Call me what you want... cheap, frugal, penny-wise... there are just some things that I hate buying, because I think they are way overpriced.
Toilet Paper – It’s obviously a necessity, but I honestly couldn’t care less whether my butt-cloth is “kitten-y soft”, and I can’t see spending more for a name brand. If I can get an 8-roll pack for $2, that’s a good deal (25 cents a roll). I try to get as close to that as possible. It’s quite the treat at our house when “the good stuff” is on sale!
Laundry Detergent – seriously, when you have three kids, one of them still in cloth diapers, you do a lot of laundry. The name brands are all at least $9 a bottle, which seems insane to me. Even though that works out to only $0.28 per wash, the thought of shelling out $9 for a bottle of soap pisses me off.
Sunscreen - What’s in SPF anyway? A comparable size of body lotion would be $3 (because sunscreen comes in the most ridiculously small bottles), but with that crazy SPF stuff, it’s $10. I have to buy it, but I hate it just the same.
Disposable Diapers – I’ve done the cloth diaper thing with all of my kids, for the most part. I will use disposables for outings and for nighttime, once they get to the stage where they’re waking up soaked every morning. It’s shocking to me how expensive disposable diapers are. Thankfully, I’m only buying them every 6 weeks or so. Once Maggie is potty trained (which should be within the next 4 months if she’s anything like the other two), I won’t have to buy them at all!
Appliance Service Calls – My clothes dryer was down for more than two months as I researched what was wrong with it and endeavoured to fix it myself (I did mention that I use cloth diapers, right?). Alas, I had to call in a repairman – I knew what was wrong, but it involved fiddling with natural gas, which I’m not qualified to do. I phoned around to find the best price (avoid the guys who tell you “it’ll cost ya $75 just for me to pull in your driveway, then there’s the actual service charge on top of that…”). In the end, it cost me $85 to change a $12 part, which took a total of 20 minutes. Scandalous.
Cereal – We eat cereal like crazy at our house. It’s not just for breakfast… it’s also a staple for snacks any time of the day. Cereal is something for which I never, ever pay full price. Right now, our cupboard is filled with a variety of Cheerios (regular, honey nut, apple cinnamon, multigrain…), because I got them for $1.99 a box. My limit on cereal is about $4 a box for the really good stuff (like Mini-Wheats..mmmm), and $3 a box for the other stuff.
Bottled Water – As a rule, I don’t buy bottled water. We certainly don’t buy it by the case. I’m pretty satisfied with my municipal water supply, so that’s what we drink.
Fads – Swiffer comes to mind. It’s a stick with a cloth on it. I can’t believe people pay good money buy those silly, disposable cloths. A damp (almost dry) cloth attached to your own stick will pick up the dust and hair just as well, and it can be cleaned in the washing machine and reused.
Greeting Cards – hmmm should I buy this flimsy card with a cute verse in it, or this paperback novel with 300 pages of story? They’re practically the same price… it’s crazy! I’ve started doing “photo” greeting cards. It all started with Thank You cards after Maggie was born. I printed a good picture of her at Wal-Mart (19 cents a print), glued some pink paper to the back of it and then punched a couple of small holes in the top through which I weaved a small pink ribbon. I wrote my message on the back and popped them in an envelope (which I had purchased in a pack of 50 for $4.99.) I figure the whole thing cost me about 35 cents a card and they were way nicer than the cards with the rattle and diaper pin picture.
Cell Phone service – I’m not ancient. Really, I’m not. But, I do not like cell phones. And worse than cell phones with the annoying ring tones and life-disturbing presence, are cell phone service providers. I had a cell phone when I was pregnant with Bart. I hardly ever used it, but Homer thought I should carry it, just in case I needed to call for help. Well, the day came when I did need it… and it didn’t work. I was 8 months pregnant, stranded at the side of the road with a flat tire. AND IT DIDN’T WORK. Seems they allocated my last payment to my husband’s phone (their mistake), so they disabled my service. The next day, I waited on hold for more than an hour, to hear that they were very sorry for the mix-up. To make a long story short, I was released from my 3-year contract (I had 2 years, 9 months to go!) when I explained that they would be seeing my big pregnant gut on TV sharing my flat tire experience with the world. Now, I do the pay as you go thing... it costs me $11.40 a month.
How about you?