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.
Marketplace is on a mission.
We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.
Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?