My boyfriend and I started cutting each other’s hair to save money — and we’re sticking with it, despite our inexperience

The author cutting her partner's hair.

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The author cutting her partner’s hair.
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Sarah Wells

  • My partner and I decided to try cutting each other’s hair to save money.
  • The process has had its share of challenges, but we’re sticking with it.

There are certain expendable prices we pay in order to live and work in our modern world. Maybe it’s paying $20 for a monthly manicure that gives you confidence in your workplace or forking out $4 or $5 for your daily caffeine boost.

But perhaps one of the most common, and in my opinion one of the most egregious, prices we are societally pressured to pay is the price of a haircut.

For those with short hair, you might visit the barber or salon every three to six weeks, costing you roughly $15 to $25 per cut. For those with longer hair the visits may be less frequent, more likely every eight to twelve weeks, but the prices are often jacked up to $40, $60 or even $80 per cut.

I’m not saying that an experienced hair stylist isn’t worth these prices, but maybe paying for the shampoo, scalp massage and styling every time you need a trim is a little excessive.

To test this theory, my boyfriend and I decided to start cutting each other’s hair – and have so far saved over $100 doing so.

Humble (and dull) beginnings

When we first started talking about carrying out this experiment it was mostly as a joke. One night when complaining about needing to find time to get his overgrown locks cut my boyfriend off-handedly suggested how much easier it would be if I could do it.

While my gut reaction was to refuse out of fear of Van Gogh-ing his ear or giving him a bowl cut, I started to think, “Why not?” After all, my mom had given my dad haircuts when I was little and that had never ended in tragedy.

With a tablecloth secured around him using a clothes pin, a half-charged (guard-less) electric razor and our dull, multipurpose craft scissors, I set to work on my masterpiece.

I’m not going to lie, I probably went into this first haircut with a little too much hubris. I’d glanced at a few tutorials online but had the general attitude that I knew what a good haircut should look like, so I’d just make it happen … somehow.

There were some missteps, like when our dull scissors only pulled on his hair instead of cutting it or when his razor died halfway in, but after about forty-minutes of clipping and trimming he emerged with a haircut that wouldn’t embarrass him in public.

You cut my hair how short?

After the relative success of my boyfriend’s cut, we decided it would be worth him giving it a try too. Now equipped with a pair of real hair scissors, it was my turn to take a seat in our hallway and cross my fingers.

Some context for my hair: I’ve never received a haircut where the stylist didn’t comment “Wow, you have a lot of hair.” Not only is my hair thick, in terms of density, but each individual strand is as well. So, suffice it to say, my boyfriend had his work cut out for him.

With my hair just below my shoulders at the time I asked my boyfriend to trim about 1 to 1.5 inches off the length, but it became clear a few minutes in that that request wasn’t exactly going to plan.

In an attempt to even out my cut, my boyfriend had accidentally cut more and more from the length of my hair. When I reached back to investigate the progress, I found at least an inch gap between where my hair ended and my shoulders began.

While my accidental bob did give me a small panic at first, the cut itself was actually pretty good, and I’ve really come to enjoy the effortlessness of my short hair – even if it means ponytails are more challenging.

Open for business

I’ve since given my boyfriend another haircut (even better than the first, I might brag) and I fully intend to let him trim mine again too. I won’t rule out paying for a professional haircut before an important meeting or event, but for month to month maintenance we, and our wallets, are more than happy to do the job ourselves.