Heather says:

My mother passed on a lot of very frugal ways. Use a dollop of shampoo about the size of a quarter, only use a pea sized amount of toothpaste, etc. Every once in a while I get frustrated with conserving and rebel. The sad part is, I can only laugh at myself, because at that moment I feel like such a dweeb.


Who rebels by taking a long, hot shower and using extra shampoo?

Who feels extravagant using paper towels to clean windows?

Me, that’s who.

Is it silly? Absolutely, but I’ve found these mini-splurges keep me from feeling deprived. Most of the time I’m all about conserving resources from both a frugal and an ecological perspective. Once in a while though, I get fed up and I let myself reach for the commercial cleaner or I get the name-brand product even though I know it’s ridiculous to have a preference.

How about you? Do you have any of these tendencies or are you going to let me sit on the weirdo couch by myself?


  1. sara on October 14, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Could some of you frugal/eco folks share some of your eco cleaning product recipes? I’m trying to make the switch.. like vinegar for disinfecting, can you use it on vinyl floors too?

  2. AAV on October 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    I feel like I'm splurging when I just toss out a resealable plastic bag instead of washing and reusing it if it is still in reusable condition. The funny things is, I'll feel GREAT about not having to wash and dry it, but guilty for not reusing it. Usually, the good feelings of AHHHHHHHH .. not another thing to wash win out. (:

  3. Lucy on October 12, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Mine is Dairy Queen Blizzards.

  4. Elizabeth on October 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I am beginning to think that I need some good splurges. I don't really have any…and I don't drink coffee so I guess I can't join you all on that splurge. Hmmm? Maybe I'll treat myself to a nice can of soda the next time I am out?

  5. @notdiyheather on October 12, 2009 at 11:04 am

    My splurge is coffee. I admit that i love frou-frou coffee, but realized recently that when i make my coffee at home using a fancy schmancy coffee creamer, it's just as good, and saves me a lot of money! $6 a week verses $4 per coffee!

  6. Grace on October 12, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I splurge on good coffee. It's odd – I really don't mind drinking the cheap stuff if a friend brews it, but if I'm at home I only brew the good stuff, like Seattle's Best or Caribou Coffee. I know I could get cheaper coffee for half the price, but I just can't bring myself to do it! Then five minutes later, I'm standing in the next aisle staring at unit prices to make sure I save fifteen cents on corn.

  7. Carol Shive Mirek on October 12, 2009 at 12:11 am

    In the summer I stop for a fresh soft serve ice cream for lunch when I am at work. Do you know how good that feels when I don't have to worry about the two kids eating their cones, and how fast they are melting in the summer heat. That is the best thing in the world. Besides a fresh hot cup of dunkin donuts coffee in the morning, on those frigid mornings when I am running late for work. But that is a necessity isn't it??

  8. Diaper Cake Becca on October 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Good Garbage bags and the GOOD paper towels are my guilty splurge. I'm a total control-freak about what the good paper towels can be used for, though (microwaving snacks…..cleaning windows and mirrors…..cleaning a spill off the floor. NOT for napkins, cleaning counters or any other surface cleaning). The trash bags are truly an indulgence because it means we can actually fill them and cinch them closed (instead of tying a knot).

    I do feel indulgent when we buy Ziploc bags (but I recycle them and use them for weekly receipts for the business purchases and, honestly, am fine if there is still a little food in there….the IRS rep can have fun with that if they ever come a-knockin'!).

    We will sometimes buy named brand OJ (but it is so much better so when it is on sale we will go there!). Once a year I splurge and buy the nice salon-shampoo if it is on sale. But I can make that last forever by using a small amount (I Have relatveily short hair).

    (I think the couch is running out of room….someone throw me a pillow so I can sit on the floor!)

  9. CanadianCarrie on October 11, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    I splurge on really good salon shampoo and conditioner. It really does make my hair look better, and when I look good, I FEEL good! And long showers, that is my me time, so I take the time. A friend started doing the same thing, she has bipolar and had a hard tiime with the birth of her first child last year. So taking more time for herself works for her too!

  10. Darlene on October 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Sometimes I fill the tub up to the rim and when the water cools down,I just let some water out and add all hot water!!! I know it's bad…..but it's my splurge!! LOL

  11. Amanda on October 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    My bizarre splurge is Mrs. Meyer's Geranium scented dish soap. It's silly to spend so much on dish soap, but it smells so heavenly that I almost don't mind washing dishes. I figure if a few extra bucks makes doing dishes semi-enjoyable, then it's money well-spent!

    • ThatBobbieGirl on October 11, 2009 at 6:24 pm

      My daughter bought a can of the geranium scent scrubbing powder. It makes me love cleaning my sink.

  12. HeatherSolos on October 11, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I won't tell ::passes Jenn a can of Scrubbing Bubbles:: from the Heather's had it with elbow grease stash, but you have to promise to put it back. I use vinegar and water or BKF for most things, but sometimes I say to heck with it and go the easy route. If that makes me a bad person, well. . . then I'll just have to be a bad person sometimes. 😛

  13. Jenn on October 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Long, hot showers, definitely. I'll tell you, my biggest temptation right now is to take my usual 'clean green or else' self out to the store and buy a bottle of the scrubbing bubbles or similar tub cleaner and put it to work on my nasty-dirty tub. Sure it would get clean with some bartender's friend and lots of elbow grease but I'd love to let those little bubbles do the work while I take a nap!

  14. Rina on October 11, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Oy. I'll join you on the couch.

    I bought Ziploc bags.


    I wash and reuse them though.

    • Rachel on October 12, 2009 at 10:03 pm

      Rina, I was just going to say that I feel guilty whenever I throw away zip bags, but one of my "let it go" things is to do it anyway!

  15. tinkerschnitzel on October 11, 2009 at 5:10 am

    I have to splurge on my coffee. Mmm. Taste of Austin from Central Market is the only way to go for me. I even take it camping with me! (sad, I know) It costs me $8.99 a pound, but it's still cheaper than Starbucks. And I'm feeling super guilty right now for eating out for lunch again. I can't seem to break the habit. Heather, any ideas on good, tasty lunches? I'm outta ideas.

    • HeatherSolos on October 11, 2009 at 4:02 pm

      I really like Chock Full O'Nuts, but I certainly don't snub better coffees. I tried the store brand for a while, but ugh I just couldn't do it.

  16. Go Jen Go on October 11, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Every once in a while I will buy fresh flowers for the house. They brighten my mood instantly!

  17. tink on October 11, 2009 at 2:17 am

    ::::::::sitting on the weirdo couch and passing the popcorn::::::::::

  18. caryn verell on October 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    if i spend money, i buy quality…and no one wants to waste fine quality anything…i am staying off the weirdo couch, thankyou. and while i am off being my squeaky frugal self, my nickels, dimes and pennies are adding up. if i splurge at all it might be for some free entertainment at the library on my way home from the other five or six stops on one trip to or from town.

  19. Rebekka on October 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Wow, I leave the radio on for my birds sometimes – I thought I was the only one. And they're budgies, not REAL parrots!

  20. Stacy on October 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    It's dweeby but real…I splurge by shopping at a healthier grocery rather than the regular supermarket. That's pretty nerdy, but it makes me feel good. Sometimes I throw the recyclables into the trash, I admit, although usually I do the right thing.

    • HeatherSolos on October 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm

      The fancy grocery stores feel absolutely decadent, don't they?

  21. Carol on October 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Throwing away plastic , glass and newspapers. I can't stand it but I have to sometimes for my sanity. Running the fan at night to help me sleep.

    • ThatBobbieGirl on October 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm

      We run a fan in our bedroom, but I don't consider that a splurge. It's a necessity to help cover up the snoring!

  22. julie on October 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    We have a parrot and we used to leave the tv and the light on in the den for him so he would hear things throught the day while hubby was at work and while I was busy elsewhere in the house.It was a big screen tv mind you LOL.Now we've moved him to another part of the house-no tv but he's well entertained during the day by my son and the puppy.I too go by the PEA SIZE drop of toothpaste and have heard that about the quarter size amount of shampoo.Don't like using paper plates or paper towels but it keeps the husband and grandpa happy so we do LOL…They think that if you use paper plates it cuts down on the dirty dishes—but what about the pots and pans you cooked supper in-still gotta wash those LOL……..


  23. Jamie on October 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    My mother is very frugal but always has a gorgeous home. I always say she was the original Martha Stewart. Me? Not so much.

    I am the light Nazi at our house. I can't stand it when my girls leave a light on in their bedrooms and come sauntering on out.

    I also always cut the ends off of lotion in a tube so I can get every last bit out!

    There are many more, but let's just say I'm joinin' you on the weirdo couch. 😉

    • Pam on October 12, 2009 at 11:40 am

      I am the power Nazi in my home. If it isn't in use (except for the fridge, freezer, oven and hot water), it gets unplugged. Lights, TV's, everything. You would be amazed at how much I have saved on the power bill. It helps me afford the occasional flowers and treats for myself. Try it; it's amazing.

  24. J Wynia on October 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I feel a pang of guilt every time I stand in the grocery store checkout and the cashier asks me if I have any coupons. That's because I never do.

    • HeatherSolos on October 11, 2009 at 4:00 pm

      I am not a couponer, either. Don't feel too badly.

  25. Connection Maven on October 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I agree with Bobbie, good coffee is a major part of my morning. I do buy the best that I can afford. Because I like really dark, French roast, sometimes that's Starbucks from Costco and sometimes it's the Kirkland variety.

    When taking a bubble bath with 'cheap' bubble bath, I'll use 1/2 the bottle so I can get a bath with lots of bubbles.

    You're not the only one who rebels in the small things in order to keep the large economies on track by satisfying one's need to feel indulged!

  26. ThatBobbieGirl on October 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    My primary splurge is coffee. Even though I buy relatively cheap coffee (decent store brands) I splurge by buying real cream to put into it. Not half & half, not light cream, but heavy whipping cream. I'm a semi-snob when it comes to coffee. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to be prepared well, and it must be fresh. My motto is "Life's too short to drink bad coffee."

    Otherwise, I'm quite the frugal girl and very cheap to keep.

  27. KCcat on October 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Yea I like 15 minute showers….LOL and I use paper towels to clean the windows, and sometimes….*gasp* I have thrown glass/plastic in trash instead of finding a creative way to re-use. * oh the shame*

  28. Eugene Mah on October 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Hope there's lots of room on the weirdo couch 🙂 I don't think what you're describing is unique or unusual. I do the same kinds of thing all the time.

    most of my splurging tends to take the form of going out to fancy schmancy restaurants like Oak, Grill 225 or Charleston Grill. Last night we megasplurged on dinner at Horizons at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. It's only something I only let myself do once or twice a year, so budget wise it's manageable.

    Smaller scale splurging might be going for the ribeye steak at the grocery store instead of the chuck roast I was going to make for dinner. I might grab the more interesting looking tin of steel cut oats instead of the regular store brand of rolled oats. Oooo, let's splurge on a case of Coke this week. Maybe I'll shop at Harris Teeter today instead of Publix. Yeah, most of my splurging tends to be food related 🙂

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