Bar­bers keen for a big­ger cut

Kapi-Mana News - - GARDENING - ROB STOCK MONEY MAT­TERS rob.stock@fair­fax­me­

Bar­ber­ing has gone up­mar­ket.

No longer is a man’s hair­cut just a hair­cut. It’s a styling. It’s an experience. It’s also get­ting more costly. Men long re­sisted pay­ing the prices women do for hair­dress­ing, but I think men’s van­ity is grow­ing, and the re­sis­tance is weak­en­ing.

The av­er­age men’s dry hair­cut cost around $28, but there’s an in­creas­ing num­ber of ex­cit­in­glook­ing bar­ber­shops with in­tim­i­dat­ingly cool-look­ing bar­bers, and which are heavy on the faux nos­tal­gia, open­ing up in our big ci­ties.

And men are to be found will­ing to pay up­wards of $30, or even $40 to get hair­cuts from them.

Go to a ‘‘groom­ing lounge’’ in Auckland and you might be charged $50, and $30 for a trim of your hip­ster beard. Look, good luck to the bar­bers. They have skills, and are do­ing their best to earn as much as pos­si­ble from them.


Bal­ance spend­ing with sav­ing Wealth ac­cu­mu­la­tion in­volves re­straint

Pay for the cut, not the experience

Trans­form­ing get­ting a hair­cut into an ex­cit­ing experience is good busi­ness, and there’s an ar­gu­ment ev­ery man should get at least one hot straight-ra­zor shave in their life just to feel how thrilling it must have been to live in an age be­fore dis­pos­ables.

We live in an age where so­cial me­dia has put a pre­mium on look­ing like you are in­ter­est­ing and suc­cess­ful, even if you are nei­ther.

So far, I’ve done my best to re­sist this pres­sure (suc­cess­fully, as some bar­ber read­ers may de­cide to ma­li­ciously point out).

In some ways be­ing stylish is cheaper these days, thanks to our clothes be­ing made cheaply by over­seas fac­tory work­ers, but that’s a small gain com­pared to the re­lent­less rise in the real cost of an or­di­nary life that make the fi­nances of many young peo­ple look un­work­able over a life­time, if they are to achieve what their par­ents did (house/car/kids/ re­tire­ment sav­ings).

That’s why I scratch my head over men pay­ing $30, $40, or $50 for a hair­cut, or the in­creas­ingly ex­pen­sive male groom­ing items on sale. It’s threat­en­ing to drive the cost of male per­sonal care up

‘‘Men long re­sisted pay­ing the prices women do for hair­dress­ing, but I think men’s van­ity is grow­ing, and the re­sis­tance is weak­en­ing.’’

to­wards the out­ra­geous costs of women’s.

Sure, were I a high-fly­ing ex­ec­u­tive, top-end groom­ing would be an in­vest­ment of a tiny frac­tion of my gen­er­ous pay­packet. It’d be loose change to me.

But for most men, whose pay­pack­ets are not so gen­er­ous, male groom­ing has to fit into a bud­get that’s not stretch­ing as far as it used to.

On lim­ited bud­gets hard decisions have to be made.

One is that bal­ance be­tween the life­style you lead, and how much of the money you earn sticks to you, and how much ends up in some­one else’s trouser pocket, in­clud­ing that of your bar­ber.

There’s no two ways about it. Sav­ings are made up of $10 saved here, and $10 saved there.

Per­haps men’s will­ing­ness to pay more for bar­ber­ing is a re­sult of dis­place­ment.

If you can’t af­ford a house or flat, or even to rent a de­cent place, and can’t bear to think how long the stu­dent loan will be with you, per­haps you might be for­given for liv­ing for the now.


Bar­ber­ing is hip these days, and more ex­pen­sive.

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