I think before I buy-and this means subjecting the item I might want to buy to my usual 'test' process. I do some research to find out the real costs and benefits and also consider 'why' I want the item and if I really need it or could use something else for the same purpose--especially something I already have.
For several days I've been mulling over three possible purchases.
1. Start a new embroidery project using new materials. Problem: I already have alot of embroidery materials--just for a different type of stitching. Why do this: Mainly just because I'm kind of 'in the mood' to try Mountmellick. A flag goes up here! 'The mood' can be a budget buster--I've learned that--I try not to let my moods rule my pockets. A good way to do that is to WAIT--often moods will change anyhow, and if not I don't think I have to let my 'mood' dictate to my pockets.
2. Purchase a Y membership or a trial membership in order to get water exercise for my stiff back and joints. Why: Oh I just wake up so stiff and think how nice it would feel to be in a pool right now, moving about freely.. sigh... Problem: A Y membership is an ongoing investment. I don't need it for about half the year when I can use my own backyard pool. I can take my usual walks and I can make use of my TV to find programs to exercise along with. No I won't get to enjoy the weightless water exercise right now, but winter isn't that long here I can wait. Even stretching without water will help my back and joints feel better.
3. Invest in a pressure canner. Why A pressure canner? I think this is an item that would save me more money than it will cost. I have researched well and concluded that the best deal for me, barring finding one 2ND hand, would be to purchase a 16 qt Presto from Walmart online and have it shipped free to our local store for pick up. I'm almost 100% sure I'll do this. I can list the pros for this decision and really there is not much that I see as a downside.
If I have a larger garden next year--or any year--I will be able to process everything not just tomatoes, I can also take better advantage of fresh produce or meats that go on sale at the store or local farmers markets.
I will be able to free up space in my chest freezer by canning some of the meat and poultry thus allowing room for more vegetables--especially the type I like for steaming and stir frying.
My above fridge freezer could also be freed up some if I were to can some of our leftovers: soups & chili especially. This would mean I could store homemade soup and chili and never have to buy store bought. *Homemade would be healthier as well.
If we experienced a power outage I would have a means to save the contents of my freezer--One prolonged power outage could cost me hundreds of dollars that this $62.75 investment would prevent. Freezer insurance!
Safety-- if I had a pressure canner I would not have to worry about Hubby being 'creative' with boiling water bath canning. Pressure canners do have their own dangers--but I think he will appreciate that and follow the directions--especially cuz its a 'cool gadget' and that's just a guy thing. ;) What is different here though is that pressure canners can safely can ANY recipe. It is not needed to be sure the acid is correct in the recipe. So--this could be peace of mind insurance for me, and possibly life insurance for him.
Because of these factors--I've got a smaller canner in mind to do small batch canning. It won't be hard to store or so heavy I have to wrestle with it--and it will be inexpensive. This is pretty close to a 'done' decision--I'm just making sure I can't find a deal locally first--but I think I'm going to do this.
This is how semi-frugal decisions get made. I like to let things simmer a bit and chew on them. I've been pondering all three of these things for several days now. I have done all my research and my mulling--I have a good idea what the real costs are and the real benefits and IF there are alternate ways to get similar benefits.
I think that if I had looked at purchases this hard back in the day before we got our taste of hard times I might have gone and just done whatever I felt like. And that my freinds is why so many of us are in the leaky boats we are.
Think Before You Buy is a Pokeberry Semi-Frugal Best Practice