Save Money By Contacting Companies When Things Break

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:51 am on Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I don’t know about you, but things don’t seem well made anymore. They often break right after you get them.

I’m not talking about when I accidentally break something I bought–I wouldn’t blame anyone else for that. I’m talking about when things are so cheaply made that they fall apart on you, usually in just enough time that they’re still new, but you can’t easily return them to the store.

In the past when this happened, I would get angry, throw the thing out, and either do without it or buy it all over again. But my mom changed my attitude about that.

Last year, she bought my son a VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset. About two months after he started playing with it, the train broke. It just wouldn’t turn on anymore.

What a piece of junk! I thought. A $50 toy that lasts less than three months?

When my mom asked if my son was enjoying the train, I said, “Oh it broke. He only used it a little bit and the train stopped working. I don’t really want to buy a replacement train, so I guess I’ll just donate what’s left of the playset to Goodwill.”

But my mom said, “No, don’t do that, I’ll write the company and get a replacement train.”

So she wrote VTech an email saying how much my son enjoyed the product, but the train broke. Then she asked them: would they send her a replacement train?

And you know what? They did. The train came in the mail, it works fine, and my son loves the toy.

So I made New Year’s Resolution (in addition to organizing my house and baking bread): In 2015, every time something breaks because it’s poorly made or has some other malfunction, I’m going to write the company and ask for a replacement.

Earlier this month, I had my first chance to make good on my resolution. In November, I went to Michaels and bought a frame for a poster. Last month, my son knocked the poster over. It flopped slowly over in a way that might have cracked the glass of a normal frame, but that’s not what happened. Instead, the glass shattered. It was like Hollywood breakaway glass. It flew all over the bathroom, into the kitty litter, behind the toilet. It was a mess, and worse–it was dangerous. The glass was brittle, thin, and sharp. Thank God my son didn’t get cut.

Here’s a picture of the glass after I cleaned it up:

Now, if my son had just cracked the glass, I would have sucked it up as our having damaged the frame. Again, I don’t expect a company to replace something that I broke through carelessness or bad luck. But the glass in this frame was a safety hazard, and I felt the company should know about it.

And after all, I’d paid $30 for the frame, and now I had to buy another one.

So I wrote Michaels an email explaining the situation, including the CPU from the frame so they knew what product I was talking about, and asked what they could do for me. It took five minutes to write.

Today I got a reply from a Michaels Customer Care employee, who said:

I have sent the issue to our Buyers, so they are made aware of the issue and can address with the vendor. If you could please provide me with you address, I will see what can be done regarding providing a replacement or credit for the frame.

Well! Isn’t that nice?

Throughout the year, I’ll share other stories of contacting companies to get replacements when things break before their time. We’ll see what they do.

What To Do With Oranges

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:21 am on Monday, January 26, 2015

Oranges are in season. I know, because my orange bush is loaded with them. Here’s some recipes featuring the orange:

Orange Julius

Poached Oranges

Salmon with Orange-Fennel Sauce

Orange Curd

Orange Marmalade

Chocolate Cake Baked In An Orange

Cane Vinegar Chicken with Pearl Onions, Orange & Spinach

Delicata Squash with Orange & Pistachios

What’s your favorite thing to do with oranges?

Keep Your Fridge Cleaner With $2 DIY Fridge Mats

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:01 am on Friday, January 23, 2015

Anything that cuts down on cleaning time is worth considering in my book. So I like this idea of making DIY Fridge Mats out of $2 place mats.

Instead of having to clean your entire fridge every time, you can just take out the mats and clean them, thus cutting down on the time spent cleaning the fridge and keeping things tidier overall.

I like this idea. Hmmm…

Persimmon Margarita

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:38 am on Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What do you do with a bag of free persimmons from your neighbor? Make a Persimmon Margarita with DIY Cocktails, of course.

We used Hachiya persimmons, which are only good when completely soft and mushy. Fuyu persimmons would work just as well. In both cases, the persimmons naturally make a puree that’s perfect for a margarita.

This drink is especially great for batches. Make a pitcher and enjoy with friends.

Persimmon Margarita

(Makes 2 cocktails, or one large cocktail)


    2 ounces tequila
    4 ounces persimmons (about two ripe persimmons)
    3/4 ounce orange liqueur like cointreau or triple sec
    1/2 ounce simple syrup
    1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice


Peel the persimmons. Put the fruit in a cocktail shaker and smash to a pulp with a muddler. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice. Shake thoroughly until a frost begins to form outside the shaker, between 30-60 seconds. Strain into a glass. Enjoy!

How Much Would You Save If You Ditched Cable?

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:26 am on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How much is cable TV and a few streaming services like Netflix and Hulu really costing you? Slate has a calculator that lets you figure out the cheapest way to have TV. Useful!

How To Make Dried Persimmons

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:12 am on Monday, January 19, 2015

The other day, my neighbor was giving away persimmons he’d picked from his tree. I stopped and put some in my trusty shopping bag.

They were Hachiya persimmons, which are only good when they’re completely soft and mushy. I made persimmon bread, a cocktail or two (coming later this week!), and dried the rest in my dehydrator.

Man, dried persimmons are addictive. They’re sweet and chewy and chocked full of vitamins, antioxidants, and other good-for-you stuff. Best of all, while dried persimmons cost $15.99 a pound, mine were free.

How To Make Dried Persimmons

1. Cut ripe persimmons straight across into slices approximately 1/4 inch thick.

2. Lay fruit on the dehydrator tray.

3. Dehydrate for 6-8 hours until the persimmons are leathery, but not brittle.


LEGO Cake Plate

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:59 am on Friday, January 16, 2015

Look, a LEGO Cake Plate. It was for a party, but I could see using one all the time.

Entertain A Toddler For Hours With A Frugal Sticker Book

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:45 am on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I took a quick picture of this sticker book my mom gave my son before it became a little too well-loved, let us say. On the left is a sheet of stickers. On the right is notebook paper that has already been decorated by my son.

This is one of the cleverest gifts my son received this Christmas, and it cost under $5 to make. It’s a sticker book: a binder filled with blank pages, along with lots of stickers to put on the pages.

My son, who is 2, loves this gift. He has spent long periods of time taking stickers and putting them on the pages, and then coloring all around his design. It’s great for creative development and a nice way to occupy him when I’m busy. Plus you can keep adding to the sticker as you go along by replacing stickers and pages as needed.

All my mom did was get a white binder (she had one lying around–you can also frequently get them at thrift stores, unused, for under a buck) and fill it with white printer paper. Then she bought some stickers from the Dollar Store and stuck them in the envelopes on the front of the binder.

So if you’re in need of a new activity–or a fun, creative gift–give a DIY sticker book a try.

Hot Drinks Round-Up

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:30 am on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is it snowing where you are? Well, obviously you need to have a nice hot drink.

Here’s a round-up of alcoholic AND non-alcoholic drinks I’ve covered.

Alcoholic Hot Cocktails

Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

Gingerbread Toddy

Non-Alcoholic Hot Drinks

DIY Hot Chocolate

How To Make A Chai Latte

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

Make Your Own Copper Pipe Icosahedron Light Fixture

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:24 am on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Gathered Home took inspiration from a $1,200 light fixture and made their own for $50 out of copper pipes.

You know what? I like their version better.

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