Shaving years off FI

We all know that a low cost of living is crucial to maximising your savings rate and minimise your time to reaching FI, but maintaining a low cost of living is also a principle of minimalism; being mindful with your money. Everybody shaves (well, most of us do!) and none of us like waste, so here are my top tips to Shave years off your journey to FI with your grooming habits!

Electric shaver

I purchased this Panasonic ES8101 Electric Razor for $90 at the Shaver Shop when I was 16. Now, even 13 years or approximately 4000 shaves later (I don’t like to shave every day) it is still going strong. And its also saved me about $8000 in opportunity costs, when compared to shaving with expensive 5 blade disposable razors and fancy shaving gel!

‘Ol faithful. 4000 shaves strong and still going

Cost per shave

That is pretty impressive, right? $90 for 4000 shaves works out to be 2.25 cents per shave, and the thing shows no signs of slowing down meaning the cost per shave is only going to go lower! I’ve also never had to replace any components, including the interior ‘blades’ which vibrate up against the foil to actually perform the hair cutting motion.

Sure, it uses some electricity, but this is negligible. I need to recharge it once per week for about an hour or two. The charger says 6V with an amperage draw of 150 milliamps, meaning it only draws about 1 Watt of energy whilst charging – even less than a super efficient LED light bulb! In Sydney, the average cost is 30 cents per Kilowatt hour, making this thing cost .03c per hour to charge. Even if I charged it ALL DAY, it would only be .6c per day! If there are any electrical engineers out there reading this, Can you back this up?

But it doesn’t work for me…

Sure, I’ve heard all the excuses before “my hair is too thick” , “you can probably only get away with it because you have the facial hair of a pre-pubescent 12 year old girl”, “I am on the road and don’t have access to power” ,”bla bla bla“… To that I usually reply “Stop whinging you poor cry baby, have you even tried it?!” And for that matter, CaptainFI has plenty of facial hair and can grow a fantastic moustache that can even rival that of Mr Money Mustache

Drawbacks?

Sure, the ES8101 requires a weekly charge so you aren’t going to to be able to use it if you live in a log cabin with no electricity, but then again with no power you probably aren’t reading this blog anyway, and you also probably want a beard to protect your face from the harsh winters when your out being a lumberjack and hunting bears…

The other draw back – its loud. Super loud. Loud enough that I feel that I’m waking up people in the apartment next to me (and if I’m hungover, it even feels like its loud enough to raise the dead!).

So with those two very minor draw backs stated, the thing comes all over the world with me. Its pretty compact (although there are smaller, more expensive ones out there) so it fits snugly in my toiletries case. Whats even more impressive about this electric razor is the cost per shave when you compare it to the alternatives…

The alternatives

For this I opened up Woolworths online Men’s Blades & Razors (and don’t for a second get sucked into the gender marketing of Men’s vs Women’s razors – they are bloody identical the only thing that changes is the colour and the price!).

This shows a typical top of the range 5 bladed disposable razor single pack at $13 each. The pack states it is engineered so you should get 15 comfortable shaves, or three weeks worth – a cost per shave of 86 cents. Although when I bought one, by cleaning (rinsing) and drying it after each shave I was able to make it last a month, reducing the cost per shave to 65 cents. This of course doesn’t factor shaving cream, since you can just use a thin film of hand soap to do the trick – but if you DO choose fancy foam, you can pay on average 20c extra per shave!

Buying replaceable heads for these fancy disposable razors does improve the cost a bit – an 8 pack for the above razor sets you back $40. This works out to be $5 for the stated 15 shaves, 33 cents per shave or 53 cents per shave with foam which sounds a lot better than buying the single pack (an example of the economy of buying in bulk).

But what about the cheap disposable ones, with less blades? Gillette claims its Blue 3 disposable razors can get up to 5 clean shaves each. With an 8 pack costing only $9, this is lowering the cost substantially – down to only 22.5 cents per shave or 42.5 cents with foam! I personally haven’t been able to get more a weeks shaves each out of this style though, so their product testing seems to be right on point!

But what about the REALLY cheap and nasty disposable ones, with only one blade? Well BiC have got you covered, offering a 10 pack for only $3.40! These are stated to be good for limited use, but in general I have found I can only use them for anywhere between 2-5 shaves (depending on the prevailing wind, moon state and the price of eggs in China), with the latter starting to become painful as the blade dulls. Crunching the numbers for the best case scenario of 5 shaves gives you a cost per shave of about 7 cents, or 27 cents with foam – an excellent price but the trade off being discomfort, higher chance of nicks and cuts, and of course increased plastic waste

I am not even going to talk about cut throat razors because, well, the thought of them just plain scares me. I’ve seen too many horror films, and I even get nervous when a barber uses them on me!

The shavings (savings)

So lets tabulate it! The rule of thumb for 10 yearly compounded gains depends on what rate of return you choose. Since we are aggressive young investors with a very long time frame, lets consider a portfolio of 100% stocks (in an ultra low fee index fund ETF) returning 10%. This means you simply multiple your weekly cost by about 887 to get your ten year return. You can plug these into a compound interest calculator and see you’ll get about the same answer.

At best case, my Panasonic ES8101 has saved me about $5.80 a week, which over the 13 years I have been using it when I plug into ASICs money smart compount interest calculator works out to be over $8000! Of course, the savings are less when you consider the cheap and nasty one bladers, but even then the electric shaver still saves me money – and a lot of plastic that would otherwise go to landfill!

With foam

Cents per shaveCost per week (5 shaves)Cost per year (300 shaves)10 year compounded opportunity cost
Electric Razor2.25$.16$6.75$140
Single pack 5 blade85$5.95$225$5277
Bulk buy 5 blade53$3.71$159$3290
3 blade (8 pack)42.5$3.05$130.5$2700
1 blade (10 pack)27$1.89$81$1676

Without foam

Cents per shaveCost per week (5 shaves)Cost per year (300 shaves)10 year compounded opportunity cost
Electric Razor2.25$.16$6.75$140
Single pack 5 blade65$4.55$195$4035
Bulk buy 5 blade33$2.31$99$2048
3 blade (8 pack)23.5$1.65$70.5$1459
1 blade (10 pack)7$.49$21$434

Hair cuts

Now here is an interesting one. I’ll keep it short and sweet. I can really only talk from the point of a man, and I understand that hair salons charge females sometimes outrageous sums of money to do their hair.

When I go to a barber, it would cost me on average $30 for a decent haircut. Although I usually just get a short back and sides because it looks neat for work… and this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I might be erm, losing a bit of my stuff up top 😅

I need a haircut once a month at minimum to look neat, and I always opt for a closer cut to extend the time between trims. Calling this a $7.50 expense ($30 / 4), this works out to a ten year opportunity cost of around $6650 – about $1500 more than the cost of using a 5 blade single pack disposable razor.

Well you guessed it, I bought a pair of hair clippers from the crazy middle isle at Aldi many years ago for $20. Now this expense is completely gone, and that opportunity cost is going straight into my ETF and LIC portfolio

Finally, to lighten the mood I would like to leave you with one of my all time favourite childhood episodes of ‘Round the Twist: The Nirandathal Beast! This should be sure to get you chuckling.

CaptainFI

2 thoughts on “Shaving years off FI

  1. That’s good for you guys out there, what about us ladies! We can’t really use electric shavers. I go for the disposables and I can make a cheap blade last for months, way longer than you claim yours do

    1. Hey there LadyFI! Sorry about the male-centric nature of the article, I can only really write from my perspective. That is totally awesome that you can get months out of the blade! Do you wash and dry them after each use? I think my facial hair might be a bit coarser than (I presume your leg hair?) which might cause mine to go blunt a bit quicker. Do you sharpen the disposables at all? Cheers

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