Does a Razor Blade Subscription Save You Money?
Anyone who shaves knows buying and replacing razor blades can be expensive. Dollar Shave Club provides a monthly razor blade subscription service that claims to make shaving less of a burden on your wallet, but does the "club" really save you money?
How Dollar Shave Club Works
Essentially, Dollar Shave Club takes the guesswork out of when to buy new razors. For the default subscription option, they will ship you a new set of cartridges once a month. Alternatively, if you do not shave as often, you can change your subscription to the Not So Hairy option for which they will ship you a set of cartridges every other month.
Three Cartridges from which to Choose
The company offers three different types of razor cartridges at three different price points. Your first order of any of the cartridges will come with the applicable razor handle and each month after that you will only receive replacement cartridges.
The Cheapest Option
Does the service live up to its name? Can you really take care of all your shaving needs for a dollar a month? In a word, no. The minimal cash outlay gets you a basic two-blade razor call The Humble Twin. Each month, you will receive five replacement cartridges at the advertised cost of just one dollar per month, hence the name Dollar Shave Club. However, the true cost comes in at three dollars per month as you are on the hook for a two-dollar shipping and handling charge. I guess the Three Dollar Shave Club didn't sound as snappy.
The Mid-Range Option
The next option offers a fancier four-blade razor called The 4X. You will only receive four cartridges per month with this option at a cost of six dollars per month. The good news? Shipping is included. But that's still twice the price as the cheapest option.
The High-End Option
The ultimate package includes a six-blade razor called The Executive that also features a special trimmer edge. Like the mid-grade plan, you will receive four cartridges per month, but at nine dollars per month, including shipping. That puts you out more than $100 over the course of a year.
These prices are competitive with buying full-price, name-brand razor cartridges at retail stores, but you could do better by buying cheap, no-name razors or shopping the occasional sale. The Club does offer convenience, though; since the service is automatic and they will keep shipping you new cartridges every month until you cancel, you should never run out of razors (unless you go through your monthly allotment too quickly). If you want to maximize your savings, however, better deals do exist to ordering razor blades online.
Dollar Shave Club Alternatives
Dollar Shave Club does not manufacture their razors. In fact, they reportedly buy them from a company called Dorco. You can cut out the middleman and order razors from Dorco yourself and keep the savings.
Surprisingly, there are no savings to keep if you're a fan of The Humble Twin. To buy a year's worth of cartridges plus a razor handle, you would pay $49.40 through Dorco and only $36.00 through Dollar Shave Club. Unfortunately for Dollar Shave Club, Dorco wins the pricing battle with The 4x and The Executive. The 4x would cost you $72 through Dollar Shave Club and only $61.60 for the first year through Dorco. The Executive would cost you $108 through Dollar Shave Club and only $92.75 through Dorco. In both of these cases, you'd get a few extra blades to boot.
Other Razor Supply Options
Of course, if you consider buying potentially lower-quality products, a quick search on Amazon.com will bring up many cheaper options. Keep in mind that we're talking about sharp objects in contact with your skin, so perhaps price shouldn't be the only factor here.
Alternatively, grocery stores and big box stores like Wal-Mart sometimes have deeply discounted razors for a limited time. If you find them on sale, simply stock up on them to save money, since you know you will always need razors for as long as you shave.
The good news: razors don't take up a lot of space.