Have you ever done something...

mandy2003January 4, 2003

To save money that just wasn't worth the trouble? I decided to try washing and reusing sandwich bags, and it didn't last long. I use a box every couple of months, and I buy it at the dollar store for 2 for $1. That $.25 savings a month just wasn't worth the trouble to me. So I was wondering, have any of you tried something that just didn't seem worth it?

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Making white bread. I HATE homemade white bread, and it takes alot of time, and I can buy it at a thrift shop for close to what I can make it for. So we simply use less, and buy it cheaper. I do make other types of bread.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 11:49AM
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Yes - I tried making Christmas presents for everyone this year - plates of cookies and homemade beeswax candles. Between the time spent making everything and arranging and wrapping it so that it looked nice and the money spent buying the materials to make, bake and wrap.... well, to be honest, I think I would've away from it all cheaper had I just gone to the store and bought a nice candle or book for everyone.

Also, I tried making a homemade Chinese dinner - a fancy one that ended up costing at least twice what we would've paid at the local Chinese restaurant, with a whole lot more mess and aggravation. It tasted good, but the additional exotic ingredients really, really added up and I spent more than half the day trying to prepare it all.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 11:51AM
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Getting carpet on the second floor of our house instead of laminate like the first floor. It's only been 4 years, and depsite the fact the carpet was "best" quality, as was the padding, it's trashed. Between 3 large dogs it didn't stand a chance in h**l. Now we have to replace the carpet anyway and would have saved a ton of money by just getting the laminate in the first place.

Keeping a Ford Tempo for more than 1 second was a huge mistake. We thought that if we paid it off and kept it for a while longer, eventually it would be worth it. That stupid car was such a piece of crap that we never had to schedule 3000 mile oil changes- it broke down enough so that we just got the oil change when it was being repaired. DH had bought the car before he really knew me; otherwise it wouldn't have been purchased in the first place.

Buying jeans at Walmart, whatever their brand was a couple of years ago. I hate shopping there, but DH doesn't mind, and one day I was stuck with him when he had to go in. SO I bought a pair of jeans for $15, which isn't bad. They had gone threadbare within a year. Granted, I wear the heck outta jeans, but my Levis always last about 5 years.
I also bought a seam ripper at Walmart that broke after 3 uses. That was my last foray into Walmart.

Buying textbooks is usually a waste of money too. This year I finally got smart and purchased from Half.com and saved a ton. Even so, I never opened 2 books at all. Luckily, I'm selling them back. I wish there was a way to know if you will actually need the "required" textbooks before you spend a ton of $ buying them.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 4:05PM
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Making bread is something I agree doesn't save me much money, not when the thrift store puts them down to 25 cents a loaf! But I do still occasionally do it for special dinners, etc. I used to buy only brand name cleaners, and no believe rubbing alcohol and amonia do better than most of those!


    Bookmark   January 5, 2003 at 7:19PM
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Well, since my time here is almost up, I have to say YES! I just spent $60, and a week of frustration making a dress for dd that I could have rented for $40 and only used an hour picking it up and taking it back. The only way I'll come out ahead if she is ever invited to another costume party.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2003 at 10:39PM
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Yeah, Meghane, sometimes buying cheap sewing notions is a total waste of $$. I learned the hard way to go for quality in sewing tools. Discount fabrics are a different matter!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2003 at 1:12AM
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I agree with washing the plastic bags - I refuse to do it, but DH does do it. It's not worth the headache.

It's not worth it to save recycleables to take to the recycling center. We used to do it, and take up a ton of room in the garage, then pack it all into the truck and drive across town to the recycling center, all to get about $8. Now we use the curbside recycling that's picked up every week. It just wasn't worth the $$ to take it to the recycling center.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2003 at 9:33AM
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That always used to infuriate me in college - buying an entire summer's work money worth in books and at the end of the year selling them back and not even getting enough to buy a tank of gas.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 6:43PM
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Toward the end of my junior year in college I realized that most of the textbooks are in the school library. I immediately stopped buying books and started borrowing from the library, I had to be diligent about renewing them but it saved me a ton of money. If the books weren't available in the library I shared the books w/another student. I didn't buy one textbook my entire senior year!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2003 at 1:03PM
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Mandy2003 and all,

Rather than rewashing sandwich bags, unless you make your own bread almost all the time ...

What about using the bags that the bread came in, which it's now vacated?

Bread bags are just the right size for sandwiches.

I use them for fruit, celery, etc. also.

Keep an individual sized bottle that fruit juice came in to wash out and carry milk or juice in that - or a jam jar, if I expect to want more.

Those small water bottles that have the pull-up top to drink, then push down to seal are handy, as well. If they leak (infrequently), it is a bit of a nuisance to ensure that they remain upright - throw out and use another till you find one that seals.

As I find that my self-defrost refrig dries out things left in an open dish too much, I find it really convenient to slip the dish with the leftover inside a bread bag, twist the surplus tube then fold it under the container.

Easy to see what's inside (if the bread bag's not too heavily printed - usually the bottom's relatively clear).

Good wishes for the weekend.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 1:17AM
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"Rather than rewashing sandwich bags, unless you make your own bread almost all the time ...

What about using the bags that the bread came in, which it's now vacated?

Bread bags are just the right size for sandwiches. "

This is a perfect example of trying to pinch pennies in a way that doesn't really work that well.

Bread bags, bcs they have so many corners in their pleated ends, often sprink leaks. Also because of their pleats, they don't wash well.

And you know what else? They make me feel poor.

I'd rather spend a little bit of $ on reusable leftover containers w/ LIDS than feel that I have to reuse the bread wrapper.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 2:20PM
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I always reuse my bread sacks . I put fruits , vegetables , left-over biscuits , etc. , in them .
It certainly doesn't make me feel poor ! It makes me feel good . I am prolonging adding to the landfills!!!!
I also rinse out zip-lock bags , and reuse them .
I see nothing wrong with being frugal !!!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 4:14PM
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I reuse the ziplock bags all the time. I figure it takes me under 10 seconds to wash and rinse them. I hang them on the vertical drying rack with wooden clothespins.

I get two boxes of ziplocks as part of my "benefits package" at work... it's an inside joke. Mostly, though, we use a lot of "tupperware" type containers. Often we bring our "old" bags to the produce dep't., we get some really strange looks, too. We bought several reusable grocery bags and use those every week. It takes some adjustment, but now we get a kick out of the raised eyebrows...

I share Marian's philosophy about filling up landfills.

(we don't have a dishwasher/dryer/air conditioning either).

    Bookmark   August 30, 2003 at 12:54PM
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Chelone , we don't have a dishwasher or air-conditioning either , but I do have a clothes dryer . It saves me from being eaten up by the bugs if I had to hang clothes outside !!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2003 at 4:23PM
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To each his own, but I wash out zip lock bags and hang them to dry on my spoons/etc. in their crock. But then, we grow most of our own food and have many zip lock bags left from the food we defrost and eat (if it's not canned). I don't feel poor or unAmerican for living frugally--I feel RICH, own our beautiful home, have been debt free and contribute generously to my community. If that's poor, then I don't know what poor is. There's a whole bunch of "rich" folks who don't own a thing, but owe a lot to others.

Zip lock bags are washed/reused until they spring leaks and then used for organizing in drawers or on trips (things that won't leak out, like cards, etc..)

We live in a home that was built by years of penny pinching. Our careers were built on waiting until we had the money to buy things so we could invest in education.

What did Benjamin Franklin say," A penny saved is a penny earned?"

It's true that you can't lose the forest for the trees and should consider big money savers, like insurance, housing or transportation--but EVERY penny saved is worth it!

Reading the "Millionaire Next Door" and reading about billionaire investor Warren Buffet has convinced me that there is nothing unwise about saving in all ways you can.

I was impressed recently about reading about native american agricultural practices and how NOTHING was wasted. It was a sin to waste what nature had provided.

I feel the same.

Given what long term investments are earning right now with low interest rates--I'd say I'm "earning" more by "saving" and recycling....

Today my youngest is using the recycled zip lock bags to do a school project involving leaf identification. Saved two bucks today!

Lastly, that plastic does not biodegrade entirely and scientists are now concerned about the amount of pcbs in the water due to the waste produced by our plastic society. If I must use plastic, at least I can do my small part to reduce what goes in to the dump.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2003 at 6:06PM
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Hi again,

Usually I just put sandwiches into a bread bag just emptied, after shaking out the crumbs (on to a sandwich) without washing. Often use them as a cover for a dish of leftovers without prior washing, as well - the bread that just vacated was clean enough to eat.

The handiest are the flat bags, without pleating, or pre-printing (just use a stick-on label) that they put the in-store baked goods into.

I don't get many of them now, though, for they're usually premium priced and, while they used to put the day-old goods on a stack of racks together, now they leave them in their own department and I find it hard to find them.

As for landfill:

My foreman in a window factory thirty years ago said that several years before that he'd driven a bulldozer in what used to be a landfill when they were building an expressway in our capital city, Ottawa.

He said that there'd been little decomposition - one could read 18-year-old newspapers' print.

At the end of the day, they had to shower for some time - and even then, when they got home, their wives/children/friends said that they stank to high heaven.

(Well, maybe not quite that high? far? as it's doubtful whether any reports had come from there.)

Having been raised on a farm, I've learned that we must co-operate with, not try to boss, nature.

I hate to see city covering over our best farmland - in a hundred years, our descendants will say that we were crazy to do that - when there was much less productive land that we could have used.

And farmers get low levels of compensation for their work. As the bumper sticker says, "Did you eat today? Thank a farmer".

We have some of the cheapest food in the world.

When our family farms are gone and it's done by corporations - the costs will certainly rise. Especially as it's likely that they'll be controlled by the few monopolostic farm-related agencies that operate in that field now.

Good wishes for reasonable success in managing your own destiny,

joyful guy

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 2:56AM
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Good point about the farms. I was surprised about that newspaper point though.

Because we are rural and must haul our own garbage, I compost all paper products and cardboard. If I shred slightly and am careful to cover with greens (like grass clippings) and water--the paper decomposes in roughtly two weeks.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 12:35PM
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Joyful guy - reference your defense of the family farmer - I wish I could reach through this monitor and give you a big ole hug! My biggest pet peeve about the waste in our country is that it eventually ends up in a landfill. We have become such a throw away society. While I am not condoning keeping every plastic bag, mayonnaise jar, etc., if one doesn't want to reuse that item, I wish that individuals would at least recyle those items. By the way, I am a great admirer of Warren Buffet (a Nebraskan). His house is very modest considering his "worth".

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 2:37PM
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Many say that Warren Buffet's annual reports are written in language decipherable by ordinary people - and many find them a helpful message about money management.

There are thousands who attend his annual meetings in Omaha, I hear.

Where they're encouraged to buy his/their companies' insurance, candy, shoes, etc.

Not quite like your average corporate annual meeting, I gather.

One of these days, if I come for one, I'll come visit and you can give me the hug.

ole joyful

P.S. What do they say - you can take the kid from the farm, but you can't take the farm from the kid? I haven't farmed for 55 years (my kid brother says that this is his last year to farm near Regina, Saskatchewan, as his son isn't interested). I told him that, born in '34 (a week older than the Dionne Quintuplets), surely he could farm till '04, but he says not.

Maybe partly related to the fact that this year he must reverse his RRSP (much like your 401k's) into a Registered Retirement Income Fund and must take out given amounts annually.

Some years ago when running a display about financial planning at a county fair, someone asked me what right that I had to call myself a financial planner.

I told him that the place/time that I began to look at money differently than the average townie was when I grew up on the farm.

He replied that that had nothing to do with it: I said that it surely did, that farm people look at money entirely differently than town people.

In three regards:

1. they must give thought to how to deal with capital goods - buy a new tractor, repair the combine, repair the barn, etc., and

2. irregular income (for other than dairy, pork, egg or broiler farmers who have similar and regular income), and

3. for cash crop farmers, seasonal income - one paycheque a year. Many folks in town would have a hard time managing that.

I have a story that relates to that - but this story is long enough as it is. oj

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 6:27PM
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The Great Bread Bag Debate:
Well count me in as a reuser and washer of ziplocks. I also reuse bread bags and bake my own bread. If I was at the store often enough I could probably buy discounted bread but I am usually not around when the discount shelf is rolled out and the crowds attack. No for me I bake my own and enjoy the activity and the family has fresh bread when needed. IMHO. Bud

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 7:58PM
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I bought a vacuum cleaner at auction. It was outside with the junk so I bought the nice upright Electrolux for $6. Used it at our future vacation home/now rental property and it worked for a while. Meanwhile I saw an Oreck and the same Electrolux at yard sales across the street from each other. The Oreck was $30 and the E was $10 but I passed on both since I already had the E. Well guess what broke? Cost $30 to repair so the auction vacuum cost more than the ones I passed up. Darn. $4 more and I could have bought both. Guess this could have been in the stuff I should have bought at yard sales thread too. Kathy

    Bookmark   October 15, 2003 at 10:13AM
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Just imagine ...

... if you bought *everything* at yard sales that you " ... might need some day ..."

... would you be interested in some plans for an addition on your home/garage?

Just a thought.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 4, 2003 at 10:53PM
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Hey Ed I know what you mean. I had an extra Sunbeam mixer on a stand taking up space in my cupboards for years until I wised up and sold it at a yard sale. Have had mine for 20 years and it is still going strong and I bought it used. It's hard to pass a bargain though. Kathy

    Bookmark   November 6, 2003 at 6:44PM
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It's only a "bargain" if you need it for something ...

... or may, in the *near* future (as distinct from the "someday" future.

still joyful

P.S. But ... as you say, " ... I know what you mean ... ".

I almost need an addition to my two-bedroom townhouse (which I inhabit alone).


    Bookmark   November 29, 2003 at 12:03AM
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A good thread i thougt needed a second round.

Am i the only one who loves to go through old threads. LOL

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 5:43AM
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I like old threads too. This morning as I got to work I saw the garbage truck emptying the dumpsters. I remembered a woman who retired a couple years ago who used to bring her trash to work to save on private garbage collection fees. This saved her about $5 a week, and is something that most of us considered totally not worth the effort. No, she wasn't poor. She lived in a very nice part of town, but she was as eccentric as all get out.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 11:31AM
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I have some old threads on this moring - a pair of corduroy pants that has the wale pretty well worn off in various places where it folds.

A long patch that goes from crotch to knee that I thought would be more or less a waste of time, as it wouldn't last long - but I think that it's a year, at least (worn around home).

That story that I mentioned above ...

... I wrote it here, but thought that it deserves its own thread, subject, "Problems that farmers are facing (especially Canadian farmers)".

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 2:47PM
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