Magazine Subscriptions

I foolishly let my subscription to my favorite magazine run out. When I realized it, I went online to renew it. It takes four to six weeks for the subscription to start. I bought  this months’ edition at the grocery store. It was almost double the subscription cost!

I am kicking myself for not renewing through the magazine sales at the local school. They offer the lowest subscription price available. At our school district the freshmen class sells them every year. I can also get them from various band and chorus fundraisers. My niece from Virginia sent me a card when her school was selling magazine subscriptions.

I know it is best to go to the library to read your favorite magazines. That is not an option for me due to a health issue. I buy the subscription at the lowest price available. I also found if I used my “personal spending money” I would only buy the magazines I really wanted. When I purchased subscriptions out of the family budget I bought more.

Don’t buy more magazines than you have the time to read. I leave my magazines in the bathroom and leisurely peruse them while I am soaking in the tub. If next months’ issues arrive before you finished reading this months then you have too many subscriptions. Cut back to the ones that are the most helpful.

I make my magazines do double duty. The following months’ issue arrives in the middle of the month, i.e. April’s issue arrives around March 15th. I read them and pass them on to my favorite beautician. She has them in her shop at the beginning of the month. She has current issues for her shop and I don’t have a pile of magazines anywhere.

If you are wanting to donate your magazines, make sure they are current issues. Some libraries in small towns will welcome them. Call them first to check.

Older issues are welcome at preschools and public schools. Just be sure to call to see if they are appropriate for children. They cut them up for various projects.

Part of living a frugal lifestyle is to get the most out of everything you purchase. Pass it on, don’t send it to the landfill.

Better Homes and Gardens Agreed

I was thrilled when I read the “Living Green” section of the April, 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. They agreed with me about rebates and tax credits. (See “Rebate? Not a Deal Maker”, March 10, 2010)

Pg 101. Point 3. “Payback isn’t the only indicator of whether you should upgrade. Be realistic about the money you’ll get back by making an energy upgrade.

Though you’re eligible for a tax credit by replacing your current windows or furnace, for example, the credit likely won’t be enough of an incentive on its own. You may not recoup all your costs in energy savings either.

However, investing in a good-quality, energy-smart products offers other benefits, with personal comfort topping the list. And if you were already considering a replacement product, the tax credit may provide an opportunity you don’t want to pass up.”

The bottom line is to wait until a product needs replaced, then look into tax credits or rebates. And do your homework to get the best deal for your money.

“Dated?” Who cares, it works.

We are living in a “throw away” society. If it breaks, throw it away. Appliances used to last thirty years, now they are expected to last ten years.

I like to watch the shows on HGTV; but I am disgusted with the term “dated”. Items are rejected that are five or ten years old. These items are useful and serve a purpose, they have just fallen out of fashion. Many times the replacement item, that is fashionable today, is useless and does not function at all.

An example is vertical blinds. They are torn down and replaced with drapes, fixed panels or sliding panels. Yet, none of the replacements can be turned so the sun is not shining in, but the light is let in. You have full sunlight or no light at all.  People with allergies love vertical blinds because they do not accumulate dust like horizontal blinds. Any dust that lands on them is knocked off when they are opened and closed.

We need to repair, not replace. Pieces of furniture, like broken chair legs, can be replaced. Fill in gouges, touch up scratches with stain, repaint or just give them a good cleaning.

Even the vanes of vertical blinds can be repaired. When they tear, I turn them over and punch a hole in the bottom using a hole punch. Sometimes I move the repaired vanes to the back, but the holes are so small that it is not necessary.

Rebate? Not a Deal Maker

My friends dishwasher died last week. She said it was from the sixties and it was time to replace it. They heard on the news about the rebates for energy-efficient appliances and thought it died at an opportune time.

They went shopping, chose a model and asked the salesman for paperwork on the rebate.

The money for the rebate was gone. Actually, the money allocated for our state for rebates was used up in the first eight hours of the first day the rebate was offered. They were three days  too late.

Yet, even now I am still seeing advertisements on the rebates!

Rebates are not a reason to make a major purchase. If you qualify, then by all means do the paperwork immediately and send it in. But do not, put a rebate on the pro side of your “pro con” list when deciding whether to make a major purchase.

The majority of purchasers will not take the time to fill out the paperwork, find the serial number, find the model number, cut out the UPC code, copy their receipt and send it in during the allotted time. Manufacturers know that.

Even our utility companies that are telling us how “green” they are, know it. Utility companies change which item will get a rebate from year to year.

We watched the ads of the rebates on replacing your energy-efficient windows for several years. We came into some money and since, I swear, the man who built our house took the windows out of a 1950 trailer; they desperately needed replaced. They were single-paned Plexiglass!

Our windows were installed during a mild December. I was so happy and looked forward to the smaller heating bills. Then we looked for the paperwork to get our rebate. The ads were for $300.00 per window and we replaced all the windows in our small home.

Imagine my surprise to find that the rebate was not offered that year, but it was available the following year. When my contractor found out he offered to change all of the billing to January of the next year. We declined.

I know, I am painfully honest. People don’t believe me, but I have a hyper conscience and I like to sleep at night.

I learned to ignore the rebate when making my decision right then and there. Everywhere you turn, you will hear about rebates, the paperwork is mailed to the contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. They will use it as a selling point. I am not faulting them.

Last year there was a rebate and a tax credit offered to replace your furnace. When my plumber was checking my furnace last fall in preparation for the coming heating season he mentioned it. He did the math for me and said I could get a furnace for one-fourth of the price. I didn’t bite.

I trust my plumber and I know it looked good on paper, but I still would have to pay 100% of the cost to him up front and wait to be reimbursed. There was a 50-50 chance that I would not. He admitted that the furnace, although old, was working very well.

I feel the same way about tax credits. They make it difficult to qualify. My friends purchased a home last year, but it was a couple months before the tax credit took effect, so they missed out on a $6500.00 credit.

The bottom line is to buy what you need, when you need it. If you are going to buy it anyway and you qualify for a rebate or tax credit, don’t procrastinate, do the paperwork right away.

Just don’t replace something that is working fine for an elusive rebate or tax credit. It’s not worth going into debt for or using your hard-earned savings.