Frugal Living

Finding a cheaper alternative

Deciding to spend $50 instead of $500 often seems like a simple decision but without realizing it we often choose the more expensive item. Most times we do this without even realizing that there was another cheaper alternative.

No matter what the purchase is that you’re considering, whether it’s small like new curtains or big like a new house, think outside the box and consider what other options you have.

This is especially important if you are working intensely at getting out of debt, like us, or working towards your financial goals. Considering what options you have and choosing the cheaper alternative allows you to put more money towards your financial goals.

Consider the following suggestions to choose the cheaper alternative:

  • Buy new carseats, not a new car

    • True story! When I was pregnant with our second child we bought a used mini-van. We felt we had to buy this because one day we wanted a third child and 3 carseats couldn’t fit across our backseat. We didn’t even know that we could’ve spent $600 on 3 new narrow carseats instead of $11,000 on a new van!
  • Car maintenance, not a new car or expensive repair bills

    • We make sure to get regular oil changes on our cars and recommended maintenance to prevent us from purchasing a new car. One of our cars currently has 175,000 miles on it and we’re really hoping that through regular maintenance it will last us until we are out of debt.
  • New organization systems, not a new house or house renovation.

    • We really want to renovate our upstairs because we currently have 3 children in one bedroom and many other rooms serve multiple functions. Instead of spending $10,000 before we get out of debt renovating our upstairs to add more bedrooms, we’re spending $200 on more storage containers and organizational systems.
    • It’s very common to think that if you are outgrowing your space your only option is to buy a bigger, more expensive house. Consider that instead of spending thousands more on a new house, spend a few hundred dollars on more efficient organizational systems or decor updates that will keep you in a cheaper house.
  • Preventative health items, not expensive medical bills

    • There are free things that you can do to have a profound effect on your health. Simple things like adequate sleep, drinking enough water, deep breathing to de-stress, simple exercise like walking outside, and reducing your sugar intake (which also saves you lots of money!) cost no money at all and can help reduce your medical bills.
  • Cheaper produce instead of more expensive options.

    • Oftentimes people think that they wouldn’t dare tighten their grocery budget because health is too important. I agree that taking care of your health through good food is important! But there are often cheaper options you can choose while still having produce.
    • Cheaper vegetables like carrots, celery, potatoes, instead of more expensive veggies
    • Cheaper fruits like bananas instead of more expensive fruits like berries
  • Around the house:

    • DIY storage items using recyclable items instead of expensive organizational systems
    • Contact paper or packing tape instead of a laminator
    • Looking at a second hand thrift store first instead of immediately buying something full price
    • Borrowing an item instead of purchasing

Something to keep in mind is that if your only option you’re considering is the same item but of poor quality; that may end up costing you more in the long run. I’m suggesting that you think out of the box about what cheaper alternatives may be out there for the problem you’re facing! 

What are some cheaper alternatives that you have decided on? What are some expensive mistakes (like our car seats vs. new car) that you’ve made? Do you need alternate suggestions for specific large purchases you’re considering?

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