Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The best 20 dollars you ever spent

Twenty dollars is not what it used to be – just ask your grandfather. Consider these five upgrades, each for less than $20. Since a simple snapback hat runs for as much as $25 (or more) these days, it’s time to prioritize those precious remaining bills in your wallet and treat yourself the right way.

Fernando de Sousa/Flickr


A new haircut is phenomenal. It gives a man the sense of feeling clean, refreshed and ready to seize the day. At $14 for a haircut, Matt’s Barber Shop (59 Boltwood Walk) offers one of the best prices around. When you go, ask for Matt ­– he’s been cutting hair for a while and knows what he’s doing. Most importantly, he will help you pick the best cut to frame your face.


A tie does not always have to be restricting or formal, and no man can ever have too many. At $15 each, the Tie Bar ( has an amazing selection, and every tie is made from 100 percent hand-woven silk. Choose a dark-colored, slim tie, pair it with a lighter colored button down and finish off with dark jeans for a fail-proof weekend look. Buy a couple for your friends and you can even channel the 50s swagger of the Rat Pack. There are also some fun options to choose from, and since Halloween is on its way, the Zombie Parade is a classy and festive choice.


The quickest and easiest way to put a fashionable punch of color into any outfit is to go in feet-first. Happy Socks ( does its name justice by providing a dazzling array of colors and a delightful selection of prints, ranging from modernist patterns to M.C. Escher. Twelve dollars may seem expensive for a pair of socks, but the quality of these stockings is well worth the price. On a particularly dreary day, a pair of paisley or whimsically dotted socks will put some pep in your step.

White T-shirt

James Dean wore it and made it a classic. It is versatile and has stood the test of time. A new, fresh and well-kept white T-shirt is a staple in any man’s wardrobe. Treat it like a polo shirt and do not wear it to the gym – you’ll get a lot more mileage out of it this way. Match it up with blue jeans for a classic Dean look, or pair it up with dark skinny jeans for something more modern.


Whether you prefer boxers or briefs, this is definitely money well spent. And let’s face it – it’s probably time to freshen up this part of your repertoire. Gap makes a great range of affordable and quality options. Although this may not be the most noticeable of 20-bucks-and-under upgrades, it will definitely make a difference to the person that matters the most: you. Throw out the pair with holes in it because, be honest, there is nothing “lucky” about them.

Whether you choose to get a new haircut or pull on a fresh pair of socks, there are plenty of ways to spend $20. To get every cent out of President Jackson and feel like a new man doing it, go for a smart tie and not another ironic t-shirt.

Ryan Ford can be reached at [email protected].


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