Thursday, July 2, 2009


We all know the expression ‘penny-wise and pound foolish.’ While it's usually wise to watch your pennies, sometimes thrift can cost you big money in the long run. Make sure your cost-cutting efforts make sense. Some of the best intentioned efforts to economize can get very expensive.

Here are a few "saving strategies" to avoid at all costs:

Delaying visits to the doctor and dentist, especially for children.
You’ve lost your health insurance and you think can’t afford to go to your doctor or dentist. We get it. Life is hard, BUT delaying preventive maintenance visits may lose your ability to nip a problem in the bud, and that problem could cost you thousands later. So...the bottom line is this. Don't put off routine medical and checkups, especially for children; delayed immunizations and dental care will cost you more to correct later.

Choosing cheaper, poorly-made products.
We have a friend who will remain nameless even though we could name her and she'd never know. If she regularly read CHEAPIOSITY, she wouldn't be a shining What-Not-To-Do example for us, would she? Still, we'll protect her anonymity. Let's call her Jerkina.
Jerkina will drive twenty-five miles out of her way to save a quarter. A classic example of penny-wise. Jerkina continues to buy cheap stuff though we've tried to share the wisdom. Because she bought the cheap and shoddy outdoor sprinkler system, she continues to have leaks and ends up repairing and replacing it more frequently than she would have had she spent more money on the trouble-free system we recommended. She always shops for price over quality and ends up overpaying in the long run….some people never learn. Poor Jerkina.
Same thing holds true when buying a cars. You may pay less when you buy a cheaper brand, but you need to consider reliability when figuring the real costs of a car. Check Consumer Reports Annual Car Buying Guide for the specs you need to make an informed decision.
Also, before you rush in to repair an old car, check the Kelley Blue Book price on the car first. You don't want to rebuild an engine or replace a tramsmission if the car is worth less than the repairs will cost. Don't throw good money after bad.
The same theory holds true when you buy cheap consumer electronics and off-brands…bargains aren't always bargains. How soon will your El Cheapo Piece O Crappo break? Most junk is made to replace, not repair. Think value. When a price on what should be a durable good seems too low to be true, it probably is.

Buying products in smaller packages.
While the small package may be cheaper now, the price per unit is going to be more. If you use something all the time, buy larger or in bulk and save. One word about bulk…..only buy something in bulk if you’ll use it all. Buying in bulk costs more if you discard a portion of it.

Opting to enroll in store credit cards.
It is tempting to open an instant credit card in order to receive 15% off your purchase, a common offer in department stores. While the immediate discount sounds tempting, by adding a credit card to your arsenal, most likely a credit card with a high interest rate, you could end up far exceeding the price you would pay if you chose not to open the credit card. Not to mention the impact the additional debt has on your credit. Limit yourself to lower interest credit cards (and don’t be afraid to negotiate a rate with them), if you don’t pay your balance in full. Very often you’ll find a coupon in the newspaper or online for the same discount. Everything seems to be on sale at department stores these days.

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