Purchasing batteries seems to be a requirement today. Between all the electronically based games that children play and a need for flashlights and remote controls, having batteries around the house is a necessity, not a luxury. Still, most batteries are fairly expensive little items. Is there a way to get what you need without paying a fortune? Yes.
You Don’t Have to Buy Name Brand
There is a particular consumer review service that evaluates products all year round. They reached the conclusion that many of the generic brands of batteries work just as well as their name brand counterparts. To find out which generics work best and are cheapest, head to your local library and review the findings in the monthly magazine.
In many cases a generic alkaline battery will work just as well as long as the ratings are the same, and can be purchased for a lot less, even without using a coupon.
Coupons and Sales are the Time to Stock Up
Just about every Sunday paper provides a coupon to one type of battery or another, so look for those. When you can double up a coupon with a sale, the cost of batteries can drop significantly, so this is the time to stock up. And they last for years too if you store them properly.
Buy Batteries in Bulk
If you belong to one of the popular warehouse grocery stores, take a look at their battery prices. You can often save 30% or more when compared with a supermarket. The catch is that you have to purchase large quantities of batteries to achieve these savings. In my home, it isn’t uncommon to go through two packs of 48 AA batteries each year. The savings really add up, but only go for this option if you can go through that many batteries.
Invest in a Battery Tester
Once your battery doesn’t work in you child’s high-powered toy, it may still have plenty of juice to perform somewhere else. A battery tester may cost $10, but they will let you know how much juice is left in each battery. Many such “low charge” batteries will work for months in a remote control or other low draw devices.
Don’t check them too often though, because it takes battery life to check!
Are Rechargeable Batteries Worth the Money?
From the perspective of finances, they aren’t usually worthwhile. From the perspective of avoiding tossing more garbage into landfills, yes, they are.
Financially, rechargeable batteries are prohibitively expensive. They work well, and, if you purchase lithium batteries, they can last for years providing reliable power. They don’t last quite as long as disposable batteries, but they deliver consistent results time after time. For items like remote controls or digital cameras, they can be very useful.
David’s Note: I don’t really know enough to say whether rechargeable batteries are or aren’t more expensive. I know they seem cheaper just because you only really see the initial cost once and don’t have to pay attention to the ongoing cost of charging them up. What do you think?
One Caveat on Battery Usage
In life saving devices such as the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector, you should never use rechargeable or depleted batteries. A remarkable percentage of those who die in house fires would have survived had the smoke detectors sounded properly. In areas of safety, you should purchase high quality batteries and change them at least twice a year.
Although batteries are expensive, they have become ubiquitous. Finding a way to save money when purchasing them is just smart, and should be part of anyone’s strategy to save money.
This is taken from the How to Save Money on Everything ebook. Get your free copy by signing up for the free frugal newsletter.