Tagged: frugal

that time “custom” was cheaper

maggie-5I love my dog.

I really do.

But, she has taken a fancy to chewing on the corner of my foyer area rug.  In the four years we have owned our yellow Labrador named Maggie, she hasn’t chewed anything else it the house.  I think chewing on the rug is fun for her because it is a woven rug and every time she attacks it she pulls a new string out.  

We have repaired the damage to the rug a few times, but it is also threadbare and ready for replacement.

My wife and I have been searching high and low for a new area rug.  We don’t want to spend a lot of money in case Maggie chews on the new one as well.  We have looked at online stores like Overstock and Wayfair.  We have searched Ikea and Target.  

We have fairly specific requirements on color, pattern, and pile height and were unable to find what we were looking for.

When we felt like we exhausted all options online, we went to a local design center that specializes in tile and flooring.  

We searched all of the area rugs on display and still did not find any that we liked.

On the way out of the store a sign caught my eye.  We were walking through the carpet section and I saw a banner that said any carpet could be cut to area rug size!  Who knew!?!

We worked with a salesperson to find a carpet that met our design requirements and also our price range.  Most area rugs that we were looking at were 5×8 feet and cost between $225-300.

It was a great surprise that the cost of our custom rug would actually come in UNDER that price point!

When we ordered the carpet we need to purchase a 12 feet wide segment as a minimum and then 5 feet long.  The company will cut the correct size and then bind the edges at a cost of $2.50 per linear foot.  Since the carpet only cost $1.79 per square foot our total for the custom rug will be about $175 and we are getting EXACTLY what we want.  

Some of you might be wondering about the excess carpet that may be discarded in the process.  Well, we also have a need for a small rug in our mud room and we will have a segment of the leftover carpet bound for use as an additional area rug

I walked away from this experience with two takeaways.

  • Be observant, talk to experts, and don’t be afraid to engage in conversation.
  • Our world is designed for convenience and off the rack shopping.  There are still a lot of expert trades people out there.  If you find them you will probably be much happier with your end product.

Have you had custom work done recently?  Were you happier with the result like I was?

PS – The picture is “before”.


everyone who can carpool should do it!

Almost one year ago I responded to a classified listing regarding a bicycle for sale on my company’s corporate bulletin board.  Through the discussion I realized that my coworker who was selling his bike lived about .25 mile from my house in the same neighborhood!  I had unsuccessfully tried to carpool with another coworker who lived in my town previously but was eager to try again.

I am happy to report that we have been carpooling for nearly 1 year with great results.  Contributing to the success of our carpool was our list of general guidelines to adhere to.

  • We both have similar work hours which is the most important thing to consider when carpooling.
  • If the passenger is reading we don’t play music, if music is on it is played low.
  • Sometimes the passenger sleeps.  The driver stays awake.
  • We alternate driving weeks but with the new EZPass rebate we have decided to use one toll transponder for the calendar month to get an $18 credit for 18 bridge crossings.
  • If one of us needs to shift schedule or anything we just drive in separately.
  • If we had an emergency at home we discussed using Uber.

In 9 months of driving together each of us had one emergency to deal with.  I used Uber and my coworker got a ride home with a friend.

It has been a great experiment in saving resources.

  • The passenger gets time to read or sleep without the stress of driving in Philadelphia traffic.
  • We both save money on gas, tolls, and auto maintenance.
  • We reduce wear and tear on our cars by at least 4300 miles per year.
  • We reduce emissions by one car.
  • We reduce traffic by one car.

Here are my dollar savings for my half of the car pool.

  • Miles per gallon – 30
  • Dollar per gallon – $1.89 – possibly the only benefit to living in NJ…CHEAP GAS!!!!
  • Miles per day – 36
  • Bridge toll per day – $5
  • Cost per day – $7.27
  • Savings per month – $72.68
  • Saving per year – $656.16
  • IRS Mileage rate savings – $2332 (A theoretical number based upon all auto expenses excluding tolls).

With so many benefits of carpooling I am surprised it is not more popular.  Common fears of being stranded are overblown with services like Uber.  I am willing to give up a little convenience to save money, resources, and the environment.  Will you join me?