How to (and How Not to) Save Money Shaving

September 30, 2009 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

This is easily a top-ten topic of dollar-hoarding blogversation. Seriously, anyone with a URL and a wallet has written this post. So I’m not going to add new perspective to the subject—I’ll just quirk an eyebrow at everyone who has.

Here’s the long and short: the disposable razor industry is a shameful sham. This is recognized and accepted. You buy a $10 razor with 2 additional disposable heads, then have to pony up $20 in a few weeks when those heads are trashed. Razor manufacturers want you to know that a disposable head is only good for a few shaves—plenty have added indicator strips to the blades to let you know when to toss them. And in a few months, you’re dipping into the bank again. Oh—don’t forget the shaving cream.

Don’t. Do. This. There are dozens of easy and effective ways to avoid paying out the ears for a clean shave.

But first, let’s look at some things NOT to do!

  1. Don’t switch to straight razors—or safety razors—or ‘wet shaving.’  First, straight razors or safety razors—and the equipment they’re paired with—are expensive. Many call this an investment, since you’re freeing yourself from the cost of shaving . . . but are you really? You’ll have to have replacement shaving soap or shaving cream, just like with disposable razors, and many safety razors are made to be replaced over time. Don’t get me wrong, shaving with a straigh razor is 10 kinds of manly . . . and if you’re devoted and diligent, you might accidentally wind up saving money! But it’s going to take you a while. Oh, and according to frugallawstudent.com, “When you first start out, you’ll probably slice the hell out of your face.” Pass.

  2. Don’t switch to electric to save money.  A good electric razor (one that will actually shave your face) has an $80-100 price tag.  And that’s no guarantee: I’m sending an electric razor (a gift—hooray for no loss!) into early retirement because it’s absolutely useless at getting hard-to-cut jawline stubble. Besides, these things aren’t made to last forever—and if you have irritable skin, they’ll leave your face constantly red and raw. (And since my review of a middle-of-the-road model is far from glowing, I wouldn’t suggest a cheaper alternative, either.)

Now here’s a look at what the financial hive mind have thought up that really works! Notice that none of these are alternatives to disposable razor heads—just alternate ways of using them. The best way to overcome the disposable dynasty is to beat them at their own system (don’t forget to flash a smug grin).

  1. Get a “Save a Blade”  sharpener. (Kudos to BeingFrugal.net for linking to this!) For a $20 drop, you can extend the life of a disposable head for hundreds of shaves—and keep that ‘sharp new blade’ feeling. Awesome!

  2. Dry your blades. They last much longer. (Kudos to DebtBeater.org for the link!) Bonus: Using an old pair of jeans is reportedly super-effective for drying—and sharpening—the blade. Or something. Try it—but don’t use a pair of jeans you want to wear out!

  3. Use less shaving lotion.  CleverDude make the case better than I do. And if you have a pantry full of extra shaving lotion, you can find other uses for it.

But the best advice is can give you is this: Don’t throw away your razor head after just a few shaves. It’ll still shave your face just fine, even if it’s not as sharp as it was right out of the cartridge. And the longer you can go in between head replacements—either by using the frugal tips I mentioned or just by being stubborn—the more money you’re not putting toward a new box of replacement heads. That’s mathematics.

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Sam Warren

I write about money matters that apply to my life—and hopefully yours!

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