San Francisco Frugal Pro-Tip: $10 Haircuts

I was getting a little sick of paying $20-25 (+ tax & tip) every single month for a quick men's clipper cut here in San Francisco, so Mrs. Frugal Hacker told me about this neat little hair training school called Aveda where they offer $10 haircuts!! And right in the heart of Downtown San Francisco too (Bush & Kearny). This is what it looks like when you go inside:

$10 men's haircuts in Downtown San Francisco? Sign me up!

$10 men's haircuts in Downtown San Francisco? Sign me up!

Apparently one of her friends at work was also sick of paying $80-$90 for a women's haircut when all she wanted was a bottom trim. At Aveda, they charge only $10-20, tax included, plus tip (optional). Since these stylists are students, they're just glad to have a real person to train on, rather than practice on dummy wigs. So they're very grateful that you're willing to take the risk. A tip is highly appreciated here, but is very much optional.

Drawbacks of Cinta Aveda:

  • Since the stylists are students, they're slower than most in-and-out haircut salons. They're learning so they take their time to avoid/reduce any possibility for mistakes
  • An appointment is absolutely required here, you can't just drop in like you can at Super Cuts
  • They try to up-sell you with more value-add services without mentioning the extra costs (like a scissor cut which is $8 more!). So you better make sure to ask
  • You have to fill out a boring survey at the end of each appointment. It only takes 2 minutes thankfully
  • Tips are only accepted as cash or check. No credit or debit cards are accepted for tips, although they're still accepted for the actual service payment. I mean, who carries cash these days, especially in San Francisco? I only carry $20 bills for emergencies

Check out their full list of their salon and spa services (including prices) here: Salon & Spa — Cinta Aveda Institute.

Do you live in San Francisco? Would you get your hair done at a student-run training school? If you don't live in SF, is there a similar training school in your city where you can get hair services at a steep discount?


If you happen to care a lot about your haircut, just remember this pro frugal tip I religiously subscribe to:

Of course, not all cheap haircuts are necessarily ugly, as they may just be done by someone with lesser years of experience, but skilled nonetheless.

If you're looking for other options to be more frugal with your hair, I encourage you to try these out:

  • Cut your own hair at home. Get your spouse/partner to help you
  • Get haircuts less frequently. Try going from once a month to over every 45 days
  • Get a shorter cut each time so you don't have to get your hair cut that frequently
  • Don't cut your hair at all, just let it grow out. It's not a big deal for many people

Other tips to be more frugal for the ladies when it comes to personal care and beauty: Frugal Personal Care and Style for the Ladies

Between the two of you, enjoy that extra $75 saved every month! That's ~$13,000 in savings invested at a 7% annual return over 10 years.

Mr. Frugal Hacker

San Francisco, CA

Born in India. Grew up in Dubai for 15 years. Studied and lived in Canada for 8 years. Backpacked in Europe for 2 months. Lived in Toronto for 1.5 years. Working in San Francisco for the past 4 years. Runner, cyclist, software engineer.