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Archive for January, 2007

Sometimes It's Better to Save Time Than Money

January 3rd, 2007 at 02:24 pm

I finished 2006 somewhat in the red. During the year I replaced all the windows in my house with more energy-efficient ones. While I could have struggled with the old double-hung windows a few years longer (some of them had to be wrestled open with a screwdriver), I really, really wanted new ones. I have a neighbor who used to be in the window-installation business. I bought my kitchen cabinets used from him when I moved to the neighborhood and he gave me a great deal. He and some friends earn a little extra money doing the occasional window installation job on weekends. I could have bought the windows myself and my brother would have installed them, but he has plenty of work to do at his own home and while I would have saved a lot, I would have waited months, perhaps years, for the job to be completed. So I spent the dough and I'm glad I did. There's even a small tax deduction I can take for doing an energy efficient improvement to the house. While I hope the windows will eventually pay for themselves in energy savings, I'm still pinched by the expenditure.

I also opted to have a contractor replace the gutters on my house instead of doing it myself (that is, asking my brother to do it). My brother replaced the soffits and fascia, which were either in bad shape or nonexistent, and while it took about 2 months for the contractor to get around to the job and I got poured on every time I went in or out the door when it was raining, again it seemed prudent to have the professionals get the job done in one day. They did beautiful trimming and ran two of the downspouts into a trench drain my brother dug over the summer. The gutters on my garage are old steel ones that have rusted through, so my brother saved the old aluminum gutters from the house and will eventually put them on the garage.

I guess I'm not being terribly frugal, but sometimes it just seems to make more sense to get something done well and quickly than to putz around hoping to save a few dollars by cobbling things together or getting it done in fits and starts.