While the majority of posts on my blog are centered around all aspects of dividend investing every once in a while I like to highlight some of my real world money saving techniques that I employ. A while back I wrote about how I saved hundreds of dollars switching my mobile service to Ting and how I saved almost $400 a year on my home phone line with Ooma. Of course, I’m writing this post on a used Dell laptop I bought on eBay running Lubuntu with Libre Office saving me untold amounts of cash by harnessing open source, free software. I’m no slave to Redmond nor Cupertino. The reality is that there are dozens of ways to save money in our day to day lives. One such day to day task that has been vexing my savings is something that I know everyone, male and female can relate to. The shave.
Ahh the shave. That daily or near daily routine that millions upon millions of us perform to achieve that perfect groomed look. Of course, one major problem with maintaining this groomed appearance is the cost of the shave. I swear, even though I am a shareholder of The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) and love using my Gillette products, I often curse to myself each time I have to buy a replacement pack of cartridges. When did cartridges become such a valuable commodity that they are now locked up like expensive booze? In any case, one full year ago I said, ‘enough’ and set out to see if there was a better solution to my near daily shave and find out once and for all how much money could I really be saving by not submitting to my Gillette shave master.
To make a fair comparison I will include the cost of the razor handle that I had been using for a few years along with the cost of cartridge replacements. Here it goes:
I have been shaving with the (old school) Gillette Sensor (Excel) Razor. I used to own the original Sensor but then “upgraded” to the Sensor Excel. The cost of the handle with three shave cartridges totalled about $20. Factor in about four 10 pack replacement cartridges I use in a year at about $12 a pack and I have a very good estimate of $68 for my first year shaving expenses. Of course, going into year two and on I do not have a shave handle expense but I think you can see where this is going. My example may not be that dramatic as I have used this older razor model for many, many years but when I look around at the cost of the new Gillette® Fusion® ProGlide® Power Razor with FlexBall Handle Technology costs I shudder. A single razor and blade can cost over $10!!! I can’t imagine what my annual costs would be if I used that as my primary razor. I know that it would easily be well over $100 a year. Of course, my frugal nature put the brakes on this razor insanity and I decided to look for an alternative.
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” and in that respect I found that to be 100% true with regard to shaving. Upon researching online at different shave trends I have noticed many web sites declaring that razors are a rip off and learned about a shave trend that goes back to the manner at which my grandfather used to shave. The one hundred plus year old safety razor. With more research I have found that this shave technique not only provides an awesome shave but can be done for literally pennies a shave. Needless to say I was interested. After all, if this method of shaving produced soft and silky smooth cheeks for my grandfather why could it not do the same for me? Enter my foray into the world of “old school” safety razors. For about $30 I bought myself the Parker 99R butterfly safety razor. It’s a pretty heavy duty feel razor that came with five double edge razor blades. Once those were used I was able to buy on eBay one hundred Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades for just under $10. I have seen other 100 packs of double edge blades for for $8. Basically a 100 pack of blades can last me approximately two years. So first year costs of the Parker 99R butterfly safety razor with five blades plus an additional 100 Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades came out to about $40 for the first year with another 50 blades still left which will make my year two cost of shaving $0. Needless to say I won’t be going back to Gillette products. Though I love my PG stock and many of their products the razor/shave experience is just a little too pricey for me when I can get a great shave for pennies each. Of course, I could save even more by simply growing a beard.
What are your shave experiences and costs? Are any of you using “old school” shave methods? Please let me know below.
Disclosure: Long PG