February 1, 2005

Where do you pinch your pennies?

Over the past year, I have been on a quest to get myself in a lifestyle that would allow me to be a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I have done the university thing (under-grad and grad), I have done the career thing (travel and excessive over-time), I have done the travel thing (US, Italy, Pakistan), I have done the singles thing (nice guys, a$$holes, dullards), the bar thing (wine, martini, beer) and I have done the hobby thing (raku, jewelry, knitting, books, community-college type classes). Now, I am ready to chuck a bit (not all) of it and just focus on the mom thing, when the time comes.

In preparation for this, I have started using the library, buying drugstore makeup, purchasing cheap shampoo, etc. The next that needed to go was the expensive hair salon, but I just couldn’t the paradigm out of my head that “a good haircut must be expensive”. I needed to accept the situation for what it was. This was a multi-step process and required a few weaning steps. First, my current hair stylist just wasn’t doing it for me. I felt bad switching and had really stuck with her because she is a small business – I like to support local whenever I can. However, I had to face the truth – I was not enjoying my time with her and it was best to part ways. Last fall, I tried hair stylist #2. She was a very nice lady and was definitely an improvement to #1. The first cut with her was okay but was such a VAST improvement over #1 that I couldn’t see straight . However, something was off after the second cut and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It didn’t “feel” right when I tried to style my hair and I could never get it to do what I wanted. Also, #2 was a “nervous talker” and therefore made ME nervous just being around her. I hate forced conversations. My time with her was not relaxing. I knew I needed to move on. At our last Clandestine Canasta gathering, we got to talking about hair stylists and one of the gals, K, admitted she goes to Great Clips – a place well-known for their cheap and quick haircuts. I was shocked, but inspired. K’s hair always looks perfect. I realized that I had to try this place – her recommendation cinched the deal.

Last night, I nervously walked into Great Clips. It was very disconcerting to not have an appointment, but I brought a book with me, just in case. I was in luck! Not only did I not have to wait, but I got the manager of the place. A flood of relief came over me when hair stylist #3 noticed something very funky about my layers – it wasn’t just me, after all! She showed me the problem and fixed it. This morning, I noticed a huge difference in styling my hair. I wasn’t frustrated. It wasn’t a struggle.

And it was over $30 cheaper.


Mojavi said...

So what was the problem with your layers??

Cagey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cagey said...

In the back, it was if #2 had "skipped" a layer, so in one area I had 2 layers very, very far apart (this is a layman's version of events, too). The rest of my hair was not that way. #3 did NOT say this in a criticizing way, though and was very professional about it. I think what happened is that #2 was talking so much, she got distracted. I did notice that all three stylists use the same method of cutting/using the scissors (the way they pull the hair out and cut, that is)- I thought that was interesting.

Also, I am not saying that upscale hair salons are a complete rip-off, but I really don't need all the extras. Everyone blows their money in different ways. After all, what I saved last night allowed me to purchase, guilt-free, the 4th season of Coupling.

Rozanne said...

Not to throw cold water on your parade (how's that for a mixed metaphor?), but will you ever be able to get that same stylist again at Great Clips? I hope so, but I fear it may be difficult.

The key is finding a stylist that can give you a good haircut, and that person can work *anywhere,* but that person is often not easy to find. You luck out if the person happens to work at a place where the prices are reasonable, but often that's not the case. In PDX, most stylists work as freelancers (that may be how it works in a lot of places). They rent a station at a salon and then they need to pay for their station and on top fo that make enough to support themselves. As a freelancer myself, I understand that. That said, some salons charge more rent for their stations and consequently the stylists charge more, too. It doesn't mean they're any better per se.

Bottom line, though, it's great if you can find a stylist who doesn't charge the Earth, but haircuts are not the place to start pinching pennies. What woman hasn't had a crappy haircut that pissed her off each and every day until she had to go somewhere else to get it fixed (and pay even more $$$) or wait forever for it to grow out. It's just not worth it.

Cagey said...

re: Not getting the same hairstylist - I did ask her about that. I just need to call beforehand and make sure she is in the salon. The salon is on my way home, so it is no big deal for me to just stop by. I would also never, ever go on a Saturday or Sunday - their busiest days.

I should have also mentioned that my hairstyles are never trendy (my hair needs to match my equally non-fashionable clothing, after all). Yet another reason to not blow $50 on a haircut. I have heavy hair that refuses to do much - Lord help me if 80s hair comes back!

Rozanne said...

That's great you can call ahead. I thought that was not allowed at those places. Problem solved--you've found your stylist!

Cagey said...

I can call ahead and "make sure she is there". That is key - I can't actually schedule anything - which doesn't bother me because I live 3 minutes away from the place. Since she is the manager and has been with them for over 6 years, I feel pretty good about the whole thing. (yes, I grilled her while I was in the chair).