Friday, January 20, 2012

Use it Up, Wear it Out: The Lunchbox Edition

One of my favorite bloggers on the planet is Katy over at The NonConsumer Advocate.  Katy is an expert at avoiding the purchase of anything new while leaving no stone unturned in her search for additional income.  (After all, if you turn over a stone, you might find some loose change!)  If you haven't started reading her blog regularly, you will want to do so for some great ideas on saving money and spending only on what matters.

Katy has launched the "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without" Challenge, in which she urges readers to get their last bit of value out of every purchase before looking for a replacement.  So, in honor of Katy (and her use of my favorite WWII homefront slogan), I present the saga of our lunch box.

Meet our old insulated lunch box.  Mr. FC&G informs me that he got this as a free door prize sometime before we were married, so it is at least 11 years old.  We have used it and abused it, as you can see.  It is ripped and torn beyond repair, and recently it tore so much that it became difficult to put in an ice pack or a relatively heavy glass container of leftovers.  It was time to let it go.

(Did we use it up enough, Katy?)

So, meet the new lunch box.  While Katy would have found a brand new one at Goodwill for $1.99 through judicious shopping (she would have been keeping an eye out from the time of the first tear, I think!), I went ahead and ordered one from L.L.Bean.  The lunch box was $29.95, but they were having a 15% off sale, plus I had $20 in coupon dollars from my L.L.Bean credit card, and I received free shipping.  Total cost to me:  $5.46

I expect this thing to wear like iron, or at least to wear as well as the old freebie did.  If we get another 10 years of use out of the new one, it will cost us less than 55 cents per year to tote our glass food containers, our cloth napkins, and our stainless steel water bottles around.  I should be able to recoup that cost by simply keeping my eyes to the ground looking for lost coins, just as Katy does.

Thanks for being an inspiration, Katy!  Readers, what have you used up, worn out, made do, or done without?
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  1. I bought a pair of the most comfortable, fleecy yoga pants about 8 years ago when I was pregnant with my son and finally replaced them last week. I could overlook the frayed hems and the paint was the threadbare stride that convinced me it was time to replace them :) I didn't throw them away though...they're my official paint pants now.

  2. L.L.Bean is AMAZING. In 10 years when it's falling apart, they'll replace it, because they have a lifetime guarantee (at least they will give you store credit for its cost, so you can buy another one). I've used that to my advantage a lot :) L.L.Bean is an amazing company so don't just chuck it when it looks like your old lunch box!