According to the Professional Beauty Association, the average woman’s haircut today costs $43 and the average man’s haircut costs $28. And while, at first glance, it may seem that men are getting quite the deal on haircuts, don’t forget that guys tend to get their haircut about twice as often as gals.
I think we could all agree that, for both men and women, haircuts are requiring a bigger chunk of our paychecks than ever before.
Now the point of this article is not to complain about haircut prices, to accuse salons of “price gouging” their customers, or anything of the sort. As one stylist explained, there is a lot of overhead involved in owning and running a salon.
Many salons are simply charging the prices they need to cover their rent, utilities and product expenses and still make a small profit.
But the fact of the matter is that many people cannot afford to pay that much for a haircut and would love to find ways to save.
If you are someone who has been feeling squeezed as your haircut cost continues to rise, then you’ve come to the right place.
Continue reading to find the best 8 places to get a cheap haircut near you.
1. Barber Shops
While they are not as popular as they once were, old-fashioned, local barber shops can still be a great place to get an inexpensive trim.
While it’s true that barber shops are typically geared towards men, there’s a good chance that you may have a unisex barber shop in your town. Just Google “Unisex barber shops near me” and see what comes up.
What kind of a woman would want to get her haircut at a barber shop? Well, first of all, you’d want to be a lady with a shorter hairstyle since that’s what barber schools train barbers to excel at. If you’re a woman with longer hair then a barber shop probably isn’t going to be a good fit.
Many women who use barbers choose to do so because their husbands or sons already have one that they use and trust. In this way, everyone can get their haircut from the “family barber” at the same time.
It probably should go without saying, but barbers aren’t trained in nail technology, facials, perms, or skin care. Barbers offer haircuts, and that’s about it (unless you also want a shave while you’re there).
But this limited scope is part of the reason that barber shops can offer such affordable haircut prices when compared to full-service beauty salons.
Barber shops aren’t for everyone. But if you have a shorter hair style and are looking for a cheap cut, I would highly recommend paying your local barber a visit!
2. Cosmetology Schools
If you happen to have a cosmetology school near where you live, this could be a great place to get a heavily discounted haircut.
In order to help beauty students reach their required number of haircut hours for graduation, beauty schools typically have salons that are open to the public. When you go to one of these salons, you get paired up with a student who will cut your hair under the watchful eye of their instructor.
We happen to have one of these hair academies only 5 minutes from our home and I used their salon to get my haircut when I was in high school.
Grading Leads to High Motivation and Attentiveness
Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now – “I’m not about to let a student cut my hair!”
I can sympathize with your concern. I thought the same thing the first time I went to our local beauty school. But once I starting getting my haircut I realized I had nothing to worry about.
Cosmetology students are some of the most attentive and motivated hairdressers you’ll ever use throughout your life. And it makes sense if you stop to think about it because they are being graded for the work that they do.
Take a second to think back to the day that you went out to the DMV to take your driver’s license test. Do you remember how you drove that day? You were the model defensive driver, weren’t you?
Of course you were because you had someone sitting in the seat next to you who was grading you for every little driving decision that you made. This same principle works to your advantage at beauty schools.
The students there desperately want to get good grades from their instructors. So you can bet that they are going to give their best effort and are going to pay attention to every detail.
The student who cut my hair was incredibly sweet and asked me questions often to make sure I was happy with her work.
Oh, and did I mention the price of the cut? Five dollars.
In preparing for this article, I decided to check out our local hair academy’s current prices. Sure enough, they still charge $5 per haircut.
Go On Your Day Off, Not During Your Lunch Break
Is there a downside to beauty schools? Yes, but it’s not usually that you will get a bad haircut during your visit.
Instead, the main negative of a cosmetology school haircut can be how long the visit may take.
- First of all, many beauty schools allow walk-ins only. For our local school, this often meant long wait times. These long waits were the primary deterrent that kept me from making our local school my go-to for haircuts.
- Second of all, you will be assigned a different hairdresser every time you visit, with the exception of maybe a few repeat students here and there. So, even if your local school has more manageable wait times, you will have to take extra time with each student to explain what kind of haircut that you want.
- Finally, your student will have to check often with his or her instructor to check their work. Again, this slows the entire process down.
Add all these factors up and the key takeaway is that you don’t want to visit a beauty school salon if you’re on a time schedule. If you need a “pit stop” experience, you’d be better off going somewhere else.
But if are able to visit on a day that getting in-and-out quickly isn’t important, then cosmetology schools can be a fantastic way to save money on your next haircut.
3. Mom-and-Pop Shops
We will see in our next point that discount haircut franchises can be great places to get cheap haircuts. But local, independently-owned salons have an advantage over them in that they don’t have to pay a franchise fee, which cuts down on their overhead.
If saving money is your aim, then you’re going to want to look for local salons that don’t try to market themselves as “exclusive.” High-end salons with beautiful aesthetics and lots of add-on services are nice, but these extras tend to push up the price of the basic haircut.
Affordable mom-and-pop haircut shops tend to be found in plazas rather than in stand-alone buildings and often lean on advertisements and promotions to drive new business their way. Check your local coupon book to see if any salons are offering deals right now. Be sure to check Groupon and LivingSocial too.
You may find that some of these smaller businesses also have discounted rates during a “Happy Hour” each day, or during a certain day of the week, like Tuesdays.
With a little bit of digging, you may find all kinds of money-saving deals that mom-and-pop salons are offering. And you’ll be helping to support local businesses in your community!
4. Discount Haircut Franchises
While exclusive, full-service beauty salons offer luxurious experiences, they’re usually not kind to the wallet. If you’re only planning to get a haircut anyway, why not try one of the in-and-out, no frills, haircut franchises that have popped up all over the country.
Here are a few of the most popular ones:
- Fantastic Sams – Find a Fantastic Sams near you.
- Great Clips – Find a Great Clips near you.
- Hair Cuttery – Find a Hair Cuttery near you.
- SmartStyle (Inside Walmart stores) – Find a SmartStyle near you.
- Supercuts – Find a Supercuts near you.
Expect to pay around $15 for a simple haircut and shampoo at each of these franchises.
5. Work-From-Home Stylists
There are many stylists that prefer to work from home because this gives them the freedom to choose their own hours and fees.
Since these stylists are not having to split their fee with the store they can offer far more attractive prices. Ask your friends and family if they know of any hairdressers that work from home.
6. Salons In Need of Volunteer Models
When new hairdressers are being hired by salons, the only way to prove their skills is to actually perform a haircut. Salons often give free haircuts to people who are willing to be volunteer hair models for these hairdresser “tryouts.”
Another time salons may need hair models is when they want to practice a new style that they plan to offer soon.
You’d be surprised how in-demand volunteer hair models really are. In fact, Salon Apprentice is a website dedicated solely to connecting new stylists with volunteer hair models. If you’re interested in being a model, just sign up with your email on their website. They’ll start notifying you about upcoming opportunities.
7. Charity Partners and Events
In addition to the natural stress and anxiety of fighting cancer, many cancer patients also deal with the loss of their hair due to chemotherapy treatments. This can be very embarrassing and depressing, especially for pediatric cancer patients.
Wigs could be a great help, but unfortunately, wigs made out of real hair are too expensive for most cash-strapped cancer patients to afford. That’s why a few awesome charities offer free wigs to cancer fighters, made possible through hair donations.
Some of these organizations, like St. Baldrick’s, for example, hold “Shave” events all across the U.S. If being bald for a month or two for a good cause doesn’t scare you, then click here to find a “Shave” event near you.
Wigs-for-Kids has also partnered with salons all across the country. To find a Wigs-for-Kids salon partner near you, use their handy salon locator.
If you have a salon partner close by, just them give a call before you head out to let them know you plan to donate your hair. They’ll likely offer you a discounted rate or maybe even cut your hair free of charge.
Saving money while helping kids and adults with cancer is the ultimate win-win!
8. Your Own Home
I’ve tried most of the strategies above to save money on haircuts in the past. But 2 months ago, I finally made the ultimate money-saving move – my wife now cuts my hair. That’s right, my monthly haircut cost is now…$0.
If you think that you or your spouse don’t have the skills to cut hair, you may be selling yourselves short. There are an incredible number of how-to videos online that can teach you how to cut virtually any style you desire.
If you’re single, perhaps you and another money-saving friend could agree to swap haircuts.
For guy’s, a good set of clippers will only set you back between $40-80. Remember, this is a one-time cost. After only 2 or 3 cuts, you will have already broken even.
And believe it or not, girls can actually save even more money by getting their beauty work done at home. My mother-in-law, for instance, is an amazing self-taught beautician who cuts and colors my wife’s hair whenever needed. It saves us a ton of money!
There are lots of ways to save money on haircuts, but the common denominator between all these options is that you have to be willing to go outside your comfort zone to visit new places that offer you the best price.
Because many of us put so much value in how our hair looks it can be difficult to work up the courage to try a new spot.
But there are a lot of talented stylists out there. Give a new place a shot and, chances are, you’ll still be very pleased when you look in the mirror…and I can guarantee you’ll be pleased when you look in your wallet.
Do you know of any more places to save money on haircuts? If so, let us know on Facebook or Pinterest!