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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Going Frugal: Investing in High $$ Items

With the tax stimulus rebates coming via e-deposit or snail mail, you have the chance to not only pay down debt, save, or invest those $$, but to actually spend a little on higher $$ items that are normally out of reach of your monthly budget.

Some high $$ items are true frugal investments, ones that will save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars over many years. Here's a list of a few of such items we've invested in ourselves.

~Bread Machine

This cost us around $100 on four years ago; we'd received gift cards and chose to use them to purchase this.

I use this CONSTANTLY, at least once, if not twice a week. Our family loves homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, pretzels and pizza, all items I can quickly make with the bread machine.

By making, not buying, those items, I'm saving $$ every time I use it. And homemade just tastes better!

It's also a very frugal time-saver; pour all your ingredients in, set the timer, and *POOF*! All done!

~Carpet Cleaner

We bought our carpet cleaner in 1996 from Sears when we bought our first house. Our two dogs were puppies and our new backyard featured a lot of dirt beneath Florida pine trees. We knew we'd need something to keep up with the carpets.

We paid over $300 for the best one they had, one that came with all sorts of attachments and options.

This purchase has saved us easily hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the years.

We still have two dogs and now have three kids. Kids + dogs = carpet ruining messes of all sorts. If we had to call in a carpet cleaning company every time someone got sick on the floor or furniture or in a vehicle, or when the spring and fall muddy footprints overtook our carpets, we'd easily pay $100/visit. It adds up quickly!

It's also SO important to keep your carpets clean if you're trying to sell a house (we've had to sell three houses now). That first impression of cleanliness is a key selling point!


This one was recently gifted to us by my ever-so-fabulous next-door-neighbor. She's smart, talented, and kind. We're so thankful for their friendship.

If you've ever had water in your basement - not a flood, just a little - this is a valuable purchase to have on hand for cleaning up the mess yourself. Calling a water extraction service in, even with home owner's insurance coverage, is spendy.

Other uses: garage clean-up, and backed-up kitchen sinks/garbage disposals. Again, doing the work yourself with the right tools will save you mucho $$.

~Power Tools

If you're handy and have the time to do the work yourself, you can add a deck, finish your basement, add insulation to your attic, build furniture, and fix all sorts of household problems.

But you have to have the right tools. This is my husband's passion, not mine; he built our crib and changing table and has plans to build more furniture for our home along with finishing our full basement. Investing in good power tools and doing the work yourself - or with a more-skilled and more-experienced friend or family member - will save you thousands of dollars.

These are just a few of the higher dollar items we've purchased over the years as frugal investments for our family.

I'd love to hear what items you've bought that cost a lot up front but have turned out to be moneysavers over the long run. Comment and share!

Happy Savings!


Kansas Mom said...

I have a "wish we had" story. We chose a smaller car seat for my son and ended up having to upgrade to a more expensive model when he outgrew the first one before he was old enough for a booster seat. If we had just gotten the more expensive one to begin with, we would have saved the entire cost of the first one! Most people can't plan that far ahead, but we borrowed an infant car seat and knew how big he was on average when it was time to buy one for ourselves. It also would have been nice to have it all along since it's easier to use and easier to clean. Now I recommend to everyone with really big kids to just get the ones with the internal harness that goes over 40 pounds.

At least we had another baby who could inherit his old one, at least for a while!

Lisa said...

I am so glad I stumbled onto your blog a couple of weeks ago - you have taught me so much! I too live in the Cincinati area and we are trying to be more frugal so I can stay home once we have children (hopefully soon)!

It's funny because my husband and I were just talking about buying a bread machine, but I wondered if they were to bulky and would I really use it...
Thanks for the tip - I think I will start looking for a good deal on one...

Grey said...

I agree that a bread machine is a good investment. I wanted to mention that I found my bread machine at the Salvation, for $4. I downloaded the instruction manual and recipes for it online for free. So it also pays to look for these items secondhand. You do have to be careful, and check whether or not the appliance works before you pay, but it can be a real money saver!

Jerry said...

Sometimes it pays to get a higher-cost item in the long run. I have a different example, though. When I was in the military I would spend an extra couple of hundred dollars on my Danner boots, as opposed to the freely issued ones from the Navy/Marine Corps. The better boots never gave me a single blister even on 20-mile jaunts (and I treated plenty of blisters as a field medic), and they are waterproof as well... I still wear them to this day! They were worth every bit of the extra money they were selling them for, and I viewed them as my "foot insurance." (Not a home appliance, I realize, but I think it still applies!)