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16 April 2009

On Saving Money

Yesterday i was reading a post on The Simple Dollar - it's a blog on frugal living.

It occurred to me that i save LOTS & LOTS & LOTS of money every day. Here's how:

I went to Bari Leather & looked at their beautiful leather sofas.

This one is called the Regent reclining sofa. By NOT buying it i saved $1599.00. Didn't save on tax or shipping because right now those are free.

This one is from the same online store. It is called the Dane. It is a reclining sectional. This particular set up is listed at $2899.00. But again, i didn't save anything on tax or shipping.

This is the brand-new, about to be released camera from Nikon. It is a D-5000. It is only $799.00 & Duane is drooling over it. Of course that price doesn't include many of the fancy lenses you might want. The one recommended cost more than the camera itself.

Now, we have a D-70. It is a good camera. It is the one Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) started with herself. If you've seen a lot of my pics (most were probably taken by Duane), you've seen what this camera can do.

So look at the money we saved by NOT buying this camera!

I told Duane about this post this AM, & he thought the concept funny, until i mentioned this last item.

There are other ways i save money, too. The massage i got Tuesday was base price $95. I did do a tip, so the total was $110. Now, I charge $110 for that same time period of massage. So i saved at least $15. (I might have tipped me $20!)

But there is more. I did not go to Glen Ivy Spa for the massage. (My sis loves that spa.) Their price for 80 minutes, not 90 is $149. Tho i have to admit there are other benefits you get for that price. You can spend the whole day there & go into a lot of different pools & baths. But that is not something i particularly enjoy, so it isn't something i take too much into account when i figure this. Also, i would have had to drive at least 45 minutes to get there, maybe longer depending on traffic. So i saved time & gas as well.

But there is more! I did not go to Spa Montage for that massage. Their price for 90 minutes is $305. For even a 10% tip that's an extra $30. (Now you see why the exects from the big corporations wasted so much money on their bonus packages! This is that same spa. I've no idea what the rooms run per night, but with this as the massage price, you can bet it was a lot.) This spa is not as far for me as was Glen Ivy. I probably would have spent only an additional 10 minutes driving time. I've no idea what their additional benefits from the spa are. Probably not as much as Glen Ivy.

So look at all the money i've saved ! ! ! Maybe i'm more frugal than i give myself credit for!

In all seriousness, we are pretty frugal. But we have to be careful not to err on the side of cheap.

To me, if you buy an item that doesn't cost a lot, but it doesn't hold up very well & will have to be replaced or fixed before much time goes by, then it is cheap not frugal. I can't be more specific in this example because there is so much difference between different items. We bought a new Honda 2 years ago. It is great on gas mileage (between 38-42 MPG) & we expect it to last 15 or more years. I think this frugal. We had tried first buying an older Toyota, about the same size, 5 years old, about 1/2 the price. Immediately we knew we had been cheap because it was not going to last us & was going to need a lot of work. It became our trade in on the Honda.

I expect the sink, faucet, microwave, & dishwasher we put in our kitchen last fall to last a long, long time. Except the microwave, they may never need to be replaced. We had a couple of "cheap experiments" with a couple of different microwaves (meaning Craig's List & a discount store) before we settled on this one.

Couponing, in general, is not frugal to me. The items you find for coupons are not ones that we would usually buy or consume. I use vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, salt, soap nuts, & borax for most of our household cleaning, washing, etc. So i can't save money on bathroom or kitchen cleaners, window cleaning sprays, laundry detergents, etc., etc. I also don't use spice packages. I've bought them to get the ingredients & then mix up my own. I don't use boxed "food" items like mac & cheese, or "hamburger helper" or anything like that. We don't buy sodas or diet sodas except if we are having company we know would want them.

The other thing i have to be careful about is settling too much for "good enough."

We watch the tv shows sometimes of people buying houses, especially first time buyers. Which we were when we purchased this house last year. I get frustrated sometimes seeing young couples going into fairly expensive houses & exclaiming, "Oh, this has to go!" Usually they are talking about dated kitchens or bathrooms.

Now, believe me, i understand that. I don't like the countertops in my bathrooms or kitchen. The upstairs bath in particular desperately needs remodeling & to be expanded. (The bath upstairs where the bedrooms are is only 1/2 bath; we have to go downstairs to shower.) Everything in my house is dated. But when you're buying a house for the first time, usually you can't expect top of the line. So it comes down to, "Is it functional?" The kitchens on these tv programs are usually kitchens from the 80s. Which means they have perfectly good cabinets, etc, but they are "dated." And they don't have the newest granite countertops.

So i tend to be very practical & say: "The cabinets aren't falling apart. The dishwasher & stove & microwave are functional. The water runs. What more do you want???"

But i'm realizing that i can err too far in that direction. I tend to procrastinate. I can put blinders on & say "It's working, it's good enough." I could become, in 30 years, a lady who is in a house falling down around her, saying, "The toilets flush, the water runs, the snow doesn't blow in. It's good enough."

Part of this, for me, is not laying up treasures on earth. But i think there also has to be some kind of balance.

The cough is still pretty bad today, but i'm not actually ill. No upper respiratory symptoms, no sore throat, fever, chills or anything. Don't really understand it. Also don't understand why it's better when i'm lying flat. That is just the opposite of what is normally true.

I was craving tomato soup - but NOT Campbells! - bought an organic tomato soup at Trader Joe's yesterday. It is delicious. Wish i had gotten more. Lots of soup & tea for me i guess.

Hope that you are having a good day in whatever part of the world you are sitting on!




KCShipe said...

Great post, but I have to totally disagree with you on the coupons. I recently got coupons in my paper for greek yogurt, cherry tomatoes, wholly guacamole, Tropicana orange juice, Sargento shredded cheese, etc. There are many coupons for canned/convenience foods, but a lot of places are putting out organic coupons too now. It may still not be worth doing for you, but there is more to coupons than convenience foods :)

Mike said...

That couch would look good on me. :)

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