BLUF: Grooming is a normal expense and many people are paying too much for low quality products. There is a better and cheaper way, look into a double edge razor.
Shave And Save
We are required to keep our faces cleanly shaved in the US military. This goes for while in garrison and deployed; therefore, one of our normal expenses, at least for men, is shaving supplies.
What Most People Do
Continue to use the same things we used in high school / university, the Gillette Mach 3 (or whatever numerous blade system of the day is). Along with some foam in a can shaving cream. I did this as well, but then got tired of paying the ridiculously high mark ups for cheap plastic blades. I wanted something better, something that was cheaper and better for the environment as well.
It Adds Up
The seemingly small expense adds up. The Gillette plastic blades are by far the most expensive, the refills are astronomically expensive compared to what they really should cost. Easily costing $2-5 for a single blade, per week. This is the cheapest I have ever seen them, and they are still very expensive. One is a 16 pack and another is nine pack.
The Dollar Shave Club is another options I see many people use. Costs are closer to $10 a months, but you can get the super cheap option for $3 a month. BTW, this is still still basically cheap crap. Reoccurring costs do not include shaving cream.
Then you get the shaving cream (chemical foam in a can), $2-15, that usually lasts a month or two. Another issue is the health safety of the chemicals in a can is the Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, and Propellants. Your own basic research will show that none of those things are recommended for long term use.
With all the varying costs, it is challenging to say exactly how much it costs, other than you are likely paying too much for cheap low quality stuff. Not to mention the landfill waste of plastic blades and aerosol cans. Multiply this over many years and you are paying hundreds to thousands for crap.
The Better Way
Shave like your grandpa did, use a double edge razor, a real brush, and shaving soap.
Here is what it really costs.
- A quality double edge razor: $25
- It will last forever
- Top quality blades: $0.25 each
- Use one a week
- A small metal blade that easily recycles
- A good brush: $17
- It will last ten years, no problem
- Shave soap, Proraso ($10) or Taylor of Old Bond Street ($17), both are quality
- It will last 4-6 months
- Shave soap bowl: $7
- It will last forever
Initial costs are around $85-100.
The only reoccurring costs are blades, which you can buy in a 100 pack (two years supply) and shave soap which will last many months. No more paying many dollars every week just for cheap plastic blades and chemical shave cream.
Compared to the to the cost of today’s Gillette refill multi-blades, costs are insignificant and within a few months you are saving money. Instead of paying dollars every week, you will be paying pennies.
“But It Takes Longer”
It does not. Practice.
You Do Not Have To Go All In
If you just want to try it out, just get a double edge razor and some blades. Continue to use shave soap in a can. See if you like it. If you do, try out the brush with the shave soap.
As with anything, there are people who go over board with shaving supplies as well and that get expensive as well. Figure out what works for you.
Ultimately, your life costs money to run and it is up to you how much it is. The less your life costs, the more you can increase your savings rate and reach financial independence sooner.
Haircuts are another blog post, they add up too.