Tag Archives: savings

Thrifty Thursday: Not paying for convenience

I needed to take 2 dresses to the cleaners last week. We happen to have a dry cleaners within walking distance and, since it was a beautiful day, B and I went for a walk.

The dry cleaner hardly looked at the dresses I presented but spent longer than I felt was necessary clicking through his screen before printing me out a receipt. He is the owner and I assumed he knew where “dress” was in his system. If there were more detailed options on dresses to select, he didn’t know them about my dresses because he didn’t bother to look at them.

He handed me my receipt and we turned to go. As I walked out of the shop, I looked down at the receipt and was shocked to see $26.58. I don’t know how he came to that price, but it was more than I wanted to pay. I went back in and asked for my dresses back because I thought the price to clean them was too high. He handed them back without a word.

I had no idea what the going rate was. The hubs usually takes care of the dry cleaning. But I’ve heard rumors that women pay more than men for dry cleaning and I was willing to try some other place(s) out. We headed back home but, the weather was so nice, we decided to just walk around, instead. We had a lovely conversation so I don’t regret going to the cleaner. It cost me nothing!

When we got back home I remembered hearing a commercial about Zips Dry Cleaners. Went to their website, saw there was one in the next town over so we went.

The woman who waited on me was lovely. She asked if I’d been there before and, when I said no, she explained my options and set me up an account. By providing my email address, I receive a notification as soon as my clothes are ready. They clean right on site instead of shipping the cleaning elsewhere. I chose to get a key tag for quick pickup. If your total is under $10, they only accept cash; credit is accepted over $10. If you drop off by 9am you can pick up the same day after 5pm and they clean comforters for only $19.99.

Now, I could have paid $26.58 for the convenience of walking to the dry cleaners or the exterm elf short drive there. However, I chose a 10-mile round trip twice (once to drop off the dresses and once to go back and get them) because Zips charged me $4.58! I get 23 miles to the gallon in my car and had just gotten gas the day before for $1.79/gal. The drive on a beautiful day, with the windows down and great conversation with my son, might be less “convenient” than a closer cleaner or one who delivers, but it wasn’t inconvenient to travel a little farther and I saved $20.21!

I don’t like to pay for the convenience of having dinner delivered  to me, either. It costs more because of tipping (and those drivers deserve a good tip!) but more importantly, or takes longer and the food isn’t hot anymore. I’d rather drive 10 minutes each way to pick up a fresh, hot pizza and be eating it in 20-30 minutes than have a warm to cold pizza delivered in 45-75 minutes, depending on the time and day of the week. In this instance, getting it myself is not inconvenient, the waiting longer for delivery and tipping is.

My opinion about choosing pickup over delivery is because it fits in with my lifestyle: I have a car to go get it, great pizza close by, my son is old enough to leave at home while I get the pizza or, if I want him to come with me, it’s quite effortless to get him in the car. I have certainly taken advantage of delivery when we were without a working car, sick, exhausted from up all nights with a young child, bundling up a young child against the elements would have taken just as long as the delivery driver, etc. 😉

So, the next time you’re about to pay extra for an offered convenience, stop and ask yourself, “Is it really more convenient?”

Thrifty Thursday: FoodSaver

My FoodSaver

My parents gave me this TOTALLY AWESOME FoodSaver for Christmas!!!! It came from Costco and included reusable zipper-top bags and a roll of make-your-own bags (shown in the picture, above) as well as a small container for quickly infusing foods with marinades. They also bought me an extra box of bags & rolls, which I’ve broken into since I used up the roll that came with the FoodSaver already!

I wanted one of these for SO LONG, but truly worried how soon, or even if, I’d make back my investment in saving food. Do I really have that much food waste? Yes. Yes, I do. And I’m going to show you how I’ve prevented throwing bad food out and kept foods fresher longer in the 5 weeks since I started using it.

My husband is a hunter and we have the meat from 2 deer in our freezers. All the meat comes back from the processor, broken down into roasts, steaks, ground, etc., wrapped solely in butcher paper. That is not enough to protect it from freezer burn. And I have tried several different brands of zipper-top freezer bags and none of them have been able to protect my foods completely nor for any period of time more than a month or two. I have lost foods that I bought in bulk when they’ve gone on sale at stores because a freezer bag could not protect my foods. Look at this beautiful venison roast, completely sealed up with no air inside the plastic with it. I was thawing it in order make a delicious stew.

Photo Feb 17, 10 07 20 AM

Something really strange happens with lunch meat in my house. If I buy 1/4 lb or 1/2 lb of lunch meat at the store, it is devoured in 24 hours and the beasts howl and pound their chests until I go back and get more. If I buy 1 lb of lunch meat, it will sit in the fridge for weeks until it starts to smell! *sigh* I haven’t thrown out any lunch meat since I started using my FoodSaver and their zipper-top bags. I bought 5 different kinds of lunch meats and 3 kinds of cheeses and sealed them up in the bags. When someone opens the bag to get out lunch meat, I simply use my attachment to reseal the bag before putting it back in the fridge. Yes, I have to reseal after each times a bag is opened, but it’s better than throwing away bad meat I paid for and going to the store for more.

Photo Feb 17, 10 07 01 AM

I made a loaf of French bread in my bread machine last month and we only used half of it. Being homemade without preservatives, it won’t last long, so I sliced it up and sealed it in a bag that I custom cut from the roll. I also made a batch of pumpkin spice muffins for snacks. We ate half and I wanted to preserve the rest for another time. I know what you’re thinking: if the food saver sucks hard enough to remove all air out of a bag, won’t it crush your baked goods? Nope, because my FoodSaver came with a Pulse Vac option! I select Pulse Vac, slide the end of the bag in and then I use the Pulse Vac button to slowly remove the amount of air I want to. I can suck out most of the air, get the bag to a point where it’s hugging my baked goods but not crushing them, and then seal the bag. The next pix is of my first lot of sealing: chicken thighs I bought in bulk, the French bread and the muffins.

Photo Feb 17, 10 07 37 AM

Besides lunch meat, another item that is wasted a lot in this house are bagged snacks, such as chips and pretzels. Even on those rare occasions when my guys do close a bag up with a clip, it’s still not sealed and they will never taste as crisp and fresh as they did when the bag was first opened. My FoodSaver has solved this problem for me with the Pulse Vac option! I can suck as much air out of a chip bag and I want, starting and stopping to check how close the bag is coming to the chips, and then seal it up until we’re ready to eat chips again. We haven’t lost a single chip nor pretzel stick! You can see in the picture, below, that plenty of air has been removed from the chip bag, but there is still room around the chips. This Pulse Vac option alone is so worth pulling the FoodSaver out onto the counter to use (we have very little counter space, so I don’t leave it out all the time).

Photo Feb 11, 5 04 20 PM

And I’m still not done! This machine has 2 other things it can do to save money or add convenience. Remember that green & black attachment in the lunch meat picture, above? I pull that out and set it on a particular spot on the zipper-top bags to seal them. However, I can also pull the top off of it and, along with a reusable bottle stopper, reseal a bottle of wine! I don’t drink wine, but the hubs does. He won’t drink a whole bottle by himself and sometimes we’ll just open a bottle and use a little wine in a recipe. Yes, you can stick the cork back in and keep the wine in the fridge for another day or two, but the quality & taste of the wine suffers. My FoodSaver attachment will suck out the air and seal that bottle back up for when I’m ready to use the rest.

Photo Feb 17, 11 36 05 AM

I mentioned in the beginning of this post that my FoodSaver included a small container. You can store fragile items in it and seal them up, like my lunch meat in the picture below, or fresh berries that tend to start dissolving as soon as you bring them home from the store or farm. But you can also quickly marinate food in it! Were you looking forward to having a specific dish for dinner, only to come home in the evening and find you forgot to get your meat or veggies in the marinade before leaving the house in the morning? No problem! Put your marinade and food in one of FoodSaver’s containers, snap on the lid, pull out the attachment, place it directly on the gray oval in the lid and press the Marinate button on the FoodSaver. Once’s it’s sealed on there, you can let go of the attachment. It will cycle through a bunch of sucks and releases (for lack of a better description) for 10 minutes, infusing your marinade into your food.

Photo Feb 17, 11 44 17 AM

So there you have it: all the reasons I love my FoodSaver and am so glad my parents gave us one for Christmas! I am not associated with FoodSaver in anyway, nor did they ask me to review their product. I just like to share products I love. If you have been thinking of getting one, and you’re a Costco member, why not go for it? Costco has THE BEST return policy and you can just bring it back if you don’t like it or don’t use it enough. Part of me wishes we’d gotten one sooner, but I’m so glad we waited. These extra functions and accessories offered currently make my life easier and my wallet thicker.

Thrifty Thursday: Saving of Keurig K-Cups

No matter what brand nor type of pod you use for your Keurig coffeemaker, the costs can really add up! I received this money-saving tip from my father-in-law; it’s how he and my mother-in-law make their coffee at home and now, so do we.

We use each K-cup twice! The hubs likes a bold roast and I prefer a weaker blend. Instead of buying two different kinds of pods, we just buy the bold roast he likes. He makes his coffee with a new K-cup and then I’ll reuse it for a weaker brew that suits my palate.

I don’t drink as much coffee as the hubs. However, if I drank a cup per day like he does, we’d save 50% on the cost of K-cups!

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