Sunday Confessional: The jacked up stuff edition

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

One might call me frugal; one might even call me cheap, especially when it comes to certain things. For example, I’ve needed new underwear for the longest time. It took Mr. Ivy begging me to spend some money and buy some underwear to get me to buy any. And even then, I bought Target Christmas underwear at 90% off. I got something like 20 new pairs of undies for about 5 bucks.

But there are other things that make very little sense, even to me. I don’t own an ice scraper. Largely, it’s unnecessary here in Tennessee- on occasion we get frost on the windshield and there’s been a few times when I’ve had to scrape actual ice. But usually Mr. Ivy scrapes off the ice before he leaves for work, or I don’t need to leave until late enough that it all melts away.

So, my youngest son and I were in the auto parts store the other day, and he picked up an ice scraper and asked me what it was. I told him, and he told me to buy one. I said I don’t need one, because I use an old gift card from (of all places, haha) Linens N Things to scrape frost when it’s necessary. I told him there’s no need to spend money when I already have it covered.

An old man was standing in line behind me, listening to this, and said, “Honey, you may be the only person in this entire world that’s cheaper than my wife.” Now, there are a lot of things I am really cheap on, but there are other things I never, ever go cheap on. I suppose that guy’s wife would have a massive coronary if she saw what I spend on pet food.

So that begs the question,  Home Eccers- what things do you go cheap on? And what things would you never go cheap on? Time for confession, let’s hear it!


  1. Tracy on January 27, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I eliminated almost all of my paper products. Hankies, cloth napkins, cloth monthly pads and personal pads for when I pee. I do use generic tp for the other “stuff” I make all of my cleaners and cook eveything from scratch.I recycle, reuse and freecycle. I buy most of my clothes from a local church store…25 cents per item. My splurge is 1 new pair of sneackers and slippers a year. I also value my internet, unlimited long distance {a must where I live} and my direct t.v. Due to an illness I am basically a shut in and this is my only means of staying in touch with the world. I enjoy my frugal lifesyle and it allows me to live on less than 800.00 a month and still eat well and have 2 dogs.

  2. Tara on January 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Hmm. We get name-brand Q-tips because I don’t like the cheepies. We get organic store-brand food wherever possible, and I cook as much as I can from scratch (no yard for gardening here). I’m learning to sew so I can make my own clothes. I dislike shopping unless it’s my favorite thrift store. I don’t skimp on winter coats, either.

    If quality isn’t affected I get the cheap stuff. For items where quality will make the difference, I get the good stuff; where lifetime use makes it worth it I buy the really good stuff.

  3. Rachel on January 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I’m super cheap on clothing, shoes, bras, and undies, wearing things longer than I really should. I buy generic on almost all food, but splurge on ice cream. I also use a Keeper, so I’ve spent like $30 in a decade on period supplies. 🙂

  4. Carol on January 26, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I am going to make sure my dh reads these comments, because he tells me I am cheap, which I disagree and say I am frugal! I always shop on sale for groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, etc. I don’t have to use brand name on stuff, but with sales and coupons it is usually a lot cheaper. I won’t drink store name soda that is imitation cola, I only drink coke or pepsi, and I won’t buy anything but Green Giant niblets. My kids eat the smuckers low sugar jelly, and that is the only item I will buy that might not be on sale, or even have a coupon for. So that is a big splurge for me! LOL

    As for clothing that is always on sale also, but I am not big on name brand stuff. I will always splurge on my electronic toys, like my computers or digital cameras, it just isn’t worth it to be crappy stuff like that.

  5. Kimberella on January 26, 2009 at 6:42 am

    I am reading how many people say that they won’t skimp on Toilet Paper. I buy recycled tp and get the nicest kind that is RECYCLED. Beautiful trees don’t need to be cut down for my bum. You’ll get used to it, easier than explaining a barren country to our kids. I know I sound like a hippy here, but the premium TP is real wasteful to the environment and it is a small sacrifice. I am with you that mentioned organic milk. The bovine hormones and antibiotics they feed cows so that they can produce unnatural amounts of milk is a scary thought.
    I go cheap on dishwashing detergent and other cleansers. I buy up on canned tomatoes and corn when they’re on sale.

  6. Jenny on January 26, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Hmmm. I like to think that I’m pretty frugal with most things.

    One thing that I always buy name brand is cereal. I can’t stand the taste of ‘toasted o’s’ or ‘crisp rice’ I usually wait for the good stuff to be on sale though.

    Almost my entire wardrobe (except socks and undies) is used from thrift stores. In fact I can only think of one peice of clothing that I wear now that was bought new, and that was a tshirt that was on sale at walmart for 3$

    I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, so a heavy duty ice scraper/snow brush is pretty much a necessity (I don’t have covered parking). I’m also seriously considering the idea of getting remote start on my car so I can get into a prewarmed car when it’s -30 outside.

  7. Keter on January 25, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I’m cheap on everything to the extent possible and still have the item be serviceable, last a reasonable length of time, and not be too annoying. Buying one “keeper” – even if it’s really expensive – is usually less expensive than buying multiple cheaper versions only to give them away in frustration or have them break too frequently. And then there’s the cost of the stress! My “expensive” coffee pot ($55) still performs flawlessly after a decade – a bargain!

    I don’t spend money to have others do what I can do myself, and not buying into fads is a big savings, too. Like Ivy, if I don’t need it, I generally don’t buy it. She was happy with her ice scraping solution, I repurposed an old plastic spackle spreader. ;o) As another example, I don’t spend money on TV – I don’t even own a TV now because we don’t watch it. I buy used when practical, and stay up with maintenance. My car is 15 years young, and was cheap to buy eight years ago and has always been cheap to operate. Every other year, I rebuild a gas grill I bought in 1980, and I’ve had the same vacuum for 15 years, which I take apart to clean yearly, and twice has needed a new belt. My sewing machine is seven years older than I am!

    What I don’t skimp on is anything to do with health, including food. I read labels like a madwoman to get chemicals out of my family’s diet and to pick the best nutritional values. I buy a few supplements that are really expensive, but have health benefits that in the long run will be cheaper than doctors and prescriptions. I also put a little more money that average into computer equipment and Internet access, since I use them many hours every day. My one indulgence is photography equipment, which I may use one day to make some money, too.

    BTW Erin, I dye my own hair, too. If you have a Sally Beauty or equivalent in your area, they can hook you up with very simple salon solutions from Clairol that are way better than the kits in the grocery and cheaper, too. No inconsistent results! I also cut my husband’s hair. I keep my hair long and all the same length – I get it trimmed only a couple of times a year to get rid of dry ends.

  8. MomTFH on January 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I am pretty cheap. I skimp on about everything. I just bought new undies for myself because mine had way too many holes in them, and my underwires were stabbing me out of every single bra, and I had already patched them once. I get my hair cut once a year, maybe.

    But, I can spend money on good cheese. Mmmmm, manchego. But, a 9 dollar block o’ cheese once a month is no budget breaker.

  9. Paula in NH on January 25, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Mmmmm . . . good question. With only two of us in the house there is not much I need to skimp on. What irritates me is so many coupons these days make you buy two or three items to use the coupon. It’s cheaper for me to buy only one item when I need it then to spend the extra money to buy more to save a little.

    Like many others I have one brand of TP I will buy. I will buy generic canned goods when I need them. I prefer buying and cooking with fresh ingredients.

    DH splurges on underwear and bras for me. I let him do it because it’s fun to feel sexy under my work uniform.

  10. Elizabeth Anne on January 25, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    We live in Wisconsin, so while I get most of my clothes on the clearance rack, I will spend serious cash on two things:
    boots and the winter coat.
    Up here it’s a question of safety. *looks out at 10 below weather and shudders*
    Also, while I’ll buy generic whole foods (canned beans, canned fruit) anything prepared I usually spring the extra money for: mayo, mac and cheese, cheese… I can tell the difference, and it’s worth it to us.

  11. Pam on January 25, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I am cheap on most all things and I hate to just “shop”. I am NOT cheap on Mayo, Tampax, t-paper, and paper towels, there IS a difference, I find them on sale and stock up. I have 3 months supply of t-paper right now!
    My husband knows and praises my abilities…….now if my 16 yo DD would catch on.

  12. Karen on January 25, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    The two things I refuse to buy on the cheap are shoes and bras. Anything that supports your body is important.

    We totally cheap out on furniture. Since I moved out of my parents’ home over 14 years ago, I have bought two beds and two couches new. We JUST bought the second bed and second couch in this year’s after-Christmas sales. The old ones were in pathetic condition. ALL of our other furniture has been a hand-me-down, a gift, or bought second-hand for next to nothing.

    My husband and I hardly ever go out alone because we can’t bear the cost of babysitting on top of the cost of going out.

    I refuse to buy dryer sheets or fabric softener. We don’t have cable television (or satellite, just rabbit ears) or cellphones or iPods/MP3s. But we do have high-speed internet access. Another indulgence is new books. I know I should borrow from the library but I just love the books and bookstores do have a wider and more current selection in science and other non-fiction.

  13. Kendra on January 25, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I’m cheap on cleaning supplies, pantry staples, laundry detergent, and fresh herbs. I do like nice brand for linens, towels, home decor, clothes and shoes, but refuse to pay full price. I shop at the Outlet mall or places like T.J. Max, Marshalls, or Steinmart.

    Things I refuse to skimp on are produce, certain cuts of meat, mayo, hair and skin care products, cookware, dried spices, and toilet paper.

    I’ve also become very against waste. There isn’t much I haven’t found a way to reuse or recycle.

  14. Maria on January 25, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Im cheap on pretty much everything I can get away with. Ill sneak in and put store brand in the old Name brand boxes. Hubb’s hasnt figured that one out yet. Except dog food, tp, salad dressing (though I make my own every chance I get) and books ( with this I tend to go to paperback swap first). And my daughters groceries. shes on a special diet. So I buy her and most of the family. Organic, GFCF food’s.

    I agree with the ice scraper, till I moved to upstate NY. Then I had to have one. The giftcard died after one use up here. So I did everything in my power to find one on the cheap. Got one on-sale at Home Cheapo after all was said and done.

  15. CharmingDriver on January 25, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I am so cheap I squeak about most things (I too am a Queen of Darkness re: keeping most lights OFF during the day & having no more than one or two on at night) but I won’t buy cheap toilet paper (but I doo buy the good stuff on super sale ONLY), toothpaste or bed linens. Once I figured out what a real difference thread count can make I got a lot more particular. Not that I spend oodles of money on linens because I still believe in being frugal even on ”splurges” when possible but as often as we have to wash sheets w/ the kids (and truthfully, ourselves because well, we’re messy, even in bed. No, not like that, pervs, heh), buying higher quality that can withstand the punishment just makes sense in the long run.

  16. Erin on January 25, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    ROFLMBO…I don’t what I would have done if I had been in the store to hear that! My big cheap thing is that I am too cheap to pay someone to color my hair, so I’ve learned to do it myself. Yes, sometimes it doesn’t turn out quite as planned, but, hey, it is just hair. I’m still learning to be even more frugal, but whatever works!

  17. Susan on January 25, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I won’t skimp on toilet paper, q-tips, or organic milk. With toilet paper and q-tips, you really can tell the difference if you buy cheap or generic. And I’m grossed out by the bovine growth hormones in regular milk and don’t want to feed that to my daughter. Pretty much everything else is fair game!!

  18. N. on January 25, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I spend a lot on pet food both to get the organic kind and because our dog has sensitive skin requiring special food. Our car a Ford Escape Hybrid was by no means cheap but since I expect it to last me at least until the ten year warranty on hybrid engine and battery run out I was willing to spend more money on it.

    We reuse aluminum foil, plastic bags, plastic wrap, etc. We have one light on at night and that’s because our solar lantern can’t fully charge in these short days.

  19. Nancy on January 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I’m still learning to be cheap. I stopped using aluminum foil to line things rather than scrubbing them out. I put my old scrubber sponges in the dishwasher when they smell funky rather than tossing them and using a new one. I don’t use the dryer except for socks and undies because our electric bill is too high already. My husband calls me the Queen of Darkness because I am always turning lights out. I have exactly one pair of blue jeans that do not have holes in the knees.
    I don’t go cheap on the kids’ winter coats. Too many kids made fun of what I wore as a child – I don’t want to put them through that.

  20. Mom of three on January 25, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I am cheap on just about everything. BUt I will not buy poor toilet paper. I will only buy the good kind.

    Hubby says we live 75% better than we should because I buy most everything, but food on clearance. If I find a good sale on toilet paper, I stock up. (Yes, I will get an entire minivan full of TP if it’s under $5 a package. 🙂 )

    I’m with you on the ice scraper. Just don’t have a need. If I lived where I did, I’d make sure the garage stayed clean enough to park inside.

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