Five Frugal Things 7/7/2017

It’s that time of the year again: new running shoes for YaYu

  1. Prices can be high here, so YaYu checked out running shoes at local stores and then we ordered the pair she wanted from Zappos – free shipping and returns, and a lower price!
  2. I earned 1132 bonus Swagbucks in June, and have reached my goal for Amazon credit to use at Christmas (I originally thought I might get there in late September). I’m now earning Swagbucks to put toward a secret goal, related to our Big Mystery Adventure.™
  3. More tourists in summer unfortunately mean more cans and bottles left on the beach path, and Brett picked up several this week, making a cleaner beach path for everyone, and change in our jar when we recycle them.
  4. Although we had to throw away some cucumbers that for some reason froze in our refrigerator, we didn’t throw away any other food, and drank filtered water and sun tea all week. Brett ate some interesting leftovers combinations, but everything got finished up.
  5. We put $28.42 into the change jar over the past two weeks: $5.72 left over from the gas bill, $8.50 from the farmers’ market, $3.50 from recycling, $6.00 change from YaYu’s school fees, $4.57 in change from the hardware store last week, and 13¢ Brett found on the ground.

What frugal wins did you have?

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16 thoughts on “Five Frugal Things 7/7/2017

  1. Disappointed says:

    Do you think the first frugal thing is ethical? I am all for saving money by buying things online. But it seems dishonest to try running shoes at local stores, knowing you are not going to buy them there.

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    • Laura says:

      We have one store on the island that sells running shoes other than Macy’s, which has a tiny selection. The other store is a national chain, their prices are high and their service is awful. We used to have two stores, but Sports Authority closed last year. Yes, I could order four or five pairs from Zappos, have my daughter try them on, and then return the ones that don’t fit (or all of them, and start again) and get a refund, but it’s easier to have her go to the store, try on shoes (with no assistance from the store staff – all they do is ring them up), and then come home and let me know which ones work for her. Or we could go ahead and buy a pair of shoes at the store, come home and check online and find out the same shoes are less, go back and return the shoes to the store, and then order online, which is what I’d do for any other product I found cheaper online or at another store.

      Good running shoes are expensive and have to last our daughter the entire year. She needs to try them on before she buys, but if I can find them for less elsewhere that’s where I’m going to buy them. We don’t have a lot of options here.

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      • JJ says:

        I don’t see how what Laura is doing is unethical. Kauai is a small island (I’ve been there) and the options are limited. My nephew ran high school track (he just graduated) and I know how expensive good running shoes are. If you buy the cheaper ones, you not only will have to buy another pair in a few months because they won’t last, but you run the risk of developing foot problems, so if the local store is charging ridiculous prices and has poor customer service, it makes sense to explore online options.

        I personally try to buy local as often as I can, but I live in an area with many options and the prices aren’t always lower online anyway. I still prefer going out and shopping in person, but maybe I’m old fashioned that way.

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      • Disappointed says:

        Well just because it’s easier does not mean it’s the right thing to do. Sure, stealing something is easier than paying for an item – does not make stealing a better choice. As much as you like to think you got no assistance from store staff, you do understand there are other costs right? And if you had a bad experience buying from them once, maybe the best thing to do is stop going there all together. And surely you must have known that living on a small island means fewer stores. I am all for people being frugal and saving money, but not at the cost of others.

        I know other people agree with you and I understand different people have different moral standards, but I do hope you understand and think about local stores the next time you you use them this way.

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      • Laura says:

        We’ll, you keep to your moral standards and I’ll keep to mine, because I’m sure you’ve never tried on shoes or clothing or anything else and then purchased it elsewhere because it cost less or you got better service, or returned anything when you found it for less elsewhere.

        This is not a “local” store – it’s a national chain. Their profits don’t stay on the island other than to pay a very few (like six) local residents a minimum wage to work there. The store has no involvement on the island whatsoever, no connection or sponsorships with local sports or other activities even though they’ve been here for nearly 30 years, and they’re going to be closed by the national corporation even though they’re the only place on the island to buy athletic shoes. So yes, my daughter tried on shoes there, we decided once again we didn’t like their prices or their service, and we decided to buy elsewhere and get a better deal and better service. I only wish there was a “local” store that sold running shoes – we’d buy from them.

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    • Barbara Bomberger says:

      If Laura doesn’t mind me jumping in here, I am one of those frugal versus cheap and unethical types (you know, if you cant afford to pay the babysitter a living wage AND tip twenty percent then you cannot afford to go out?). I have to say that I do this all the time, and from my perspective I dont see this as unethical, even without her issues. I USED to do the opposite, you know, go online and see what I liked and buy it in the store. Only the intenet would be cheaper often, even with shipping. So now, I go in and check the store and then order online.In my case I often order online from Amazon, which used to bother me. But since most of amazon sellers are actually stores, I have no problem with it.

      Of course, I have a daugher who spent ten years in living in the Cayman Islands where even water is imported, so I feel her pain.

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      • Laura says:

        Thanks, Barbara. Actually, we did buy her shoes at this store last year, but it was such a miserable experience that we said we would not buy from them again. They are the only option we have for trying out different running shoes, and even when she found something she liked they didn’t have them in her size to try on. It is what it is here.

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  2. The One in Debt says:

    If you figure out the culprit to your uneven temps in the fridge, let me know. Mine is doing the same. my greens are freezing if I set them too far back, but the fridge is already small. My boxes of greens tend to take up a good portion of the shelf. Then stuff in the freezer is getting ultra frozen. I can’t seem to regulate the darn thing.

    and that’s unfortunate for the bottles and cans on the trail. I wish people would “pack out”. but I am glad to hear you can make some $ from picking up on the trail.

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    • Laura says:

      We think the issue is a combination of airflow in the fridge combined with high humidity – it seems to happen more in the summer as temps and humidity ratchet up. We’re trying to keep less in the fridge, and keep things away from the back and sides, especially produce and eggs. The cucumbers freezing was weird though – they were in the crisper, and were the only things that froze. The lettuce in the drawer wasn’t affected at all.

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  3. Laurel says:

    A painful week at our house re: frugality. We had huge storms blow through last night and we’re without power at home. We’re reading this online, as we have gone north for the weekend to see a concert. Without power, we have no water (well & septic) and we thought about racing home and trying to throw everything into coolers. But then we considered living in the heat and humidity without AC, how low the food supply is right now in the fridge/freezer, and decided to stay as we planned and deal with it when we get home. There are so many people without power (they estimate 150K), it’s unlikely we’ll have it back for a couple more days, so we are ignoring it until we have to deal with it. Not too frugal, but there you are.

    Also, we investigated a built in generator back when we lost power a few times every year ($7K or so…that’s a lot of lost food!) but the power company finally upgraded the transformers in our area, and they trimmed trees on the right-of-way that regularly dropped huge branches on power lines and took out power. This is the first huge storm that we’ve had in a while, and we’ve just decided to roll with it, since all we could really do at home is fret anyway.

    All that said, I’m not looking forward to cleaning out that fridge when we get back. Blech.

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    • Laura says:

      I don’t think this counts as a frugal fail! More like an emergency, and a pain in the a**, but who could have planned for this?

      Enjoy your time away, then when you get back hold your nose while you clean out the fridge, then dip into your emergency fund and replace the food.

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      • Laurel says:

        Well, we lucked out! The fridge is a disaster, food-wise, but the freezer was still under 40 degrees with ice still in the ice bin/maker. So we were able to salvage the most expensive stuff (meat & fish). Woo hoo!

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  4. Disappointed says:

    Of course we each are going to keep our own moral standards. As hard as it might be for you to believe, I am pushing middle class and yet I don’t go to a store to try things and then buy them online. That sorta stuff makes me feel way too guilty and I don’t need that bad karma for me and my family.

    I was just hoping to spark a healthy dialogue about the ethics of such frugality hacks, not looking for a fight.

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    • Laura says:

      The thing about “sparking a dialog about the ethics of frugal hacks” is that sometimes there’s a bigger picture than just the frugal hack. It has nothing to do with income. I wouldn’t even set foot in this store back on the mainland – their merchandise is overpriced there too – but I had numerous choices of where to shop and rarely needed to buy online to find good service and good prices. Your “discussion” of ethics doesn’t seem to take into account that life here might be different and require us to make different choices than we might make if we lived elsewhere, or do things differently. Options that exist for you might not exist for us here. Things aren’t always as black and white as they seem. I have no problem with trying on shoes in one store but buying elsewhere if I find a better price.

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      • Disappointed says:

        I do agree that most corporate chains are lacking in ethics. They are not my favorite places to shop and they don’t do much to enrich the local community. I guess where we differ is in how we use them. I am more inclined to just boycott those stores.

        What if it were a local store, whose prices were still much higher then zappos. Would you still feel ok trying on shoes there and then buying online?

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      • Laura says:

        I would have no problem paying more for shoes from a store that was locally and independently owned because I know that the money would be staying in the community, and helping the local community in a variety of ways. We always try to shop from local stores whenever possible – it’s one of the reasons we’re big on shopping at the farmers’ market every week, and using other local stores (Costco isn’t local, but they’re very involved in the community, are one of the largest employers on the island, and pay a living wage and good benefits). I will still buy items from Amazon if the prices in the local stores are too high, but I prefer to help out the local economy whenever possible, even if it costs a little more. With the shoes we had one choice – either buy from the crappy national chain store, or find what we liked and buy online. It was a no-brainer.

        There is no contract, moral or otherwise, to purchase anything when you walk into a retail store, just like there’s no moral obligation to buy a house just because the sellers let you come in to look at it. You are free to try on items, as many as you like, and decide if you’d like to purchase something there or buy elsewhere.

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