About a year and a half ago, Tony and I were fed up with spending ridiculous amounts of money on his razors. He has quite a beard, and when he’s shaving every day he can go through razors pretty quickly.
We were pumped when we found what seemed to be a fantastic frugal alternative: the safety razor. He even wrote a post about it. It’s an ancient-looking steel razor that holds regular straight razor blades. These razor blades cost about 50 cents each — a much lower price than the razors he was buying at the time for $4 a pop. They’re also environmentally friendly. The steel razor blades are completely recyclable, and create much less waste than fancy plastic-encased replacement razors with moisture strips.
Shortly after he began using them, Tony’s sensitive skin became irritated. At first, he assumed it was just part of the transition. He was sure he’d get used to it.
We started buying him manly lotions in an attempt to heal his irritated skin. He was determined to make the frugal razors work. But everything we tried failed, and he was uncomfortable with the patches of red skin on his face and self conscious about them.
I told him he didn’t have to worry about the money. If he wanted to go back to his old razors, it was absolutely fine with me. But he’s stubborn, and he felt unnecessarily guilty about spending $15 a month on replacement razor blades.
When the weather turned colder, his face dried out even more. He finally agreed to buy some of his old razors, use them, and see if it helped. It did. Though he’s grown a beard for the colder months, he cleaned up his face with the replacement razor once and his irritated skin already looks improved.
Frugality is one big experiment. Whether you’re buying generics or trying to use less dishwasher detergent, the point is to live comfortably while spending the least money possible. But there comes a point when you have to accept that the experiment has failed. There comes a point when frugality makes you so uncomfortable that you have to admit defeat and drop a few extra dollars to be comfortable.
The good news is, there are a million other ways we can save money. We won’t even notice that $15 a month if we cut corners in other places. We tried to find a frugal way, but the alternative just wasn’t worth the money it saved. If $15 a month means that Tony is a little more comfortable in his own skin, then it’s money well spent.