Category Archives: tips

Frugal Tip: Repair and Maintain

With the US recession monster casting a shadow even on the Canadian economy, I think it’s even more important than normal to find ways to prolong the use of things that you already have.

What do I mean by this? Repairing and maintaining things instead of running out and buying something cheap and new!

We currently live in a disposable society; purchasing things that are cheaply made and replacing them as they get worn or break with no thought as to how this effects our pocketbooks or the environment. (My roommate is a prime example of disposable society; she buys cheaply made crap and it breaks a week after she gets it, or it doesn’t do as good a job as something of better quality would. Now we’re stuck with irreparable furniture, etc. that we can’t even use but don’t want to get rid of since she just bought it. I’d rather just save up and get a good quality item.)

This topic has been breached before by blogs such as WiseBread and Get Rich Slowly, but I wanted to talk about how I do this for myself in a real-world example.

I’ve slowly begun buying higher-quality items for myself and my home in an effort to reduce costs in the longterm. Yes, buying higher-quality stuff costs more (sometimes a lot more) in the short term, but one of the benefits is that almost all of the things I’ve purchased can be easily maintained or repaired when the time comes due to superior materials and construction.

For example, I spent this morning focusing on my clothing. I folded everything I had lying around so it wouldn’t get dirty (every time you wash your clothes they break down a little bit more) and put it away. I also paid some attention to things that needed some sprucing up.

I used a fabric shaver to remove the pills on some pants and shirts which made them look instantly better. I also checked all the hems and seams for wear, sewing anything that I came across. Same thing for buttons. They’re easy to sew back on, so I checked my garments for loose ones and fixed them before they fell off.

As you can see I put my moderate skill in sewing to work. If you don’t know how to sew on a button or fix a hemline, you should find someone who can and get them to teach you–it’s ridiculously easy to do and saves the life of the garment as well as money since you don’t have to pay someone to fix it for you.

Now all the clothes that I worked on are refreshed and guaranteed to last me longer than if I had just let them fall apart.

This morning I also paid some attention to my footwear. I have a wonderful pair of black leather ankle boots that I simply adore. They cost me a pretty penny but are easy to maintain. When I first got them I made sure to use a protective spray on them to repel the elements. Now that it’s winter and gross and salty outside, I used a soft cloth to wipe them down, then applied a cheap shoe polishing cream to restore the beautiful black shine of the leather. So easy!

Once they were dry I sprayed them with the protectant and BAM! They look like new again! The beauty of leather is that it CAN be repaired and shined up again. If you had fake Payless shoes you definitely couldn’t do that to them.

How did this save me money? Easy. I didn’t have to buy another pair of boots, or a cheap replacement pair that wouldn’t be nearly as nice or comfortable as my high-quality boots. And I have the peace of mind knowing that I won’t need to buy new boots for a long, long time :)

These were just examples from today, but I’ve also taken to buying nicer furniture that is built to last. Some furniture polish and elbow grease can keep a nice piece beautiful for years, much better than the 2-year average lifespan of Ikea-grade stuff (I love Ikea stuff, but at some point you have to upgrade!)

Can you think of any other ideas where it pays to pay more for something? What kinds of things do you do to keep your belongings in good condition?