Frugal folk are all about quality. That means buying things of excellent quality and workmanship because they know it’ll last longer or taste better than the cheap stuff. It’s simply a matter of ROI – why buy something for $1 that might break any minute when you could spend $10 and keep it for life?
However, we all have our vices when it comes to cheaping out on things. And personally: I cheap out on quite a few…
People are fiercely loyal to their condiment brands. It must be Heinz! It must be French’s! It must be Hellman’s!
Personally, I’m more of a “it must be ketchup”, “it must be mayo”, “it must be mustard” type of guy. Sure, I understand there are different flavour profiles for condiment connoisseurs, but usually the only people using condiments are me and the occasional guests during a BBQ. And would they complain to my face? Probably not.
Also: fun fact, the no name companies usually use the same factories as the name brands. How? In the name of fiscal responsibility, the name brands usually optimize their excess capacity by renting out the factory time overnight or on weekends, etc… so really, what’s the big deal?
Paper Towel & Facial Tissues
Those commercials featuring the dudes in cotton suits sure are fun. So are the Puffs tissues with the fuzzy cats. But frankly, the no name Great Value stuff from Wal-Mart works just fine and is way cheaper. Maybe once I have kids and spills are more common I’ll buy the name brand, but absorbency and snot retention have never been an issue.
Note this does not include toilet paper, for a variety of reasons. More on that next week…
Gasp! This one is a big one for some people. I get it. There’s nothing like a fresh Americano, latte, mocha, etc. in the morning.
However, as much as I enjoy those things, they’re not meant to be consumed every day at the ridiculous prices they’re sold at. Don’t get me wrong, there are also excellent coffee beans available, but in the scheme of things, it’s a grossly inefficient use of time for me to grind those beans, chuck them in a coffee press and count the seconds with my watch.
For me, it’s Costco’s Kirkland brand drip coffee that does the trick. Two generous scoops into the machine while I’m off doing my morning routine produces a strong flavor, which sufficiently powers me through the morning.
Now, I love fresh vegetables. They’re also sometimes a race against time (lettuce, anyone?).
Frozen vegetables are the norm for me. Fresh spinach is 4 times the price as frozen spinach with the same nutritional value and frozen carrots and peas are just as flavourful (and they’re even chopped up for you already!).
If I want fresh veggies that are absolutely necessary for a recipe, I’ll simply buy what I need on the day I want to cook it. Less risk of waste. Otherwise, frozen all the way (cue Let it Go).
Over the Counter Medicine
This is a contentious one for sure because this is tied directly to your health and wellbeing. But frankly, my father is a generic pharmacist who specializes in these types of things and as long as the ingredients are the prioritized in the same way on the box, you’re probably fine. This goes for cold medication, allergy pills, heartburn meds, basic topical creams, painkillers, etc.
Obviously, this is not for everyone. When it comes to painkillers, some people are fiercely loyal to Advil over Tylenol due to the effectiveness. That’s fine. But just because you buy name brand for that, doesn’t mean you need name brand for everything else.
To make this argument even more compelling, a lot of private insurers for prescription drugs usually cover only the generic brands anyway. So if the insurer, the pharmacist, and the doctor don’t care about brand, why should you?
Next Week… Things I Purposely Spend More on!