I'm new to DE shaving. I'm in my early 40's, and have for over a decade exclusively used an electric shaver. Recently, I was on a weekend vacation and forgot my electric. I bought a Mach 3 and a can of foam, and knocked off 2 days of growth. I forgot how close a blade could shave, and it felt good. My wife liked it. But, the blades were already pulling a little on the 2nd shave, and after shave #3 I knew there wasn't going to be a shave #4. When I got home I went to get more blades. I realized that at around $2.50 a cartridge, I would be burning up $15-$20 a month if these stupid things can't last a week.
Today, I received my Merkur 34C, a Vulfix badger brush, some Crystals, some Feather Platinums, some Russian 7 O'clocks, a DR Harris soap bowl, and Cremo. The first shave was with a Crystal and the Cremo (which I used because it seemed easier to use more consistently than the soap). No nicks, cuts or scrapes. The Crystal just melted through another 2-day growth so comfortably and with such control, it made me wonder why anybody would shave any other way. A 2-pass shave, both WTG because I wasn't going for ultimate closeness, gave a shave that amazed my wife. I can't wait to try the soap on the weekend when I have time to fool with the technique of getting a good lather. Until then, a few more times with the Cremo will help me get the hang of it.
And, this site was a big help. I read the reviews on razors, the chart listing aggressiveness of some razors, the reviews on blades, and some of the other reviews/threads.
Now, even with shipping, a $25 order of blades will get me a year's supply, unless I like the Feathers so much that they become my go-to blade.