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Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-15-2005, 06:40 AM   #1
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Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

The book "The Millionaire Mind" pitched the idea of considering overall life cycle costs for goods purchased.
For example, brand X of shoe might cost 1.5x that of brand Y but last 2x as long. How about we share our favorite low life cycle cost brands. Here are mine:

automobile: Toyota/Honda - IMHO lowest cost per mile over >100K miles
polo style shirt:Asheworth - These things last at least 3 times as long as any other shirt I have tried. Buy them on line or if you live in Texas, at the San Marcos outlet mall
casual shoes:Clarks - comfortable and very durable. I buy 'em from the clearance rack at zappos.com
casual pants: Dockers. Suspect there are better life cycle cost deals out there. Ideas?




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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-15-2005, 08:02 PM   #2
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Hi Bill,

This is a good concept, but is not always easy to apply and doesn't always translate between different people with different lifestyles. When I compare my list to yours, here's what I get.

Quote:
automobile: Toyota/Honda - IMHO lowest cost per mile over >100K miles
I do a lot of offroad driving in very rugged terrain in order to get to places where I like to investigate archaeology sites and features. Although I've driven a wide variety of vehicles, the one that has been most cost effective is a 1995 Dodge RAM 1500 with a short bed and camper. I have over 130,000 miles on it and that's very good for me. The gas milage s*cks, but it has faired far better than other pick-ups and SUVs I've driven.

Quote:
polo style shirt:Asheworth - These things last at least 3 times as long as any other shirt I have tried. Buy them on line or if you live in Texas, at the San Marcos outlet mall
I'm not familiar with these, but I've found that I can get free T-shirts from all kinds of places -- fairs, trade shows, etc. I must have 200 of them and you can't beat a free shirt in the durability per cost metric.

Quote:
casual shoes:Clarks - comfortable and very durable. I buy 'em from the clearance rack at zappos.com
I'll have to check these out. I have to admit that when I shop for casual shoes, I usually just buy the first pair I find that fits me. In the past, I've sometimes found that by the time I go looking for my next pair of shoes, the manufacturer of the last pair either no longer exists or has changed the styles so much that the new shoes no longer fit.

Quote:
casual pants: Dockers. Suspect there are better life cycle cost deals out there.
I used to like Dockers too -- when I had to go to work and look presentable. I still have several pair, but they don't see much use. Now I prefer Carhart jeans. My wife discovered Carharts when she worked as a park ranger -- costly, but very durable and rugged.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-15-2005, 10:56 PM   #3
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Bill,

I agree that Hondas are wonderful. I've never had a Toyota, but they have an even better reputation.

Speaking of Clarks, I went into a Clark's mall shop during Christmas and was surprised to see that they still sell Wallabies and Desert Boots. I wore those Desert Boots in high school in the 50s. The salesman said they first came on the market before WW2. I wore Wallabies in the 70s. Like you say, you can't wear them out-uppers or soles.

Another great shoe, indestructible and almost infinitely renewable, is Birkenstocks. They cost a bit more, but as I developed plantar tendonitis a few years ago, these have become my shoe of choice for any occasion when I don't have to be dressed up. They pretty much cured my foot problem, at no cost beyond the shoe.

Jeans- I agree that the Carhart's are very durable, but I don't like them because they are so heavy. Too hot, and not comfortable. Wal-Mart sells Wrangler carpenter jeans for $18. They are good looking, comfortable, reasonably light and durable enough for anything other than crawling around all day.

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The ultimate "low-life cycle cost" brand: Goodwill
Old 01-16-2005, 07:41 AM   #4
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The ultimate "low-life cycle cost" brand: Goodwill

"Millionaire Mind" focuses on goods used for work. Stanley doesn't seem to appreciate that reliable brands may be irrelevant in retirement when you can buy used.

Hondas-- definitely. I've heard that every fourth Hawaii car is a Honda. But Nissan is starting to get some visibility-- our '97 Altima has been wonderful. Whatever the brand or model, it still seems best to buy used from the classifieds (especially after checking Consumer Reports & CarFax) and drive them into the ground...

Free t-shirts, or Goodwill's $1.99 rack (especially with a coupon!). However I've learned not to wash shop rags with my t-shirts because I have trouble sorting them after the dryer.

Footwear-- rubber slippers, er, flipflops. Usually $5/pair at Goodwill or the swap meet. Every couple years I buy last year's model of $40 sneakers but good yardwork shoes are also $5 at Goodwill...

Jeans/pants: Haven't bought a pair in 10 years. Shorts are usuall $2.99 at Goodwill unless you're holding out for brand names!

Between 2002-2004 (three years) I've spent $163 on clothing. (Last year's personal clothing expenses were running under $10, then I blew it on a $30 pair of sneakers.) I defy any brand-name manufacturer to beat those costs.

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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

We have been driving Toyotas since 1985 - the first one retired 3 years ago. We are still driving 2001 Camry.

For clothing, we shop at Marshall.

For grocery, we shop at Sams, Costco or Super Target (for items you can find at Sams or Costco).

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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Guys,

Thanks for the input and I will have to try Carhart jeans and Birkenstocks. Since I still turn the crank for The Man I need to look somewhat presentable so gimme T-shirts aren't an option just yet. Cars present a bit more of a challenge because while used is the cheapest way to go getting the critical current safety features is also important to me. For example, head protection airbags. Given the odds of getting in a serious wreck I tend to be willing to tradeoff more cost for extra safety.
The good news is you no longer need to spring for a Volvo or Mercedes to getting industry leading safety
features. Probably a 2-4 year old car presents the optimum tradeoff between current safety features and cost.

The flip side of low life cycle cost brands are high life cycle cost brands. Some brands I have tried and would never buy again include:
Greg Norman polo style shirts - same cost as Ashworth but durability equal to no-name brands
no-name brand polo style shirts
Sperry or Bass shoes - poor durability but not low cost
post 1990s Mercedes - my 1994 C280 was neither durable or reliable. At the time I bought it because it lead the industry in safety. Today the main line automobile brands match or better Mercedes safety.

L8rbye,

Bill




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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 01:08 PM   #7
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Quote:
The flip side of low life cycle cost brands are high life cycle cost brands. *Some brands I have tried and would never buy again ...
Bill, on this subject I'd have to say I would never buy another Whirlpool appliance. I've had the repairman out for three appliances (refrigerator, dehumidifier, and oven) in the last few months. And this isn't the first time. I bought them all new and they've been trouble since day one. The dehumidifier lasted one summer. From now on, I'm buying used. If it breaks, I'll toss it and buy another used appliance. That's what we did when we couldn't afford new, and we had fewer breakdowns with the cheap used stuff.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 01:56 PM   #8
 
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Not sure how common this is but I still have my Kenmore Washer/Dryer from when I bought them over 20 years ago with my first paycheck. They moved with me across five states and all the jobs thereof. No repair cost so far; only maintenance cost was to replace the what-you-call-it dryer lint catcher for about $10 5 years ago. I do wonder about energy efficiency trade-off but still can't bring myself to replace them.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 02:39 PM   #9
 
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

I also vote for the Hondas - I've had 3 of them!

I also vote for Blue Jeans in General.

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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 02:55 PM   #10
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Quote:
polo style shirt:Asheworth - These things last at least 3 times as long as any other shirt I have tried. Buy them on line or if you live in Texas, at the San Marcos outlet mall
casual shoes:Clarks - comfortable and very durable. I buy 'em from the clearance rack at zappos.com
casual pants: Dockers. Suspect there are better life cycle cost deals out there. Ideas?
I buy a lot of my clothes from Cabelas (www.cabelas.com). Good polos for cheap, and if you check the web page, they usually have a clearance section of Columbia Outfitters stuff from prior years.

I like Dickies t-shirts from wal-mart. Heavy duty and comfortable.

shoes: Cabelas, $60 a pair but is more comfortable and outlasts anything I can find locally. I literally wore the bottoms off of the last pair I had.

pants: While I'd rather be in jeans 100% of the time, a necessary evil for work is that I need something a little more presentable. I find that Eddie Bauer khakies wear longer than the Dockers I've had. A few times a year, they'll do a buy one get one free sale. Wrinkle free and stain resistant makes them more my style.

As you can tell, I tend to go more for durability, even if I have to pay more for it.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 04:10 PM   #11
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

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Not sure how common this is but I still have my Kenmore Washer/Dryer from when I bought them over 20 years ago with my first paycheck.
My brother-in-law is an electrical engineer. Years back he designed some components for Kenmore washing machines. He said the folks at Kenmore were a PITA to work for - extremely particular and demanding - everything had to be perfect. He was so impressed with Kenmore that he bought nothing but Kenmore. But that was maybe 15 years ago. I'm don't know if the new Kenmore appliances are as good as they used to be. Not long ago I bought a house full of new Whirlpool appliances because it was convenient. We have only two dealers in town who will repair appliances. One is a crook and the other sells Whirlpool (there are disadvantages to rural life). So, fln, I'll buy your 20 year old Kenmore stuff.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 07:29 PM   #12
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Quote:

For clothing, we shop at Marshall.
Spanky


Although they try to keep it under wraps, Marshall's is the official exclusive clothier for Peter76. I've found so many good deals on their clearance rack that I no longer ever buy clothes based on need - it's been reduced to a simple economic supply/demand equation (how beautifully mathematical...how elegantly efficient )


Of course, it takes a while to reach that point (I'm referring to price points, not my questionable sanity level). After grabbing quite a few pairs of pants/shirts/etc. under $10, my price points have become

$1.67/pair of socks
$17/pair of shoes (dress/tennis/casual)
$8/pair of pants/jeans
$8/shirt
$2/boxers

Unless it's below those prices, I just pass it on by. That way, I never have to worry about being in the situation of 'having' to run out and buy ______ because I ran out of it in my wardrobe. I have noticed somewhat of a shortage of good deals recently at Marshalls, so perhaps I'll have to adjust my price points up a tad later this year if their final clearance prices are raised.

I might be able to beat that with some of the year-end clearances at some department stores - but Marshalls stores are more convenient, and I get to shop year-round virtually any time to look for deals.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-16-2005, 09:29 PM   #13
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

The washer & dryer discussion reminded me that we bought a Maytag washer and dryer in 1983. They moved with us from Arizona to Iowa and back again and we haven't spent a dime on them -- still going. Kenmore might have been less expensive back when we bought, so it might have been a better deal. But I'm not complaining. I'd buy Maytag again.

We had a GE electric can opener that just went South on us a few months ago. My wife and I were trying to remember when we got it. Then we remembered that it had been a wedding present. We were married in 1975. We decided that it probably wasn't still under warranty.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-17-2005, 05:46 AM   #14
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

When I had my appliance repairman fixing my Amana fridge, he recommended I only buy Whirlpool appliances. He said they are repaired less frequently than other brands and are easier to repair.

I think all my appliances but that stupid Amana fridge are Whirlpool. And even though I hate the fridge (black in a new house with everything else white) I'm too cheap to replace it. It's only about 5 or 6 years old.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-17-2005, 05:47 AM   #15
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Almost all our appliiances are made by Kenmore. They are over 20 years old and are still in great conditions. Once in a while, when we are in a department store or Best Buy, we jokingly say to each other that we wish that our appliances quit working so that we can upgrade to the "high tech" and "good looking" appliances.

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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-17-2005, 06:50 AM   #16
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Quote:
I think all my appliances but that stupid Amana fridge are Whirlpool. *And even though I hate the fridge (black in a new house with everything else white) I'm too cheap to replace it. *It's only about 5 or 6 years old.
Heheh! I had this dilemma a few years ago, and I can offer you my solution. Buy a new fridge for the kitchen and move the ugly fridge to the basement to serve as a dedicated beer fridge. As an added bonus, you get some extra freezer space to go along with it.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-17-2005, 09:54 AM   #17
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

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I do wonder about energy efficiency trade-off but still can't bring myself to replace them.
Washers & dryers don't improve their energy efficiency as fast as refrigerators. The latest series of front-loading washers is the most efficient but they're so popular that premium pricing makes it a bad upgrade. We've been keeping an eye on the classifieds for the last year hoping for a distress seller but we're in no hurry (as long as our washer's stupid internal hose doesn't break again).

The most energy-efficient dryer known to civilization is that clothesline in your garage. Second-best, if you can use it, is a gas-powered dryer. Electric dryers are hogs but essential for emotional crisis-driven teenagers. (I know, redundant modifiers.)

I've heard that fridge upgrades every decade pay for themselves in the first couple years. (The old fridge keeps a pretty high resale value, too.) One way to quantify the research is to compare your energy-efficiency label to the newer models. (Or assume that the fridge is sucking down 25-35% of your monthly electric bill.) We save even more with the classified ads and library research through Consumer Reports' appliance guides.

I'm not advocating a lifestyle change, especially where it concerns beer, but second refrigerators are one of the biggest energy hogs you can eliminate. It's the first question asked by every home-efficiency surveyor. So if you need a second fridge because you're consuming it faster than your first fridge can chill it, then perhaps it is time for a new fridge!
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-17-2005, 04:06 PM   #18
 
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

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So, fln, I'll buy your 20 year old Kenmore stuff.
I'm afraid I've developed an unhealthy sentimental attachment to these appliances so I'll have to turn down your potential lucrative offer.
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-17-2005, 04:34 PM   #19
 
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Quote:
Washers & dryers don't improve their energy efficiency as fast as refrigerators. The latest series of front-loading washers is the most efficient but they're so popular that premium pricing makes it a bad upgrade.
The most energy-efficient dryer known to civilization is that clothesline in your garage. Second-best, if you can use it, is a gas-powered dryer. Electric dryers are hogs but essential for emotional crisis-driven teenagers. (I know, redundant modifiers.)
Thanks. That's good to know. Also, the fact that yep, we incurred the extra expense due to our teenager!
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands
Old 01-18-2005, 05:19 AM   #20
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Re: Your favorite "low life cycle cost" brands

Walmart - Dickies coveralls(winter or summer weight), underwear, socks and white fishermans boots.

Free: Relatives/friends have my size for birthday/Christmas(my Jimmy Buffett aloha shirts/cutoffs courtesy my sister) heh,heh.

Cheap deck/tennis shoes wherever - usually Walmart.

My newest coat is twenty years old - free - went 'out of style'.
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