Tuesday, April 30

Smarter Frugality: The Little Things That Make a Difference (Part 2)

Often I try to postpone or avoid purchases altogether.  However, there are some areas where I have realized spending money for quality is really the most frugal thing to do.

  • I'm sure my tenants think I must work for Filtrete, because my #1 pet peeve is finding a dirty A/C filter  in one of my properties.  I routinely carry new filters with me when I visit my properties.  At home, we always change the filter before it gets very dirty, and we avoid buying the cheap $.99 green filters because they only trap the big stuff.  Trust me, this is an investment you should make.  Dirty air filters make your HVAC system work harder, which will prematurely age the parts that keep it humming.  Besides, breathing cleaner air is better for your health.
  • I used to buy cheap K-Mart shoes.  Then I discovered Allen Edmonds.  This has been a recent revelation.  I now have shoes that fit my feet better than ever, and the knowledge that they will last for years.  Those crappy shoes I used to buy for $25 a pair would start wearing down in just a few weeks, and the smell... ugh!  
  • I spend quite a bit on dental hygiene.  In my early 20s I was a bit lazy in this area.  A couple of root canals was all it took to realize the importance of taking care of my teeth.  A couple of years ago I bought an oral irrigator, which is one of the best purchases I have ever made.  It attaches to my faucet and streams a jet of water between my teeth.  I think it cost less than $15, but it's worth much more than that to me.  Even after flossing I am surprised at how effective the irrigator is at getting my mouth clean.  I also use a Sonicare toothbrush, a Pentek dental pick, along with one-time use dental flossers that I keep in my car.  
  • I stay close to the manufacturer's guidelines for servicing my car.  The Corolla has more than 172,000 miles on her and she still purrs every time I crank her up.  

Even if you are on a tight budget, there are ways to mitigate these costs.  Mystery shopping helps with my oil changes and tire rotations.  I redeem credit card points for Amazon gift cards for my toothbrush heads or for Lowe's gift cards for the A/C filters.  It's smart to know when spending extra money will save you from shelling out huge sums for preventable breakdowns.

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