Mrs. 1500 and I are bringing back the Ask The Readers series. Here is how it works:
On most Mondays, I’ll post a question. Leave an answer, random thought, vulgar insult, dinosaur pic, mindless profanity, favorite vegetarian recipe, or bacon in the Comments section. I’ll post my favorite answers and insults the following week.
Loco For Buying Local?
Every time I see a local business go under, it makes me sad. Someone’s dream died.
I think about buying local more than most because of my upbringing. My dad insisted on buying American cars always. And they had to be American cars made in America; not Mexico or Canada.
We must support
My dad’s heart was in the right place, but this decision led to other problems. While American cars are quality machines now, the 1980s were dark days for Detroit. My dad spent many, many nights and weekends under the hood of the family Chevy Citation. Endless profanities streamed out of the garage as my dad worked on the heap of junk.
And I mostly agree with my dad’s point of view. All things being equal, I’d rather purchase a product made locally. If it’s made in my home country, great. It’s even better if it supports my community. The people who own and work at the brick and mortars on Main Street are my neighbors. Keeping the money local helps my community. Are there limits though?
Example 1: Cut Out The Haircutter?
One of our close neighbors cuts hair for a living. A couple of years ago, she suggested that Mrs. 1500 come to her salon for a cut and color. She also mentioned that she could cut our girls’ hair. Mrs. 1500 said Yes.
What we didn’t realize is that our neighbor works at a very, VERY FANCY salon. When
- Me: The haircut looks great! How did it go?
- Mrs.: Fine.
- Me: What’s going on? Why are you quiet?
- Mrs.: It cost more than I thought it would.
- Me: How much?
- Mrs.: I don’t want to tell you.
- Me: Oh, come on, now you have to tell me! Was it over $100?
- Mrs.: Yes
- Me.: $150?
- Mrs.: More.
- Me: $200?
- Mrs.: More.
- Me: What?!???
- Mrs.: With the tip, it was $250. I didn’t know that it was going to cost that much.
Maybe I’m ignorant or uninformed, but I had no idea it was possible to spend this kind of money to get your hair cut.
And that was just for the Mrs. The kids were $50. Each. Before the tip.
Before I go on, I readily admit that I’m anchored on cheap haircuts. I’ve spent $36 on two Wahl Shavers in the past 20 years. The first one works fine, but I had broken some of the guards. Since a set of guards costs about the same as the whole kit, I just bought another.
I cut my hair once per month, so for $36, I’ve given myself 240 haircuts. I’m going to throw in another $4 for electricity, so let’s say $40. So, my price per cut is a hair under seventeen cents. (see what I did there?)
Mrs. 1500’s hair care was $250, which comes out to 1,470 times what mine cost. Oof.
Of course, there are some caveats to this situation.
First, I don’t care that I look like a goof:
My philosophy on hair is this: Once it becomes long enough that I need to comb it, I cut it all off. Styling products? Ha! I don’t even own a brush or comb.
If all of my hair fell out tomorrow, I’d have one less thing to worry about.
- Mrs. 1500 got her hair colored too. I understand that part costs a lot more than a simple cut.
- Women’s styles are more complicated.
- Mrs. 1500 is a public figure and needs to look good.
- I don’t want our girls to feel bad about their hair.
What To Do?
Are we paying too much for haircuts? Should we ditch our neighbor in favor of the local beauty school? I did what any idiot would do; hit up Twitter for answers!
Just. Walk. Away. @retirein1500— Karl Fisch (@karlfisch) February 19, 2019
My friend Karl is totally correct. These are dangerous waters to wade into. This probably won’t end well.
I trade babysitting for free haircuts from my stylist friend. But before I met her, I paid $65 for a haircut every 4 months or so.— Bitches Get Riches (@BitchesGetRich) February 20, 2019
Side note: Bitches Get Riches is a great read. Check them out.
Wouldn’t pay more than $25 – haven’t cut in over a year (gross) – so who the heck am I to judge! Everyone has what is worth it to them! I spent $1700 on new skis 🎿!!— catie lawrence (@lawrencester) February 19, 2019
Wow Catie, $25? That’s impressive! No idea what skis cost, but $1,700 seems like a lot. I’ll bet they bring you much joy.
My wife and two daughters have very curly hair. One daughter is Shirley Temple-like. $400 every 3-4 months, together. They look and feel good and it’s something I am NOT going to try to skimp on. I don’t even bring it up. #curlyhair #devacurl— Future Fire Father (@FutureFireDad) February 19, 2019
I don’t go to the salon often (usually every 6 months due to hectic schedules). My appointment this weekend with cut, color, and eyebrows wax was $95 then I tipped her $20 because she’s awesome.— Stephanie (@StephTheBlogger) February 19, 2019
Nice work Stephanie!
Lol, I was going to say “just a cut? Or a cut/color/style?”— Military Dollar (@Military_Dollar) February 19, 2019
For just a cut, I’d rather pay a little more and get a better cut. So $50-$60 before tip if I find someone good. But my hair is really thick and it seems like very few know how to deal with it, so $30 for a “meh” cut.
My wife says she pays $55 for cut and color but that’s lower than normal and she tips well. She thinks $150 is high end— Rogue Dad, M.D. (@RogueDadMD) February 19, 2019
Thanks Doctor Rogue. Mrs. 1500’s lady must be super ultra high-end then.
My cuts are $90 and bleach is like $250 when I need that. (I do the actual color at home.)— Tanja Hester (@our_nextlife) February 19, 2019
If I’m just cutting it, I sometimes go to the beauty school for a $9 cut… at my stylist it would be ~$60. With color, all bets are off… somewhere around $150? Haven’t colored lately— Kate (@onourwayworld) February 19, 2019
Haircut only is $50 and that includes a tip. My hair is thick and it has endured many a terrible cuts over the years, so I would pay more if I had to because I trust that my stylist will continue to do a great job like she has for nearly 10 years. 😊— Two Cup Camper 🚘 (@twocuphouse) February 19, 2019
Thanks Two Cup! I get the trust thing. You don’t want to have to endure multiple bad cuts to find a good one.
That’s pretty normal for a quality cut &color in a city bc the color adds up. But honestly, I’d never recommend going based on price for color, bc I think that’s an area where you get what you pay for. Also most women get hair done less frequently so over a year it’s not that bad— Ms. MoneyNerd (@MsMoneyNerd) February 19, 2019
Supporting @Mrs1500 on this. It’s hard to find a good stylist, and the good ones are able to charge big $$. If you can afford it, it’s a nice luxury and more than just a haircut 😀— Kristin D. Smith (@therosywanderer) February 19, 2019
$15 twice a year for me. PiC and JB go more often.— Revanche (@RevAGSL) February 19, 2019
I spend $400 including tip for cut and color 4 times a year and $100 for just a cut in between, also 4 times for year. All told, about $2000 to be blonde and also not look like a lion. I slide $100 per paycheck into an account specifically designated for hair upkeep.— dont wanna ☘️ (@dontwannatoday) February 19, 2019
The “not look a lion” comment cracks me up. I’m laughing with you; not at you! I say this because if I let my hair grow out, it turns into a bushy, wavy, lion-like mess too. I look even worse than usual:
The hubs and I have a deal: I do my own hair & he helps me with the dye on spots that I can’t reach. If for any reason it comes out looking bad I have free range to spend whatever is needed to fix it. We haven’t had an incident in almost 5 years and now he has sweet salon skills.— MK Williams (@1mkwilliams) February 19, 2019
I love this line from MK:
We haven’t had an incident…
Despite the danger, I like this solution. It reminds me of Mrs. Frugalwood’s haircut adventures which have similarly turned out incident free.
And I’m Even Guiltier…
The Mrs. may spend $250 on a cut/color, but she only goes about once every nine months. I consume alcohol much more frequently and when I do, it’s really good beer. And by really good beer, I mean really expensive beer. Each of these 4-packs set me back $18:
My beer expenditure is more than $250 every 9 months. I don’t need to drink $18 four packs. Hell, I don’t need to drink beer at all. But hey, I’m supporting local business! At least that’s what I tell myself…
Where Do You Draw The Line?
I’ve been thinking a lot about where the Mrs. and I spend our easily earned dollars. Here are my completely random thoughts:
The haircut situation is a weird one: Fancy salon lady lives across the street. If
We are paying for luxury: Mrs. 1500 could get cheaper haircuts. I could buy cheaper beer. Or no beer. Neither of us would be splurging if we didn’t have a big nest egg. We’ve let lifestyle inflation creep in. Just a little.
Where does buying local end? More random thoughts:
- Market inefficiency: My dad bought lousy American cars even though he knew the Japanese alternatives were better. If everyone else did the same thing, Detroit would have kept on producing crap. Now, American cars are of high quality because Japan forced it.
- Community: At one end of the spectrum, we can buy stuff that our neighbors produce. At the other end, we can order stuff from Amazon and probably pay less and not have to leave the home. Is saving money always the right choice though? When a local business goes under, it’s not only the owner that suffers. People who work there lose their jobs. The landlord who owns the space suffers. I may pay a little more to support my neighbor, but I like to think that I’m making the town economically healthier.
- The future: But maybe Amazon is just the natural progression? Around 1900, most folks were farmers. Then, someone invented tractors and other machines that made farming much more efficient. Humans just moved on to other jobs.
- Robots will rule eventually: We’re rapidly approaching a tipping point where new technologies will end most jobs. It will be a while before robots cut hair, but they’re already making beer. So, this whole conversation will probably be moot in a couple of decades when there are no more jobs.
What do you think?
Do you go out of your way to buy local? Why or why not?
Where do you draw the line between saving money and supporting your community? What are your limits?
Do you think your job will be gone in 20 years? Hint: If you were trained to do your job, an AI
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