My best blog ideas come just as I’m drifting off to sleep. Although there are a few that seem more genius in that twilight sleep than they do in the bright light of day. I’m not a big fan of “top ten” lists, but I’m a list maker by nature. I like to cross things off my to-do list, I like to have a list of stuff I need when I go shopping and I have a list of stuff I want to get done before the year is over. I also like to save money, I’m thrifty…not cheap. So I’ll combine the two. A list of things it’s okay to scrimp on and a list of things that the splurge is totally worth it.
Dairy products. I’m not advocating buying all your milk from the day old bin, but seriously…I can’t tell the difference between the name brand milk and the cheap store brand. In fact, around here the Colorado Proud milk is way tastier than the Viva milk that is a buck more a gallon. Most of the time cheese really doesn’t taste different either and with as quickly as our boys go through it I refuse to splurge on this. Now, I have to admit that I have my own little cheese stash that I splurge on, like smoked mozzarella (Weight Watchers String Cheese…thanks Teri for getting me hooked).
Bread. Really. The Safeway brand of wheat bread is just as good as the Roman Meal that my grandparents buy. I prefer to make my own most weeks, but lately just haven’t had the time.
Laundry soap. Well…I’m not sure I should include this one here, because I make my own. It’s much much cheaper and works just as well as the stuff you buy at the store. And it doesn’t include the irritants that make my kids break out and itch. I should also probably mention that I make my own scouring powder and other cleaning stuff. The only thing I don’t make is dishwashing detergent and that’s mostly because I haven’t mastered the recipe yet. It’s coming though…
Shoes for kids. Especially tennis shoes. I don’t know about you, but my kids go through a pair of tennies at least once every 6 months. As long as they fit and are comfortable it’s okay to spend $10.00 on a pair of shoes. I think it’s kind of silly to spend $40.00 for a pair of shoes their going to grow out of or wear holes through in less than a year.
Diapers. I have to say first that we primarily use cloth diapers at home. I bought good high quality diapers 8 years ago when we had Gabe. We’re still using them for Titus. We do use disposables when we go out and at night time. We buy a box of 96 diapers every 2-3 months. And we buy cheap. We usually buy the Target brand which seem to work just as well as any of the high end brands that are twice the price. If we buy wipes we buy cheap Target brand too…again most of the time we use either cloth wipes (especially before baby starts solid food) or we make our own. Way cheaper and work just as well.
So here are some splurges…
Toilet Paper. No question. 1. If you buy the cheap 1-ply stuff you use so much each trip to the bathroom that you end up buying twice as much. (The only benefit I see to the cheap stuff is that it seems to break up a little quicker in the toilet decreasing the chance of clogging when you’re children unroll an entire roll in the toilet. So this may be a risk vs benefit situation.) 2. The money you save in buying cheap toilet paper will be spent on buying extra hand soap. Nuff said. 🙂
Coffee. I’m a little biased here as Kerry would say you don’t spend anything on coffee. I certainly don’t have the bones to pay for a big Starbucks or any other coffee shop coffee every day, but I can brew my own at home and be just as happy (most of the time. There is definitely something to be said for the social aspect of sitting in a coffee shop people watching). I have a new bag of coffee sitting in my pantry that I plan on opening tomorrow. It’s a new brand I’m trying and I can hardly wait. If I didn’t run the risk of it keeping me up all night I might just drink it tonight. For now though I’ll try to wait for morning…like a kid on Christmas. By the way it’s from Hawaii (Yay for US product!) and I’ve heard good things. It was actually $1.00 cheaper than the stuff I usually buy.
Tattoos. If you’re the kind of person who is inclined to get a tattoo or piercing of any time. Seriously spend the money to go someplace good and reputable. I would highly suggest staying away from the buy one get one half off or $10.00 piercing kind of places. I’ve seen some bad body art out there and usually it’s because the person went cheap. It’s something you’re going to be sporting on your body for the rest of your life…dont’ be sorry.
Haircuts. Now this one is a little iffy. If you have short hair totally worth spending the money to make sure you get someone who knows what they’re doing. When I had short hair I walked out more than once from a “cheap” place with something much much shorter than I expected or some goofy looking mop cut. I even had someone say “oops” in the middle of the cut once. She said it right after I pointed to the picture she was supposed to be looking at while cutting my hair. She was looking at the picture right below it…with hair so short that I had to call my husband to warn him before I came home. Long hair though…now that mine has grown out I cut and trim mine at home all the time. Granted I don’t have bangs and I’m not going for some intricate layered look. However, youtube “how to cut your own hair” and you’ll find oodles of videos. Oodles. So I guess if you have the cash..go ahead and splurge…if you feel adventuresome try it yourself.
Socks. I don’t like cheap socks for my boys or for myself. They make your feet stink.
Scrimp or splurge. I should probably also say that splurging for me looks a lot like scrimping to others. Like I said…I’m thrifty…even with my splurges.