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Products tightwads don’t buy

By on December 18, 2009

waffle iron
photo by Valerie Everett

Tightwads have their limits. If you’re frugal, you might buy the occasional convenience product, but you have a list of items you simply refuse to buy. The price isn’t worth the benefit of a mini shortcut that saves only a couple of minutes or seems absolutely crazy to spend money on, such as over-processed or fast food.

What products do you refuse to buy?

Here are a few products to reconsider.

SUGARY BOXED CEREAL: It’s expensive, and there are cheaper and healthier alternatives. Tightwads prefer to make hot breakfast cereals, pancakes, eggs, waffles, fruit and yogurt, to name a few.

PLASTIC WRAP: Rather than use a disposable plastic product, tightwads choose reusable containers. Many invest in versatile storage containers, such as CorningWare Pop-Ins, which can be used in the oven, microwave, refrigerator and freezer.

PREMADE HAMBURGER PATTIES: Perfect circles for hamburgers? For convenience, buy a patty maker (Tupperware still makes a great one), make hamburger patties, and freeze ahead until you want to make them. Or simply use a measuring cup to provide the right amount to work with, don’t overhandle or press the meat too hard. Indent the center of each patty to prevent the top from rounding.

GRAVY: Set the packets and jars aside. Use a wire whisk or shake flour and broth in a glass jar, then add to the pan drippings to avoid lumps. Be sure to cook the gravy for at least 10 minutes to get rid of the flour taste.

SODA POP: Often, one of the first things cut from the grocery budget is soda pop. Increase your water intake (say no to bottled water, use a reusable container), and decrease beverages such as soda, coffee or powdered drinks. With juice (and snacks, fruit, etc.), avoid individual serving containers, and frozen concentrated juice is cheaper than by the carton or canister.

PACKAGED COOKIES: Homemade tastes better, and you control the ingredients. Try this recipe.

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups uncooked old-fashioned oats
2 cups semisweet chunks
1 cup pecan pieces, optional

Beat the butter and sugars with a mixer until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the butter mixture, and mix well. Stir in the oats and chocolate chunks (and pecans if using). Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Let the cookies cool a bit on the sheets, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. — Nancy, Virginia

PRECUT PRODUCTS: In a frugal home, you won’t commonly see precut and bagged vegetables, such as mushrooms, celery, salads or cheese. It takes only a few minutes to chop or slice vegetables, make a salad, or use a box grater to shred cheese.

GIFT WRAP: There are plenty of materials to use, such as cloth totes or fabric bags, baskets or tins, which are all reusable, or wrap with newspaper, magazine pages or brown paper bags.

CANNED GOODS: Most frugal folks buy fresh (in season) or frozen fruits and vegetables and dry beans, or make homemade chili or soup instead of canned.


  1. David

    12/18/2009 at 6:00 pm

    I refuse to buy brand names, most stores have their own names or generics which are usually made by the same people, just a different packaging.

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  3. Monroe on a Budget

    12/21/2009 at 10:28 am

    I don’t buy coffee creamer. I use milk and buy the flavored coffee when I want a change in taste.

    There currently is a bottle of flavored coffee creamer in my refrigerator, but that’s because sale + coupon = freebie.
    .-= Monroe on a Budget´s last blog ..What’s for dinner? Angel Food pork roast =-.

  4. Jill B.

    12/21/2009 at 3:50 pm

    I won’t buy small garbage bags since grocery store bags work fine. Also sponges are on my list. I use dish rags and wash them daily. I agree with store bought cookies too. Most all convenience foods don’t find their way into my fridge or freezer either.

  5. dani

    12/22/2009 at 11:42 am

    This just confirmed that I’m not a tightwad!

  6. Brenda

    12/22/2009 at 4:07 pm

    Monroe…Instead of buying flavored coffees make your own. Add spices to the grounds before brewing. Cinnamon is great. Also try pumpkin pie spices or cocoa powder. There is no limit to the combos.

    • Bonnie

      10/18/2010 at 10:57 pm

      Unless the flavored coffee costs the same. Then it is cheeper than using your spices and cocoa. I usually make vanilla syrup from my homemade extract though. But, you have to keep it away from the kids (15, 17, & 19) or they will use it all. They don’t know how to portion it out. They also use too much jelly, I can’t even eat a sandwich that they have made. They get that from their father who drowns his hotdogs in ketchup. How do you teach them it is better to taste your food not your condiments? I have made pbj’s ahead and frozen them during the summer. Hmm, maybe I should start that again.

      My biggest downfall are soft drinks for work. I have cut that down since they started giving us free coffee.

  7. Don

    1/2/2010 at 10:56 am

    Great list! I also make my own laundry detergent with castile soap, washing soda, borax, and baking soda; it’s easy and saves SO much money and is eco-friendly and smells tremendous!

  8. Matt SF

    1/9/2010 at 11:26 am

    As a fellow tightwad, I can safely say I do not buy any of these items. Maybe the occasional 12 pack of soda, but that’s usually for guests or hosting a sports related party event.

    I have a general rule of thumb: if the product has been handled post harvest/manufacturing, I usually don’t want it.
    .-= Matt SF´s last blog ..10 Signs You Have a Debt Avoidance Problem =-.

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