At Frugal Fiction we’re always looking for ways to help you live the Frugal Life (besides, of course, offering great reads at miniscule prices.) So, I’ve been searching the web and two recent MSN articles caught my atttention. (ok, honestly, my husband found them. Do you think he’s sending me a message?)
The first, “The Economics of toilet paper” brought an “oh, please” from my lips. Still, my duty to you forced me to read. Now, I must be honest. I’m not sure what they were really professing about TP – it seemed to vacilate between cheaper makes you use more and no matter how good you buy, people will use the same amount. Why whether people fold or wad matters, escaped me.
But, it made me think. We all focus on saving bucks on big item purchases. But the little things, the day-in, day-out stuff we consume can add up to even greater savings if we’re smart buyers. They do mention using a coupon, which is ok as far as it went. But, unless you tie the coupon to a sale, you often spend more. Buying in bulk, changing brands and stocking up during sales are common sense ways to save, but the suggestion of adding a bidet – which woo-hoo, will pay for itself by the second year – seemed a little too ‘out there’ for me. I mean, call me uneducated, but unless you have hours to sit and air dry (they say we already spend 47 minutes a day in the powder room) don’t you still have to wipe?
The reality is smart shoppers, frugal shoppers, look at every purchase as a challenge. Can I save more or get better quality at the same price? That’s the game. A great sale on something you won’t use is no sale. A coupon used on something you don’t normally purchase is no bargain. A coupon coupled with a sale price on an item you need, that’s a score! So, choose your battles, and buy TP that pleases you, whatever the price!
Onto more serious stuff, year’s end seemed a good time to talk about the things we shouldn’t skimp on. Check out MSN’s top 10 by Liz Pulliam Weston at:
I have a few comments to add:
Car maintenance – expand it to all maintenance. Remember to vacumn that dust off the back of your refrigerator occasionally, to get annual checkups for your air conditioning unit, to have the service guy come out just before your washer or dryer warranty expires. All can help extend the life of your big ticket items.
Classic Clothes – Here, Liz and I differ. I say, clothes are almost disposable. Styles change, waistlines change, jobs change, our tastes change. I have a whole closet of classic suits I just don’t wear to sit at my computer every day… If you do want classics, try consignment stores for high end clothing on a budget.
Health & safety are givens. Without either one, you won’t be worrying about maintenance or clothing.
Internet access and computer memory, absolutely if your computer is critical to your life. For most people, the home PC isn’t. Buy what you can afford – the latest, greatest bells and whistles today will be so “yesterday” far too soon.
I can’t quibble about a mattress, and teenager’s cars fall into health & safety to me (and not just that of your teen by the way – we share their same roadway.) That someone would not require a home inspection baffles me, but so do lots of things. The advice is good.
The article’s last item, don’t compromise your ethics, addresses workplace theft. Risking a $6, $10, $25 an hour job for $5 worth of paper towels or TP isn’t frugal, it’s foolish. Stealing is sinister. Miserly and cheap, they’re selfish. Frugal is fun, it’s rewarding. If you’re not grinning after you’ve been frugal, you aren’t playing the game right.
Best to all of you as you frugally deal with this season. Can’t wait to hear your success stories!