Paying More For Loyalty?

I’m guest posting today over at Canadian Budget Binder…head on over and check it out!

I have been faithfully going to my hairdresser for 10 years. What’s even crazier is that she has been involved in every major event in my life in these past 10 years; chopping my hair off after I’d grown it out for prom, doing my hair for university formals, being with me on my wedding day and was my first ‘outing’ post baby. I love her, she’s a fabulous person who I consider a friend, but she’s not cheap.

During our 10 year relationship, she’s managed to go from chair rental to buying her own salon and having many employees of her own. I’m proud of what she’s accomplished by her early thirties. With her company growth and normal ‘life inflation’, her prices have gone up significantly. They’re at the point now, especially with us cutting as many costs as possible, that I don’t know if I can continue to see her.

At what point does one stop paying more for a service because of loyalty?

I keep my hair fairly short, getting it cut every six to eight weeks. I don’t spend money on myself, ever, but I like getting my hair cut. I’ve been known to receive gift cards for myself and buy gifts for other people, but in all of my life’s insanity, and there’s been a lot lately, the one small ‘treat’ I allow myself is to see her every few weeks. For a few minutes, I forget my problems, and get prettied up for a few more weeks. Lately this has been pulling my heart strings when I realize what I have to pay.

She’s not outrageously expensive, probably just a little more than a regular cut by most standards, but I have the opportunity to see a friend who can cut my hair, decently, for cheap. She teaches at the local hairdressing school and cuts hair on the weekends. Friends of mine see her and she does good work but I somehow feel like I’m being unfaithful for even entertaining the idea of seeing someone else. Not to mention, I genuinely enjoy the total experience my hairdresser gives me, it’s about more than just getting my hair cut for me.

I have some reservations about seeing someone else because I’m so comfortable with her but my life’s priorities have changed and saving money is more important than getting a haircut by someone just because I like them.

What do you think? Do you pay more for a service because you like the person, knowing there are cheaper options out there with the same (or similar) result?

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  1. I think the way we tend to look at it if something is more expensive is “what else are we paying for?” I drive across town to go to my favorite yoga class every Saturday. The class is cheaper, but when you add in the gas and extra time, there are greater costs associated with going to that class as opposed to one nearby.
    But that’s the best yoga instructor in town. My level of relaxation after one of his classes is so much greater than if I went to one nearby, not to mention, he’s become a really good friend and we go and get Subway sandwiches after every class. (Again, an added cost…) But even though I might be able to get it a little cheaper elsewhere right now the relationship is important enough in my life that it’s worth a bit more.
    Can you say that for your hairdresser? If not, then it’s probably okay to go somewhere else.
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Lame Friends and Sunk CostsMy Profile

    • Yeah that’s the problem I’m having. I don’t want to go to someone else but we’re at the point of where else do we cut costs? I feel like protecting my family’s financial situation the best I can may outweigh any personal benefits for myself. Momma doesn’t NEED it so why waste the money on myself when I can allocate the funds to my family’s needs?

  2. That’s a tough one. I would probably continue paying for it as long as she was doing a good job. There is probably no wrong or right answer!!!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Sir John Templeton’s Definition of DiversificationMy Profile

  3. It’s not a terrible thing to pay someone for loyalty in my opinion, but when times are tough you have to do what you have to do. There was this sushi place I’d go to often. The chef and I knew each other well and have come accustomed to chatting. He’d give me free food every time. New creations would appear in front of me and I would be sort of a beta tester for new dishes, fun fun! The only problem is, getting nice and cozy in the same place lead me to tip very generous to their waitresses. Some days I was tipping more than it would cost me to eat a meal there. Long story short, I thought about our relationship and figured there must be other places in town and other people to make friends with at a cheaper price. Times were getting tough and I couldn’t keep going there without tipping the same amount.
    Veronica @ Pelican on Money recently posted..Why You Will Never Be RichMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Interesting…similar situation. I don’t want her to feel like she’s done anything wrong though, I think maybe I need to have a chat with her and let her know I need to cut back for a while. Do you ever go back to your fav sushi place?

      • I thought about it, it was a difficult decision. I mean… I liked chatting with him and it was a nice friendship. Fate took it a whole different direction when my bf got a job far away and we ended up moving anyway.

        I think Sicorra gave good advice: spend less for now at another place but resume or just go sporadically back to your fav place once you are on your feet.
        Veronica @ Pelican on Money recently posted..Why You Will Never Be RichMy Profile

  4. I went without a haircut for about a year. Until I couldn’t stand it any longer, and then I got a nice bob cut that will last me a long time.

    What if, just for now, you go to the other person, and once you go back to work, you go back to your original hairdresser. I know it is a tough decision, but that might work temporarily.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..Blog Post Swap: Sharing a PF Interview with Natalie from Debt and the GirlMy Profile

  5. I say that you keep the hairdresser. She knows what you like and she sounds like she is your friend. Perhaps have a joke with her about a loyalty discount and see where it goes! 😉
    Savvy Scot recently posted..5 Things Hurricane Sandy Can Teach UsMy Profile

  6. Hmm I don’t know what I would do. If she’s still doing a great job and the difference in price isn’t too high, I’d probably just stay.
    Michelle recently posted..Spending, Life, Income, Food Updates…My Profile

    • Catherine says:

      You recently went somewhere cheaper to save some money didn’t you? would you do it again knowing how much you can save?

  7. K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! says:

    I definitely understand your position. I too have had only one hairdresser for over twenty years who really is a personal friend and not only my stylist. She also has now her own salon going and her rates went up. But, like you I consider it a treat and don’t kick myself over the cost.
    Can you lengthen the time between visits, so instead of the current 6-8 weeks, go to 10-12 weeks?
    K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! recently posted..Getting ready for marriageMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      I have done this…I start looking quite sloppy though haha. If I’m going to maintain any amount of put-togetherness (and being a new mom there isn’t much) I really should go no longer that 7wks! I think i’ll feel better about this after I go back to work…

  8. I’d have to sit and really think about that question for awhile, but I’m not sure that I spend money anywhere because of loyalty. Saying that, my wife has this EXACT same problem with her hairdresser. She’s been going to her since college (7+ years ago) and now we live over a hour from her. Despite that fact, my wife still visits ever 6 weeks and makes the trip over. She’s hesitant to change because the hairdresser knows how to style her hair the way she likes it.

    Saying that, my wife doesn’t spend money hardly ever and I have no issue that she pays more to get her hair done by this lady AND pays to drive the 2 hour round-trip. If we needed the money, then we may cut it out of the budget, but I’m all for spending a little as long as you’re taking care of the rest of your financial aspects (saving, investing for your future, getting out of debt, etc).
    Jason @ WSL recently posted..1-Year Blogoversary Giveaway! Apple iPad Mini, $100 Amazon GC, $50 Paypal Cash!My Profile

  9. I try not to let the personal aspect get in the way.

    I had a personal trainer who was a good mate, but he was costing quite a bit of money. So I ended up telling him that it was too expensive and that I wouldn’t be able to continue with him.

    He was fine with it and we still speak whenever I see him at the gym.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..70 Million Lotto DrawMy Profile

  10. When we were in the midst of our worst credit card debt, I tried to dye my own hair and go to Great Clips, home of the $7.99 haircut. I only get my hair done aobut three times a year, so not as often as you situation, but I hated Great Clips. The stylist looked like she was in junior high, and was very air headed. The home color turned out OK, but didn’t last nearly as long as at my regular hair dresser. I went back to my original place. The conversation is good, the cut and color are excellent, and I know it will last for a while. If I was really struggling, it would be an expense I could cut, I guess, but I’m much more satisfied with someone I know and trust.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..What Happens Before and After Foreclosure?My Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Kim…I gave up colouring my hair when we found out I was preggers (not because of the dye just to cut expenses) so that already saves some money…if I didn’t know someone who has seen the new girl in question I’d be nervous but a friend sees her and has praise to say so I’m a little less nervous. 7.99/cut is crazy! There’s nothing like that around here.

  11. Definitely! I know the owner of a salon quite well that’s a couple blocks from my place and it’s quite pricey. They always do an amazing job, but I never would have started going there in high school if I hadn’t have known the owner so well!
    Janine recently posted..Are you a one or two vehicle household?My Profile

  12. I do. Not with haircuts perse (mine’s pretty long…but I could stand to get it kept more often,) but I’ve been seeing the same dentist for ever…even when they don’t accept an insurance that I have. Every time I’ve thought about switching, I end up going back to them and paying more because I know them. Silly? Absolutely. But it’s just one of those things. And I don’t have many of them.

    Also, I had no idea that dressers rented chairs at the salons.
    femmefrugality recently posted..Smart College Student: Take Care of Your TextbooksMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Dentist or Doc I totally understand…especially working in the industry. These are essential services that should not be skimped on…this is my hair though? Much harder to justify. Not all hairdressers do chair rental, every salon is different, some are paid an hourly rate.

  13. I would continue to see her. You go to her every couple of months and spend a few dollars more than you would somewhere else. Is that really going to get you that far ahead? Especially since it’s the one luxury you allow for yourself? Besides, if you’ve been going to her for so long and you tell her that you need to focus on your financial priorities, I wouldn’t be surprised if she agreed to lower the price. My mom is a hair dresser and she’ll do things like that for her clients that have been seeing her for 20 years.

  14. Can you cheat on her? haha. How about alternating between your hairdresser and your friend? Or at the very least, trying your friend out just once. I would also see if you could push your 6-8 weeks to 8-10 weeks, because that alone can save you about 25% in a year.

  15. I think you have to figure in all the cost. Your hairdresser maybe more expensive than someone else but, it sounds like your getting more than a haircut. You get to drop your shoulders for awhile and enjoy doing something for yourself. That little something may not seem like a lot but, when life is stressful and you’re always giving, it can make all the difference.

    I say keep getting your hair done. Everyone needs something to make them feel special now and again. Plus, its always better to pay for a service or experience instead of a possession that will just sit there, after awhile.
    Jackie recently posted..How to Help Your Husband Thrive During UnemploymentMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Yeah this is how I sort of feel but when money gets tight and I have a hair appt coming up it eats at me a little…I’m thinking maybe at least until I get back to work I’ll need to forgo seeing her.

  16. Ooo, that’s a tough one. If it was me, and I was paying for a service that I knew I could get of equal quality elsewhere, I would at least try the cheaper place once. If I didn’t like it, then I wouldn’t worry. But I understand where you are coming from, that’s a tough situation.
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..Why I’m Not Ready to Buy a HouseMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Yeah I think I’ll try it out and if I really like it I will have to be upfront with my haridresser or like someone else said just see her more infrequently, since I really like her I’d miss her.

  17. Tough call, maybe you could go a few times a year, and to the friend of the friend for the rest of the visits.
    Mandy @MoneyMasterMom recently posted..Frugally Fun FridayMy Profile


  1. Carnivals, Mentions, & Weekend Reading #36 — WorkSaveLive says:

    […] Paying More For Loyalty? by Plunged in Debt […]

  2. […] Catherine over a plunged in debt calls out to her readers with a tough situation. Her friend and hairdresser has been cutting her hair for over 10 years. Her hairdressing friend has made some great entrepreneurial advancements, but it’s resulting in a pretty pricey expense for Catherine. Should she keep seeing her friend despite the pricetag, or should she be looking for a more economical option? […]

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