Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On being frugal-- Part I

“There is no dignity
quite so impressive,
and no independence
quite so important,
as living within your means.” 
― Calvin Coolidge

Frugality is something I strive for, sometimes more out of the desire for a challenge than out of necessity, although at other times it arises out of necessity.  Sometimes it works out perfectly, where I am able to save some money and have the desired look and/or quality I am seeking; but other times, it does not pay to try to cut corners.  In this 2-part series, I will explore both of these scenarios.

A little background to the story:

When we moved into our new home last May, there were a number of hidden expenses.  We thought that in buying a new home, things like the electrical system, the well/plumbing/septic system, and the HVAC system would all be up to code (even though there is no official "code" or code enforcement in the extremely rural area where we live) and in proper working order.  This turned out to be wishful thinking.  We have had to hire contractors to work on all of these systems in the short time we've lived here.  Hopefully, that trend is now over.  Thankfully, things seem to be operating smoothly at last.

And so, when we moved in, there was not extra money available to spend on non-necessary or cosmetic things.  Moving is expensive, even without these added costs.  So, for example, I purchased very cheap pulls for the cabinets.  They were actually window sash pulls that cost about $2.50 each.  I thought this would work out great-- cheap prices and good looks, what more could you want?

They looked fine but didn't give me the style I had been seeking.

 I pined for some industrial-style, satin nickel finish bin pulls I'd seen at Lowe's.  I would walk down the cabinet hardware aisle and sigh, "Wouldn't it be nice..."  At home, I would often get scratched upon opening cabinet doors by the ends of the screws sticking out in the back of the cabinet.  Since these were window pulls, the screws were slightly longer than the thickness of the cabinetry, and the sharp ends poked through.  

"Enough is enough," I thought.  A few days ago, I went back to Lowe's and purchased the bin pulls I had been coveting.  They were more expensive, but the boost in style and comfort was worth the higher price tag.  This is one example where being cheap did not quite work out the way I expected.  These bin pulls draw together and echo other elements in the kitchen, reinforcing the bistro look I am striving for, as well as tying in to the steel finish of the appliances and pans.

In this instance, I would have been better off spending a little bit extra and getting what I wanted from the beginning.  It is always better to make one purchase only and save the time and expense of having to do something all over again.

This is a lesson I will take to heart.  The good news here is that the original expense and the secondary one were still under a couple of hundred dollars.  I would be a lot less chipper about the whole thing and probably angry with myself had I overspent and ended up being dissatisfied with the results.

I have also learned that what seems a bargain to one person may seem way overpriced to another.  My husband and I have this debate much of the time!

Stay tuned for part II where I discuss one example where my being cheap paid off the first time.

Until next time...



  1. I have learned to wait, save and get what I know I will be happiest with. The Industrial pulls from Lowes make a world of difference. Love them! Our pulls are similar and are from Target. Love them too. Buying a home, is all stressful. There are always expenses you didn't consider. Ours was water. We didn't ever have to pay for water till we moved to Sea Cottage and the bill just keeps going up and up.

  2. If possible, it's always best to buy quality isn't it Anne but, sometimes the funds won't stretch that far unfortunately !!!!
    ….. but, your kitchen looks beautiful with or without the handles !!!! XXXX


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