"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What to Buy: A Toaster Oven, a Blender or a French Coffee Press?

Ever since I found the Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn in the early 1990s, I have enjoyed becoming a tightwad and becoming a tightwad has been enormously beneficial to me.

But, some decisions are hard for me.

Sometimes, when I try to save a few pesos on small purchases, I put myself into potentially dangerous situations, like wearing shoes with very worn soles on sidewalks with lots of cracks, holes, bumps, drops and old posts left sticking up. I have tripped at least three times and one was a bad fall. Now, I toss shoes that have worn soles and scour the city for shoe sales to replace the old ones.

Also, large purchases can put me in a quandary.

Because I am working on another edition of Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook, some recipes call for the use of a blender or oven. I have neither.

I work with a finicky two-burner electric stovetop and a microwave with one setting: high. So, I have been debating, do I get a blender or a toaster oven?

Getting a blender sounds like a luxury to me, whereas a toaster oven seems more practical.

I am leaning towards a toaster oven but do I get one with lots of features or a simple one? Do I get a convection oven? When I get into a quandary, I try to give myself time to make a decision.

But, what is also holding me back is not just spending the money but my new aversion to acquiring more "things."

After a lifetime of acquiring things, though most came from thrift stores & yard sales, it was a huge chore emptying my house, my room and my sister's storeroom of items, books in particular, that I could not part with. I don't want to do that again. All I could think of was how much time I spent sorting, packing, repacking, and disposing of items over and over, and over again.

Add in the fact, I like real coffee but have no coffee maker. Do I also buy a French Coffee press? I like the idea of getting the French Coffee Press because the ones I have seen range in size, price and style and it would be easy to use and easy to transport should I move.

But, then, there's the "hidden costs", like buying ground coffee and washing up. It sounds trivial but for a person who does not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, every task involved in cooking and cleaning is an effort.

Plus, caffeine now keeps me awake if I drink it after Noon. Instant coffee has worked fine for my morning cup of coffee. But, my guests would probably prefer real coffee. But, I don't really entertain that much. And the coffee press is not needed for my next RKFNC cookbook.

I also put off buying things because there are other things I "want", like taking a trip. I like to apply Amy's adage "Get Your Bang for the Buck" as part of my decision-making. I recently decided to cancel a trip because it would cost too much money for too little pleasure. So, now, I feel like I can afford a "little" trip and maybe a toaster oven.

But, after awhile I get frustrated and feel I must make a decision.

Luckily, I hate to shop and haven't been near a store in two weeks. But, the next time I go grocery shopping, those convection toaster ovens will be there.

On one hand, because I don't have a car, it's hard to shop for bargains but on the other hand, I am a good customer at the grocery store and it would be easy to return the toaster oven should it fail to work properly.

So many little decisions make up big decisions.

I even have to think about the value of the peso. Right now it's higher than it's been in four years, about 15 pesos for 1$US. Usually it runs about 12 pesos for 1$US. The savings comes from using less US$ to buy the same amount of pesos at an ATM.

But, I won't die without a toaster oven, a blender or a coffee press, so I have time to think about these purchases.

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