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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Money is a precious resource. Without it, we don’t eat. So, as a homemaker, I try to be frugal and save money wherever I can, especially when it comes to non-essentials.

But the cheapest option is not always the most frugal option. Some cheap products will end up costing you much more in the long-run. You need to find a balance between cost and quality. Let me give you some examples.

I can buy the cheaper, store-brand paper towels, but I know from experience that they are thinner and less absorbent, so I’ll end up using 2x as many paper towels for the same job and I’ll throw away more money (paper products are a great way to literally throw away money, aren’t they?).

I can buy the cheap dry-erase markers at the dollar store , but when I actually go to write something on the board, I might discover that they write as badly as my dried out Expo markers.

I can buy those store-brand granola bars (and get them almost FREE!) with the sale and coupons…but the kiddos won’t feel filled up after eating the dinky things and they’ll need to run off all the high-fructose corn syrup.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy the cheaper product. Sometimes you don’t know if the quality is inferior until you try it. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes you’ll find the exact same product from a much cheaper source (would you believe the same dollar store had Ocean Spray dried cranberries for more than a buck less than the grocery store?). And sometimes you’ll compromise, because the brand-name might be better than the generic, but not enough better to justify the additional cost.

Yeah, I like filet mignon better than ground beef, but not 5x better.

Or you might not have the time, energy or inclination to go the homemade route. One-of-a-kind Easter dresses for the girls would be precious (I’d do it if I didn’t have so many helpers and sewing can be quite spency these days)…but cheap dresses off the rack at Costco would also make them feel like princesses.

Find a balance. It’s not a science. It’s an art. And homemakers have been practicing this art since the beginning of homemaking.

How do you balance saving money with with creating a comfy home?

This post is linked to the Christian Home Weekly Blog Carnival (issue 1), a brand new blogozine created and hosted by Mrs. White at Legacy of Home.


  1. Great post! I love the part about ground beef vesus filet mignon. Also the sewing part is SOOOOO true. As a seamstress with an etsy business, I often have to admit that, no I didn't make this dress/skirt, etc. It is cheaper to buy them, sometimes even buying them off other etsy sellers.

    I love when people exclaim over how great it is that we cloth diaper. And how wrong they are to assume that we are saving a lot of money. Factor in the extra washings and soap (my diapers are washed two times each wash), and the actual cost of the diaper (some are over $20 each), plus the time and wear and tear on washing machine and your probably spending about the same as disposibles.

  2. This is an AWESOME post! Thanks for sharing. As you said, this is definately an art...and one I am still learning! Stopping by from the blog carnival. Have a wonderfully blessed day!

  3. Very good thoughts on this subject! Cheap food can also cause cheap health which costs more later.

  4. Great post. So true about the cost of cheap!

  5. I agree, especially about sewing being expensive! you can spend much more sometimes than just buying it.


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