Friday 15 October 2010

False economies

I guess we've all made false economies. Here in the interest of honesty and, maybe, stopping someone else making a silly mistake are some of mine.

-Value washing powder-blocked the pipe draining the washing machine. Dh and I spent some time with old wire coat hangers and finally, rather nasty and expensive chemicals undoing the damage. I don't buy anything better than own brands but haven't had the same problem since. Lidl's washing powder seems fine as do the other own brands.
 I haven't tried making my own washing powder-I've tried soap nuts and some sort of plastic ball that was meant to substitute for washing powder but haven't been impressed.

-Cheap baking trays-spill hot food onto hands. I was given some heavy duty Prestige tins which are great and don't buckle.

-Second hand strollers. I've never seen a second hand stroller for less than I could buy a new one and anyway, most second hand strollers look as though a wheel could drop off anytime. My stroller, that has been through just two children, has wheels which may leave it at anytime. Not an issue, as Mr Exuberance likes to try to climb out and walk so the need for wheeled transport is unlikely to last long.

-A certain store's value teabags. I'm definitely not talking about Sainsburys whose value teabags are Fairtrade, 30p for 80 and don't require 2-3 teabags for every one standard teabag!

-Cheap jam-home made costs no more and tastes so much better. This is even more true for marmalade.

Anyone else have thoughts on false economies?


  1. Value toilet paper, you have to use twice the amount of paper. I buy Andrew Quilts, use 2 squares most of the time. bought 20 rolls from bookers about 2 months ago, still got 5 rolls left!!! And much better than the usual Andrex.

  2. Ha! I was going to say value toilet paper as well. I have been looking into buying it wholesale from a janitorial company before VAT goes up in January.

    I am also going to say value black plastic sacks. No, no, no!

    Value washing up liquid probably qualifies. You need to use three times as much.

  3. Very interesting post. For us, the economies of scale kick in, so some things work for us that wouldn't for everyone.

    I've found it a false economy to refuse the extended warranty on *anything*

    Also, buying cheap electrical appliances has been a false economy for us, anything other than Miele doesn't last v long.

    A more contentious issue - using time to make your own, when you can use much less time to earn money was a false economy for us for yrs. When I was editing from home I could earn enough in one hour to pay for e.g. all the baby food I needed to buy, but it would have taken several hours of work to make it. Same with bread, jam, clothes etc. Of course that only works if you have readily marketable skills. But if you do, sometimes making things yourself is a false economy.

    I find sometimes that children are going to use x amount of toilet paper regardless, so it might as well be the cheapest stuff! Ditto washing up liquid and shower gel. And toothpaste. (As they get older they get their own non-value toothpaste, but the younger ones will use the same volume no matter what it cost me!)

    Cheap pencils are a false economy, unless you only want to use them once (eg on a car journey); other than that they are sooo irritating.

    Ditto cheap pencil sharpeners.

    Buying something you don't need just because it is cheap/a bargain can also work out to be a false economy . . I'm sure I've made many more mistakes over the yrs. . .

  4. My investigations are showing that tesco value loo roll is less than half the cost of me buying in bulk, so even if we used twice as much perhaps it is actually not a false economy. Tesco = about 10p a roll. Cheapest direct purchase (spending about 40 quid) = 26p a roll

  5. Re my previous comment, we do sometimes buy cheap appliances - I'd rather replace a toaster once a yr (having paid less than £10 for it) than pay £199 for the ultimate appliance. And we buy our microwaves second hand (we have three).

    Washing machines, driers, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners need to be hard wearing. But small appliances we buy cheaply and replace often.

    Cheap bunk beds when we have eight boys was another false economy :-)

    I guess every family is different, if something really matters to your family it is a false economy to cut it out/get rid of it.

    I hadn't thought of stock piling toilet roll - not sure where we'd keep it. I do remember once bulk buying nappies when John Lewis had them on "we won't be beaten on price"; spent hundreds of pounds but saved twice as much.


  6. Henrietta,
    I agree about cheap pencils and also felt tips.
    Berol last much longer.
    Earning vs making your own is a difficult one. We are in the process of trading my income for time at home and are sure this is right. Good that you were able to work from home-some skills are not readily transferable to home!