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Spending more to save money

 
pollinator
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So the recent fear based shortages have finally persuaded me to spend more and save in the long run (money and the planet).  I speak of toilet paper.  Just ordered some cloth butt wipes aka family cloth from Etsy...and the hubby us talking about installing a bidet!
 
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My Dad always said “you get what you pay for”, and he insisted on the best quality although he didn’t buy much. He still had an old WWII woolen army sweater well into the eighties, and he loved how warm it was and how the great quality wool held up over the years. His theory was that if you get things that last and you use them a lot, you can buy much less. If you buy cheap and it falls apart quickly, it’s wasted money.
I tend to follow his lead and when we bought our first house, I remember going to the library to look at old Consumer Reports, so that if I bought anything for our home I could get things with the highest ratings.
 
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I am going back to making my own clothes. Quality fabrics, made from sustainable sources are challenging to find and expensive. But I can make clothes that last for years and mend them as needed. I have made quilts for years and repaired them as the begin to all apart. I made a quilr.for my mother 50 years ago using an old wool blanket as the batting. I still use it on our guest bed when we have a friend sleeping over. I also weave our own towels and yes weaving cotton and wool are ridiculously expensive but the towels last for many many years. There is a reason people used to have only one shirt!
 
master gardener
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I used to travel a good deal. My wife assigned me the task of searching the junk shops for bolts of quality cloth.  If one shops carefully, one can get very high quality cloth for pennies on the yard.  I would hit around 70 shops a year. Those shops would yield  maybe 3 or 4 purchases.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:=This thing is awesome. I've had the older model for over 2 years, and it's still working great. It slow cooks, pressure cooks (quick & easy bone broth, here I come!), makes yogurt (mine doesn't but the newer ones do), steams, makes stew, cooks rice. It's also stainless steel (unlike most pressure cookers/slow cookers, which are coated with teflon or made of ceramic of unknown origins).

It's also great because it doesn't require the user to know anything about pressure cooking or PSI, etc. I throw my food in there, push the closest related button (soup, rice, beans, chicken, etc). It then shows me a recommended cooking time, which I can change (and usually don't, and it's usually works great) and then starts pressurizing. It's really easy, energy and heat efficient, and is one machine to do many jobs. I love mine!



Yeh, I have the similar MealthyPot and these do work great. The first meal I made was a pot of beans with Ham Hocks & Onions included and that came out GREAT! SO, I'm an old dude living alone and if I don't know what to make I just go to my Folder of SAVED PDF MEALTHY RECIPES and scan down the list to see what might be appetizing for that day. Both Mealthy and InstantPot have on-line sources for all kinds of recipes. HEY, I even made a cheesecake in mine one time. It wasn't quite done as when opened up from the spring pan it collapsed on one side, however, done enough to eat.
 
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If I "spend more" by purchasing from makers or producers in my own community, I choose in favor of quality - every time.  If I have to seek further for that quality, I will still choose small, independent makers or producers even when the price point is higher.

For me, that's the difference between being a consumer and being a human; being just a bit of demographic data that drives algorithms and fuels marketing strategies - or taking part in a larger, human ecosystem that nurtures skills, sustains traditional wisdom, encourages innovation and turns "demand" into something deeper and more meaningful.  

I understand that classic economics relies on terms like "Supply" and "Demand" for it metrics and theory, and I honor that science for its value in debating legislative and social policy.  But I can make my individual choices in such a way that what I buy isn't just about what I spend. What I save isn't just about my money.  

Sermon over. That's all just the longer version of what Mother always told me: "We're too poor to buy cheap."
 
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote: ... I had my money in my bank a lot longer, making babies for me.



The following is for US citizens. Other countries have different laws and regs.

Finance

The best rate I can find is about 1%apy for a normal savings account ($5000 deposit). The best 5yr CD rate I could find was .65%
The inflation rate per the US dept of Labor is 1.2% link. As backstop 10yr treasuries are yielding .829% as a proxy for inflation.

At best you are breaking even. Inflation is eating the 'babies' sad to say. At worst you are going negative by small measures. I am not against saving. Everyone should have sufficient liquid assets to cover an emergency. How much is up to the individual.

The reality is it would be better to spend wisely as this thread emphasizes. Eg: Lets say I am able to acquire quality boots at $100. With resoling and repair they last a decade. Well you could expect to pay $125 or more for a replacement pair at the end of year 10. Had I deposited the $100 and earned .8%/yr at the end of year 10 I would have $108. So buying the quality boot now yields me better earning value, I use it now, I deferred the inflation curve for the 10 years, etc. The federal reserve has trashed savings in a desperate effort to get the velocity of money up to keep the economy moving.

Now saving monies for the new car when it is needed is still wise. However people may have to redefine savings. Putting it into the bank may not be the best way to save. My suggestion is find some producer like function for the money that produces a return better than what the banks offer that is higher than the inflation rate. When you find it, what is the risk factor associated with it? Always keep that in mind. That could be a side gig, a part time business, buy more bee hives, etc.

US Banks

Be aware that any money you put in a US bank, checking, savings, CDs means YOU become an unsecured creditor to that bank. As such its no longer YOUR MONEY, by US bank law.webpage Essentially you are last in line to get your money back if things go South. An though FDIC is a good thing they only have 10% reserves to cover the trillions in unsecured deposits. Another words FDIC itself could go bankrupt if things got really bad.

Banks are are useful financial tool. But they are not risk free.

Conclusion

A man may pay any price for his first shirt, but hardly ever for the second.



Things are not normal at the current time as in years past. Hence we need to adjust --

* If you need it, buy it. But it must be essential, productive or leverages value to something already owned. No toys.
* Eliminate debt. In the current environment it is the fastest way to 'save'.
* 'Save' skills. It is the fastest way to leverage tasks to make yourself more productive.
* Watch what is going on globally. That indicates trends that affect you personally.
* Stock those things you habitually use.

Personal example:

Our family has gone on a canning/drying/freezing binge this year. More so than we normally do. The reason is two fold. The Chinese had a massive crop failure this year and a another round of swine disease. That means that the Chinese will bid up the market in grains and pork worldwide. By the way, SmithField the largest pork processor in the US is owned by the Chinese now. Selected food prices may not normalize for the next two years as a result. Locking in some of the price now will save us money in the short run.

Be safe, be wise.
 
pollinator
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Barbara Kerschner wrote:I am going back to making my own clothes. Quality fabrics, made from sustainable sources are challenging to find and expensive. But I can make clothes that last for years and mend them as needed. I have made quilts for years and repaired them as the begin to all apart. I made a quilr.for my mother 50 years ago using an old wool blanket as the batting. I still use it on our guest bed when we have a friend sleeping over. I also weave our own towels and yes weaving cotton and wool are ridiculously expensive but the towels last for many many years. There is a reason people used to have only one shirt!



I wish I had your talent to make clothes. That is one task I have always hated with a passion and never been good at. Give me two boards, a saw and a hammer and I can MacGiver something useful. A bolt of fabric, not so much.
My lazy solution for clothing is to go to Goodwill. These clothes and shoes were often good quality the first time around. So the shoes are a bit scuffed and the shirts have had better days. At 72, I'm a bit scuffed as well and my better days are behind me, so everything matches now. I just give these clothes a second life.
 
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Another one for the list: <a href="https://wiggys.com/">Wiggy's</a> coats and sleeping bags. American made from American materials by an old-school manufacturer. They used to make great boots too. The insulation they use is amazing. Definitely check them out. Their stuff lasts.
 
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I make a lot of smoothies and found that every six months I would need to replace my blender. It always seemed to be the plastic part that would break in the "all metal shaft". I spent wa more than usual to buy a Vitamix blender. The only problem was that when we remodeled our kitchen twelve years ago, the white Vitamin base no longer went with the kitchen. A couple of years ago, I  found a black Vitamix at a garage sale for $5 and gave the white one to our daughter. It is now about 16 years old and still works great as does the black one which is 15 years old (manufacturers date by serial number).

I have bought a lot of tools at garage sales and I think that the older ones that were made in the USA are better than the ones made in China that you find today. I also like Finnish and Swedish steel tools for high quality.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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We have a society where consumerism and planned obsolescence are king. The old adage "you get what you pay for" is partially at play here: You do not *always* get what you are paying for, even when you spend a lot: Many of us have made purchases thinking that "It would last longer" and got disappointed.
We are at every commercial pushed to buy, buy, buy what we truly may not need. And I put TV dinners and everything made of plastic in this category. Yes, they are convenient, and we will once in a while just "doctor a store bought pizza". But that is not a habit. Just a little treat, once in a while. Paying for "convenience" is not good for our wallets [or for our health either].  When you think about what you do when you buy "on installments", what are you paying for, essentially?
We are getting the exact same product as the person who pays for all of it up front. So, essentially, we are purchasing "convenience". And we are paying through the nose for it. "
Like Dad used to say: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be".
This "convenience" money allows every insurance agent to live off of it: Raise a family, buy cars, vacations etc.  So when we pay on Installment, we also pay for all these folks' expenses.
It may not be very charitable, but the system in which we live has allowed a lot of 'parasites' to live off of our labor: They do not "produce" goods that make our lives better. Instead they live off of our wages, our earnings.
We now have a lot of folks living off of credit, paycheck to paycheck, which puts them at serious risk if the economy should tank or the grid should go down.
I was chastised in a previous post for keeping my money in a Credit Union until I could afford to purchase up front and without strings attached. It was argued that in the time I would have enough to make the purchase, my interest at the bank would not grow as fast as inflation and that inflation would "eat my babies" (I think was the phrase). There is a kernel of truth in that.
Well, yes: If because a person is not in the habit to save money it will take them years to "afford" a good car, tools etc. Yes, the inflation would negate any savings in the long run. That is true, especially if you buy *a lot* of things on credit: You always drag this ball and chain.
But saving money is a habit we should all have to "save for a rainy day", just like you brush your teeth every day, take care of your possessions, shower and wash clothes. I was born in a modest home and I was a public School teacher for 26+ years, so I was not exactly born with a silver spoon in my mouth, or unnatural abilities. 2 kids, 2 marriages but I could face a $400.00 emergency if I had to, [contrary to a majority of folks in this country from what I hear]. I didn't marry wealth either.
Except for my first car, I have bought every car "up front", and usually brand new. That is 6 cars in 50 years that I bought personally without using "credit".
At age 72, we own a home and dependencies, 3 cars, 2 motorcycles and have enough money in the bank to be comfortable until we die. But we make a point to not use "credit" to buy "convenience". Dentists, plumbers, electricians, helpers of all stripes are paid on the day of service. [Why should they have to wait to get paid? I'd rather pay them immediately, as they are directly responsible for making my life better, even if it pinches, than give some of it to lending institutions].
Last year, we paid over $4,800 for a new floor and $1,800 for a new water heater. Again, we paid up front.
Also, and more to the point on this post, we don't mind paying a little more for quality, and also, which was not mentioned: If we can't afford it up front, we do without until we can afford it.
Sometimes, we'll "McGiver" a solution [Like my honey extractor or my cider press] and decide an item wasn't worth buying in the first place. During this time that we do without, we study  what is for sale.
Delaying gratification vaccinates us against "impulse buying".
I remember mom telling me: "It is not the expensive car you buy [even on credit] that will bankrupt you. It is the ice cream, going out to eat very day, buying stuff "because you have a coupon for it". So much money is frittered away on small expenses that we didn't think through, and when the big expense comes, we are without".
That is what being thrifty is all about. [and that is why I love Permies].

 
pollinator
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I love what Cécile Stelzer Johnson has to say about using not using credit, or if you do it must be very judiciously.

In my opinion, those plastic cards are what is ubiquitously wrong with the world today - want it, buy it, worry about how to pay for it later.  On what planet does one use these to pay for a vacation, clothes, toys or other silliness when they cannot pay the bill when it comes due and then must carry a debt?  For myself, I always reserved those for emergencies - repairing a necessary piece of equipment etc.

As to loans in general, unless for land/home purchase - a mortgage - this needs to be seriously considered and proven a NEED not a want.  I would possibly consider a student loan for education a need (although I think saving for this is ideal), or the purchase of a new vehicle (again, saving is ideal, but sometimes TSHTF), or to repair something like a failed roof...honestly, after that, folks should NEVER use credit in any form, unless they have a guaranteed income to service it.

Then I married, an accountant (in a previous career), who insists on the plastic cards being used for everything so we can get "cash back" (or in my world, so we can be tracked and a dossier filled on how we spend money, but that is for a different thread!); granted they never carry a balance, but frankly, I no longer have the tiniest clue how much money has been spent and how much is left, and that bothers me immensely.  But it bothers my spouse more to not have nice detailed monthly statements, and it is predominantly my spouses pension we live off, so, I very reluctantly acquiesced.
 
pollinator
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Not to pick on them too badly, but I think Harbor Freight's cheap tools are a good example of this.

There are great tools at a cheap price:
for example, their screw-handle bar clamps
even their free tape measure is, IMO, fantastic and comparable to a Stanley FatMax

There are junk tools at a cheap price:
I got their ultracheap pittsburgh screwdrivers, knowing they would be terrible at driving screws but thinking I could hammer on them and stuff without feeling bad.  I tried it and the handle broke off on the first blow.  They weren't even good for that!

There are tools you have to fiddle with at a cheap price:
Their Chicago heat gun has been okay but I've had to replace the switch.
Their electrical fish tape was good but the plastic had so much sharp flashing that I had to sand the entire surface before using or risk getting cut.

---

I think it comes down to not just the "right tool for the job", but the right quality of tool for the job.

My dad (a retired mechanic) owns a small fortune in name brand Snap-on tools.  For me, as a part-time tinkerer that wouldn't make economic sense - nor does getting the cheapest junk wrenches that will break when I look at them sideways (I live some distance from town and can't afford countless trips to replace things).  Somewhere in between makes sense for me.

Others have talked about lifetime clothespins, which is great, but I lose clothespins constantly, so that doesn't make sense for me.  For me, the cheaper the better on that one.
 
John F Dean
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Cheap tools have a limited place on my homestead.  If I am in a situation where the tool is likely to be damaged or lost,  I will go for the cheap one.  For example, working on my cistern hand pump calls for a cheap wrench.  
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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John F Dean wrote:Cheap tools have a limited place on my homestead.  If I am in a situation where the tool is likely to be damaged or lost,  I will go for the cheap one.  For example, working on my cistern hand pump calls for a cheap wrench.  




Yep. I think we all have these tools we bought when maybe we didn't have enough money or were too young to know better or were 'gifted' one. I know I have some. Or just plain old tools that were "rode hard and put up wet" as they say. My husband turned me on to "having the right tool to do the job", and even a little bit better than what you need: When machinery is operating close to its maximum range, it ages faster too.
The main problem with my cheap tools is that they will manage to break down just when you absolutely need them the most [and don't have a "spare" handy]. That is when the most mild mannered retired teacher will resort to speaking French in a very loud voice!
I hate to throw tools that still have a little bit of life in them, so yeah, I have a few "spares", but if I have a great tool and a "spare", I still find it difficult to use the spare. After a while, I think: "Why am I keeping this  @#$%^&&^$#!!! piece of junk! It is not paying rent, so...
That is when I will gift it to someone just starting out. [Not a great gift but if a young kid doesn't have anything, it is better than nothing.] Such was the case for my first 2 post hole diggers. You know: The ones you plant, then spread and lift.
Repeat. Gosh. what a piece of junk! Why do they even make those?
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/truper-hercules-pattern-fbg-post-hole-digger-ca-38f-1433160?store=194&cid=Shopping-Google-Organic_Feed-Product-1433160&cid=Shopping-Google-LOB-Local_Feed&utm_medium=Google&utm_source=Shopping&utm_campaign=LOB&utm_content=Local_Feed&gclid=Cj0KCQjwmPSSBhCNARIsAH3cYgZKS8DcR9MbWEULLR7DzcSp6Ngc3xm5LY1bgsgvxVeooPPWXEQvdkEaAnXQEALw_wcB

I progressed to the rotating screw, a manual one that you turn then lift. Easier, although you cannot make a hole very close  to an immovable object because you don't have the clearance to turn it.
https://www.lewiscontractorsales.com/seymour-s500-industrial-iwan-post-hole-auger-adjustable-6-7-8.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwmPSSBhCNARIsAH3cYgb_3sUtqbSaXr5wBzluBDcOiO8p8O89KMMCcfY6xbIvN7zEVEcuPjMaAj6IEALw_wcB

Finally, I settled on the little battery operated Ryobi: You can get close, it will dig quite a  few holes before it runs out of power [Which is usually when I run out of steam as well!]
https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-ONE-HP-18V-Brushless-Cordless-Earth-Auger-with-6-in-Bit-with-4-0-Ah-Battery-and-Charger-P2930VNM/315205052
Just go very slow: You don't want to catch a root or a rock with that one! It will throw you.
 
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