Support Marketplace

Cheapskates who learned their lessons

Saving in a piggy bank

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: And another update, this time from last week's show. We invited all you cheapskates out there to tell us your tales of frugality. But with a twist. We wanted to hear how trying to save a buck, ended up costing you more. You sent, shall we say, some "interesting" confessions. A free quart of paint led to a $2,000 bathroom remodel. Cheap diapers equaled damaged clothes on baby and parent. A $75 donkey purchase, I'm sorry, guard donkey purchase resulted in a $400 vet bill. Vet visits were something of a theme, actually. Here's a sampling of the rest.


Carey Breeef: My name is Carey Breeef, I live in Raleigh, N.C. My wife and I bought a house built in 1835 that needed a lot of work. We needed wood to redo the house, and instead of buying new lumber, I decided to look for a free barn, dismantle it and use it to rebuild our dream home.

I bought a saw mill at $18,000, a trailer for $350. At least $1,200 worth of hand and power tools and safety equipment. A $6,500 tree-lift truck to get up high, which died about 10 miles from where I bought it and cost thousands to get fixed and towed. Then I hired a tow truck to pull the barn down for $600, and then $1,500 to have a guy help haul all the material to my backyard. Then the neighbors got mad.

It only took eight years to get the work down, and I didn't use up using the wood on the house anyway. Lots of fun, but too much stress and a big financial loss. Really big.

Nick Brown: My name is Nick Brown. I live in Redondo Beach, Calif. During the heady dot-com boom, I tried a website called CyberRebates.com after a few friends had tried it successfully. The idea was that you bought an item at a very high price, but then you'd get a rebate for 100 percent of the purchase price, thus while you overpaid, it was temporary, and in the end, you got the item for free. I bought a CD player for $500 when the retail price at a local electronics store was just $120. Every thing was fine until CyberRebates.com went bankrupt and was unable to fulfill its rebate. In the end, I ended up paying four or five times more than what the CD player was worth.

James Wagner: My name is James Wagner. I'm a transportation planner in Tulsa, Okla. After a long, hot, tiring trip to Washington D.C. for Independence Day in 2007, my wife and I flew back home. Our flight was delayed due to weather, and we ended up back at the airport at 1:30 in the morning. Rather than taking a cab home, I insisted that we wait until the public transit train started running at 5 a.m. so we could get home for $3 rather than $45. We slept in the airport until 5 a.m., and then took a train to a bus to get home. And we're still married.

Tess Vigeland: Alright, we promised a limited edition Marketplace Money piggy bank to the best or worst story. And our winner is the "free" barn wood that cost North Carolina's Cary Breeef more than $28,000. And he didn't even use it. There's more at Marketplace.org.

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