Ten things I’m not cheap with

My friend, Jacie from my knitting group, challenged me this week. She asked me to come up with ten things that I’m not cheap with. I’ve been thinking about this since Thursday and I finally came up with a list. It’s funny because the more I thought about them, most of them kinda are frugal purchases. They are not cheap purchases but they do save me money in some way. These are in no particular order.

1. Clarks Shoes – I love my Clarks. They are comfy and not terribly expensive. I can usually get them for about $40 per pair on sale. I am not a shoe person. I think I own less than 10 pairs of shoes. My Clarks last a really long time, even the pair I wear almost everyday. I could buy cheaper shoes but they would wear out faster or not be as comfortable and I would either have to replace them or they would just sit in the closet.

2. Victoria Secret Underwear – I have tried all different kinds of less expensive underwear but I don’t like them as much as VS. I get coupons all the time for free pairs. Last time I purchased them, I got 10 pairs for $25 and got another pair for free. They wear well and last a long time.

3. Veal Parmesan – I know this one sounds odd. I love Veal Parm. I’ve never been able to make it at home the way I can get it in little Italy in Hartford. It’s one of my favorite foods. I don’t eat it often but when I get a craving, I have got to go. I’ve found a few placces that offer restaurant.com deals or we’ll go for lunch when the prices are cheaper.

4. Sock Yarn – I’m a knitter and I firmly believe that you should not knit with crappy yarn. Especially when that yarn is going to end up on your feet. The yarn has to feel good. If not, I’m not going to wear the socks anyways. I do try to go up to Webs a few times a year and buy in bulk so I get their discount. Knitting socks is not frugal but it’s wonderful for your feet and it keeps me crafty.

5. Aveda for my hair and skin – Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different shampoos and skin products. I have very fine hair and problematic skin. I have had fewer problems since I started using Aveda products. I love the way my hair feels and my skin is much less prone to breaking out. It may be expensive but I love the way it makes me feel.

6. Pedicures – When I’ve had a stressful day, there is nothing like a pedicure. I usually go once every six to eight weeks during the summer. It’s $30 plus tip. The place I go to massages your legs and you get a back massage, with a warm towel, while waiting for your toes to dry. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal!

7. Tipping for service – I waited tables in high school and college so I know how hard it is. I always tip at least 20% when I go out to eat. It’s just not something I’m willing to be cheap about.

8. Computer equipment – Since I work from home, I need my computer equipment to work hard for me. I don’t skimp when purchasing computers or other related equipment. I have a high speed scanner which saves me a ton of time in my paperless office, and  a DYMO label printer, which also serves as my postage meter (saves me so much time during tax season). Plus, have you ever priced out one of those rental postage meters? My DYMO paid for itself in a few months compared to having a postage meter. My scanner saves me a ton of money on paper because I’m not copying all my clients information and keeping hard copies. This doesn’t mean I spend a ton of money on my computers. My last computer was purchased from TigerDirect.com for about $300. It was a smaller name computer, made in the USA and I’ve been very happy with it. A similar priced “big name” (maybe starting with a “D” or a “G”) would have cost me at least double that.

9. Car Repairs – I keep my cars for a long time so I make sure they get all the maintenance they require. I make sure to do all the scheduled maintenance when it’s due. I’m due for the 90,000 mile service soon and I’ll get it there on the button. I do make sure to find coupons for the dealer when I bring it in. I also get free oil changes for life as long as I do my major service at the dealer. I still replace my own wipers and fluids between services. I know how to change a battery and a headlight. The big stuff, I leave to the professionals.

10. Kitchen stuff –  Most people who know me would probably say this is my number one thing. I would probably have to agree with them. I love to cook and I have to have good tools. This means that I am willing to purchase things that will last, like my KitchenAid mixer and my  baking pans from Williams-Sonoma. The gold touch pans from Williams-Sonoma are the greatest backing pans I have ever owned. I’m slowly saving up to replace all my bakeware with these pans.  Many items, like my Le Creuset dutch oven, were given to me as  birthday or Christmas gifts. Kitchen stuff is always a safe bet for a gift  especially if it’s Le Creuset. These items make me a better cook and make cooking more enjoyable. When I enjoy cooking, I do it more often and we eat out less. I always look for sales or outlets when purchasing kitchen stuff. For example, every year I get a coupon at my birthday for 20% on item at a local kitchen store. That coupon is generally used to purchase another piece of Le Creuset. I’ve tried less expensive enameled cast-iron pans and none compare to Le Creuset. I’ll end up giving those pots to my grandkids someday.

So there you have it. No dollar store shoes for me and no bargain basement cookware. I am cheap so I can stretch my dollar to buy the things I am not willing to compromise on. What are you not willing to compromise on? Are there any items on my list that you think  could be compromised on? Have you found a better replacement for any of the items I currently have on the list?

Jeff’s session: The mall

My Saturday began like many others.  I woke up, waited for a few hours then made first contact with the wife.  Instantly my early warning detectors went off.  She seemed to be moving through the house with an odd purpose.  If I didn’t know better, I would have thought she stashed her coupons and it took her time to go to these safe spots and gather the horde together for the weekly invasion of the grocery store.  I am not a fan of grocery shopping.  I hate the lost of speed as coupons and prices are looked at.  However, I am a fan of the money she saves us and I truly believe that if I go I can make it as fun as possible.  It will help both of us save money.  However, as I learned this week you must do your best to look under the surface of these trips.

Kristin looked a little guilty as she asked if I would go shopping with her.  However, I was instantly distracted when she mention we where going to Victoria Secret.  She kept talking, but I have to admit I was thinking more about the possibility of “helping” her in the dressing room than listening to every little thing she said.  Did I say she was looking very good that morning?

I was a little confused as we stopped at Wendy’s to grab a quick lunch because as she said, “It would be dangerous to go to the store on an empty stomach.”  I should have been worried at this point.  But, I was stuck more on the thought, “yummy hamburger”.

We finished up and drove up the hill to the big scary mean place called the mall.  I actually think I saw a very lovely old lady eating a kitty and slapping a child as we parked.

Just as we went into Victoria Secret, the trip turned from fantasy vacation into shopping trip. I guess there is a store policy at our mall that states dirty old men are not allowed into the dressing rooms.  They even had a picture of me placed up next to the door as the “prime” example.

I felt betrayed.  How could such a travesty happen in modern America?  We walked up to several small labeled bins.  I thought at least it would be quick.  We approached a flock of harpies hovering over the bins tossing random samples of underwear in every type and size.  I heard that lovely old lady cackling behind me.  I turned to see she was pointing at me and laughing.  I turned back and my wife had started mining the bins.  Since, I was worried about black lung I tried to get her to stop.  She flashed me the cute eyes and started to fling underwear at me. Apparently, I was the designated mine cart for the underwear of excellent deal.

Finally after the vein had been depleted we made our way out into the mall.  Then the oddest thing happened she turned the wrong way.  I was like, “Honey, the car is the other way.”  In a shocked voice she said, but I told you that I need to get some summer clothes.  She stopped and looked me gently in the eyes and said, “Honey by the time school ended, I was almost out of summer clothes. You wouldn’t want that to happen would you.”  My eyes look up as I innocently considered the possibilities of my wife with no summer clothing. My wife must have misinterpreted my innocent smile and she felt the need to say, “Jeffery!” I don’t know why she feels the need to say this so often.   We moved on. As I walked, some lovely looking old lady shouldered me and as I turned punched me squarely in the jaw. She pointed at me laughing as we entered one of my wife’s favorite clothing stores.

I bumped into my wife as she stopped right inside the door.  I looked around and to our horror the entire store looked like the reject patterns from Woodstock.  She quickly moved through the store and left.  We went through every store in the mall.  There seems to be no such thing as normal summer clothes for women.  One store was so painful I turned into a pillar of salt for just looking at the annoying patterns.  She just kept mentioning how she hates clothes shopping.  As the number of stores we entered approached the size of the national debt I believed her.  I swear we went into about 2 trillion stores in our mall before we left with a bag of untested panties.  And we saw less then a handful of styles.  Clubbing cloths which I thought were great but my wife didn’t want to wear.  Seeing the shear volume of hippie cloths makes me worry that the drug problems are starting to approach the per capita levels of the late sixties. We saw clothes my Nana would not of worn because they where for old people and clothes that might be appealing to a 10 to 12 year old girls . . . the clothes appeared to be in stores for men or stores with marketing for 17 to 21 year old girls. . . riiiiiight.

I worked past my normal hated of cloths shopping to a state of sorrow for my wife.  I think she might even hate cloths shopping more then I do.  However, unlike me, she will not settle on the closest clothing that will not make me vomit and then buy ten.  She just seems to keep look for something she actual does not hate.  I felt very sorry for her as we pulled out and into the strip mall next door. ………………NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

See you next time Clothing Cowboy!

Note from Kristin: I do hate clothes shopping. I have a terrible time finding things that fit in prints that are not blinding. I don’t know why stores feel the need to showcase clothing in bright vomit prints and horizontal stripes for overweight people. At least I got 11 pairs of underwear for $25. I’ve got a stockpile for a year now 🙂

How I survived a computer disaster