Take good care of your possessions, and repair them when they begin to show wear. Delay the purchase of new things, by making the things you have last as long as possible. The longer something lasts, the more value you get from it. These are the basic fundamentals of frugality and saving money. One could even call them frugality rules.
But rules are meant to be broken, right?
My wife has a wall hanging that includes tea light candle holders. She likes to use battery operated candles in it because she usually wants it lit during gatherings at our home and actual tea light candles don’t last very long. After over a year of use, the batteries in her candles had wore out, so while shopping at a local craft store we were also on the lookout for new batteries.
We found them at the checkout counter, a package of two batteries costing $4.99. Needing six batteries I quickly did the math and came the the conclusion that new batteries would cost about $15. I scrunched my face with disapproval, thinking that was waaaaay expensive just to get six little candles lit up again.
Then I noticed that they had packages of the actual battery operated candles (complete with batteries!) on display nearby. I shook my head as I read the price tag: $6.99. Replacing the batteries on the candles we already owned would be DOUBLE the cost of just buying new candles.
The only justification I could come up with was that the batteries already installed in the candles were inferior to the new brand name batteries. But honestly, the batteries in the original set of candles lasted over a year. There’s no guarantee that the $15 batteries would last long enough to make up for the cost difference.
I broke one of the basic fibers of being frugal, and still saved money. Sometimes rules can be used as a guide to help you achieve your goals. But true success is being able to recognize when you dump the rules and think outside the box.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Have you ever encountered a situation where buying new was actually cheaper than repairing something you already had? How much did you save?