A continuation of last week’s Frugal hacks so obvious you may not be doing them
9. Ask whether you really need it
- Ask yourself if you can find something else to work in its stead, rather than buying. Need a newMaybe instead of a new briefcase you can make an old carry-all work.
- Ask yourself if you can get along without it. Is it an imperative? Or just something nice? For example, if you join a baseball league, cleats and a mitt are necessary.
10. Buy more than one pair of shoes
- Like it or not, our feet aren’t entirely dry. And the moisture from them (and the pressure we put on them) is transferred to our shoes.
- If you allow shoes to dry for about 24 hours before using them again, it slows the breakdown of the materials. This makes your shoes last longer.
- So, if you’re priding yourself on your thriftiness by having one great pair of black work shoes, you may want to consider investing in a second pair. Alternate days and you won’t be back in the shoe shop quite so quickly.
11. Keep a list of staple clothes when you do go shopping. (Or, in this day and age, a photo on your phone.)
- Okay, we’ve all bought something, only to come home and discover nothing matches.
- In other words, if you have to then go shop for shoes or a shirt, how frugal are you actually being?
- On the rare occasions you find yourself shopping, endeavor to make a list of the highlights in your closet. If you can’t find something on the list that coordinates, don’t buy the item.
- Alternatives include taking a picture and loading it onto your cell phone or MP3 player.
- Don’t forget, once you actually bring an item home, you’re far less likely to get it returned.
12. Spend a little more
- Sometimes, cheap things are cheap for a reason.
- The rich spend less than the poor, because they can afford quality merchandise that will last.
- So remember that, sometimes, the thriftiest short-term solution may not be the cheapest in the long run.
13. Before you replace, repair
- One of the great joys of dieting is tossing your “fat” clothes. But it’s a lot cheaper to go to a tailor than to replace your wardrobe.
- Shoe broken? I got a great pair of dressy black loafers (with heels) at the last Value Village 50% off sale. The bottom of the heel was partially off so they were $10, meaning I paid $5. A few cents’ worth of superglue fixed it quickly. If your beloved shoes break, don’t forget there are cobblers around town.
- Our $150 vacuum broke after less than two years. The problem wasn’t under warranty, but a new belt and fixing a clog will be a whopping $14.59.
14. If you can’t repair, sell
- If the vacuum was too costly to repair, I was going to sell it to the shop, which could repair and resell it. Then I would use the money to buy a refurbished vacuum from Big Lots for $40.
- Check Craigslist and local repair shops. They may buy the broken item from you which will help build a fund for a replacement.
- Here in Seattle, we have a place called RePC which buys old machine parts. You can buy a “boot box” — a computer tower without an operating system — for as little as $30 or $40.
15. Put it out in the universe
- I covered this somewhat in “How to get something for nothing.”
- Sometimes if you let enough people (and general universal forces) know that you’re looking for something, things can fall into your lap.
16. Make BOGO work for you
- BOGO sales sound great, but are you getting the best bang for your buck?
- At a BOGO steak sale, Tim grabbed two random packages — one much smaller than the other. I put that one back and found one much closer in weight. There was about a pound extra in my choice.