Posted by: Midsummernight | October 5, 2007


I have been thinking lately about what I save money on verses what I spend on.  I read this post recently over at Frugal Hacks and it still has me thinking days later.   What items or things are worth spending our money on?  I have been trying to use the Tightwad Gazette way of purchasing items lately.  The concept is using price and determining if something twice as expensive is really twice as good or really just a little better.  It’s a hard thing to remember, but it does come in handy.  Is the bread machine at the retail store for $30 that much better than the one at the thrift store for $1?  Is the high efficiency washer/dryer set really that much better than the regular washer/dryers? I happen to think it is but I am still not buying one anytime soon.  What things are worth buying full price rather than used?  I had two double strollers that I had found at garage sales for $20.  I hated both.   Was the one I bought at $200 full price ten times better?

Some things are obvious for our family.  To us the ground turkey at $1.59/lb is a good buy verses the $3/lb lean (90%) ground hamburger.  The TVP at $.89/lb is ok, but we feel the turkey is worth the almost double cost.  Although, I have no problems using 1/2lb of each.  Every family is different.  What do you skimp on?  What are you willing to pay more for?  Sometimes I find myself buying a certain item just because I always have.  When I stop to think about it, the cheaper item works fine for our family and I save money.  Other times (think coffee) I have to have something that might cost a little more.

The hardest part about it is getting over the wants and getting to the true I Need items.  Want:  Franklin Cover Fully Customized Day Planner.  Need: Basic calender for keeping track of appointments.  Want:  Adorable bedroom set for daughter.  Need: Something to put her clothes in and for her to sleep in. Which of course we already own.

I always seem to want something just over my current price range too I have noticed.  So it is starting to feel like it is more of a keeping up with the Jones’ thing than true wants/needs.  When I realize that, I try to ignore the bigger and better items.  I also found that I keep a list of wants.  If something is still on there after 6-12 months and I still want the item then I think about ways to save the money for it.  Most of the time time, I can look at my list from 6-12 months before and think “Now why did I want to spend $XX on that?”  It helps keeps things in perspective. Some things too I can look at later and realize that while I will always want that item it is in general not a practical item to buy and it is usually something that changes style frequently so I would not be happy with it for long anyway.

Baby steps really, but I am trying.



  1. What a great analysis!

    I often forget to use Amy D’s logic for “twice as good”. Thanks for the reminder

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