Depending on who you ask, the number of haircuts that a person gets in any given year can vary from none to once every two weeks (24/year). We average about 4 haircuts a year and when we pay for a haircut the total bill averages out to around $12. Growing up, my mom would cut my brothers and my hair. In college, I would wait until I went home to have my hair cut to save a few bucks. My folks probably saved around $200 a year by cutting hair themselves.
Shae and I cut each others hair on occasion. With Frugal Boy underfoot, it can be difficult to leave the house for an hour, especially when most of our free time is at night. The other night Shae asked me to cut her hair because it was getting long and resembled string to this playful kitten.
You’ll need some equipment to properly cut hair. A pair of sharp scissors designed for hair cutting. Don’t use them for anything else, you want them nice and sharp for cutting hair! A comb and clips are helpful for longer hair. Good lighting and a smooth floor make an ideal place to set up shop. I set down a chair in our kitchen so Shae could watch the aquarium while I worked (yes she trusts me with scissors).
A towel wrapped around your victim, err client, will make cleanup easier. If you are intimidated by the thought of it, do what I do and watch some youtube videos. The biggest challenge is just having the confidence to do it and know that hair grows back and it isn’t the end of the world if you make a mistake. It takes me a bit longer than a professional, but we save a little bit of money, have some time together, and can do it all from the comfort of our own home (within earshot of a sleeping baby).
Being a home owner is awesome. That awesomeness has a price stapled to it and when we became home owners for the first time last year, it became abundantly clear that we would need to acquire some more stuff. One of those things was a lawn mower and because we moved in at the beginning of the summer it wasn’t something that I could procrastinate on.
Who am I kidding, I bummed and borrowed neighbors mowers for the first month while I avoided spending any more money on house stuff (buying five new appliances, a water heater, mattress, and tons of other stuff will cure you of shopping).
Thankfully, my in-laws gifted us with their used corded electric mower. It had a tiny 18″ mowing deck, but our yard is tiny and most importantly the price was right, free! I bought a new blade for it and a really long extension cord and quit bothering our neighbors (probably to their relief). Over the course of the summer I learned the best way to cut the grass while being mindful of the energy supplying umbilical cord. It got the job done, even if I spent more time untangling cord than cutting grass.
This spring shopping fever was starting to take hold again. All of the home improvement stores had such nice displays of mowers. The memory of fighting extension cords was still fresh and motivating me to find something better. Gas mowers have been around a long time, don’t have cords to worry about, and are economical. I used to mow my parents lawn and some lawns around my hometown using a trusty gas mower, but given the fact that we have such a dainty yard and no other gas powered tools, it seemed inefficient to add a gas tool to our otherwise all electric collection. A corded electric mower was out of the running from the get go but maybe a battery powered one might be the answer. Battery powered mowers have come a long way in recent years thanks to the mass production of lithium ion batteries. These energy dense rechargeable batteries have taken the consumer electronics market by storm, but like any rechargeable battery, it will wear out over time. The prospect of spending $100 every three years is not very appealing to me. The only other way of mowing a yard is by human power. Reel mowers are a centerpiece fixture of my imagining of the 1950s. One of our neighbors has a reel mower and it is wonderfully quiet, especially when his neighbor brings out a gas monster. My wife, Shae, is all in favor of reel mowers, but she’s also mowed the yard once (ever in her whole life). So like any on-the-fence individual, I did nothing and slugged out another season with the long tailed red devil.
This past week while mowing the yard, the mower became very difficult to steer. Looking down I saw that one side of the handle had disconnected from the mower body. “AHA, the mower is broken, now I can justify a new one”, I thought, until the ridiculousness of that statement hit me a minute later.
Knowing what I had to do, I went to the hardware store and spent $1.31 for a new bolt and wing nut.
Two minutes later, the mower was fixed.
While this mower is a bit of a pain to use, it does do the job it is meant to do and until it properly dies, I’ll keep on using it. How often do we throw something out or buy something new just because we don’t have the best or shiniest. I bet I can get another year out of this mower, and at the end of next year, I will probably say the same thing.
Thanks in-laws for the functioning mower. It gets the job done and we’ve been able to put money towards things that really matter, like Frugal Boy’s education fund.