Tuesday, October 7

Frugal tips Part II

A continuation of last week's "Frugal hacks so obvious you may not be doing them"

9. Ask whether you really need it

  • Ask yourself if you can find something else to work in its stead, rather than buying. Need a newMaybe instead of a new briefcase you can make an old carry-all work.
  • Ask yourself if you can get along without it. Is it an imperative? Or just something nice? For example, if you join a baseball league, cleats and a mitt are necessary.

10. Buy more than one pair of shoes

  • Like it or not, our feet aren't entirely dry. And the moisture from them (and the pressure we put on them) is transferred to our shoes.
  • If you allow shoes to dry for about 24 hours before using them again, it slows the breakdown of the materials. This makes your shoes last longer.
  • So, if you're priding yourself on your thriftiness by having one great pair of black work shoes, you may want to consider investing in a second pair. Alternate days and you won't be back in the shoe shop quite so quickly.

11. Keep a list of staple clothes when you do go shopping. (Or, in this day and age, a photo on your phone or iPod.)

  • Okay, we've all bought something, only to come home and discover nothing matches.
  • In other words, if you have to then go shop for shoes or a shirt, how frugal are you actually being?
  • On the rare occasions you find yourself shopping, endeavor to make a list of the highlights in your closet. If you can't find something on the list that coordinates, don't buy the item.
  • Alternatives include taking a picture and loading it onto your cell phone or MP3 player.
  • Don't forget, once you actually bring an item home, you're far less likely to get it returned.

12. Spend a little more

  • Sometimes, cheap things are cheap for a reason.
  • The rich spend less than the poor, because they can afford quality merchandise that will last.
  • So remember that, sometimes, the thriftiest short-term solution may not be the cheapest in the long run.

13. Before you replace, repair

  • One of the great joys of dieting is tossing your "fat" clothes. But it's a lot cheaper to go to a tailor than to replace your wardrobe.
  • Shoe broken? I got a great pair of dressy black loafers (with heels) at the last Value Village 50% off sale. The bottom of the heel was partially off so they were $10, meaning I paid $5. A few cents' worth of superglue fixed it quickly. If your beloved shoes break, don't forget there are cobblers around town.
  • Our $150 vacuum broke after less than two years. The problem wasn't under warranty, but a new belt and fixing a clog will be a whopping $14.59.

14. If you can't repair, sell

  • If the vacuum was too costly to repair, I was going to sell it to the shop, which could repair and resell it. Then I would use the money to buy a refurbished vacuum from Big Lots for $40.
  • Check Craigslist and local repair shops. They may buy the broken item from you which will help build a fund for a replacement.
  • Here in Seattle, we have a place called RePC which buys old machine parts. You can buy a "boot box" -- a computer tower without an operating system -- for as little as $30 or $40.

15. Put it out in the universe

  • I covered this somewhat in "How to Get Something for Nothing"
  • Sometimes, if you let enough people (and general universal forces) that you're looking for something, you may find things fall into place.

16. Make BOGO work for you.

  • BOGO sales sound great, but are you getting the best bang for your buck?
  • At a BOGO steak sale, Tim grabbed two random packages -- one much smaller than the other. I put that one back and found one much closer in weight. There was about a pound extra in my choice.



Blogger Mama said...

yes! can you please tell my husband that I am saving money by buying more than one pair of shoes! I have been trying to convince him of this idea forever! really though I do agree, i keep the same shoes for years because i where them only every other day. it really works

October 7, 2008 at 9:10 PM

Blogger Jared said...

I like your blog. I especially like that you are focusing on providing thoughtful, in-depth, and personal content, instead of the bland commentary and link collections that I see on other blogs.

However, if you want to attract a greater readership, it needs a more polished, professional look. Getting rid of the background image and reducing the jpeg compression on the banner image would be a good start.

If you want to go further, I'd suggest changing the font typeface on the top banner - it's hard to read. Your digg and stumble and other icons would look better if they were all the same size. Your "Rewards Programs" and "Save the Pig" images are a cute idea, but something about the proportions seems wrong. The man lifting a penny on his back is very cool - keep that.

Hope my suggestions are useful. Good luck!

October 7, 2008 at 11:58 PM

Blogger Shtinkykat said...

Thanks for tip #10 (buy more than 1 pair of shoes). I never knew that the moisture from our feet contributed to the wear and tear.

And thanks for tip #12. This is similar to your prior tip about purchasing real Tupperware vs. Gladware. It's a bit counterintuitive but better constructed products last longer and thus ends up being cheaper. I never knew whether I was just using this as an excuse to buy more expensive clothes. But thanks for validating this!

October 8, 2008 at 12:11 AM

Blogger Abby said...

Thanks for the suggestions Jared. I'm actually in the middle of a search for a three-column blogger template with page tabs. That should help get things looking a tad more "professional" as you put it.

Shtinkykat, always glad to help. But remember that not all expensive stuff is great quality either. I can't say I'm an expert, but a lot of times you can feel it in the fabric & seams when you try something on. Certainly, someone with some sewing knowledge could be a bit more detailed about what to look out for.

Mama, I think I included a link to an article about the wear & tear. Definitely have your hubby read it. I'm trying to be very careful about wearing just one pair of shoes, then giving them 24 hours off. It's kind of crazy how conscientious you end up being.

October 8, 2008 at 1:39 AM

Blogger Shevy said...

I'm actually going to disagree with you on the issue of Ziplok or Glad containers vs. Tupperware.

I've bought Tupperware occasionally and then I never use it because the times I do, I end up leaving it somewhere or leaving food in it in a bag in the bottom of the stroller or whatever so that it ends up being ruined and then I feel horrendously guilty because I wasted a ton of money.

So, right now, (in the pile beside my front door that I need to decide whether I'm giving away to specific people or donating to a charity or selling on eBay) I have several really nice specialized pieces of Tupperware that have Never. Been. Used. I bought them when my adult kids were teens and have moved them endless numbers of times since then. What a huge waste of money.

I buy the Ziplok or generic disposable containers and use them over and over again until they end up with moldy food in them or I lose them and I don't beat myself up when that happens!

Plus, I think the disposable ones almost always get used more often before they get tossed than the Tupperware ones ever did. For some reason I usually trash the expensive ones on the first or second use.

I like your frugal hacks though, because you do think of some things that other people never suggest.

October 8, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Blogger Donna said...

Just a quick reminder; You can find a lot of Tupperware and Rubbermaid products at yard sales (sometimes in the "free" box) and at thrift stores. The ones I didn't inherit from my mom all came from those other two sources.
I never bought any specialized ones, though I always thought that the deviled-egg carriers were cool when I saw them at potlucks. For me, it's just a couple of big bowls and a couple that will do for sandwiches or leftovers.
Actually, I take it back: I've had one of my Rubbermaid containers for at least 15 years. (Abby would remember it as the rectangular one in the fridge that often held sliced cucumbers.) Think of all the Gladware that I might have used and eventually discarded in that time period...

October 8, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You give the simplest most common sense tips. I love these.

October 8, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Blogger Donna said...

Oh, and when you're buying a bag of carrots, potatoes or anything else sold by weight, heft a few different bags first. The other day I did this and found that the "2-pound" bag of carrots held anywhere from 2 to 2.4 pounds.
Guess which one I bought. ;-)

October 9, 2008 at 12:28 PM


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