Spend To Save – 10 Things To Buy That Will Save You Money

spend money to save moneyWhen it comes to saving money, most people immediately think that they must reduce their spending in order to save. While this is one way to save money, it isn’t an exclusive way to save. Many people have the impression that in order to save money you shouldn’t spend any money, but there are a number of items that can actually save you money by purchasing them. These items may cost you some money up-front, but they’ll ultimately more than pay for themselves in the savings they provide. Here is a list of ten things you should buy to help you save money.

Programmable Thermostat: Manual thermostats usually cost households more money than programmable thermostats because of how people use thermostats. When a person wants to heat or cool a room, they usually adjust the thermostat temperature beyond the true temperature they desired in hopes of making the house cool or warm more quickly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t affect the speed at which the room temperature changes and the over compensation means that the room ultimately gets hotter or cooler than it needs to be which costs extra money.

In addition to over compensation of the desired temperature, manual thermostats also are adjusted more often to get the room to the desired temperature. The temperature is increased when the room gets a little cold, then decreased when it gets too warm. These manual adjustments by hand are rarely as accurate as can automatically be done with a programmable model. The constant manual adjustments cost a great deal of money over time which a programmable thermostat can help save and pay for itself in a few months.

Water Filter: Bottled water is a waste of money, but some people feel their home tap water is not good to drink. If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water and regularly buy bottled water, purchasing a water filter will save you hundreds of dollars over time. A quality water filter will make your water just as pure as most bottled water and pay for itself within months in most cases.

Faucet Aerator: Faucet aerators are small devices you can place on the faucets in your house. They reduce the water flow coming out of the faucet by about half. Even with half the water flow, the water stream from the faucet will often feel stronger than the normal flow due to the way they work. Using faucet aerators will save a typical family of four about 280 gallons of water a month and pay for themselves in less than a year.

Low Flow Shower Heads: Much in the same way that faucet aerators reduce the amount of water used from your faucets, replacing regular shower heads with low-flow shower heads can reduce your hot-water consumption while showering by as much as 30%. Due to the way they are manufactured, they will provide a strong, invigorating spray. The low-flow shower heads save money in two ways: a reduction in water consumption and a lowering of the energy costs needed to heat the hot water for the showers. If you use the shower an average of 30 minutes a day, replacing a typical 5-gallon-per-minute shower head with a 2.5 gallon-per-minute flow shower head will save you about $100 a year due to the dual savings. An added benefit for those with larger families is low-flow shower heads will make the hot water last longer for multiple showers.

Compact Fluorescent and LED Lights: While compact fluorescent (CF) light bulbs cost more than regular incandescent light bulbs, they use about two-thirds less energy and last years longer. A basic rule of thumb is that you can save $10 a year in electricity cost for each 100 watt bulb you replace (this includes factoring in the extra cost of the light bulb and the longer life it has).

Light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights cost a bit more than standard holiday lights, but they use 80 – 90% less electricity than standard lights and last more than 5 times as long. In addition, due to the way they are made, they are virtually indestructible. This means they won’t accidentally get broken forcing you to purchase replacement bulbs each year.

Things You Use When They Go On Sale: Anything that you use on a regular basis that goes on sale is worth buying and stockpiling (a good guide is to stockpile for 6 months to a year’s worth of the item). As long as you know that you are going to eventually use it and won’t end up throwing out a large portion of it due to it expiring in some way, then it is worth purchasing it ahead of time. Following this strategy should get you a minimum of an instant 20% return (and if you’re a good shopper 50%+) on the money you spend which is quite a bit more than you would earn on any investment.

Rechargeable Batteries: Batteries can cost a small fortune, especially if you regularly use electronic equipment that are “high drain” devices. While initially more expensive than regular alkaline batteries, purchasing Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries can save you a lot of money in the long run. These replaced old-style NiCad rechargeable batteries and have a much higher capacity than NiCad’s do. Best of all, they don’t suffer from memory effect that could quickly shorten their life.

Clothes Line or Clothes Rack: If you are allowed to line dry your clothes, purchasing a clothes line will save you more than $100 a year over using a dryer. If you aren’t allowed to use a clothes line in your neighborhood, purchasing a clothes rack or two for drying will save you the same amount. Most cost around $20 meaning that you will regain the cost in a few months.

Safe Deposit Box: While this may not save you money on a yearly basis (and possibly never which is actually what we hope for), I have included it since it will save you a lot of money if any type of accident, disaster or robbery takes place. It’ll also save you a ton of grief in settling claims since you’ll have all the documentation to take care of anything that might arise.

As the above items show, spending a little bit of money up-front can mean a lot of extra money in your pocket down the road. By taking the time to make a small investment in the above items, you’ll shave hundreds of dollars off your current spending in the long run.

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22 Responses to Spend To Save – 10 Things To Buy That Will Save You Money

  1. mgroves says:

    Thanks for the reminder about the programmable thermostat. I meant to get one before winter started.

  2. Harry says:

    The federal requirements for bottled water are basically the same as for tap water. So if your local water supplier and your local bottler are in compliance, you will get essentially the same product.
    If you wish to pay to have bottled water, then you likely believe you are getting a better product.
    If it’s important to filter tap water, then it’s also important to filter bottled water.
    The bottled water companies obviously will not agree with me.
    My $.02.

  3. David B. says:

    I’d like to add one more. The Smart Strip Power Strip. It’s basically a surge protector looking device that shuts off all your equipment completely. I wrote a little article about it over at http://www.howdopeoplegetrich.com/2006/10/smart-strip-power-strip_29.html. I don’t actually own the Power Strip myself yet, but I have heard good things about and am thinking about making the purchase sometime soon. Does anyone else own this or heard good things about it?

  4. samerwriter says:

    I maintain that bottled water is _not_ inherently a waste of money. It has its uses. My wife grabs a bottle of water on the way out the door to go to work. It’s cheaper (and healthier) than a soda. But yes, the people who are buying it because they think it’s healthier than tap water are likely deluding themselves.

    I’ve personally never found CFL bulbs to be an adequate replacement for standard bulbs. The color is off, and the light pattern doesn’t seem quite right. Every year or so someone tells me “the newer ones are much improved”. I try one, and they still have the same problems.

  5. Trent says:

    CFLs are the greatest invention since the light bulb. We replaced our normal 60 watt bulbs with 17 watt CFLs in our home – everything is brighter and we’re saving about ten bucks a month.

  6. I like the idea of the Smart Power Strip and looked into it myself. However, I just got my electric bill and it was about $40 for the month. I’m starting to wonder how long it would take for it to save money and if it would really work with Tivo and other devices that do need to monitor the clock to tape shows.

    I love CFL’s as well. The only problem I have is that they don’t work in half the lights I have because they dim.

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  8. vsjhoc says:

    The annual fee for a safety deposit box may be tax-deductible if you itemize. Check the IRS rules.

  9. davis says:

    Nice list. Our water company actually gave away free faucet aerators and low flow shower heads a couple of years back and we did the whole house then. Check. Many will have discounts if not giving them away for free.

  10. Neil Harris says:

    It is a Safe Deposit Box.
    Not Safety

  11. Debt Hater says:

    This is a great post. I’ll keep the link for future reference.
    And I disagree with one commenter about bottled water — it is a waste of money and resources. I’ve been to many events that give out free water bottles. I bring those to work filled with filtered tap water. You just wash them and use them again. You can even buy good, cheap bottles and it’ll cost a whole lot less than buying cases of bottled water.

  12. crazyliblady says:

    I am replying back to the first post about water. The requirements for bottled water and city water may be the same and both waters may be the same quality for the most part. But water in some parts of the U.S. is loaded with fluoride and chlorine. I choose to drink bottled water or water that is both filtered and distilled to avoid the chlorine, argon, fluoride, and whatever else we probably shouldn’t put into our bodies. Now that’s my $.02.

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  14. CaptJ says:

    So, why has no one mentioned Seinfeld yet with the claim to use “Low flow shower heads”?!

    Low flow? Oh, I don’t like the sound of that!

  15. Steve Kelem says:

    Don’t forget an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). It costs around $100. Unlike a power strip, the UPS will shut down your computer gracefully when the power goes out. It took me one fried disk drive to learn this lesson.

  16. Gilbert says:

    CFLs are amazing! I have saved so much energy since I changed some of my light bulbs to CFLs. Some people complain about the difference in the quality of light but I don’t notice any difference at all. Although they are more expensive at the store than the ordinary incandescence, they pay for themselves in energy costs within no time. I highly recommend changing your incandescent bulbs to CFLs in the fixtures you use the most. In many houses these fixtures include: the kitchen ceiling, living room table and floor lamps, bathroom vanity and outdoor porch. I changed my lightbulbs in these places and have had great success in saving energy

  17. Daniel says:

    I have looked in stores for the faucet aerators but have been unable to find them. They sound like such a great idea but I don’t know where to get them.

  18. bestonnet says:

    A few things that should be said.

    First off CFLs should never be put into a fitting that has a dimmer, not even if you just leave it at maximum setting all the time. You should also note that they can at times take a while to come on (especially when cold or old) which might not be a good thing in some cases. If a light has to come on instantly then it’s a choice between LED or Incandescent.

    But CFLs whilst their colour rendition isn’t typically as good as a Cold White tube tends to be better than an Incandescent heater (i.e. they don’t make things look as orange) and flouros are the most efficient white lights you can get.

    Secondly, NiMH cells do suffer from memory effect, just not as bad as NiCd cells (note that there is actually no such thing as a AA battery because a battery has many cells). Li Ion batteries don’t have memory effect but they age and lose capacity after a few years (with no regard for how you use them) and tend to operate at too high a voltage to replace a single Dry cell or Alkaline cell not to mention the safety problems that come from not using them properly.

    Also don’t try buying just a couple of AA NiMH cells and then buy the charger later because rechargeables tend to be sold discharged. They also tend to self discharge a lot so if you need a battery for an emergency in a flashlight then you shouldn’t put a rechargeable in there (although you’re not planning on using it a lot if it is an emergency use flashlight) and you also need to recharge cells that have been left for a while.

    If you want to know about batteries see http://www.batteryuniversity.com/

  19. not a gator says:

    Ace Hardware sells faucet aerators for under $10.

  20. Brenda says:

    Because I believe the negative things I’ve heard about plastic containers, I am trying to use only glass or ceramic containers for left-over food at our house. I’ve heard reports that refilling water bottles is dangerous, as the plastic will leach into the water if they are reused. My question was, What is to stop the
    plastic from leaching into the original water?, and lo and behold, another report saying don’t keep a water bottle in your car, because a change in temperature can cause the chemicals in the plastic to leach into the original water.
    My solution–I don’t buy bottled water unless I am desperate. Most of it tastes awful, anyway. Get and refill a metal bottle if you need something unbreakable to carry around with you. (If we all do that, they will shortly discover something negative regarding the use of metal water bottles!)
    We have a counter-top distiller which distills water to 98% pure. We got it so we didn’t have to drink softened water and now our own water is my drink of choice. I do store it in reused distilled water jugs, though. Hmmm………

  21. kenny the water man says:

    I operate a water treatment plant and also worked for a bottled water companey. Most bottled waters come from manincipal water sorces there has to be a disclaimer on the package as to the sorce. The plastic bottles I have heard give off gas over time if you reuse them. I would use a another form to travel with your water. There are great products at your local home inprovment store to help remove unwanted tast and order from the water you already have. Most water prviders offer FREE WATER CONSERVATION KITS to there customers just ask don’t pay for them. Most come with a low flow shower head a toilet flapper(the biggist portion of waste is from this)with dye tabs to test your old flapper. and yes airaters for your sink. These kits were given out manditory by law to any costomer of the provider.

  22. Nabu says:

    i like the idea of buying rechargeable batteries and compact flourscent and LED lights. I’m planning to buy these things.

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