Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five Products You Shouldn't Scrimp on Despite the Recession

Image Credit: Mark Stivers @

In a recession, cutting corners here and there to save a little money is a necessity. And thankfully I have been blessed with a wife who is a master of doing just that. She’s great at finding bargains and saving money. My uncle once joked that she held on to a penny so tightly that she could make Abraham Lincoln fart.

However proud I am of her bargain finding/money saving skills, I refuse to go shopping with her. It’s no in and out proposition. It’s instead a harrowing, tedious experience. I just don’t have the patience needed to clip coupons, consult other stores’ sales pages for price matches, and then calculate the exact price per ounce for each item before it gets in the basket.

Every now and then, though, I’m called on to run to the store for whatever reason, and my ineptness at the whole bargain hunting/money saving game becomes plain. My attempts to save a little money usually end up terribly. Since the recession began, I have found that recession or no recession, there are some things you just can’t scrimp on. This is my top five:

Fruit Loops

Public Service Announcement: Fruit Loops and Fruit Rings are not the same things! I found this out the hard way. I just went out to pick up a couple of breakfast items when I spotted this huge bag of Fruit Rings on sale. For the same price as a 17.2 ounce box of Fruit Loops, I could get this ridiculously large bag of Fruit Rings. Of course I thought, Fruit Loops/Fruit Rings—it’s just a matter of semantics. Right?

So, my children helped me to lift the ridiculously huge bag of Fruit Rings into the basket, and we headed home. Two hours later we were all writhing in pain with stomach cramps. Moral of the story: stick with the brand name cereals.


So I’m standing in line at Walgreens to purchase some Pepto-Bismol to combat the Fruit Rings induced stomach cramps when I spotted this sign advertising these knock-off designer fragrances. The sign read, “Same great scent as [insert your favorite fragrance here] but at half the price.” As I waited for my turn, I decided to smell a couple of the men’s fragrances, and they did smell incredibly like the original. So, I decided to take a chance.

A few days a later I’m sitting in a meeting, smelling all good with my knock-off fragrance on. Then I felt a little itch coming on. Then the itch became uncontrollable. Before long everyone is shooting these frightened glances in my direction. So, I excuse myself to the bathroom.

I look in the mirror, and my neck is all red covered with this fine rash, and my head is swollen into the shape of a light bulb. My only consolation is that as the pretty young nurse gave me a shot in my behind to counteract the allergic reaction, she gave me a compliment on how good I smelled.


I am a connoisseur of fine bacon. I especially like that thick-sliced, rind-on bacon. But nothing ruins a good breakfast like cheap bacon. You know what I am talking about. That bacon that shrinks to the size of a stick of gum once you cook it and is so wafer thin that it seems to dissolve on your tongue.

I work too hard and too long to have to settle for cut-rate bacon, and I am sure you do too. Look for savings somewhere else. I suggest you invest in some good bacon, and then buy the frozen, store brand vegetables.


Just because they stick the label “With Aloe” on lotion, does not necessarily mean it’s an effective emollient. That’s just a marketing gimmick. And when it is labeled “With Even More Aloe!”, well that’s just a scam.

So, I get up, take a nice hot shower, and then slather myself from head to toe with this new, inexpensive lotion I was trying out. Feeling all fresh and clean, I go to the library, and I’m sitting there looking perusing a few books, when this lady compliments on the interesting pattern and texture of my socks. It took a second to register that I was not wearing socks.

I looked down at my ankles, and just as I had expected, alligator skin. I looked at my knuckles, and they along with the rest of my hands were goose gray. I pulled up my sleeve, and my arms looked like they belonged to the tinman from the Wizard of Oz.

As I hurried toward the exit, I could feel my skin hardening and cracking beneath my clothes. By the time I got home, I looked like a ghost from head to toe. Not wanting to throw the whole bottle out, I tried using it again, only this time I used two layers of lotion. Then three layers of lotion. But the lotion just didn't work.

Either I am the ashiest brother in the world, or this lotion just absolutely sucks.

Toilet Paper

Need I even add any commentary? Any time you can buy so much toilet paper that you have to get another grocery cart, for the same price as you would pay for a twelve roll pack of your regular toilet paper, it’s too good to be true. Only bad things can come of this. Either you are purchasing an incredible amount of twelve grit sand paper disguised toilet paper, or the paper is so thin that you are just setting yourself up for a smelly, disgusting mess.

Either way, whatever you do, don’t scrimp on toilet paper. Even if you have to put something back, reach upon the top shelf and get the good stuff.

Are there any additional products that we just shouldn't scrimp on?


Kandia said...

LOL!!!! Yeah I learned growing up that the cereal in the bag just didn't cut it. Knock off lotion is probably more water than lotion and the off brand toilet paper just doesn't last as long. You can go through a roll a day.

I do not skimp when it comes to milk, bread, toilet paper, cereal, cheese, deodorant, weiners or lunch-meat, potato chips, masking tape. Mostly anything else I can buy the store brand.

RainaHavock said...

I cosign this entire list! I be trying to tell my mama stuff like this! I also add Chips, deodorant, powder(The store brand smells horrible) and medicine espeically Midol. lol

Kandia said...

I have to add I do have the knock off CVS brand Nyquil and some dollar store ibuprofen in my medicine cabinet and it works just fine for me. LOL

RainaHavock said...

I also have to add Laundry Detergent to the list. My dad bought the great value type from Wal-mart and it sucks! Also CVS knock offs are okay too lol

ProfGeo said...

Heh-- soulbrother v2.5, the consumer edition! As I scrolled down I really did start wondering, "Where's the toilet paper?" but you saved it for last. While we're getting personal you might as well just buy underwear and shoes that are comfortable. Good (not necessarily expensive) shoes can save you money on insoles, Dr. Scholl's products and all that.

PPR_Scribe said...

DEODORANT, definitely. And with any product that has as its first ingredient "water," you should be wary about skimping with an off brand. Often they "save" by just increasing the water content, so you end up using more and not saving anyway. Two good examples are liquid dish soap and liquid laundry detergent.

And, I'd guess one shouldn't skimp on such items as condoms. Just saying.

rainwriter jones said...

Am I EVER gonna be able to see your comment button? (lol)

I think you've got it well covered on things you can't scrimp on. But cutting down on the bacon might mean you need less toilet paper! There is nothing worse than cheap toilet paper 'cause you've got to use twice as much to get the same result. (lol)

FreeMan said...

I like the list but I think if you're going to skimp on things you like you might as well not get them at all. I think instead of fruity rings you have to go into a whole new direction and buy the knockoff then you have nothing to compare it to.

I would like to add socks to the list because if you go cheap you might as well go home because holes are not worth the value at the bargain dept stores.

Anna Renee said...

LOL! This has been a very hard learned lesson for me. I tend to grab at the Fruit Rings and the 50 roll toilet paper for $3! Word? Why pay $6 for 12 rolls? Well I still keep trying with other products and sometimes I'm lucky, so I will keep on seeking the bargains! I'm hard headed.

Marbles said...

@ Kandia:

Another vote of support for CVS-knockoff Nyquil! (Or Dayquil, in my case.)

Lyndsay said...

I buy good cheese or no cheese. So I usually don't eat cheese and once in a while I'll splurge on a good cheddar or Parmesan.

Anonymous said...

@ Kandia- I would hate to know anyone who does skimp on deodorant! lol.
Cheese all tastes the same unless it's plastic cheese

leedevious said...

That's funny. I never had any problems with knock-off cereal before. I love my big bag of fruit rings.

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