Friday, October 5, 2007

Splurge or Go Cheep

My friend Brooke shared a bunch of things that she splurges on and some things that she goes cheap on. Then she asked a few of her friends to do the same. This was actually hard for me. There are really very few things I splurge on. Almost everything is debated and thought through before purchasing. I almost always go cheap. I buy generic and store brands when I can and almost never buy clothes, even for the kids, unless they are on sale. My kids wear a lot of hand-me-downs, actually. I had to really think of a few things that are a real extravagance!

Things I SPLURGE on:

1. Fun Socks - I like having socks with a little color to them. Stripes, spots, holiday designs--it doesn't really matter. I have a number of pairs, and when I see them in the store I am tempted. And sometimes I splurge, but usually only if they are on sale. It's just one of those unnecessary things that I just like. Sophie has developed a thing for colorful socks as well. So she notices them in the stores, too, and has a number of pairs of fun socks that she wear regularly. Ian recently found some kid-size camouflage socks and now wears those every chance he gets. I have created sock divas!

2. Salmon - My family loves to eat Salmon. Yes the kids love it, and even ask for it at times (usually after I have already said no to chicken nuggets). It is always expensive, but I make sure we always have some in the freezer.

3. Carousel rides/ donuts - My kids love to ride those little rides outside of Target or a donut at Safeway. It's starting to become a habit. I hate to admit it, but I usually indulge them when we have actually made it through the store without too much trouble.

4. Netflix - We don't have cable because then we would watch it too much, but we do rent movies from Netflix. Episodes of House, Monk and Masterpiece Theater are so much better on DVD anyway. No commercials or pledge breaks!

5. Target, not Walmart - I know Walmart may have lower prices, but I just don't like Walmart. It just feels dirty and cramped to me. Every Walmart makes me feel this way, not just the one near us. I will go if I have no other choice, but I LOVE Target because it just feels more spacious and clean. We go there at least once a week. I can push my cart down the aisles and pass people without having to bump into each other.

Sorry these don't sound that exciting as one's splurges might be.

Things I GO CHEAP on:

Just about everything!

1. Breakfast Cereal - We eat a lot of breakfast cereal around our house. It is our preferred snack. I love that Target sells cereal cheeper than the grocery store's sale prices. They also have a store brand which is often better than the name brands.

2. Gift shopping - I am an Ebay user. I buy school supplies, kids shoes, and all sorts of things on Ebay. My kids go to Target and play with toys and such, and then I go to Ebay and find those things cheaper. So a lot of Christmas and Birthday gifts come from sellers on EBay. Sophie's virtual pet was half the price and was still in the packaging. Even magazine subscriptions are a lot cheeper on Ebay.

3. Hair cuts - I actually cut my own hair, as well as my husband's and children. I do get a little help from my hubby (He does the back that I just can't quite reach). I hate spending money on haircuts just to need to spend it again a month later! Some times I do a really great job and other times it looks like I did it myself. Good thing I am not vain, and that my husband doesn't just love me for my looks, and that I have a style that hides imperfections!

4. Books - We have a lot of books in our house but most of them have made their way here via the "Friends of the Library" booksale shelf at the library, paperback swap, Amazon used books or Ebay. We use the library extensively! I think at the moment we have over 60 items checked out.

5. Eatting out - We almost never go out to eat. For one thing: it is expensive, but it is also hard to take kids to a restaurant. Usually if we are "eatting out" it is a hotdog at Costco (and we split them because they are huge), but if we are really splurging we go to Fresh Choice. We have found that for our family of 5 it is cheaper than Subway or Quiznos--which are the only other places we go. Fresh Choice is also healthier for us, too.

My husband read this post and thought that I needed to include two more ways in which we go cheep. They both also happen to be eco-friendly as well.

6. Cloth Diapers - Initial cost isn't cheep, but over time it is a big savings!

7. Energy- We use efficient light bulbs. (This is more my husband than me.) He replaced all our bulbs with the funny shaped energy saver bulbs. Our electric bill significantly decreased. Again, initial cost was a lot--but we save each month on our bill, so it is worth it in the long run!

Wow this ended up a long post even without pictures.

Who wants to share their lists? I would love to see them. I never like to tag people. Feel free to participate if you want.


Bibliophile said...

Well, Sarah, you asked!
1. Butter, not margarine, except soft margarine for toast.
2. Fish, about every ten days or so.
3. Sweaters
4. Books that are being talked about. I buy them new and resell them on I like BOOKS. I must have BOOKS.
5. Store-bought bread. I used to make homemade bread, but I don't any more.
6. Shoes. I didn't used to like lots of shoes, but I am getting more and more like Imelda Marcos, the shoe queen of the Philippines.

1. Books. I try to buy them at the Book Nook (Friends of the Library) and at the second-hand store, and I return them for a purchase credit.
2. Paper. I reuse the plain sides of used paper. The computer eats paper, so this is good.
3. Pens. I buy black gel pens in bulk because I love to write with them and use them for everything from crossword puzzles to grocery lists.

When I think about it, I was really cheap years ago, but now that I have just one child at home, I find that I am splurging on more things. I deserve to enjoy life now. Hehehehe.

Brooke & Dave said...

Awesome! Thanks for playing along :). I couldn't agree more with you on Target vs. Walmart and eating out. Good to know about Fresh Choice. I am going to have to check into Target cereal and magazine subscriptions from ebay (another thing I am to cheap to buy, but would like).

Congratulations on your private school accredidation. That is fabulous.

Kristiana said...

Great post! I'll have to think on this one. The only splurges I can think of are: I must have real Cheerios, not the generic kind, Dove dark chocolates, and Adams peanut butter--it puts all the others pb's to shame. And I'm a sucker for sheet music and anything I need for my cello, though I do know the best places to buy from online.

Cheap-I'm pretty cheap generally speaking, or frugal as dh would say.

Alison said...

1. Eating out - This is mostly thanks to John. He just needs to get out once in awhile. We have a few pretty cheap places we go; Wendy's, El Pollo Loco, Pizza-my-heart, La Villa Deli (for ravioli).

2. Travel - We fly instead of driving to Utah and we dream of being able to live overseas sometime, probably 10 years or so.

3. Satellite TV w/DVR - We may watch too much, but at least we watch what we like (HGTV, Food network, history channel etc.) I love being able to record things and watch them when I want and also having several episodes of Curious George and Super Why on demand for Jack.

4. Cold cereal - we didn't eat cereal growing up. It was pretty much pancakes every day. Even through college I always ate cereal because I just like it.

5. Good bread from the store - I don't take time to make bread but I like the good stuff.

1. travel - We just don't really travel much and we probably won't do much more than day trips and the occasional trip to Utah for a few more years. On our last trip to Utah reinforced that our toddler does not do well in unfamiliar sleeping places.

2. clothes - When I was working I bought more fashionable and higher quality clothes, but now I buy what is cheap and comfortable, mostly from Target it seems. I have gone back to dressing like I did in grad school. I am also a big fan of hand-me-down clothes from the cousins for Jack. Some of the clothes he wears have names in the neck of kids I don't even know. They have been passed around several times.

3. Kid toys and stuff - Hooray for e-bay! Again a big hooray for the cousin hand-me-downs. Slightly worn, but kid tested.

my5wolfcubs said...

This is really something to think about!

I'm pretty cheap on everything...looking around the room, my splurges would be Puffs Plus brand tissues and Cetaphil brand lotion. And food stuff that dh & the kids like -- if I'm going to buy ice cream I only get Breyers because that is what dh likes, and I have one dd who only likes Chedder Rice Quakes (no crackers, no Goldfish, no corn chips).

How do you prepare your salmon? I buy talapia at Costco and cook it in the oven w/ butter, garlic powder, basil and salt. I've been making it this way and only this way for about 2 years because all 7 of us love it (rare for a food). But I've been thinking I *could* try something else!