Thursday, February 21, 2013

Miss Frugality

As anybody who knows me will tell you, I'm a frugal girl.  There are days I'm downright cheap. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my little luxuries, but I refuse to pay retail if I can get away with less.

But, it you're like me and tend to head toward store brands or cheaper alternatives, learn from my mistakes.  When you leave the familiarity of the States (and English labels), there are certain things it just doesn't pay to scrimp on.

  • Toilet Paper. Just go with whatever is most expensive. Seriously. Man up and spend the long dollar. Even then, don't expect Charmin. Seems the US does TP better than most.
  • Juice. It's hard to read labels in foreign languages, but look for something refrigerated, expensive, with 100% somewhere on the package. Otherwise you'll be stuck with Orange (or Apple or Grape) drink or something so saturated with sugar it would be better served as syrup.  Or jam.
  • Fruits and Vegetables. Prepackaged food can be so deceiving.  So many times I've brought home a tray of veggies only to find the bottom half all moldy or bruised. Spend the money and the time to pick out your own fruit/vegetables. Worth that special trip out of your way to the "good" market.
  • Beer. Because life's too short to drink bad beer.  Ditto for wine.  Unless you are in Argentina where you can get an excellent bottle of Malbec for $5.
  • Ice Cream and/or chocolate. See above. Nothing worse than a big bowl of ice milk.
  • Garbage bags.  Having an accident while taking the garbage out to the dumpster can be extremely messy. And embarrassing.
  • Cereal. Look for Post or Kelloggs or another brand you are familiar with. Stay away from Nestle Fitness (unless it's the Yogurt one), as it tastes like sticks and dirt. With milk on top.
  • Toothpaste. Many foreign toothpastes have foreign ingredients like formaldehyde, not necessarily what I want to be putting in my mouth. I've probably put worse things in my mouth, but that's another blog post.
  • Coffee. Because nothing says bad day like a rotten cup of Joe first thing in the morning.
Otherwise, save away!  As my mother used to say (no she didn't), "canned beans is canned beans". If you're in a place with canned beans.  And you have a can opener.  But that's another story.

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