Happyfull, that peaceful place between wanting more and having too much.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When is cheap okay?

I grew up with a mother that lived by the motto, "more is more".  
That nearly always translated into, "quantity not quality".
When I was a teenager and then into my "spend like crazy and worry about it later" early twenties I purposely defied these rules and bought only the very best my credit card could accommodate.
Since then I've become a bit more real.
And while I still would always choose fewer nice things over quantity, I can now appreciate the need to buy less than the best.

Lately I've been thinking about things that you can get away with going cheap on...and things you can't.
For instance, I would never recommend buying off brand Q-tips
masking tape, toilet paper, 
laundry detergent, peanut butter, 
bar soap or glass cleaner...

But store brand kitchen garbage bags meet our needs...
and my kids don't seem to notice a difference when I buy the no-name fruit snacks.

A few other things on my "okay to go cheap" list would probably be liquid hand soap, 
pudding mix, body lotion, 
snacks in bulk for the classroom, 
jelly and, (don't crucify me for this one), milk.

What things would be on your lists?


  1. Good post....reminds me of a marketing seminar I attended on brands. The presenter asked each of us if the is a brand of something we ALWAYS buy...I answered Quilted Northern. Apparently everyone thought that was funny, but it's true!

    Off brand: shampoo and conditioner for my husband (but not me, I love Aveda), boxed jello, drink mixes (like Crystal Light), some canned foods and over the counter medications.

    Brand: Definitely TP, QTips, Kleenex, soda and toothpaste.

    I also find that I am more than willing to pay more for green and organic products, or food that is healthy for our family.

    I make our laundry and dishwasher soap...I should give you the recipe. It's easy, green and inexpensive!

  2. Heather, please share your laundry and dishwasher soap recipes. :) Please!

  3. First of all, the picture of you and your mom is beautiful! Your hair looks great! And, I think your skin looks pretty, too. :)

    I've always been a quality girl and sometimes my "waiting to get what I really want" leads me to not buying anything. I need to find a better balance.

    That being said, I'm so with you on the name brand peanut butter! I never skimp on PB, vanilla, or candy...no "chocolate buttons" for this girl. And that Palmer candy people pass out in goody bags...yech! I try to use the best quality ingredients for all of my baking, including flour.

    As far as off-brands go, I like Costco's brand, Kirkland, for paper towels and toilet paper.

    Oh, and I use off-brand medication, but I always buy Bandaid brand bandaids. (Drew calls them dan-baids and I LOVE hearing him say it! I will be so sad when he outgrows that phrasing.)

    ....one more thought. I give Wal-Mart's Great Value butter two thumbs down.

  4. I agree with Jenni, you are completely glowing!!

    Here is my two cents.

    I think anything Kirkland is amazing, I am so pro-Costco, I wish someone was running for office with that platform, they would get my vote FOR SURE!! Kirkland Margarita is amaze-balls, I have a glass every nigh..well not every night, in my fantasy life, but over ice, it is super refreshing!. Also vodka, which I don't really touch, is basically Grey Goose, made at the same distillery... which seems to be true of alot of Kirkland products... very high end products which allow them to slap there licensing on it. I heart the coffee too.

    I think toilet paper you need the soft charmin. I think food is a huge priority too, skin products as well.

    Although when we were in AZ, the esthetician said she loved the red olay brand of skin products. I think cheap lipstick like Avon is amazing, even wet and wild... I have several tubes of chanel right now, and I almost like my Avon better. I have read articles where they are all manufactured at the same place, just paying for name and packaging at department stores.

    Shoes, I think Cole Haan is so hands down wonderful, with the Nike comfort buildt in... Praise the Lord! It is worth it to have some staples and then a fun pair, at my age, I can barely wear heels, so having the padding, keeps my piggies singing.

    Clothes, it is nice to have staples that you pay extra for, but honestly some of my Saver's buys have been my favorite pieces in which I turn to all the time. Love Garage saling, buying other people's discards which in turn because prized possessions. Gap jeans for my boys $2 vs $30 plus, hell to the yes.

    Gardening- some of my $3 Home Depot perennials are thriving where I have had to return Bachmann's; which is superior quality, right?, because they did not survive the winter. Costco is another good one for perennials. Or Craigslist. Speaking of Gardening I hope the plants survive this winter, I can't wait for the first glimpse of them popping through the soil. I find it super exciting.

    I could go on and on, babies are down, so I will say goodbye. Love you!

  5. I'm with Jenni - Please post your laundry and dishwasher soap recipes! Does it work alright with front loading washing machines?

    I, too, always buy off brand things like Tylenol and cold medicines...but real TUMS are so much better than generic!

  6. I LOVE that you thought to include Palmer Chocolates...they're the WORST!

    And I agree with you, sometimes my "waiting for quality" leads me to not purchase anything.

  7. Perennials...so glad you thought of that. Some of my perennials from Walmart have far outlasted/outgrown by high-end garden center perennials. And I think their annuals are hardier too, sometimes.

    And I agree, you totally get what you pay for with shoes...that's one area where I definitely would rather go without than wear crap. My feet just can't handle zero support anymore.

    I'm starting to get frustrated with Target's clothing quality, too. Yesterday I was ironing a skirt from Target for Soleil to wear to her birthday party. She had only worn the skirt one other time, but it already had a hole in it! My kid's Boden clothes last forever and stay looking as good as the day that I bought them.


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