Men’s razor blades can be very expensive, easily costing $15 to $35 for a package of replacement cartridge blades. However, I may have found a couple of cheaper solutions: one is an online service called Dollar Shave Club (DSC). I cringe every time a single item at the grocery store costs $15 or more, so I was intrigued when I heard an advertisement on AM radio for DSC. This is a seemingly low-cost way to get razor blades online.
Razor blade coupons? You might not be interested in another ding to your debit or credit card each month for DSC, thinking you will use a coupon instead. However, these are really hard to find–since the only coupons you normally see in your local paper are just for a razor handle and one blade, or for low quality disposables. A few weeks ago my local grocer accepted a $4.00 off coupon even though it wasn’t for the exact item, but for the correct brand. This is worth a try. I don’t feel like I am cheating the system, figuring the cash register is wired for correct coupon verification. So it is worth it to keep an eye out for your brand’s coupons, whether or not the deal matches exactly what you are buying.
Regular replacement cartridges can cost about $3.00 per cartridge for my old school 3 blade Gillette Mach III, so with a coupon it came to only about $2.50 with tax per cartridge. The 5 blade Gillette Fusion 8 pack of cartridges can be found for $28, or $3.50 per blade, and prices can climb even higher, depending on the number of blades and features. It can be really easy to spend more than this.
Everybody is different: What is the best deal for you really depends on how often you change cartridges, how thick your beard is, and your skin’s sensitivity. I can get about 4 weeks out of my Mach III’s; towards the end, the shaves can be a little rough and not as close. However, if I can stretch them a few extra days, it is worth it to save a few bucks.
Regular annual cost: If I use a new blade every three weeks, probably more typical for the average person, that comes to 13 blades in a year’s time. That seems low, so I’ll round it up to 15 blades a year to be safe. Assuming no coupons or special deals, that comes to $45 dollars per year–not that bad. If you have a thick beard and have to replace blades every week and a half, you would go through about 35 cartridges a year. Using the $3.50 per cartridge example, that comes to more than $120 per year.
How does Dollar Shave Club work? DSC is a monthly subscription service that sends you a supply of cartridges each month for a set price. When you sign up, you get a free handle. You choose between:
- The Humble Twin: $1 per month plus shipping and handling: 2 blade head , 5 cartridges per month
- The 4X, The Lover’s Blade: $6 per month plus S&H: 4 blade head, 4 cartridges per month
- The Executive: $9 per month plus S&H, 4 cartridges per month
Is Dollar Shave Club a good deal? For me, I’m pretty sure the Humble Twin wouldn’t provide the type of shave I am used to with the Mach III, but the 4X would probably work fine. $72 plus S&H is pretty good for 48 blades per year. Assuming with shipping and handling $90, that comes to less than $1.90 per cartridge. However, this is way too many cartridges for me. I could easily stop the service after 6 months and have enough for the remainder of the year for about what I now pay. DSC’s higher quantity would allow me to change them a little more often. These are not name brand cartridges, so I am guessing I will have to replace them more often if they get dull more quickly. If you have a thick beard, the Executive would probably be the way to go, and with shipping you would probably spend something like $120 per year for 48 cartridges, or about $2.50 per cartridge–again, in this example, more blades for about the same cost.
Convenience: There is this factor too–it seems as if I always forget to buy cartridges when I need them. It would be nice to have a ready supply of them whenever needed and save a little on gas from making special trips to the store.
Conclusion: Dollar Shave Club is a great idea; they have a nice web site, and you can stop or start the membership anytime, saving a little money and time. If there is more than one adult male in your home shaving every day, this would probably save you a little money and allow you to change blades more often–pretty nice. What about for the ladies? They don’t have cartridges specifically designed for females, and DSC is definitely targeted at guys, so ladies would have to gauge their usage to see if this is good for them. Let me know if you try this service: what the cost for shipping and handling is, and if you think the quality is good. If you work for DSC, send me a few samples to try so that I can blog about your product.