Friday, October 11, 2013

7 Things I Don't Buy and 1 Thing I Do (7QTF).

Once upon a time we had fewer kids and more money.   It's a long, sad story, our move from lower middle class to upper middle class to total poverty (law school) and then back up to lower middle class.   And, I'll tell ya's actually hardest in the middle.  One good thing though, is that over the years and through all that movement, I've learned a thing or two about frugality. 

The easiest way to be frugal is to just not buy stuff.  Seriously...just don't buy it.  It's easier to just not buy stuff than it is to coupon or shop sales or go bargain hunting.   Most of the time, you don't even miss it, and it's easy enough to find a way to do without. Plus, stuff annoys me.  It clutters up my house and takes up space. 

So here are 7 things I don't buy and 1 thing I do.   And, since there are 7 of them, I'll just link up with Jen from Conversion Diary for 7QTF.

1.  Baby food  

I just feed my babies little bits and bites of whatever we are eating and it's all good.  They learn to like lots of different textures and learn to handle "chunks" of food a bit earlier, which I like to think makes them at a lower risk of choking because they become more adept at handling food in their mouth at an earlier age.  I like to think that anyway.  And, it saves a ton of money, because those little bits of food are basically negligible when it comes to increasing our grocery bill.


Paper Towels

We just use cloth towels for cleaning....throw then in the wash when dirty and then re-use.  Works just as well as paper towels and savers a ton of money....especially for me.  Because I know myself....I am a paper towel waster....the type of person to use 4 paper towels when one would do. It's easier to just not use them at all.  I'm also a toilet paper waster, but don't worry,  I'm  NOT going to give up toilet paper. 


Body Skin Stuff

We don't use any skin lotions or moisturizers or anything like that.  My personal theory is that they are all make your skin drier, hence requiring more moisturizer or's a conspiracy I tell ya.  Plus, they are horrible for you and contain all sorts of carcinogens and other bad stuff.  The same goes for chapstick.   Chapstick actually makes your lips drier.  Plus, I'm a bit of a hippie, so I tend to shy away from that stuff anyway...although I do use shampoo and deodorant (although I make my own) and I swear, I also I'm not totally completely out there, I promise. 


Baby Wipes

I just use small washcloths with water and it works just as well as actual baby wipes, with a lot less expense. and no nasty chemicals. I just throw them in the wash with the cloth diapers and it's all good.  Plus, I'm a baby wipe waster, so it's easier for me to just not buy them.  

Processed/Convenience Food Anything

This is as much for health reasons as it is for frugality.  We don't eat hardly any processed food.  It's just as easy to make our own BBQ or Honey Mustard sauce or Taco Seasoning or Spice Rub or whatever else.   And with a little bit of practice and advance planning it's really not all that hard to make our own snacks and pizza and macaroni and cheese and whatever. The only exceptions are I do buy bread (I find that making my own doesn't actually save money and takes too much time, even accounting for buying the more expensive, healthier brands of bread) and gluten-free pasta and the occasional splurge of gluten-free crackers (because I've just never been able to master making crackers).


Kid's Clothes

Okay, I wouldn't say that I NEVER buy kid's clothes, but it's very, very, very rare for me.   Through a combination of saving clothes to pass down and very generous friends who've given us hand me downs, I've very rarely needed to buy kid's clothes....and almost never for Greta or John or Elsa.  I have had to buy more stuff for Heidi...mostly because she was the oldest and because she was always really big for her age and grew at a super fast rate, so she outgrew clothes much quicker than the other kids do.  For the younger three though...I've very rarely had to buy anything...only really shoes and underwear.   If you don't have friend's willing to pass down clothes...make some.  Seriously...get the word out there that you're looking for kid's clothes and I bet you'll soon be inundated with way more than you can use.   


Feminine Hygiene Products. 

Okay, I'm sure this is too much information...and any guys reading this,...just stop reading now.  Just've been warned..   Several years ago, I got into "mama cloth" which is basically cloth pads.  I find them to be way more comfortable, and I *think* they may actually help reduce flow heaviness and cramps.  Can't swear by it, but since I've started using them...I almost never get cramps and have lighter flow...when I actually need them that is. Ecological breastfeeding greatly reduces the amount of the time I actually need any sort of product at all. 

The One Thing I Do Buy:  Disposable diapers because I value my sleep.  Now, we do use cloth diapers most of the time, but I use one disposable diaper a day...or should I say night.  The cloth just can't hold an entire night's worth of pee from a nursing all night baby, but the sposies can.  And, I refuse to get up in the middle of the night and change diapers, so sposies it is, at least overnight until babe gets night-weaned.

And, those are my 7 things I don't buy.  What are some things YOU don't buy ?
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  1. Oh my gosh, I actually really love #7! I've been thinking about doing cloth pads for a while now. How many do you need to get through a cycle? Do you do anything special in the wash with them?

    With #4, do you have a changing table in the bathroom so you can just wet the washcloths at the time of changing? How many do you have and how often do you do laundry?

    PS, I completely agree that the best way to be frugal is to not buy stuff and hate clutter as well : )

    1. 9-12 pads easily gets me through a cycle..but my flow is not as heavy as some, and usually only lasts 3-4 days. I don't do anything special to wash them, just through them into the regular wash. I don't rinse them out first or anything, just throw them in the wash. Cloth pads are actually MORE absorbent than disposable ones, I think.

      No, I don't have a changing table in the bathroom. Before I change diapers or lay the baby down, I grab a washcloth of two (kept where I keep the cloth diapers) wet it and then bring it into the bedroom (where I changed diapers) and do the whole changing thing. I've just gotten into the habit of getting the washcloth wet first and then laying baby down, taking off the old diaper etc.

  2. On my fourth kid I caved and bought the stage 3 meat foods because I didn't want to fool with making meats anymore, and also rice cereal. I thought it was totally worth it. :) But by and large I did a lot of what you do. Although not all.

  3. Amelia, I tagged you for a "Scrumptious Blog Award" today. :)

  4. Ditto on the one disposable diaper at night. Life saver! I will have to give a thought to using towels instead of paper towels. I already use cloth wipes, but still hang onto the paper towels for the kitchen. . . . Hmmmm.

  5. We do a number of these things as well. #7 is something I've been considering, but what with pregnancies and breastfeeding...I've barely needed anything for the past 3+ years.

    I've been slowly getting away from a lot of processed foods, but one thing I haven't tackled is homemade condiments. Do you have any good recipes for those? Do they last as long in the fridge as store-bought ones would?

    1. I actually do buy ketchup and mustard (the healthier kinds without high fructose corn syrup). I For other condiments and sauces (like salad dressings, BBQ sauce, steak sauce) I only make it on an "as needed" basis. For example, for chicken breasts, I make a sauce using either mustard or ketchup, apple cider or red wine vinegar, brown sugar, molasses or honey and whatever other spices, curry powder, salt pepper. My favorite chicken recipe is basically mixing mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, butter, curry powder, salt and pepper.

      For salad dressings, I usually just mix olive oil, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese , dried basil, oregano, pinch of sea salt and sugar. Occasionally I make a more "ranch-style" dressing using plain yogurt, dried garlic/onion, Parmesan cheese, etc.

      I don't really have a lot of recipes....I usually just sorta throw stuff together according to my tastes and just adjust/tweak as I go along. If I want to make something, I usually google a bunch of recipes for it and come up with a "baseline" recipe of basic ingredients (for example, most BBQ sauces contain a tomato base with a sweetener (frequently ketchup and molasses) and then tweak it to my own tastes and what I have. Not sure if that makes sense or not, but I don't follow recipes all that much...I usually just sorta throw stuff together.

  6. At one point in time, I've done all of these things. I've got an away from some, due to our big move plus laziness. Time to get back into the swing of things, and this is just the oomph I needed. :)

  7. Go you! I especially like the fact that you have gone beyond the knee-jerk response to buying stuff. Everybody needs to find his or her own path in this regard, seems to me.

  8. This is excellent! I also am a fan of just not buying stuff. I do not collect knick knacks, etc. for just this reason. And while I are the good in thrift and yard sale shopping, I often find myself most tempted to spend money where I otherwise wouldn't on used cheap stuff. Which isn't cheap considering you wouldn't have bought it at all in the first place.

  9. I do most of this - I keep meaning to start up on #7 but I've had fewer cycles than I can count on two hands since I started having kids, so I just can't justify the initial cost of mama cloth yet :/

  10. Thanks for your comment on my blog, Amelia! This was a fun post to read, but it makes me feel like I have consumeritis! Being on a very tight budget has helped curb my money-spending, but I'm a sucker for cute, new clothes (for me and the kids!), books, school and art supplies, and fabric. I also love kitchen stuff and textiles. I'm bad to the bone! Luckily, I shop sales and possess at least a little will power, but I wish I weren't quite such a consumer. Thanks for your good example!


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