Friday wrap-up: Stainless freezer ware, dog costs, SmartFlix and how to spend

This week brings a menagerie of money and earth-saving ideas.

Stainless for the freezer

Today, Fake Plastic Fish posted about new stainless ware for freezing food. It all sounds good … although I clicked through and found the containers cost at least $13 each. Compare a one-time cost of buying stainless ware to health risks of the future. Hmm, for the time being, I’ll likely stick with glass, foil and yes, plastic … but I will keep this in mind for a longer-term investment.

Videos with know-how

As a birthday gift, partly from my husband, partly from my late grandma’s bequest, which I’m so far whittling down for hobbies, I bought a great wheel (also called a walking wheel) the other day. (That’s not me on the video, but it gives you an idea.) But I don’t really know how to use it. Someone on Ravelry suggested I look into charkha spinning for tips. I thought a video would be just the thing, but the video I found on charkha spinning costs $40 — a bit steep for something I might not refer to more than once.

Then I came across SmartFlix, where I can rent the same video for $10 (including shipping to and fro). It’s still a little pricey, but less expensive than buying, and less wasteful too. Has anyone tried it?

The cost of a dog bite

And this article on about the financial dangers — not to mention the moral obligations — of dog ownership was sobering, considering that we are thinking about adopting another dog. Fortunately, our current and prospective pets aren’t on the dangerous breeds list. And we have a large umbrella liability insurance policy, too.

After all, just having a dog is costly enough. The dog rescue organization asks whether adoptinig households can afford $1200 a year to feed and care for the new animal, and I think that estimate is about right, based on expenses for our current dog.

Spendthrift or tightwad?

And I came across this article about whether you should spend your money now or save it. I think there is a middle ground, but this question came to mind this week when I bought an expensive electronic gadget at Costco. I bought it because I’ve been contemplating one for Christmas for months, and last weekend, Little Cheap tried it out at a friend’s house and came home extremely enthusiastic. Costco had a good deal, and as I’ve been saving for Christmas since January in a special ING Direct account, I had the money to burn.

But ours is going straight into our closet for 3.5 long months. The man behind me said, “Oh, some lucky kids are having a party tonight!” and I was so surprised, thinking, “Do some people really just come home one day with a $400 gadget and go to town?” Sometimes I wonder if I’m too prudish, making everything wait for a special occasion. On the other hand, I don’t want to set the precedent of a big-ticket item being something we just rush out to buy.

Where do you stand on pricey toys or events? Save or spend?


8 thoughts on “Friday wrap-up: Stainless freezer ware, dog costs, SmartFlix and how to spend

  1. Jefferson McClure says:

    OMG! You can’t keep the Wii in the closet until Xmas! It’s an Opportunity Cost–you just spent $400 and won’t be able to receive any value for it for 3.5 months!

    Besides, then you can get a Wii Fit for Xmas 😉

    If you do decide to keep it under wraps, you are more than welcome to bring over Little Cheap to play on ours against Little Girlwiththecurl. It really is as fun as everyone says, but it’s really not much fun to have “let” your 7 year old beat you once in a while.

    Oh, and $400 is a good deal? Jeesh! Oh wait, I see–they’re selling it with 3 extra games and an extra Wiimote–that is a pretty good deal.

  2. Kait says:

    We’re big fans of saving lots, but enjoying our toys. We bought the same toy that you did for funsies. But that was back when we had a disposable income. Now we save every extra penny (seriously, I have $4 in rolled pennies alone downstairs) so we’ll be able to do good things with it in the future.

    For us, it really depends on the toy/event and whether we have “extra” (ie. unexpected, not saved) money around. That’s usually when we spend more – when we’ve received money that we weren’t banking on.

  3. cheaplikeme says:

    @Jefferson – Well, our bundle was $370 in the store … plus tax. Minus the 2% we’ll get back from our spanking-new Costco Executive membership. I think it was a good deal. We got Wii Play, “Smash Brothers,” the extra nunchuk and a Nintendo controller-paddle that we don’t have, since we don’t have any other video games besides horse-jumping games on the PC. And I’m trying to swing a deal with my sister where I give her Wii Fit, and she gives me Wii Fit, for Christmas. Melissa, are you in? 😉 But a 7-year-old-on-7-year-old battle sounds only fair.

    @Kait – I hear you … extra money is easier to spend. We’ve bought a couple of other goodies this month or so with my husband’s first paycheck. I think, really, the trick is in not splurging TOO much — so holding things back is a good exercise in discipline.

  4. krikri says:

    Honestly, as a 24 year old kid, I’d say give it to her now and then get a game on sale and give that to her for Christmas. That way she can enjoy it for those 3.5 months as part of her present. The life of a video game system can be short and depend on the quality games that come out. Who knows how long that $300 system will be attractive to play with.

    Also, you want to take it out of the packaging and test it fully so you can return it to the store within the 2 weeks or so you’re allowed if anything is wrong. Also, that 3.5 months is time out of your warranty and things usually break right around when the warranty ends. You might as well get your money’s worth.

    If you’re worried about making a big ticket purchase just for her, make the Wii a present for the whole family. It really is a whole family console and I’m sure you’ll find some of the games fun, too. I like to hold tournaments during parties and challenge my in-laws on the Sports games.

  5. twofish4 says:

    As a Compactor, I say no to big ticket items..
    But I will say that we purchased a Wii a year ago for our oldest boy and justified our purchase by unplugging the cable.
    Now we have a wii stick with a stuck button, no television, and a boy who will finally read a book.

  6. Travis from SmartFlix says:

    Thanks for noticing and recommending SmartFlix!

    I created SmartFlix because I’m a hobbyist and wanted to view several how-to DVDs that retailed for $70 and up, and I thought that that was outrageous.

    There is one less expensive way to view how-to DVDs: SmartFlix has a University program to suit most interests.

    We’ve rolled out several new websites:

    These are sort of a cross between the old Time-Life book series and Netflix: we’ve constructed a curriculum of DVDs to bring folks from beginner to expert in each of these fields.

    For just $22.95 per month (a bit more for Oil Painting and Pastel) we ship you three DVDs. Keep them for as long as you like – no late fees! Or return them and get more (we ship a max of 3 new DVDs each month).

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