Frugal Fail? To be determined . . .

So, a couple of years ago, I took our vacuum cleaner into the store where it was originally purchased by my mother-in-law as a wonderful (and much needed) housewarming present.  Both belts needed to be replaced, plus I needed to buy new filters and bags.  The little “tune-up” only cost me $25 for all of the supplies, and I didn’t break a nail trying to replace the belt myself.

At the time, I asked the sales lady how long a vacuum cleaner like this one is supposed to last.

“Three to five years,” she replied.  “You don’t have pets, though, do you?”

Nope.  I have boys, instead.

“Then, it should probably last you about five to seven years.”

Nice.  I took my Hoover Windtunnel home with me, and it worked wonderfully!!  Oh, sure, there were functions that were no longer working, but it sucked, and that was all that I cared about.

Gradually, over the next couple of years, my poor, overworked Hoover stopped sucking.  Almost 5 years to the day I received this wonderful gift, I kicked it to the curb.  The thing just wasn’t working, AND it had a new bag, AND the filters were just fine, AND it was smelling like smoke and burned rubber every time I used it (the belts), plus I got a serious workout trying to push and pull the thing around because the automatic thingy-majig wasn’t working anymore.


It’s one thing to push and pull around a cranky, stinky, ineffective vacuum cleaner, and it is quite another to ask someone else to do it for you.  My parents flew in from Texas to watch the boys while we went on our trip, and I imagined my mother wanting to vacuum while I was gone.  I needed a new vacuum, and fast.

On our way home from Eagle Crest on March 27th, we popped into our local Walmart and picked up a $65 Bissell.  I brought it home, and it worked!!  It is so light that my 6 year old has been vacuuming lately!!

Imagine my chagrin this morning as I was vacuuming the family room and noticed that the small ball of lint on the carpet was not being sucked up.  I checked the spinner-brush-thingy, and it wasn’t spinning.  ARGH.  I risked my fingernails and opened up the bottom only to discover that the belt was completely busted.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  The vacuum was less than a month old!!

Thankfully, I had my receipt.  Walmart exchanged it for a new $65 Bissell with no problems.

WHY am I sharing this with you?  Well, because I figured that I was a frugal genius when I bought the thing.  You see, I could have purchased a 3-5 year vacuum for $250 or more.  That is a cost of $50 to $83 a year, depending on how long it actually lasts.  A Dyson (hubba-hubba) would have cost me about $400, or $80 – $133 a year.

I don’t expect this little wonder to last more than 2 years.  But, even if it only lasts 2 years, that is a cost of $32.50 a year.  If it lasts 3 years (remember, we don’t have pets), that will take the cost down to $21 a year.  Plus, it’s bagless, so that is going to save me money, too.  Cheaper than a $250 vacuum, no matter which way you slice it.

That is, of course, if this little guy will last longer than 1 month.  Hmmm.

I suppose that is to be determined.

Check out Frugal Friday at Life As Mom for more frugal ideas!

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