Friday, April 20, 2007

When spending money is a good thing

I normally write about things like frugal luxuries and finding bargains. However, as my husband was trying to purchase a lost tool this week, it struck me that there are times we should spend money. For instance, in our years when we were a two career couple and in our years when my husband was healthy and working as an engineer...we did spend money...looked for sales but also paid full price for good quality items. I'm happy now that we did make purchases when our bank account was more favorable to them. My husband has an extensive tool collection which he has used constantly over the years.

We needed to replace a lost piece from a tool set this week so we went off to Sears, completely unaware that inflation had hit the Craftsmen tools hard since we last shopped. They wanted nearly $30.00 for one very small part which had cost around $5.00 not that long ago. We said we'd return...someday. I'm very happy now that the kids and I gave him what he wanted for gifts over the years...Craftsmen tools!

I'm still using the Le Cruset dutch oven I purchased over twenty years ago. As long as you take good care of them, they're so worth the money. My Le Cruset dutch oven is in constant use both on the stove top and in the oven. I'm passionate about good knives, well made bakeware, heavy pots and pans, and generally getting the best kitchen equipment one can afford (most of them go on sale off and on). Like Craftsmen tools, well made kitchen equipment will last a lifetime if cared for properly and make the life of a homemaker so much easier.

Another area where it is good to spend money is maintenance. Maintenance on your house and your car. If you're even thinking of selling your house within the next few years, spend the money to get a reliable (well recommended) home inspector to go through it. In my area they are around $100.00. However, they can alert you to anything in your home that needs attention before you put it on the market.

We didn't know the codes in our town regarding windows had changed in the years we owned our last home and our windows no longer were up to code (because they were not the type that stayed open by themselves). Imagine our shock when (after we had accepted a price offered for our house), the inspector came through and told us we had to repair or replace every window in our two story house and the cost to just repair existing windows was $1,000...which had to be done immediately. You will find the cost of an inspector...on your own your own be a very good way to spend money.

I'm thankful that my husband has always kept up the seasonal maintenance on our houses, lawns, and our cars. I wish I'd put my sewing machine in to be cleaned and repaired when he was still employed as an engineer (before having to go on Disability due to severe environmental allergies).

It is also important to keep up on medical checkups! Having been in a position of having good insurance one week and becoming completely uninsured the next...I know of what I speak. Most companies pay their medical insurance costs one month at a time and in case of a layoff (unless they are nice to you and extend your benefits), your insurance could only last until the end of that month. Definitely keep up annual checkups, dental appointments, etc. on time...sometimes the unexpected happens and it is far better to have any necessary medical "repairs" behind you should you ever become uninsured.

Elizabeth at Clothesline Talk (formerly At Home With Elizabeth) did the wise thing and stocked her pantry recently. I was quite impressed! I've often mentioned how I feel a deep pantry is important if you can afford it. A deep pantry is purchasing insurance you know can be used.

Obviously there are all kinds of areas where we can spend money when we have it available. I've done things like invest in good quality coats for the entire family when we had extra funds come in. My daughter and son-in-law invested their "extra" funds by flying us to spend ten days with them a couple of years ago. That's an investment in memories. :) There is my favorite anniversary gift that still brings smiles to my face each day...My Precious! see...a little thing like having to replace a tool at a ridiculous price sent me back in time, thankful for money well spent. It makes it easier to live on a very frugal budget today...investing in quality when we could.

I'm afraid I've rambled a bit and I'm not certain I've communicated what I intended. For it is late and I'm beginning to get quite tired. I hope my true intent is coming through. Not that we should spend money just because we have it...but we should invest in quality when we can.


Margaret said...

My mother was an extremely frugal woman - bought all her own clothing at the thrift store - but she believed in buying the best for things like tools, etc. My husband and I have learned from our own (bad) experiences and now say "No more cheap tools!"

I love my Le Crueset Dutch oven too. I think that is one tool I could not function without!

lady laura said...

I know what you mean! I think the same way about kitchen equipment and also about furniture. An "antique" piece (like a table) might cost more than something from a box at Walmart but which will you still be using in 5/10/15 years?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday while at Costco I stocked up on meats and staples. While in the check out line I noticed the couple in front of me had 3 items to pay for: king crab legs, salmon, scallops. I asked them what time supper was cuz I was going to come over!! They shared that truly good food is where they spend money - that he's the main cook and tries new recipes. Eating is an experience for them...and really, no matter *what* we're eating, it should be an 'experience' for us too. Life is too short to eat bad food. :o)