Friday, November 14, 2008

Wear it out! Frugal Friday

I have written a few articles about how much I love and try to live by the quote, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"

This week for Frugal Friday, I'd like to talk about ways we can "Wear it out!"

When thinking about this article, I was picturing a threadbare sweater or old worn out shoes. I don't think that "Wear it out!" means that we shouldn't take care of our stuff, quite the opposite. I think it means that we do what we can to take care of our items, but keep using them until they are too worn out to be functional anymore.

In one of my articles I wrote about my car. I drive a 1986 Jetta (it looks just like the one pictured above). The thing is old, but I cannot part with it because it still runs great. We do what we can to take care of it so that it can keep on going. At $1,000 dollars over 2 years ago, we have definitely gotten our money out of it. From now on the longer I drive it the longer we go without a car payment. What we are trying to do is put the amount we can afford for a car payment into a savings account so that when the Jetta dies, we have a great down payment on a different vehicle (we will likely buy used).

Another thing that is part of our "Wear it out!" strategy is our TV. We have had it for over 5 years and it is fine. While I (and especially my husband) would LOVE a flat screen plasma HDTV with all the bells and whistles, we don't need it. We will keep this TV until it doesn't work anymore - we got the digital converter so we are all set!

If you haven't noticed my reading my blog, I'm not much of a girly girl. I like to look nice, but I don't own any jewelry besides a few pairs of earrings and my wedding ring. I don't care much about the latest styles in clothing. It just isn't my thing. I had to say that in front of this next item because some people might think this is weird - my husband and I share socks. Every few years (we have done it twice in our 8 years of marriage), we buy several packages of white tube socks. They all go into the same basket in our closet. Whenever we need socks, we just pull out two socks and they always match. If one sock gets lost in the dryer, it doesn't matter because we always have many more socks that match it exactly. As the socks wear out (i.e. are full of holes :)), we take them out of circulation and use them for rags or whatever. When we get to the point where it seems we don't have a good selection of socks, we buy a new set and retire the old worn out ones to become rags or sock puppets. This strategy works really well for us. If you don't want to share socks with your husband - you can just do this yourself!

Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette (I highly recommend this book!) has an interesting "Wear it out!" philosophy. She has a shoe "system" where she has three pairs of sneakers:

This years sneakers - these are new sneakers that she bought this year and wears only for outings.

Last years sneakers - these are the sneakers that were new last year that she wears on a daily basis around the house.

The year before last sneakers - these are the sneakers that she uses to mow the lawn, do yard work, etc. (I guess those would be the ones pictured above:).

I wear a lot of $1.00 old navy flip flops and other types of shoes, so my sneakers stay nice much longer than one year, but this is a system that can be applied to a lot of things, like jeans for example.

How about you? What are some of your "Wear it out!" strategies?


Cheryl said...

My husband and I share a sock drawer too. We have white, black and brown sock all together in one drawer. And that is what we wear when we wear sock.

No one sees my feet 99% of the time so why would I care of girly socks.

I believe I have had the same pair of sneakers now for over 2 years and I work out 6 days a week. I hate to buy new ones.

Petra said...

I share socks with my 8 year The boy has pretty big feet..but i m lucky to live in Texas, where i can wear flipflops from February to pretty much mid November. My car is 7 years old , we bought it new, paid it off pretty quickly and now drive it til it dies.... but we keep putting the money for the carpayment aside so we can buy a car cash if we need a new one. Most of my clothes are used, so are my kid`s, we buy the clothes at a Goodwill Outlet store a buck a piece. And i have a pair of yardwork sneakers that look alot like the ones in the

Lisa said...

You may not be perfect at staying within your budget 100% of the time, but I really admire how good you actually are at it. You definitely have me beat!

I am leaning towards switching to cash for grocery shopping as well. I was going to start that this month, but then Discover had to go and offer a double cash back bonus for all grocery purchases for November. And if I can't resist doubling a couple of pennies, think about how I must struggle to keep myself from buying good deals even when I shouldn't. It's maddening! It's very much like a sickness or addiction for me, as well. I need to focus on the whole picture, because while I may be getting great deals, a lot of other things are getting out of hand (spending, stockpiles spilling over, home is in disarray due to time constraints which keep me from reorganizing my stockpiles). And what time I do have I seem to spend trying to find more deals! It's just crazy. I am fairly new to the game, so I'm hoping that with some time and discipline, I will be better able to balance/prioritize my time, money, and responsibilities at home.

Lisa said...

Woops! That comment was meant the "Overbudget" post you made on Wednesday. :)

Anonymous said...


I LOVE this post. We have so much in common. Husband and I share the same socks, we still have our old college car, I have this years sneakers and last (not as bad looking as those in the post :-), I thought of you this morning when I was squeezing out the last of my toothpaste trying to get it all out, and up until a week ago we had the same TV that my hubby owned for the last 10 years!!

As for taking care of things. My mom has always instilled this in me. Buy quality and then treat it well and it will last forever. My husband and I just AQUIRED the old bunkbeds my sister and I used (bought maybe 12 yrs ago). My boys will use them now. My mom has us put the plastic covers over the matresses and when we were moving them into the house my husbands comment was are you sure these aren't new??


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