Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Second-Hand Blond Streak Moment & Other Hidden High Costs of Living

When is a deal not a deal? All bargains are off when the so-called bargain is packed with hidden costs. And be skeptical of hair dressers that offer free blond streaks and other one-time free services.

Consider the refrigerator. So you pay $400 to $1,000 for a new frig. Or maybe you cheap out and keep the old one or buy a used unit that is in excellent shape but not the newest model on the block. But think hard about the hidden costs of some older refrigerators:

Older units, (pre-1993) refrigerators, typically burn $140 a year in electric juice. New models (1993 to 2001) cost only about $60 a year to operate. That's a big savings. I wrote more about electric charges in this post.

That's one example. The book 500 Terrific Ideas for Organizing Everything by Sheree Bykofsky offers a number of deals-that-are-not deals.
Tip 299: Consider dry-cleaning costs when buying so-called sale items suits, slacks, skirts, etc. Calculate maintenance and related costs when considering the purchase of big-ticket items, such as cars.

And beware of hair stylists that offer free blond streaks. Those free blond moments can cost a fortune in the long run. Just ask Nora Ephron, author of "I Feel Bad About My Neck."

Scenario: Upscale hair colorist offers Ephron one-time free highlights.

Results: Ephron (The Heartburn, Harry Loves Sally screenwriter) loves the free highlights and is hooked on spending her own money for the blond strands. She pays a large some every six weeks to make her hair sparkle.

Her quote: "As a result, my hair dying habit now takes at least three hours every six weeks or so...and costs more per year than my first automobile.
--Nora Ephron from "I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being a Woman."

Thanks Nora for that second-hand blond moment.

The Frugal Duchess Boutique


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