is parenting regardless though. But here is the kicker, I saved a lot of money, and will continue to save a bunch more. How much? Keep reading.
Pesky haircuts, how much are they really? Okay, I going to assume the going rate for an adult is $20. If you aren't a sucky citizen you will likely tip your barber, so add $5-$10 to that. I'm just going to go with an average of $27. I'll put it around $20 for a kid. Now we need to establish how often you go. In the African American community, some go to the barber weekly. Don't believe me...ask Spencer Moncrief. So say for argument's sake you get a haircut or touch up 4 times a month because you're professional. So that is 52 Weeks times $20-$27. That is roughly $1100 worth of haircuts in a year. Now add a son or a two and goodness you are looking at tuition costs wrapped around keeping those follicles in check.
Whole Lotta Cheese
Unless you live next door to a barber shop, you got to get there some way. Another assumption of mine is that most people are driving there. So, I'm going to conservatively say you are spending $5 in gas each trip to the barbershop. So add $260 to your $1100. My goodness, $1360 !!!
Now think about how where an 18-year-old would be if he saved all the money he didn't spend on a haircut for 10 years. I'll count it up for you. $11, 360...potentially. For a millennial looking for a house right now, that is a good bump for cutting into those closing costs.
So switch up the mental state. Learning to cut your hair is one of many ways to save money over the long run. The same approach could probably be used towards, manicures, pedicures, waxing ... many grooming services that can be DIY'd. Learn a little, save a little. Learn more, save more.
Learn a little, save a little. Learn more, save more.
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