One of the ways that I have been able to save money over the years is to make purchases that, while being a larger initial investment, will save me money down the road.
A great example of this idea is when dealing with shaving.
In 2014, I was working with a church in the countryside outside of Dharan, Nepal, and I was in dire need of a shave. One day, one of my friends and I ventured to the small city to explore, and we happened to find a barbershop.
When I say barbershop, in reality it was more like a 5’ by 10 ‘ open air shed with two chairs and small mirror. The barber could not speak any English, and we engaged in a game of charades in order to communicate. Eventually, I was able to discern that a traditional wet shave would cost about $.50, so I decided to give it a shot. (Don’t worry, I tipped him well.)
I did feel a little strange at first, sitting in the chair, watching in the mirror while a Nepali guy that I couldn’t understand held a straight razor up to my neck. In the end, he was very skilled and I had a great experience. I think he had a great time too, as there aren’t many Westerners that get wet shaves in the outskirts of Dharan, Nepal.
Once I was back in the U.S., I decided to do some research into wet shaving, and I fell in love with the practice. If you aren’t familiar, the concept of wet shaving involves loading up a brush, typically made of badger hair, with soap and then applying the soap to your face in circular motions. Once your face is lathered, you shave using either a double edge razor or a straight razor. This practice is definitely more dangerous and time consuming than using a traditional multi-blade razor or cartridge, but it provides and incredibly close shave and helps exfoliate your skin in the process.
Check out this blog post from The Art of Manliness, which is one of my favorite blogs. It’s a good read about the lost art of Wet Shaving.
Now to get to the good part: saving money!
Once I decided that I wanted to become a regular wet shave practitioner, I hopped on Amazon to buy some products. In December of 2014, I bought a Parker double edge razor, badger hair brush, a stand, shaving soap, and a soap bowl. I also purchased 100 double edge blades.
I paid a total of $149.00 for all of the materials. I haven’t paid a dime for shaving products since then! That’s over two years of shaving for less than $6.00 a month. And the great thing is, I still have probably a year or so to go before I have to buy more soap or blades.
Many of the larger shaving companies are making a killing off of people, charging around $3.00 per shaving cartridge. The average double edge blade goes for around $0.10 each.
This can add up fast. Take a look at this chart from sharpologist.com:
As you can see, there is a significant difference between using a Double edge razor and a cartridge or disposable razor. The chart is specifically focusing on the blade and the cartridge, that is not even including the savings from using shaving soap instead of the overpriced gel that comes in a can.
Let’s say you shave from age 20 to age 65. A conservative estimate would have you saving around $7.00 per month if you were to wet shave vs. using a leading brand’s cartridge. If you took those monthly savings and invested that into the stock market, assuming 7% annual returns, you’d have over $25,000!
Just for changing the way you shave!
As with anything, how you shave is a personal choice. Some may find that wet shaving isn’t for them, and that’s perfectly O.K. It does take a little while to get used to, and it does take a couple of extra minutes in the morning.
However, in my opinion it’s totally worth the switch.
What about you? Have you ever thought about how much money your shaving habits were costing you?
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