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Old 21-06-2012, 01:54   #1
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FRUGAL or CHEAP

a job done right the first time is cheaper by 2squared, even if it cost twice as much as the first job done the wrong.

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Old 24-06-2012, 15:47   #2
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Well, yes, but a job done right the first time, cheaply is still cheaper than a job done expensively.

This is a topic that is particularly relevant to me today.

I am sitting here, surrounded by 3 years of frugal/cheap shopping for boat systems and parts.

I have panels and busbars, marine wire, fishfinders, wind instruments, radar and battery chargers; LED lights and stereo and speakers. Hot water heaters, water pumps, float switches, GFIs and doohickies.

And thats just the stuff for the elecrtical systems.

My goal is to have it all organized so that tommorrow, when I meet the guy who is doing all the wiring between all the bits and bobs, I have it all figured out as well as I can. Make as sure as I can that I have all the required parts.

It's not perfect, and not streamlined, but at the end of the day we will have spent pennies on the dollar for our systems.

Finders crossed it all works out!

PS. anyone with a spare autohelm seatalk and depth st50 units feel free to contact me with your last and lowest price. That would go along way towards streamlining the nav stuff ; -)
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Old 24-06-2012, 15:57   #3
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

If you know exactly what you want, then auction, used stores etc can be good. However. My experience is that most bargains sit, unused, and i end buying something more appropriate when ready to install. Thus, the cost is higher.
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Old 24-06-2012, 16:01   #4
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Oh if you only KNEW the number of times Himself has heard "If we don't need it it's not a deal"....

I think I have done pretty well actually. I have been really selective in what I have purchased. That is, as you say, key to this method of aquiring supplies.
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Old 24-06-2012, 16:21   #5
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Do you know how much you saved, both in $$$ and as a percentage of what you would have paid for the stash if purchased new?

I'm not a very good buyer. Rather, I'm not good at finding the deals I hear many on CF talk about. I want to be better, b/c god knows, I don't have a lot of money. I just haven't been able to develop the skill, patience and aptitude for tracking down the great deals. I know what I want, and usually I go buy it, new and crisp, from the online stores.

On the flip side, I'm pretty good at doing things myself (or finding friends who will help me DIY). When we did the complete rewire on our old boat (the one that is for sale now), we bought the best stuff, but then did all the work ourselves.

We saved lots on the project, BUT if I could put together your skills at saving in the the purchases sarafina, and still DIY, then we're really talking major savings.
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Old 24-06-2012, 16:42   #6
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

We research exhaustively the options out there on any given system so we have a pretty good idea of what is out there.

We do a regular round of the consignment shops and have good relationships with them and rely on their suggestions of what will work for us.

We go to pretty much all the marine swapmeets to see what is avaliable. We arrive early and just walk thru to spot what is there, stopping only if there is a can't wait or it will be gone for sure good deal. This month that would be that autohelm st50 depth unit I want for the Cal, so I can put the fishfinder on the ranger. Then we do a slower wander and pick up the syuff that we need that we like the price on.

Do not be afraid to make an offer. The worst that will happen is they will say no. It's only worth what someone will pay for it, NOT what someone is asking for it. You don't ask, you don't get!

We take the computer and get online to check items we are not sure about, either function or price. Most swap meets are at clubs that have wifi you can use as a guest. When that fails we google on the smartphone.

If it doesn't feel like a slamdunk you have to be willing to walk away. If it's not what you need don't buy it. If it's not in condition that makes you happy don't buy it.

There will always be another deal out there. Only occasionally have I missed out on something and had big nonbuyer remorse afterwards.

Oh, and keep track of what you have so you don't buy two!

As far as savings go... depends. Got the autohelm st50(unused never installed) wind and radar for 120 bucks complete. That's an outdated system so hard to say what the current price would be.

Insinkerator hotwaterheater was 5 bucks. New never been installed. Retail is $200.

Handheld radios (3) with extra chargers $15.

Power panel free out of a dumpster at a high end yard, along with some really nice panels of mahogany and teak in larg odd shaped pieces, maybe a scratch or two.

Guest battery charger $20, unused. New would be $250 I think.

hummingbird fishfinder used in good condition $20. New maybe $125? Can't remember.

vetus soft water bladder 30 gallon, $10, unused. New? ALOT.

heavy duty high quality hose fiber reinfored lined, way more that we could ever use for $20. Runs 1.25 a foot for a lower quality at Lowes. Will use the larger for the plumbing and the smaller for replacing venting.

Enough sunbrella cushions from Lands End (14, that can be attached to make a bottom/back seat combo) to use in the cockpit on huge clerance maybe $75? Not custom done, but easy to stack and store in the quarter berth and flexible for using where ever needed. And they were the perfect turquoise and orange colours!

Lots of other stuff, we have a locker full we are clearing out right now, as we get the installs underway. We are doing most of the labour ourselves as well, but I didn't want to have to do all the crimping on the wiring so I am installing the fixtures and outlets and he will secure the wires in place and crimp, and connect to the panel.

If I had to guess I would say I usually am willing to spend somewhere under 20% of retail on most things, but have scored plenty of times a much better margin than that/

Keep in mind we have been waiting 3 years for this overhaul, so you have to be willing to wait for things to come along.
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Old 24-06-2012, 17:22   #7
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Sara,
I aways enjoy your posts. Full of wit and interesting to boot. Now I agree with your method of acquiring things except....
Except with electronics (not electrical supplies btw, just electronics)
Because:
Electrical devices are obsolete by the time we get them, and
they are slowing going down in price.
These two factors combine to make it almost impossible to determine what a used chartplotter is worth, not to mention radar, AIS etc. Solution?
I only buy electronic goodies that I need NOW for sailing. Not going offshore in the fog? Don't need a radar. Not talking on the cruisenets? Don't need a SSB. Going to do all that in 5 years? I will buy it then, probably at less $$$. Leaves a lot of space on the Nav table and a few holes in the woodwork, but I don't care. When I do buy, I try to buy middle of the stream, proven and newish. If the model has been around a few years, but has been carefully upgraded, then I am really interested. But I do not hold the illusion that something better won't be there next week. I am really frugal because a chartplotter will not be any good after 5 years of careful use, but a sail will be.
It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on the other side of your refit (where I am slowly getting too after 3 years of project)
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Old 24-06-2012, 18:13   #8
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

I,adopted a NEW philosaphy refitting my new to me boat,don't buy it till I,am ready to use it.I,have misplaced so many items over the years I,can not count them also if I,think I,need something let it rest for a day or two another approach may come to mind.
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Old 25-06-2012, 06:12   #9
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
We go to pretty much all the marine swapmeets to see what is avaliable. We arrive early and just walk thru to spot what is there, stopping only if there is a can't wait or it will be gone for sure good deal. This month that would be that autohelm st50 depth unit I want for the Cal, so I can put the fishfinder on the ranger. Then we do a slower wander and pick up the syuff that we need that we like the price on.

...

If I had to guess I would say I usually am willing to spend somewhere under 20% of retail on most things, but have scored plenty of times a much better margin than that/
WOW Sarafina, you're my shopping hero! Excellent advice. I'll definitely try to start practicing some of your techniques.

The main challenge I face is location. Up here, on the north shore of Lake Superior, we don't have consignment shops, and there is exactly one swap meet (and I don't think it happens every year). Heck, we don't even have a boat chandler. Pretty much everything I buy comes via online shops, or is generic enough to be bought at large retailers.

I guess I'll have to spend more time on ebay, Craig's and Kijiji.

Quote:
Originally Posted by casual View Post
I,adopted a NEW philosaphy refitting my new to me boat,don't buy it till I,am ready to use it.I,have misplaced so many items over the years I,can not count them also if I,think I,need something let it rest for a day or two another approach may come to mind.
AGREED! As a rule I try and buy what I need, when I need it. I am rarely swayed by "sales", and if I am I make sure I a actually need the thing (or will need the thing at some specific time in the future -- not just "maybe").
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Old 25-06-2012, 06:31   #10
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I only buy electronic goodies that I need NOW for sailing. Not going offshore in the fog? Don't need a radar. Not talking on the cruisenets? Don't need a SSB. Going to do all that in 5 years? I will buy it then, probably at less $$$. Leaves a lot of space on the Nav table and a few holes in the woodwork, but I don't care. When I do buy, I try to buy middle of the stream, proven and newish. If the model has been around a few years, but has been carefully upgraded, then I am really interested. But I do not hold the illusion that something better won't be there next week. I am really frugal because a chartplotter will not be any good after 5 years of careful use, but a sail will be.
We are taking the same general approach to electronics Newt. We have what we need right now, and plan to do a final purchase of new stuff as the last thing we do before cutting the lines (23 months, and counting).

CPU-driven electronics will continue on the "better, stronger, faster" curve for the foreseeable future, so it makes sense to buy new, and only when needed. But I wouldn't worry about the fact that your purchase will be out of date the next day. A chart plotter that is eight years old is still a chart plotter today. It goes slower, and probably can't be upgraded to the new charts, but it still works.
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Old 25-06-2012, 09:26   #11
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Yeah , buying just before you install it is def the best. Things change, or the space you thought you had gets filled up with something else!
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Old 25-06-2012, 09:46   #12
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

It's all a trade off. If you buy ahead of time you may not use it all or your needs may change. I've definitely got some bits and bobs that I won't need at the end of the day.

On the other hand if you are trying to do it well, and on the cheap I think you have to have a mindset that you are collecting what you need, over time, as you find it.

As I pack up all the electrical stuff to take to the boat this morning I figure it would have cost me THOUSANDS more if I was going to try right now to buy what I need.

And as far as the technology curve goes, I would say that's different mindsets as well. I can't go buy a suite of nav instruments that are current. If that was the only way to upgrade from the 45 year old non functional analog instruments we would be sailing with no nav other than a hand held gps, a chart and a watch.

This way I am going to have electronic depth gauge, wind and radar. And sailing in the San Francisco Bay makes it nice to have that radar... fog rolls in and you are pretty much blind in a very small window.

But I bought all the components separately, over the course of 2 years... and lived with it stashed all that time.

And the day I score that matching seatalk unit I am going to be pretty happy ; -)

That I will install immediately!!

And I do scrounge consignment shops when I am traveling, as weel, for those with out a good resource in their own area.

This spring I scoured San Diego and Los Angeles while visiting for a few days! You never know what you will find. Came within 24 inches of the perfect replacement headsail!
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Old 25-06-2012, 10:28   #13
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

I need to replace all my electrics as they got drowned,

I know what I need, its sitting on the table in front of me, So its just the price of the items I need to find,

I Googled it, World wide, I bought all new parts, nothing second hand, It came from the USA, England, China, Taiwan,

So far, I have paid $1400-00 AUD, for all my new parts, Some parts have been upgraded to heavier parts above the ones I have,

Saving me approx 6 to 8 grand, The invertor alone saved me $3500-00 on the Australian or USA price and both of those were made in China any way,

The house AGM's I will buy when the boat is ready to put back in the water, In about 2 or 3 months time,

Still sourcing High volume submersible bilge pumps. At least 35 gallons per minute each,
an 8.2 KVA diesel generator to run the pumps is $999-00 delivered, But I think that one will be too heavy, So looking for a lighter one,

The wiring I will do myself, and then get a sparky to check it over to make sure its right,
Its basically plugging the new electrics back into the spots they came out off,

New anchors is just a matter of paying for them and picking them up, I go past the place that makes them on my way down to the boat, Been there and checked them out,
Australian made SARCA's, I even got to watch a video of them being tested,
For the price of them and then making my own and getting them galvanised, It works out about the same price, For a hundred bucks price difference, I just couldnt be bothered making my own, which would be a copy of the SARCA any way,

Nothing else on the boat was damaged, so nothing else needs replacing, Just a bit of maintenance here and there.
Which I will do my self,
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Old 25-06-2012, 10:30   #14
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Your doing it the right way Sara, buy it before you need it, Then you can shop around and get it cheaply,

If you buy it when you need it, you dont get the bargains,
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Old 25-06-2012, 11:53   #15
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Re: FRUGAL or CHEAP

Thanks for responding Sarah, I hoped I had not offended you with my middle of the on call post. My point was you may not like what you have gotten cheaply after trying to make them all talk together. It is worth my time and peace of mind just to get a newer system that is built to add on as I need to.
But it will be interesting to see how happy you are with your hybrid.
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