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Money saving ideas that don't work

Woman buying cheap clothes
A fool and his money are soon parted. Sometimes great money saving ideas backfire. It even happens to even the biggest tightwads — like me.

We trick ourselves into thinking we're being good by spending less. If the item doesn't work or doesn't last, however, it was money wasted.

There are times when a $100 thingamajig, will last longer than the $10 one. Although don't con yourself into thinking that's the case always.

Watch out for these classic money saving ideas that don't work:

Driving to find bargains. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who will spend $10 on petrol to pick up a $5 auction purchase. It would be much cheaper to have it posted. Likewise, I'd love to shop at Pak 'n' Save instead of New World. Each trip, however, would cost me $8-$10 in petrol and an extra 40 minutes of my valuable time. It's just not worth it. Likewise if I really need petrol, I won't drive across town to use my BP discount voucher.

Cheap cat food and dog food. A couple of years back MSN readers were up in arms that I suggested feeding Fluffles or Fido with Budget brand cat food. Their argument, that I don't entirely agree with, is that cheap food leads to health problems later in life for the animals. It's ironic cheap human food such as fresh fruit and vegies are better for us than expensive processed food.

Buying cheap goods. I'm partial to the $2 Shop. Sometimes, however, the things from there and other cheap outlets offer false economy. A great example of mine was an $11 MP3 car transmitter I bought to play our digital music on a car stereo. The quality is so poor that I might have been better off in the first place buying a Belkin brand one, or upgrading to a more modern stereo.

Think before you act. Here's an admission, I bought a backboard for my children's basketball hoop from a local school fair. Sadly I didn't bother changing before I cleaned it with bleach and managed to ruin a lovely pair of trousers. I then wasted $4 more buying dye to try and fix the mistake. I'd have been better off financially buying a new backboard from Stirling Sports.

Growing your own. It's great to grow your own vegetables or even have a few chickens. The cost of seedlings, however, doesn't always add up to bargain food. Likewise my neighbour spent several hundred dollars buying a chicken coop and needs to buy food for his feathered friends. It takes an awful lot of eggs to repay that money if you're just doing it to save money.

Heat pumps. These much-sought-after devices are meant to save money. They won't, however, if you go from heating the lounge for an hour a day in the winter, like I do, to running a heat pump all day long.

Not keeping your car maintained. It's expensive to get an oil change and the other things that go with a service. You may, however, save money on expensive bills down the track. Having a wadge of receipts showing the car has been serviced also improves its resale value.

Staying on the benefit. Here's a controversial one. I often hear that it's not worth people going off the benefit because they hardly earn any more working. The false economy of that is that once back in the workforce most people gradually increase their earning power and over time will be much better off financially.

Your say: what have you done to save money that didn't work?

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  • User comments
    Oh, and another thing... As a OCD budgeter, t is definately cheaper to buy fresh fruit and veges rather than processed crap. It costs me $15 to make a big pot of soup that will easily feed a family of 5 for 3 nights, but to buy the same volume of tinned soup will cost me in excess of $30. Fresh soup is way more healthier, tastier, super easy and I can freeze it as a ready made snack or dinner . It is all about buying seasonal fruit and veges, rather than out of season (and therefore imported) expensive stuff. Check the web for fruit and vege season calandar. Frozen veges, such as spinach, is an option when it is out of season.
    I agree with the majority of things in this article. The pet food, while it is a contentious subject, is true. As a training SPCA Inspector, we have to study animal health and husbandry, which included a paper on animal nutrition. There is nothing wrong with feeding pets cheaper brands, rather than, say, Hills science diet. If it is marketed as "balanced" or similar, then it is scientifically formulated to give your animals the proper vitamins and other nutrients they need. If it is not "balanced", then, with a bit of online research, you would be able to supplement that food to bring it up to scratch. I feed all three of my cats cheap cat food, and they are perfectly healthy and happy. One has even managed to make it to 17 years so far. I don't think that Dianne was suggesting to sacrifice your animals health for the sake of a few dollars, but rather that if your animal's are other wise healthy, there is nothing wrong with cheaper brands.
    The best type of food you can give your cat or dog is RAW. It's also incredibly cheap. Look into it, you might be surprised, and your pet will thank you for it!
    Talk about a joke of an article. Unless you live week to week this advice is a joke. It seems you have the luxury of paying abit more for new where alot have to settle for cheap. Budget food usually comes from the same companies as the nice colorful labeled products. To complicated to get into how that works and benefits the company having 2 labels. Just like most things you pay more for the label with expensive items than the actual product.
    The main thing I do to save money is to just keep out of the shops. If you need something then fine go buy it, but if you don't need something - stay out of the shops otherwise you (if you are like me) will just be tempted to spend money on stuff you probably don't need. When I don't have money to go shopping funnily enough I don't shrivel up and die!
    Here's a huge one... Going to the shops and buying something on sale, then saying that you've saved so much money because it was 50% off, or whatever. This is often true for clothes or shoes. Yet, if you think about it, you probably weren't going to buy those shoes or that dress or anything else because you hadn't noticed you needed them. You weren't going to be spending that money at all. So you've really just spent money that would have still been yours. And how often does that stuff you bought on sale never get worn?
    I agree with everything Diane says except for her Mp3 player problem. I think it should tuned to a different frequency rather than use the default one. Car radios typically have a "cleaner" frequency somewhere up the scale where one can get noise free reception. My Mp3 player cost about $5 from China and works fine. AL
    Foolish are those who waste money on the expensive pet foods. Absolutely no difference in them. Read the labels, they all contain the same amount of horse meat.
    I agree with smiles, fruit and vegetables are way more expensive than cheap junk food
    I feed my children Budget brand food. Should you be reporting me to CYFs? Or does it just matter when it's a pet? My cat is very healthy. If he had an illness I might consider feeding him something recommended by a vet. Likewise, I am happy to use supermarket shampoo myself, but my children have mild allergies and I make them high quality shampoos and soaps.

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