Friday, March 30

Common Sense Frugality: Stop Buying Crap

I wanted to wrap up the week with one of the best tips I know: Stop Buying Crap.

  • First, I question the need for expenses most people take for granted.  Six months ago I shaved my head.  I haven't paid for a haircut (which was $7 a pop at the cosmetology school) since.  I haul my garbage ($48 every 3 months) either to the dump or to a dumpster at one of my condos.  I've also learned that clothes last a really long time, especially if you wear them more than once before washing and air dry them on a rack or clothesline.  
  • Second, and this is something I'm working on, I try to pay for quality when I do purchase something.  Not long ago my primary criteria when shopping for something was finding the cheapest option available.  But I've been burned by refrigerators that go bad after 3 years, vacuum cleaners that last under 12 months and shoddy work by a cheap HVAC installer that flooded a room, requiring the carpet to be replaced.  I've learned to read online reviews before I buy something to better understand which products are made to last.  I also look at guarantees and warranties to determine which companies stand behind their products. 
Paying for quality over price is new to me, but I'm having a ton of fun learning what to look for in products that are built to last.  Are parts made of plastic or metal, and how thick is the plastic from one product to the next?  Is it pressed wood or solid?  Can I return it if it breaks, and do I have to pay a processing fee to return the item that is nearly as much as the replacement cost?  These are all questions I've begun asking when I buy something.

A perfect example of how I have deployed my "quality over price" mantra was last month when I bought a new bathtub for one of my rental properties.  The old me would have found the cheapest tub, or might have used one of those re-bath outfits that spray a coating over the old tub.  The new me looked online to find the highest rated, most durable tub available.  I want this bathtub to last 25 years, particularly considering how expensive installation costs are.  

3 comments:

  1. My father in law always says, "The cheapest you can buy is the best."

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  2. Saw this post and thought of your comment..
    http://www.enemyofdebt.com/2012/04/9752/

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  3. Dave,
    That post was spot on. Fortunately, I choose to be "follicle challenged" right now. Here's hoping it stays that way!

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