Using a cartridge shaving system, even a middle-of-the-road one, probably cost me £20-26 a year, plus £5 if I was to buy the razor. Not exactly a massive amount, but then I probably only bought 8-12 cartridges a year, plus a couple of cans of gel. I managed this, in part, because I used my cartridges well beyond the recommended length.
Those prices are derived from my local supermarket's website. They don't have a safety razor listed, but let's call that £5. They have a 10-pack of Personna blades for £1.89, a shaving brush for £3.20 and a shave stick for 49p. So the blades and soap come in way under the equivalent cartridge costs, even if you add the brush it's still cheaper.
That's probably the bottom rung though (even if those blades are a good brand). Let's say we're looking at more like £20 for a good quality razor, plus the same for a badger hair brush. Throw in a couple of tubes/tubs of shaving cream at £7 each. Then kit your razor out with some Feather blades at £8 for 50.
(Mach 3, typical)
|Blades/cartridges||£19.50||£3 (12 blades)||£80* (52)||£9 (52)|
|Gel/soap/cream||£6||£14||£12 (4)||£28 (4)|
|Total (year 1)||£30.50||£57||£97||£77|
* Using the most cost-effective 13-pack
Even on my relatively little use you can see I'm saving money after the first year. Granted, it'd take three years to make up the gap. Bear in mind though, I could bulk buy the blades. I could get 100 for under £8, but let's stick to the Feather blades. They work out at 16 pence each, or £1.92 for the 12. That brings break even to just over 2.5 years.
I could certainly cut the costs if that was the aim, and you're likely to spend a bit more on the safety razor (a few quid for a brush/razor stand, maybe a mug to mix lather in, maybe you prefer a more expensive soap, or the blades don't last as long as the cartridge ones).
On the other hand, if you use a new cartridge every week, which is more typical, you can see the investment will be repaid in the first year, and your yearly savings will be more significant thereafter too.
To top that all off, I think you'll get a better shave too, and learn to enjoy the chore.