Monday, October 27, 2008

Shopping for Quality not Price

There was this store (to be nameless) where I use to buy my jeans. I would go in, buy a $30 pair of jeans and wear them for one year. Almost to the day one year later, those jeans would become torn, ragged and shredded in the knees. Now I'm not saying I would throw them out, wearing torn jeans, especially ones that happened, instead of bought are great. But I would still have to buy another pair of non-holed jeans. So off I would go to the same store and buy another pair of $30 jeans.

I did this three years in a row and then I realized, I spent a combined total of $90 on jeans with a combined shelf life of 3 years. I decided to suck it up and spend $90 on one pair of jeans. That was 5 years ago. I'm wearing those $90 jeans as I type this and they are perfect. Worn a bit to make them relaxed but no holes no tears.... perfect. At this rate, they will last 5 more years.

Lets do the math:
One $90 jeans for five years is $18 a year. (not counting the fact that I am wearing them longer than 5 years.
Three $30 jeans for three years is $30 a year.

I came out ahead with the more expensive pair of jeans AND they fit better, they look better and they are more stylish. So am I telling you to go spend over $100 on a pair of high quality jeans? Well if they are stylish WITHOUT being trendy they will last more than a season before going out of style and, most importantly, you look great in them; definitely!

You need to start looking at a cost per wear factor not a cost per item. Obviously I'm not telling you to spend $150 on a pair of sequined purple velvet jeans that you are going to wear to for one night and never wear them again because they are so last year. But for a classic pair of denim suck it up spend the money on quality and enjoy them knowing in the end you are coming out ahead.

Are you kidding? You actually look like you have money when people see that designer label across your bottom. And less waste so feel good that you are helping lessen the load on landfills with the holier than thou cheap jeans

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gas Prices

I wasn't actually going to even post this tip thinking that everyone knows about but I was shocked when a co-worker said, "I wish there was a site that told us where the cheapest gas is." Unless you have a Costco membership (and why would I have that as a single person living in Los Angeles. I have no use or space for 120 rolls of paper towels unless I wanted to create a bed with them) is the know all of gas prices, even covering our friendly Canadian Neighbors to the north.

Enter your zip code and it will immediately pull up all the gas stations near you and highlight the cheapest one (wow $3.23 down the street from my work). Use the filters to confirm that the high end or diesel is also the cheapest in your area. But before you drive 10 miles to save $.05 / gallon on gas do the math, it's probably worth it to go to the closer place than to drive further away.

If you feel like volunteering, sign up on their page and you can enter your own gas prices. Volunteers are entered in sweepstakes for prizes, money and of course gas cards. Not too shabby if all you have to do is look out your office window and the local Arco.

Of course I could tell you to slow down saving you even more gas but that's no fun. And you mom already told you to do that.

If you are driving by 5 gas stations to get to the cheap one it's going to look a little odd but just tell your passengers the bathrooms are cleaner.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Drinking Water on the Go and at Home

I know your lips aren't going to touch your city's water right from the faucet especially after reading the latest study (don't ask just google it) but does that mean you should be spending so much money on bottled water?

Even if you buy it in bulk or large jugs at a time it still adds up to a lot of money on basically something that we grew up drinking for free. And if you really think about it, it's almost as yucky as drinking from the same unwashed plastic bottle and it is drinking from the bathroom sink. If you don't believe me, leave your Evian water bottle out in the hot car all day and then smell it the next day. That smell, that's heated plastic and that can't be good for you.

I'm not telling you to suck it up and drink from the kitchen sink because that doesn't help when you are on the go (and see google link above for the other reason). My solution, I bought a filtered water pitcher. Both
Pur and Brita make great pitchers just find the one you like keep, it in the fridge filled with water and presto you have filtered water. If you want, buy the adapter for your faucet and you won't have to worry about someone leaving an empty pitcher in your fridge. I prefer the pitcher since it's in the fridge it's always cold which is just the way I like to drink my water.

Now, I know you aren't going to take the water pitcher and throw it in your gym bag so you have to make one more purchase. A reusable water bottle.
Sigg makes a ton of bottles. Same with Kleen Kanteen. Actually you find reusable water bottles anywhere from Bed Bath & Beyond (hey you can use your coupon) to the 99 cent store. Just do yourself a favor, stay away from reusable bottles that are made out of polycarbonate. These have been known to contain chemicals that can be harmful to your body, especially when heated (remember that hot car).

I know it looks like I'm costing you money with this tip. $25+ for the pitcher, $10+ for filters and $10+ for a water bottle. But think how much money you spend on water in a month and I bet you have the money to buy the pitcher and bottle. Save the filters for the following month with all of the money you save then. And you are set for a while. And if you really want to get petty, you are saving money on garbage bags too by not filling them up with your plastic bottles of waste. It's a cheaper alternative and lets face it, it's a greener alternative so you are killing two birds with one stone.

Please this actually makes you look like you have money toting around with a "designer water bottle" You are too good for Arizona Springs anyways.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bed, Bath & Beyond Coupons

You get them in the mail every week, they show up in your Sunday paper. They populate like rabbits and I bet you throw them all away. Well knock it off! Don’t you know how much money you can save. Especially since:

1. Even though they say they expire - they don’t. You can use them no matter how old they are.
2. You can use Bed Bath & Beyond Coupons at Linens & Things and vice versa.
3. You can used one coupon PER item you buy. So yes for those sitting in the cheap seats, if you have 5 $100 items you can use 5 coupons saving you 20% off of each item. Not bad.

Make sure you pay attention to the coupon some of them say $5.00 off of $20.00, $10.00 off of $30.00 and once or twice a year they send out a 20% off of your entire purchase. But generally what you see above is what you get. So stick a few in your cars or at work so you have them for those days when your toilet overflows and you need to buy a plunger (I speak from personal experience on that one).

Remember both stores sell a lot more than just towels and sheets. After all it is Bed, Bath & Beyond!!!! Appliances, candles, cleaning supplies, and yes even coffee and food. Seasonal items like Margarita Mix in May and Hot Chocolate in December I even saw a Beer of the Month box there once (hiccup).

Go in, take a look around but don’t forget the coupons.

Not too bad. Can perhaps be a higher rating if you walk to the register with 15 items and 15 coupons but trust me, those cash register girls are use to it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Free Books, DVD & Music

Free Books, DVD & Music
Originally uploaded by

There are a couple of media swapping sites that seem like a great concept. You list the items (books, DVD or Cd's) you have that you want to get rid of. When someone wants the item, you get an email and you send it out. When they receive it, they mark it as received and now you have a free credit that you can use to request something. Obviously it cost to mail out your item but then you get the ones you want for free. Cheaper than buying used on Amazon! They all start you off with 2-3 credits if you list a certain number of items. Below are three that I have used and love. This site is for books only. List 5 items get one credit, List 9 get two credits. So far I have sent out over 20 books and requested almost as many. This site is clean, easy to navigate and you can rate the condition of your book and choose what condition book you want to have. You can hide that reader's copy of "Reckless Abandonment" while showing the like new copy of "The Great Gatsby".

It started with
Paperbackswap and soon SwapaCD showed up followed by SwapaDVD. List 10 books to get 2 credits (DVDs and CD have similar setups). They also have a forum where people can discuss and review items. The only thing I don't like about this site is you have no idea what kind of condition the book that you request is in. It can't be an Advance Readers copy or anything like that but it could still be in poor condition. But I guess that's okay if I just wanted to read it and then list it again. And you can leave feedback so you can read other people experiences with the trader. What makes this site the best is you can put an item on your wish-list you fall in line behind other wishers and when it's your turn, they will email you and hold the item for 48 hours while you decide if you want it our not. This also seems the busiest so there are more books available.

Titletrader - You don't get any credit until you ship out your first book. But then you get 3 credits which you can use to request books, Cd's, magazine, DVDs and games. Actually they have everything you can exchange for credits, I even saw candles and ornaments. It has similar features of the other two. You can list the condition of the item and you can give feedback to the sender. They require a fee to use some of their 'premium services' ($19.95 / year) which I don't find useful, but you get 30 days free to try it out. After that I can still use the site I just can't create buddylists and save my searches. Which is no big deal.

Take what you want use what you need and get rid of what you don't. Keep a steady flow of entertainment in your house without paying retail. And no one is the wiser.

Please who is going to know where you got your Harry Potter from Barnes and Noble or

About This Blog

So here’s the deal. I’m single, 30 something and live in Los Angeles. I am living as a single income household yet refuse to let that stand in the way of having what I want and deserve. I have no credit card debt (okay very little credit card debt - lets be honest here), I live alone in a beautiful home (okay wait I have a cat), drive a Mini and am constantly seeking out little tricks to continue my way of life WITHOUT going into debt and WITHOUT compromising.

My plan, to show you my tricks and ideas to maintain the way of life that you deserve especially in these times of high gas prices, housing, education, groceries and well lets just face it, everything is rising except your salary. And it sucks. The only way to fight it is to lower your cost of living and that’s where I come in.

No I’m not talking about buying two-ply toilet paper and turning it to one-ply so it lasts twice as long (does that even work?) or using only one sheet ala Sheryl Crow. I’m not talking about buying used underwear and socks. And I’m really not talking about relying on handouts from your parents.

I’m talking about discreet ways to cut costs on everyday things so you can enjoy some of that hard earned money you work for. How discreet? Well that led me to my next idea. How about a scale that shows you how discreet it is so you can decide if you want to be flamboyant in your frugalness or have everyone assume you make twice your salary based on the material things in your life.

Stay Tuned!