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What a Cow, a Red Box and Hair Clippers Have in Common

August 31, 2009

If you’ve ever played the game Tri-Bond, you know the object of the game is to find the common link among three items.  On the surface they seem to have no direct correlation, but once you get thinking, it becomes clear there is a definite connection.

The Cow

Photo by: wynand

Last year, my wife and I decided to purchase a 1/4 cow along with some friends of ours who do this every year.  The cost up front was a little more, but it averaged to be around $3/lb including the butcher’s fee to package the meat. 

The meat is organic, which was important to us and it is also very high quality and tastes awesome!  We’ve had some great meals out of this. 

To avoid the storage problem, last year we decided to use our government rebate check to purchase a nice, deep freezer to store the meat.  The purchase was well worth it. 

How much do you really save by buying a side of beef?  Here’s a look at this weeks deals at Meijer, our local grocery chain.

  • USDA Choice T-Bone Steak – $4.99/lb
  • Certified Angus Top Sirloin Steak – $3.99/lb
  • Meijer Ground Round – $2.99

If you factor in the freezer, our first year we probably paid a little more than we would have shopping sales at the grocery store, however, I think the savings will be there long term and we get cuts of meat that we normally wouldn’t buy even if they were on sale (i.e. – T-Bone, Rib Eye & Porterhouse Steaks). 

The Red Box

Photo by: the upstairs room

I have to admit, it’s hard to get my wife and I to sit down and watch a movie together.  She’s strictly a romantic comedy or sappy drama type of girl and of course I prefer the action/adventure/suspense type of movies.  We’ll rent maybe one or two in a month so a deal like Netflix just doesn’t make sense for us.

Enter the red box.  RedBox is essentially a movie vending machine that costs $1.00 per night.  If you’re cheap frugal like us, you rent the movie for one night, return it the next day to any RedBox location (by 9 pm) and your only out a buck!  It’s a great deal, especially when you compare to Blockbuster where one DVD can cost your over $4.00!

What’s nice about RedBox is that you can shop their DVDs online, reserve the one you want and go pick it up at a location near you!

If you can’t get the movie back by the next day, no worries; RedBox will charge a $1/day for the rental, so even a couple of days late makes it a decent deal.

The Downside

You don’t have the luxury of hanging onto the movie for a few days and then watching it without getting charged. They are limited on their older movie selections, known as RedBox Replays.  Also, if you are renting more than 10 movies a month either: a). you have way too much time on your hands, b). you don’t have kids or c). Netflix is a better deal for you.

At any rate, for the right person Redbox can allow you to still see some movies without incurring a monthly fee (Netflix) and help keep some money in your pocket!

The Hair Clippers

 Photo by: Ria Love

 I like to keep my hair short, so I used to go in to get it cut every two to three weeks spending on average $32 a month.  A while back I got tired of the cost and the time it took out of my day to go get it done so I decided to spend $30 on hair clippers and start doing the work myself. 

A guy’s cut is relatively straightforward and having the different sized guards help to keep things even!  Now I can cut my hair whenever I have time and as often as I like. 

This isn’t for the faint of heart.  There’s been a few times I’ve “messed up”, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now!

 The Common Link

If you’re hanging with me here, you’ll notice these three things are all ways we’ve found to save some money.  We are saving probably on average among all three roughly $50 a month give or take. 

This may not seem like much, and the savings could be a little higher or lower for you; but if you take that $50/month and start socking it away into a Roth IRA or using it to knock out your debt , just imagine the lifetime savings you would reap from three simple things like this!

How About You?

Do you have a Tri-bond link that saves you money?

Have you found other areas like this to cut back and improve your monthly cash flow?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2009 10:33 am

    Ha ha… awesome stuff Jason. Sounds like you’re on an entirely similar road as I.

    My wife cuts my hair, we use Netflix (we stream them over our XBox 360 which allows us to make it worth our while).

    We are in the process of securing a 1/4 side of organic grass fed beef, along w/some chicken and pork, and already have a used Deep freezer that we bought used for $50. 🙂

    We only eat organic meats, and also butter, cheese, milk, etc. If you haven’t switched on the latter… I HIGHLY encourage it. If you have any allergies, they will all be gone after the switch! We get ours from an Amish farmer at our local farmers market.

    • August 31, 2009 8:30 pm

      Ha! That does sound similar. Nice job Matt! I’ve never had the organic butter or cheese, we may have to try it out.

  2. August 31, 2009 11:32 am

    I love the Redbox. We do Netflix, but it’s usually for movies/TV shows that only my wife and I watch. Netflix is great for the kids and there are enough Redboxes around that it’s not too much a hassle returning the movies. In fact, just did the Redbox online rental/reserve this past Friday. Plus you can get a free night by joining their email list and their SMS list.

    Haven’t done the 1/4th cow, but will consider it.

    I too cut my hair when I’m wearing my hair shot. Right now, hair is a little longer so I go to a budget place.

    Good stuff.

    • August 31, 2009 8:32 pm

      Yeah, there are more and more redboxes popping up all over so finding one close shouldn’t be a problem. The online reserve & rent is convenient and you don’t have to stand at the box all night looking for a movie and then finding out it isn’t in.

  3. August 31, 2009 2:08 pm

    About that cow … On more than occasion, my parents have purchased a cow or a half cow from the butcher and then sold the meat to us siblings.

    My dad had a formula he worked out for a cost per pound and then the ratio of what cuts we could take upon payment. That scenario worked out pretty well for me because I don’t have a deep freezer and couldn’t load up a lot on one trip.

    • August 31, 2009 8:33 pm

      Wow! Way to go dad! =) Sounds like that worked out pretty well for you guys.

  4. August 31, 2009 4:42 pm

    On the girly side of saving money on hair related costs, I’ve found my chi straight iron to be one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I have naturally curly hair and previously visited the salon to get it straightened a few times a month. My junior year in college I purchased a chi flat iron on ebay for $100 (including shipping). It straightens my hair to the same quality I paid for at the salon and I can do it on my own time, and also don’t need to tip myself 🙂 I calculate it’s saved me around 2K in salon costs over the past 5 years.

    • August 31, 2009 8:35 pm

      Wow Ashley! That’s a pretty good savings. Consider that $2,000 a nice TIP for yourself! =)

  5. September 2, 2009 6:17 am

    As one of the designers of TriBond, I would offer this: What do TURN OFF THE TV, SHUT DOWN THE COMPUTER and PLAY A BOARD GAME have in common?

    They all save you money while you invest time with family and friends.

    In the age of the Internet, we are connected to everyone, and truly close to no one. Playing games, any game, with your loved ones is an inexpensive (compared to dining out or movies) way to get multiple nights of fellowship and fun.

    One silver lining of the recession I’ve seen in our industry is that when our economy is down, sales of board games go up. Monopoly came out during the Depression and Trivial Pursuit hit it big during the recession of the early ’80s. Board-game sales in the United States climbed 6 percent in 2008 and in the first half of this year, game sales are up 10%.

    “Nesting” and taking “Staycations” have side benefits.

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