Friday 3 September 2010

What I don't buy

Recently, I wrote about where I spend. This time, I'm writing about what I don't buy. This is purely personal and idiosyncratic but I would be fascinated to know what others don't think is worth buying. I run the risk of people being rather horrified but there we are!

-Conditioner for washing. I've never quite understood its purpose-sorry to be thick.

-Cleaning cloths-using cut up holey sheets at present. We've had a glut of these, this summer. My Mum would have turned the sheets "sides to middle" before this happened!

-Disposable nappies. I will relent for brand new babies when there are always really good vouchers to be had and for holidays. Washable nappies have got so much better over the last few years. When we went on holiday, this year, and put our youngest, aged 18 months,in disposables, there were far more leaks than with washables. In fact, I can't remember a washable leak since he was about six months. Usually, I might be stingy and buy cheap nappies but the disposables that let us down on hols were one of the two main brands.

-Wipes. This is only partially true. We usually have wipes for going out but use old prefolds when at home. Cheaper and better for the eczema.

-Gravy powder. This is a bit random after the previous list and isn't really to do with cost just proper home made gravy is so much better.

-Squash. We gave up squash after one of the children had teeth problems. There are so many reasons not to buy squash. We've saved loads of money-pound or two a week for about six years now. Squash is so bad for teeth and, I didn't believe this before I had a child who was affected, but some children seem to have behavioural issues after drinking squash. What do they drink? Mainly, tap water although milk is on offer and we have fruit juice for Sunday lunch.

What don't you buy? I'm curious to know.


  1. 'Squash is bad for teeth' - only if you buy squash that is full of sugar. We would view sugar-free squash as a tasty and cheap alternative to fruit juice.

    Fabric conditioner? Can't stand some clothes without it - itchy and stiff.

    One thing (in general) we don't buy is branded products. So many savings for those who are willing not to judge by the label. Also I recommend trying out 'value' products to see which are worthwhile - with many you can't tell the difference.

  2. (blush) Robert loves his squash! I don't like squash at all and won't be encouraging Niah to drink it either.

    -I'm interested about what you said about wipes, 'prefolds'? What are these? I would love to use something other than wipes or cotton wool and water...
    And I would love to use washable nappies- which are best for a 10 month old Sarah?

    - (blush again) we bought powered gravy until very recently, I've been trying to learn how to make it properly.

    - what I don't buy:
    baby food, why?when they can have food which is far more tasty and nutritious

    - Jam. Not after trying homemade jam, which is far far better!

  3. Interesting question, Sarah. I have to admit to feeling like a spendthrift reading your post, since I do buy gravy powder, and always used disposable napppies. I don't generally buy squash, but I do buy 20 litres of fruit juice a week for the children, plus another ten for J & A.

    I don't buy make up, or go to a hairdresser more than once or twice a yr.

    I don't buy clothes new if I can help it - sometimes we have to, but 90% of my personal clothes are second hand; and about 50% of all the clothes in the house.

    I don't buy branded products unless I'm convinced they are better than the generic /value version.

    I don't (often) buy shoes, I generally own one or two pairs at once - the two pairs I have now I've had for four years. (I do own trainers and clogs as well)

    I shop on eBay before anywhere else, almost. (And our local charity shops)

    I shop in our local 99p store when looking for anything like household goods/stationery, but not food, simply because I food-shop online at Tesco.

    I don't buy ornaments, household decorations, pictures, mirrors, lamps. I don't like clutter.

    I don't buy flowers.

    I don't buy new furniture unless I have to. Freecycle is amazing, I've known friends furnishing whole houses, almost, with other people's cast offs.

    I don't buy cheap white goods - we get Miele appliances and always get the extended warranty. It saves us money in the long run.

    I don't buy any books that we can get in the library.

    I don't buy jewellery, and we don't eat out.

    I don't buy fresh veg mostly, I get frozen, cheaper and easier to use. (I do buy salad)

    I don't buy anything organic (though I do get free range eggs when I'm going to eat them myself, the rest of the family don't notice or care what kind of eggs we have)

    I don't buy filter coffee - I use instant.

    We don't have family holidays (tho J takes some of the children to the USA once a year)

    We don't get men in to do household jobs; and we don't have a cook, cleaner, gardener or tutor (though I daily wish I did!)

    Hmmm. Interesting. I guess one (wo)man's necessity is another woman's luxury.

    You make me realise I could live more frugally. But at what cost to my time (lol and sanity)? Mostly what I try to buy is time. I have less time than money right now; it hasn't always been that way, and things will no doubt change again.

  4. We have been really concentrating on cost cutting in the super markets.
    What we dont buy now is

    Bread - we have started to make our own. 49 pence a loaf for mixture. Its half the cost of a standard loaf.I dont have a bread maker its all done by hand .

    Branded food- we rarley buy big brands- tends to be super market own.Its trial and error, find out what you like.

    We never buy full price washing products- only whats on offer. And we only buy it once a month.

    Soup- this is not completely true as sometimes when im not well enough I ask J to go buy me a tin. Trying to make big batches and freeze it.

  5. Bola-"prefolds" are layered rectangles of cloth with several layers of thickness in the centre. The only reason that we use these as wipes is that we were given a large number of more than second hand prefolds. We found that they didn't work well as nappies but have been great as wipes. Many of our prefolds are in a very small size which again makes them better as wipes than nappies. If I was buying cloth for wipes, I would probably go for flannels. It might well be worth buying flannel and edging your own as, in my opinion, a size slightly larger than a conventional flannel is best.
    Washable nappies-we have put our younger two in bumbles then in bumpers from Easy Peasy nappies. Previously, we had a child in Motherease one size then in Sandys. We've not found that one sized nappies don't last until potty training.
    We have used Motherease wraps for the younger three.
    Which nappy is best is really dependant on circumstances-the Nappy Lady does an online form including things like whether you intend to line dry or size of parents (tall and thin or otherwise as it makes a difference to baby size). You don't have to buy from them but they give a 5% discount if you do for using the online form.
    Have you thought about sewing nappies? There are patterns and information on line. You probably still need to buy wraps.
    Completely agree about baby food. I always look at the baby food when waiting to collect prescriptions and am amazed the prices and small sizes.

  6. Henrietta,

    So true that one (wo)man's necessity is another woman's luxury.
    We tend to spend a fair amount on heating as we can't really expect an older person to move around to make for for the cold.


    Not having squash doesn't bother me at all as I prefer water if juice isn't available. Giving up coffee would be another matter!

  7. Thanks for the info Sarah. I've been looking into these for a couple of weeks now but i'm still undecided. I don't think i'll have the time to sew the nappies but I did find good sources of these nappies on ebay. I think i'll buy a trial pack from one of these ebay sellers and see how it goes.

  8. We buy shampoo & condition in one...not separately. However, we did buy conditioner when one of the kids got head lice...someone told us it works (and it's cheaper than the treatment). It worked beautifully, but now we have a huge bottle of conditioner we don't use. When I had my first child, I knew very little about nice modern washable nappies. So, I've always used disposable...and wipes too, because it's what I'm used to. We buy the cheapest nappies--they're just as good or better than the expensive kind. We don't do squash, either. Maybe it's because we're American and never had it before we moved here, but I don't even like the taste (same thing with Kool-Aid in the US).

    What do we NOT buy? A TV license. We never had cable in the US, either. There's very little worth watching in our opinion to make it worth paying for. Of course we get a letter every year, but I think they understand now that we don't use the programming EVER. If there's something I want to watch, I watch it online after it has already aired. There are times I wish we had it, but not badly enough to pay for it.

    We don't buy a real Christmas tree...they're expensive to have to buy every year. We bought a fake tree when we first moved here. It's still good, it doesn't shed and it's very pretty. : )

    There's probably more, but that's all for now.