Sunday, 3 May 2009

Spending to Save

Posted by Bel
From Spiral Garden

I’m really starting to realise lately that buying quality is serving us well. Very early in my adult life I was gifted several sets of Tupperware brand plastic containers. I also bought several other pieces over time. I have used these continually for over 15 years now with only a few split lids (which Tupperware replaces for free). The amount of money, food and landfill I have saved by using these containers must be huge! I still use the odd snaplock bag (which we wash and re-use, cling wrap (have had a roll for years) and take-away style containers (also re-used) in the freezer but would ideally use 100% Tupperware if I already owned enough to meet all of our needs. Without wanting to sound like an advertisement for the company, we use these containers for: storing dry goods, keeping leftovers in the fridge, freezing bulk meals and foods bought in bulk, taking food to work for lunch or on picnics or other outings.

Thinking about my Tupperware got me thinking about other items we own…

The quality stainless steel saucepans given to us as a gift 15 years ago are used almost daily and are in the exact same condition as when they arrived in their box (okay, they aren’t quite shiny anymore!)

Our towels were bought from a manchester shop – seemed like a huge outlay at the time but they’ve been used almost non-stop for over 10 years and are still thick and absorbent. I am tired of the colour though! Cheaper ones from a chain department store have not lasted nearly as long before fraying at the seams, going out of shape and fading.

Cane laundry baskets have outlasted several of the plastic type. In fact, I will only be using cane baskets from now on (we do use several baskets for wet and clean/dry laundry each day in our larger household).

Last time I replaced our electric kettle and toaster I bought near-industrial quality ones – brushed stainless steel outers, decent warranty period, no flimsy switches or other disappointing features. I’d bought a few mid-range ones from chain department stores over the years, so thought I’d try paying around twice as much (on sale!) for a better brand from a homewares store. These were even better quality than I could find in the local electrical appliance shops and have been worth every extra cent. They work well, look great and so far they’ve outlasted most of their predecessors and yet seem to be as new.

We are very blessed to have been able to afford, or been gifted such great quality items. I tend to request practical gifts, or spend any gift cards or money on practical items (or trees), because I’m not a jewellery or perfume kind of girl.

Other items we’ve bought which save us money include:
* freezer - bulk buys and bulk cooking
* Vacola unit - preserved harvests
* slow cooker - less energy than the oven
* wind-up torches/flashlights - no more batteries
* battery charger - no disposable batteries for other items
* sewing machine – repairs, clothing, shopping bags and other useful items
* sets of quality cloth nappies (diapers) – saved $1000s on disposables for our large family
* timber furniture – might get scratched and dented, but it doesn’t crumble, snap, warp or otherwise disappoint (this was a slow process – investing in one piece every few years, making some and buying 2nd hand)

What’s at your place that has been a larger initial outlay, but saved you a lot of money, time and/or waste in the long term?