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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 Amazon.com 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!

~WetVac

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!