Monday, October 23, 2006

Matching Wits with Sharper Image: Frugal Options for Pricey Products

The November Sharper Image Catalogue is fun to read, but way out of my budget. And besides, I have a few no-tech/no(low)-cost alternatives to the high-tech, big-ticket items in the Sharper Image catalogue

For instance:

Store product: $19.95 buys you two antibacterial, air-tight milk and juice containers. Milk is less likely to go bad in those Tupper-ware like jugs.

Frugal alternative: Keep your milk in the original grocery store containers. At $2.50 a gallon, I’d have to spill out 4 gallons of milk before the “Fresher Longer Miracle Food Storage” milk/juice containers paid for themselves. Milk and juice evaporate far too quickly in my house for that product to be worth it for me.

Store product: $200 pesticide “sanitizing system.” Designed to clean harmful chemicals from fruits and vegetables.

Frugal alternative: Soap and water. A new shopping publication from Consumers Report recommends a home-made solution of diluted dish soap and water over the more expensive fruit washes on sale at grocery stores for under $5. I'm curious about Consumers Report's take on a $200 system.

Store product: $149.95 for “Desktop Weather station with MSN direct”
Frugal alternative: Basic Internet. During hurricane season in Miami, I go straight to the National Weather Service's site or I tap into It’s free with my DSL bill.

Store product: $69.95 Motorized Power Tie Rack
Frugal alternative: Spin the hanger.

Store product: “$99.95 Fast Sort Digital Coin Sorter'
Frugal alternative: Customer service freebies. A few of our local stores and banks offer free coin-cointing services.

Store product: Wrinkle-Free Garment steamer $39.95
Frugal alternative: Take a hot shower, bring your clothes (on a hanger) into the steamed up room with you. Wrinkles fall away while you shower.

I would, however, buy the organization “For Dummies” system from Sharper Image.At $19.85 a unit, the low-tech storage unit (for closets and drawers) would work well for me. Or maybe, I'll get some cardboard boxes.

No comments: