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Welcome to the Frugal Fail series here at Picky Pinchers. This blog series documents the difficulties we face when transitioning from a consumerist lifestyle to a frugal one. Hard lessons will be learned, and many laughs will be had at my expense.

Today’s fail?

Cutting my own hair.

Haircuts can be scary. There’s always the chance that it’ll be too short or that it won’t look good. Since hair takes time to grow back, many people aren’t willing to commit to something as crazy as cutting hair at home.

While I know hair is just a vanity, I’ve always been terrified of my semiannual trim. Since I had a simple hairstyle, I would trim the split ends myself with a set of $10 salon scissors. I figured it would save me $10 in salon costs each time I needed a simple trim, so it seemed like a great frugal decision.

I’ve done this for a year with no mishaps.

Until last week.




Mrs. Picky Pincher + Scissors = Oh No

It was the day before our anniversary trip, and I decided to give myself a little trim. For my long hair, the best approach was to put it in a ponytail, and then use a second ponytail holder to draw the line between split ends and the rest of my hair. I’ve done this several times, so my guard was down and a few glasses of wine were imbibed beforehand. I hummed as I pressed the sharp metal of the scissors against the ends of my hair, trimming in what appeared to be a uniform and straight line.

I removed the ponytail holders, shook out my damp hair, and gasped.

The back portions of my hair were trimmed perfectly. The front sections, however, were untouched, giving an uneven, reverse Mohawk-style haircut. Short in the back, long in the front.

I felt hot panic rising in my throat. I was having the ‘I’ve made a terrible mistake’ moment, scissors in hand and clump of hair on the floor, when Mr. Picky Pincher came over to survey the damage.

“What… what happened?” he asked.

I laughed, pretending I wasn’t about to cry, “Yeah, I have no idea. Could you try evening it out for me?”

Mr. Picky Pincher dutifully and cautiously snipped away at the ends of the hair to even them.

It looked bad.

I paced the kitchen floor, pondering my next move. Cutting hair at home was my way of saving $50-$100 a year on haircuts. I didn’t think it was worth it to spend a dime on a haircut. I was determined to live with the consequences of my decision, and maintain steadfastly frugal by not spending a cent. I checked my hair in the mirror again, trying to convince myself that it looked good.

You know, its really not that uneven. No ones going to notice it. I could always just wear my hair in a ponytailforever. Okay, what if we just cut it all off in one fell swoop. Maybe I should just start all over and shave my head?




I sighed, realizing that this gross haircut wasn’t an option. I wasn’t being frugal with my insistence to avoid an expense; I was being tightfisted. I had a coupon for an $8 haircut at Great Clips on my fridge. I stared at it, knowing this was the solution.

On $8 Haircuts and Why Not Everyone Should Cut Their Own Hair

I came out of Great Clips with a much shorter ‘do, but it looked like an actual hairstyle. And who can complain about an $8 haircut? Plus, I kind of like having shorter hair. Less to wash, less to style, and less to weigh down my head. Not too shabby!

i frugal failed at cutting my own hair today. it's short but i think I like it

Eek, it’s so short! But I’m going to rock it. 🙂

So what’s to be learned from this frugal fail?




First of all, some people aren’t cut out to be at-home cosmetologists—myself included. If you have a knack for cutting hair at home, go ahead! Save yourself a stack of cash by avoiding the salon. As for me? I might need to fork over $8-$15 twice a year for a good trim.

Things are good in moderation. Getting your hair cut in a salon is fine as long as it’s a reasonable price—you don’t need a $60 haircut every month. On the flip side, cutting your hair badly and refusing to spend $8 to get it fixed—that’s just being downright cheap.

There’s a lesson in everything, and this week it came in the form of a clump of hair. I’m human. I’m going to fail a lot as I adjust my lifestyle to better align with my resources and goals. But I’ll be a frugal queen in no time, thanks to lessons (AKA fails) like these. I own my mistakes and learn from them.

Can you top my frugal fail this week? Let me know in the comments!

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