I like to be frugal. I like to get the most from my money, as I’m sure most of you do. When it comes to handing over huge amounts of cash, I’d much prefer to go with the lowest price, but sometimes, the lowest price can cost you the most money.
Frugality Gone Wrong
When I was 16, I needed a car to get to my job, so my mom and I combed the ads for a cheap little car for me. We found one with an unbelievably low price.
And then when I took it in for its first oil change, our family mechanic explained why the price had been so low. The college student who owned the car before me had rarely ever had it serviced and had frequently run it without oil. While he did okay running it this way, I had to pay for his mistake. . .and pay, and pay, and pay. Even though the car had relatively low miles, it broke down constantly. In the end, I paid more than if I had bought a nice car that had been better maintained.
When the More Expensive Option Is the Frugal Choice
Early in July, our central air conditioner broke.
We knew this was coming. The A/C unit was original to the house and was 19 years old. The realtor had told us when we bought the house two years ago that the A/C unit would need to be replaced relatively soon.
In anticipation of this expense, we called an air conditioning company to get a quote last summer. The owner came out, peeked into the attic where part of our A/C unit is, and gave us a quote. The whole process took less than 30 minutes.
When the air conditioner actually broke, the company that we talked to last year couldn’t come to see what was wrong until four days later. When you live in Arizona and it’s 110 degrees out every day, waiting four days is not an option.
We called another company that, based on the reviews I read online, provided excellent customer service but was expensive. They came out the same day that I called and confirmed that the A/C unit was dead and needed to be replaced.
Their “comfort specialist” as they called their sales rep, much to my amusement, came out less than an hour later. Before he gave his quote, he did all sorts of tests—checking the vents for leaks, checking how well insulated our home is, and inputting the layout and size of our home into a computer program. When he put in other details such as where the morning and evening sun hits, the program told him what tonnage we needed for our air conditioner. Surprise! We only needed a 3 ton air conditioner, not a 5 ton like the one original to the house.
The service and attention to detail between the two companies was night and day. In addition, the company we went with gave us two years of free service checks for our air conditioner and heater and a 10 year warranty on parts and labor for the air conditioner.
Even though this company wasn’t the frugal choice when it comes to our bottom line, we feel sure that spending more money upfront will save us in the long run.
What have you purchased that wasn’t the cheapest available but will save you money in the long run?
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.