Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saving Money... (On Batteries)

As I have said before, I am very well known for being frugal (sometimes extremely so)... which came to be out of necessity, but is also a very fun way of life if you ask me (most days, anyway)!  I mean why throw something out that can be used again?!  Why buy new when you can buy used & save oodles of money?!  Why buy at all if you can make what you need from something else you already have but may no longer be using??

The day before our 1st child was born Mr. Lee came home w/a digital camera.  It threw me for a loop, as I do NOT like change & I certainly do not like it to be thrown at me without time to process it.  Knowing our very 1st blessing was going to arrive the next day, I had so much else going on & could have cared less about that camera.  In fact, I was so far removed from the point of a digital camera that I would take pictures with the digital camera & then tell my photo subject to hold their pose while I tried to duplicate the picture with my 35mm (yep, seriously!!).  I did that for a couple of years, I think... I was poked fun of about that recently too.  Mr. Lee would jokingly call me a Japanese tourist because I would constantly have a 35mm camera, a digital camera, and a video camera at my ready hanging around my neck (what can I say, I have LOVED to take pix for a long time :0)!). 

One area of change I was willing to accept pretty easily was that when Mr. Lee bought the digital camera he also bought a 3 in 1 battery charger (for AA's, C's, & D's) & some rechargeable batteries (the same man who would run out of the house so I couldn't give him a **gasp** coupon to use because he was too cool to use a coupon... I should have known after seeing that charger he would eventually come over into my world of coupon using, but he held out on me as long as he could! LOL). 

When I finally was able to grasp the concept of a digital camera, embrace the idea of it, & I learned how to use it better, that camera and I were inseparable...and those rechargeable batteries?!  Well, they were the key to taking tons of pix of our first born... I'd take 300 pictures (or more), then the batteries ran out & instead of having to pay for the expensive brand name batteries that worked best for high drain devices, I always had batteries on the ready fully charged and I didn't have to keep buying more batteries.  I was hooked!! 

Our 3 in 1 Charger
It wasn't long before I was buying rechargeable batteries for other things... in fact, more than a decade later I am STILL using THAT charger ($20 at the time) & those same rechargeable batteries ($8 at the time), and while those exact batteries are no longer powerful enough to use for high drain devices they work very well for kid's toys, etc.  I'd say we more than got our money's worth out of our original investment, wouldn't you?!  To think, I was skeptical of them at first! LOL 

Now they make rechargeable batteries to perform even better, so they last even longer before we downgrade them to "batteries for toys."  A few years ago I also bought a rapid charger that does AA's & AAA's which came about because it was the same price to buy the charger with 4 batteries ($10) than it was to buy the batteries alone (also $10), which made no sense because the batteries were the exact same batteries.  Needless to say I opted for the charger and batteries combo instead.  I have since read that the rapid chargers aren't always the best option & I don't remember the technical details, but the gist was that the rapid chargers are harder on the batteries which makes them not last as long.  It hasn't been an issue for us though as I have found that our universal charger will typically charge batteries overnight or in about 10-12 hours, whereas the "rapid" charger can take 2-3 days until the light indicates they are done... go figure!  Hmmm, so THAT'S why the charger with batteries was the same price as just the batteries?!

Anyway, I LOVE the charger & was actually considering getting one that does 9V batteries because I find that 9V batteries run out super fast, even when not in use, as in they are brand new...we have an extra one in our junk drawer & I go to use it 6 months later, it is almost always dead or near dead... (& we are talking the expensive name brand batteries because I have found with 9V batteries name brand ones are best...especially when we use them in our smoke detectors...) I don't get how they always go dead just sitting in the drawer... I mean they last & last in the smoke detectors, but not in the drawer... & the other non-rechargeables don't do that?!  So, I am probably going to add a 9V charger to my shopping list & see if I can find an affordable one... last time I checked I think EACH 9V batter was $10 though, so we'll see how far I get with that. 

The downside to rechargeable batteries for me is always the initial up front cost of $10 for 4 AA or AAA batteries... YIKES!!  Even knowing how much we are saving by using them, it is still hard to swallow sometimes to have to have such a big cash outlay up front.  Recently we actually had to spend $20 on 4 rechargeable C batteries for an infant swing... we spent $20 on the swing itself buying it from someone via Craig's List, so $20 just for the batteries seemed crazy to me, but I was able to convince myself to do it because I knew we'd spend way more than that using regular batteries... and once we are done with the swing, we will still have the batteries to use for other things... like flashlights, which almost always seem to have dead batteries because the littles like to play with them... not sure how, but they could track down a flashlight in a sandstorm.. it is a gift children have, no?!

Do YOU use rechargeable batteries??  If so, what brand do you like best??  If not, do you think you may give them a try now too??  What are ways YOU save money??