What are some great purchases that cost significantly more up front, but are unbelievably frugal long-term?

What are some great purchases that cost significantly more up front, but are unbelievably frugal long-term?

Some replies to this question:

“For me I’d have to say rechargeable batteries.

I remember standing in a store in 2007 with an 8 pack of Duracell batteries for about 7 dollars, or a kit with a charger and 12 batteries for around 60 dollars. I was torn, but decided to see if it would be worth it. Well, it was. SEVEN YEARS later and they still hold 80% max charge and I haven’t had to replace a single battery. They have powered my keyboard, mouse, camera, mini amplifiers and anything else I need them for for SEVEN YEARS now without fail.

Talk about good return on investment. If I bought one 8 pack of batteries per month at only $4-5 a pack, I would have spent $400-500 on batteries in the same period of time. Not to mention the time savings of just swapping out the batteries at home when needed. Take the charger with you to public places and you can even get free juice!

What other great frugal investments are there?”

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“Pyrex coverable bakeware instead of tupperware or other plastic boxes/bags. They’re glass so they won’t pick up the smell or color from food like a plastic box will. Just throw it in the dishwasher and it won’t warp or melt (I do hand wash the covers). Also you can bake right in them, the come from a few cups to a full casserole dish in size. Microwave safe too, and no plastic to leech in to your food.

I’ve had some pieces for over a year and got a variety set about 6 moths ago and love how easy they make storing/reheating leftovers. I do believe that eventually the plastic lids will fail but that is probably years off still, and the glass will last til someone drops it.”

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A home with a good commute to jobs and decent school system. You’ll pay way more for the house/rent, but you’ll save hours every week commuting, have more job options, and a better education for your kids in the long run.

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I earn 10k a year more than my SO, but commute 50 miles each way to work – the extra petrol coupled with higher taxes mean I’m only paid a hundred or so pounds more a month. Starting to get to the point where it’s not worth sitting in traffic for over an hour for essentially the same wages.

Edit

Just realised I completely missed your point. I’d much rather be closer, I leave before the kids are awake and get home when it’s time for bed.

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Then factor in the commute time to your work hours and you may not even break even. I took a job with slightly lower pay to cut 45min commute each way. Now I can bike to work.

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I’d rather work where my wife does. 7-mile 15-minute journey, plus we could car pool and spend time together.

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This is far more important than people realize. Here’s a good article discussing this concept. It’s a bit out of date, but it has only gotten more expensive, so keep that in mind while reading it.

The TL;DR of it (for US resident making $25/hour) is that

each [further] mile you live from work steals $795 per year from you in commuting costs. $795 per year will pay the interest on $15,900 of house borrowed at a 5% interest rate. In other words, a logical person should be willing to pay about $15,900 more for a house that is one mile closer to work, and $477,000 more for a house that is 30 miles closer to work. For a double-commuting couple, these numbers are $31,800 and $954,000.

The author give a similar analysis for someone earning minimum wage.

Keep in mind that this is primarily for people who drive to work.

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Laser Printers. Never buy an inkjet printer. You can typically get a new printer for less than a set of inkjet cartridges, and those cartridges WILL clog unless you print frequently. Sure you can clear them, but you use up 50% of your ink in the process.

A good laser printer wont cost that much more, but will last longer, and require much less maintenance.

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And the key trick to go with this: buy your replacement toner cartridges refurbished on Ebay.

I checked out what it would cost to get my cartridge at the local Staples. About $95 after tax. Ebay? $18 including tax and shipping to my front door. Includes a 1 year warranty.

The lifeblood of brick-and-mortar office supply stores are printer cartridges. We’re talking 400% markup and more. Don’t let your hard earned money support their poor business model.

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I have an HP Laserjet 4M which was made around 1992-94. I picked it up from a Dumpster along with a couple of boxes of toner in 2001. I don’t use it every day but I do use it regularly and it still prints like a champ. Postscript or PCL, it’ll handle everything.

HP LJ4 series were built like tanks. If you can find one for cheap and the internals are clean, it’ll last you for decades.

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I love my Laserjet 4+, bought it off of eBay many years ago for next to nothing from a place that did salvage after hurricane Katrina. That thing is built like a tank and works every time. Sounds like a fucking jet engine firing up when you print something and the lights in the room dim for a second as it’s starting up but it never fails to shit out a piece of paper with writing on it when I want a piece of paper with writing on it.

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Good kitchen supplies. What do you do every day? That’s right: you eat. Get good knives. They won’t fall apart on you. They’ll be sanitary, easy to clean and with less chance of accruing bacteria. They’ll stay sharper longer. Sharper knives are safer knives. They’ll save you work when making food. Get good pots and pans. Invest in a quality blender. They’ll both work better, safer, and last longer. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, never buy a kitchen tool with only one purpose. There’s really nothing that you can do with an asian vegetable knife that you can’t do just as well with a quality chef’s knife, but the latter can be used for a lot more, besides. Do you really need a nifty egg pan? Probably not. Also, be aware of warranties when looking at these sorts of things. Some brands have long or lifetime warranties for their products. It may cost more in the short term, but if you don’t have to buy another set of pans or knives for the next 50 years, it’ll probably pay for itself in that time.

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Remember to sharpen those knives! No matter how great a knife you get, it will eventually dull down to be less useful. That’s when you sharpen it(although a lot of weirdos will just throw out the knives and get “better” ones because they don’t know that knives are easy to sharpen).

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Do NOT buy the Walmart knives that come in a wood block. My mom ends up buying one of these every few years because they’re shit. I spent $30 on my 10 inch chef’s knife , I think $25 on a 10 inch granton edge Santoku knife and $30 on a pairing knife, a filet knife and a small chef’s knife.

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Buying a modem for ~$70 instead of renting one. It’ll pay for itself within the year.

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As a SB6121 modem owner, I can attest that modem is stable as fuck. Been continuously running (plugged in to a UPS) for over 6 months, even with Shitcast.

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HE furnace. Tankless water heater.

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I like Heat Pump water heaters over Tankless. Especially in electric only homes.

Depending on where you locate the Heat Pump water heater, you will not only get cheaply heated water, but also ice cold air. We have ours inside the house and it does a nice job of cutting down on the AC bill during the summer. We turn it to “conventional” mode during the winter so no cold air is made.

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Are they really that efficient? I’ve been tempted to get one, but I’m afraid it won’t be able to keep up the demand of a few hot showers?

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There is no tank – they don’t run out of hot water as long as they have fuel. If you want to run multiple showers at once, or other appliances, you need to make sure you have one rated at the capacity you require.

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I recommend you don’t install one without a water softener in line ahead of them if you are in a hard water area. The calcium build up in the pipes can be killer unless they can be vinegar flushed occasionally.

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it really depends on where you live, and how much you have to spend, and how hard the water is.

In places like FL, CA, where the water doesn’t get that cold in the winter, and it’s relatively soft, I’ve heard that tankless water heaters are great.

Up north, where the water can drop down to 34ยบ coming out of the pipe in winter, it’s hard to get an appropriately sized unit. It’s just hard to heat water that cold up to temp in that short of a time frame, so it depends.

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A lot of people that design a house around them will stick 2 in tandem. This allows water that didn’t quite get up to the desired temp from the first one a second pass in the next one and a better chance of getting you hot water. If it’s at the right temp after the first one, the second one doesn’t do hardly anything.

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I think we lose money on CFLs. I buy the big contractor packs at Home Depot and they don’t last 5 years. Some only last a couple of months. I bought my first LED yesterday. We’ll see how it goes. So far it’s better light, that’s for sure.

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You should be better off with LEDs. CFLs get their incredible “rated lifespan” based on being turned on continuously. Turning them on and off like incandescents greatly reduces their lifespan. Which means the companies are being a bit deceptive. Here is an article on the topic: http://homerepair.about.com/od/electricalrepair/ss/CFL_recycling_3.htm

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Let’s say we’re comparing a 60 watt incandescent versus a 13 watt cfl. If you estimate 1000 annual hours, at $.13 per kWh, that’s a savings of over $6 per bulb, per year. Depending on how much you use it, it doesn’t take long to break even on the cost, even if it doesn’t last a year. I bought about 10 a year and half ago, and only 2 have died so far.
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We just bought a pellet stove. Its more for ambiance, but it is significantly cheaper to heat a home via the pellets rather than oil, propane or natural gas.

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We love our pellet stove. Heat for the winter for $200 to $300? Heck yeah!

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This article seems to indicate otherwise

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/much-cost-run-pellet-stove-67241.html

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As someone who has had both pellet and wood stoves, I agree that wood stoves are cheaper – but would I chose wood over pellet? Nope. Pellet bags are much cleaner than stacked wood. The garden center forks them into my garage, and they don’t get full of mice and spiders. I don’t have to stack them. No splinters. They burn much cleaner. 40# of pellets = about 1 c. of ash. And the ash is a powder, so I don’t have to worry about burning my house down when I dump it in the woods. I also put in a bag of pellets every day and done. Never add wood, lights easily, and no fussing with it. If it gets too hot or too cold, it shuts itself off. The outside of the stove is warm, but can be touched safely. None of that is true with a wood stove.

Drawbacks are that 40# bags of pellets are heavy – you have to be able to lift and carry them, and they have to go inside, they can’t get wet. You also need electricity to run the stove – it has fans, an auger, and electronic controls. That said, a small generator will do it if necessary. You also need a back up source of heat. If you go away for the weekend, the stove doesn’t fill itself – also true of wood. In the NE where I live, some people pay $2000 – $3000 in fuel oil to heat their homes. I pay under $1000 to use my pellet stove and back up electric baseboards. Also, the price of fossil fuels fluctuates. For a few years, heating oil is cheap, then propane, then natural gas, then electricity. Not sure that will happen with wood.

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I never understood why people would get a wood burner stove if they had to pay for the wood. If you live in a wooded area and can cut your own wood they are fantastic. If you have to buy it from someone else it gets pretty pricy pretty quick.

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We had a corn stove when I was growing up. We’d buy a ton of corn 50/50 with my grandparents. We had a pole barn we stored it in. $250 for the entire Michigan winter to keep our house warm. I hated hauling into the pole barn then from there into the house, but it was still cheap.

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Our main source of heat is a pellet stove and I hate it. The fuel is relatively cheap but it requires a fair amount of maintenance to keep clean and running properly. And you have to either store a huge pile of pellets or you’re out buying more all the time. Maybe mine is just a lemon, but an actual furnace is on my list of must haves when we move.

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Have you had it cleaned properly? I was cleaning mine myself, and the efficiency had been slowly declining. I had it professionally cleaned last year, and it’s back to new. I add pellets once a day, empty the ash drawer every 2 weeks, and clean it once a year. How much maintenance is a “fair amount” for you? I’m curious.

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Solar water heater. I live in Florida, so it makes a lot of sense. Plus you end up with longer hot showers.

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A garden. You can spend a lot of money or a little, but pretty much any way you can turn water and dirt into food you’re doing well

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Yep, and along these lines..Fruit Trees.

We planted over a dozen apple,peach, apricot trees 4 years ago and got our first peaches last year. Hoping the weather cooperates this Spring.

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Addendum to this: freezing and canning! Even if you’re not growing your own food, buying fruits and veggies on the cheap while they’re in season and freezing or canning is great. But it can’t be beat for turning a garden into a year-round payback. Make your own tomato sauce, sauerkraut, pickles, frozen veggies, freeze/dry herbs and peppers, etc etc

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Good dress shoes. Buy a pair with leather soles, put vibrams or shoe taps onto the soles. Instead of buying a new pair of $70-$80 dress shoes every 6-8 months, you now simply resole/reapply vibrams every year or so.

 

The American Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy (Cooking in America)

The American Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy (Cooking in America)

Includes interesting recipes, remedies, advice on parenting, and tips for housekeepers. From 1832-1845, this popular book went through thirty-two editions.

List Price: $ 9.95

Price: $ 2.95