June 06, 2011
Tightwad Gazette II - Day 32 - June 6th
How many of you have a price book? I need to update mine. Amy answers some further questions today about compiling a price book.
The last Extreme Couponing episode showed one of the ladies going through the grocery store looking at her excel spreadsheet list of groceries on her tablet computer. If I had a tablet computer it would have my price book on it, but I don’t have one and I’m not going to buy one. Even frugal people can dream about having an expensive gadget.
Let’s get to our reading and I’ll put my dream on the back burner for now.
PAGE 250 – SAFETY PIN UPHOLSTERY
To “upholster” a one or two cushion piece of furniture, Amy said that you can take fabric and wrap it on a cushion like you would wrap a present. Then you just safety pin it all in place. Amy has used this as a temporary solution until she finds upholstery fabric that she likes and will then make a permanent cover.
When our kids were younger, I would keep a sheet on the couch cushions and I would tuck it in. The purpose was to keep dirt off of the cushions or prevent spills from damaging the cushions. Actually in the summer time it was so much cooler to sit on a couch with a sheet on it than to leave it uncovered. We have owned our couch for 8 years now and I know that doing this protected it during the first couple of years. We always removed the sheet when company stopped by. I no longer do this as it isn’t necessary.
PAGE 250 – INSTANT MILK ANALYSIS
Because the price of instant milk rose to almost the price of whole milk, Amy wasn’t going to fault any tightwad for abandoning instant milk altogether. However a reader wrote in to tell Amy that they purchased “non instant powdered milk” in 50 lb. bags from a bulk food store. Other readers purchased this product from a factory or a bakery supply company. The price for non instant powdered milk for these readers ranged from $1.00 to $1.54 per gallon. It takes a little more effort to get non instant powdered milk to mix completely so Amy uses a blender to get the product completely dissolved.
PAGE 256 – AVOIDING THE PRICE BOOK HASSLE
Amy profiled her Price Book in Tightwad Gazette One. I profiled that article here. Several readers wrote to Amy to say that they were hassled by store employees when they went to stores to write down prices. These readers were trying to write down hundreds of prices at a time when they were confronted by store managers wondering what they were doing. Some managers thought that these readers were working for competing grocery stores.
Amy never had that problem as she gleaned most of her price book information from jotting down a few prices at a time, looking at her store receipts and going through sales flyers. She went to the grocery store to fill in the gaps. She spent almost no time standing in aisles writing down prices.
Amy keeps track of fewer products as she does not use many convenience foods. Also some items she didn’t need to include in her price book as she bought them so often she had the prices memorized.
“Remember that through keeping a price book you gain a general sense of where you should shop for each item, but far more important, you learn the bottom price. It doesn’t matter where you buy it, what matters is the price you pay.”
PAGE 259 – HOW TO MOVE INEXPENSIVELY
“Moving can cost thousands of dollars. How cheaply you can move depends on how much advance notice you have, how far you’re moving, how much stuff you have, how healthy and strong you are, and how resourceful you’re willing to be. If all of those factors are in your favor, a move can be almost free.”
1. First of all get rid of as much of your belongings as necessary. Scrutinize your belongings and sell the excess at a yard sale.
2. Packing material bought from a moving company can be extremely expensive. Go to stores and look for free boxes. Scavenge for Styrofoam peanuts, or other packing material. Go to a newspaper publisher and get end rolls that are free of newsprint. You can use this as packing material and there won’t be any ink to rub off of your belongings. Of course you can use your own sheets and towels as packing material. If you have a facebook account, put the word out to friends and family as to the packing materials that you need.
3. Pick up free brochures on packing tips. Now you can go on line for packing tips.
4. Get friends and family to help you load the truck. Have everything boxed up and ready to go before they get to your home. Be sure to provide them with a meal, snacks and beverages to keep them hydrated. Consider some other sources of inexpensive labor: college or high school students, (I would add that church youth groups would be a good source.), anyone that you know is unemployed.
5. Borrow a pickup, van, truck, utility or horse trailer. For longer moves consider buying a truck or trailer or even an old school bus. Many readers did this and because they had shopped carefully, they were able to be resold after the move and they broke even. When we moved about 120 miles to where we live now, we rented a U-Haul truck and members of our church helped us load it and one man drove the truck down to where we live now. We followed in our car. This same man drove the truck back to the town we had moved from saving us a lot of money.
6. Your most expensive option is to hire a moving company. If you go this route, do your research for the cheapest alternative. You can save money by packing yourself. Now you can do this research online to find all of your options.
On June 8th we will finish the Tightwad Gazette II. Read pages 262 through 274. A few of you have e-mailed me saying that you would like me to continue with the 3rd book and I have decided that I will do that. I have been re-educating myself on frugal tips and have re-acquainted myself with several by going through Amy Dacyczyn’s books, so it has benefited me also. I won’t post a reading every day, but will post at least 3 times week on The Tightwad Gazette III.