Saving 1,700€ with a hair clipper

Often, after I have cut my hair, it is raised within a conversation the issue of the hair clipper and me cutting it by myself… Last time this happened was couple of weeks ago, and then I decided to reflect on it, make some numbers and write a small post about it.

I bought a Philips hair clipper machine at sometime around 2000-2002 (say 2001). It cost around 20€, though I remember we paid for it in pesetas (1 euro = ~166 pesetas). Since I had started losing some hair, the haircut I was already having was pretty simple: shaving it down to around 9-12mm. Beginning 2002 barber shops were charging about 8.5€ (I do not know how much do they charge now… assuming the price increased with inflation now it should be about 10-10.5€). That was the main driver behind the purchase: the payback time would be extremely quick, between 2 and 3 hair cuts.

In the last 10 years I may have had around 120-130 hair cuts (every 3-4 weeks). These, at the market price would have cost ~1,210€. However, there are some more aspects to take into consideration.

Time. When I used to go to a barber shop, the whole process (home door to home door) would take around 1 hour and a half (90′ – transport, waiting, cutting, transport), while now it takes no more than 20′ (maximum). Then and now, I take a shower afterwards, so I will keep it out of the comparison. This means that now I am saving 70′ each time I have a hair cut… counting the 130 cuts of the last ten years, these amount to 150 hours (about 15 hours / year). I will value these hours on the cheap side, since half of this time I was a student, so let us say 5€/hour. The time savings amount to another ~750€.

This time was my time. However, in about 2/3 of the cuts I counted with the help of either my mum or my partner. They contribute less time as preparation and clean up is done by myself, so let me say they spent about 10′ (~60 hours of their time in 10 years). Let me value their time as 3 times as expensive as mine (this way I am conservative in the business case comparison). This would be an extra cost of 215€ (no matter that it never implied a cash outflow… thanks!).

The price of the electricity of the couple of light bulbs and the clipper used when cutting hair at home (when at the barber’s it is included in the price) is almost negligible (at ~0.1kW/h). I started the calculations, but they amount to less than 1€. The water used in cleaning up is also quite cheap (at about 0.0013€/liter). Assuming each time I used 10 liters in cleaning up (maximum), this makes another ~1.7€.

Finally, I am not including in the calculation the cost of transportation to the barber shop and environmentally aspects of that transportation. We could think that in the 70′ free time that I am given due to cutting it at home I can engage in an equally transport-intensive activity with the same environmentally unfriendly consequences.

If we add up all the savings and costs… -20€ (clipper) +1,210€ (cut price) + 750€ (my time) -215€ (family time) -1€ (electricity) -1.7€ (water) = ~1,722€. After 10 years, the cumulative positive cash flow of that tiny 20€ investment back in 2001 is over 1,700 euros. Ah, and it never required any maintenance.

Do you still want to go to the barber shop?


Filed under Investing

7 responses to “Saving 1,700€ with a hair clipper

  1. I think to forgot the cost of not being fashion anymore. Okay, you might cut your hair before exactly as you do now…

    … but before you had the option to say one day to the hairdresser: “Please, innovate”, which you hardly do nowadays with non-expert hands holding the hair clipper. 😉

  2. Jesús

    I think about it every time I cut my hair too… thanks for the numbers… my girl is bored of listen to me talking about that…

    It’s true you loose the innovation (when you try it at home always is a disaster…), but, how many times will you innovate? that times you can go to the hairdresser, and the rest of the times… you just cut your hair as always, so safe money and time is great!

    (and we don’t must forget that Javi, your hair cut is an ease one… hehehe… 😉 ).

  3. When writing the post I also thought about the lack of variability of cuts with the clipper (except for very bold ones…), but as Jesus said, is not that I was going to innovate much with my hair.

  4. Well, if you paid it in pesetas it should have been before the end of February 2002.

  5. I did it the other way round. I still have the hair clipper I used to have my hair cut by my father when I live with my parents, but I don’t use it now that I live in Leioa.

  6. Jose Martinez Carreño

    Back to 2010 after a fb photo: conversations with barber, car magazines, there was even a wii!!! 11€…peanuts

    Definitelly, it worths that money

  7. Well, some clippers tend to broke. Some experts recommend to buy the best possible one.

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