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Shopping - Everything Else
Written by the frugal nomad   
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 03:11
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A lot of great business ventures are based on a simple creed - ‘Create a Need and Fill It’ and it works every time. Throw in a little marketing and some slick packaging and consumers will beat a path to your door. Try this experiment - take a leisurely walk around your supermarket and don’t buy a single thing. Just make random mental notes of all the products you have no use for. Most likely, you wouldn’t even consider buying most of the products on display. Pay close attention to the spice rack. Unless you’re a gourmet chef, you probably won’t recognize half the names. Just pronouncing some spice names can be an ordeal. So many spices - so little time.

If you have another afternoon to idle away, spend it at your local discount pharmacy. Look at the choice of hair care products. How do people manage to arrive at a decision on the perfect shampoo and conditioner? A full disclosure is warranted - I use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo because I figure if it can’t harm the kids than it can’t possibly damage my bald spot. I never use conditioners because I’m not sure exactly what they do and, frankly, I’m concerned they might have a detrimental effect on the size of my bald spot.

Which brings me to the point I’m trying to make; there are so many products out there that frugal consumers can do without. Here’s my list of 12 Things I can do without. I hope your list is even longer.

Editor's Note: I implore anyone that is age 12 or older to ignore Frugal Nomad's advice on #9. It's a small price to pay for your fellow man.

1. Hair conditioners:

They’re expensive and who really knows if they’re even effective or what the long term effect is. What if those chemicals seep into your skull and mess with your brain cells? I’m not a scientist but I’m just not comfortable with exposing my scalp to exotic mixtures of coconuts and herbal weeds.

2. Paper towels:

I don’t care if they’re on sale, get a cloth. We can all do without paper towels and they’re a complete waste of resources. Try using a sponge or take a pair of scissors and apply them to an old bed sheet or towel and you’ll have a year-long supply of rags.

3. Garbage Bags:

If you recycle, the bags your groceries came in should be big enough for whatever waste you generate. I know they don’t fit nicely in your kitchen garbage bin but there is an easy solution to that, get a smaller bin that can handle the standard size paper grocery bag. Without a big bag, you won’t have any opportunity to leave your garbage rotting away in your kitchen.

4. Bottled Water:

Unless you live near Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, your tap water should be fine. Think about it; the same people that insist on drinking bottled water use tap water to cook and make their morning cup of coffee or tea. If the water tastes funny, get yourself a purifier.

5. Fuel Additives:

I’ve never used them. Ask almost anybody who knows about fuel efficiency and they’ll tell you that it’s all hocus-pocus. They just don’t make a difference. For the life of me, I can’t understand why these products are still on the market.

6. Window Cleaning:

Try this. Use water and a sponge to get rid of the heavy dirt. Then use a newspaper and regular water and see the results for yourself. Crank up the water pressure and blast away at your windows for the tough to reach spots. Really nobody cares about whether your second story (or for that matter first floor) windows are spotless.

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sally rogers |2011-04-01 08:24:13
ground pepper is no substitute for cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.

re: deodorant -- i live in south central texas,where it can be 95 degrees and 90 percent humidity. a bit of deodorant a day is much, much cheaper than four or five daily showers.i'm relieved i don't have to sit near nomad, although i think i've smelled him in the grocery store. . . somewhere over near the cheese, maybe. .
wichitarick  - a dozen ?LOL |2010-08-02 12:17:59
Just discovered this . Read some others whining about the spice comments lol.
Substitute the word flavoring for spices and we can survive with no issues.
I am lol because the list here is almost without exception all things I never purchase anyway.
Long before "think green" became cool and started divulging our secrets lol I have been well known for dressing well eating well,remodeling ,and re-habbing and using a making it work attitude.
The spice issue is very funny simply because people need to know and learn how to COOK with 50 cents or 5O$.
I will admit to be budget conscious now, I.E. poor lol and This is the first yr. in 17 yrs I have not had a garden ,but I am a single father of a 12 yr. old girl and would not dream of feeding her the same thing twice in row for dinner lol never eat hot dogs drink koolaid ,have rarely eaten frozen dinners of any kind. lol etc. etc.
My "flavorings change or adapt but my d.d. just played a game and looked around for ways to flavor dinner.
several pots of basil in window sill.
peanut butter, ginger soy from asian market discount bin lol, jelly,1$ a jar,chili powders from 50cents per 3 oz. to dried whole ,I have 50 cent cheapo spices but recently started using packets from asian market of various blends -5 spice,currys,coconut powder,50 cents a can for coconut milk,
Oddly enough all my Italian spices except for home grown come from the wholesale Mexican market "EL-CHEAPO" lol .Thx. Enuf rambling . KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Rick n Teresa Wichita Ks.VT9

Mike  - The comment about spices is awful |2010-08-01 02:56:07
Spices are some of the best money you can spend.

While expensive by weight, they have a low cost per serving.

They make home cooked food better, improving your quality of life and making you less prone to eating out,which saves you big money.

I also agree with haverwench about garbage bags.

With "advice" this bad, I probably won't ever come to this site again.
frugal nomad  - Sometimes we like to spice up our articles |2010-08-01 10:11:52
Seriously, we hate to lose anybody. We were just trying to spice up our article with a little humor. I'm a bachelor and I cook about three dishes, two of them that pass for omletts. I'm just writing about stuff I personally do without. I was hoping others would add to the list. But it didn't work out that way.
haverwench  - Hands off my conditoner! |2010-07-31 08:52:22
I only agree with 8 of the 12. My points of contention:

#1, conditioner: for me, the conditioner is mandatory and the shampoo is optional. I have shoulder-length, very dry, very curly hair, and it's impossible to comb without conditioner. I don't use any other styling products--just a $1 bottle of conditioner, and I don't rinse it out.

#3, garbage bags: you can only use "the bags your groceries came in" if you're still getting your groceries in paper or plastic bags. I've been taking a reusable bag to the grocery store for years. So I have to spend $3 on garbage bags once or twice a year--big deal.

#9, deodorants: um, how often do you consider showering often enough? I'd have to shower *at least* twice a day to keep myself presentable without a deodorant.

#10, spice racks: trust me, if a recipe calls for coriander, cumin, or cilantro, I will *definitely* be able to tell the difference between that and black pepper. But we don't have one of those decorative spice racks either--we have an entire cabinet in our kitchen devoted to spices and spice blends. (Well, a small cabinet.) I mean, come on, don't you at least need vanilla extract?
frugal nomad  - Et Tu Haverwench |2010-07-31 14:06:01
When Haverwench speaks, staff listen. Are you trying to get me fired? You could have let the garbage bag one slip by.
iamadingdong2  - almost agree |2010-07-30 10:16:12
Two items on your do no need list are musts for my bunch. Deo for the b.o. is #1. Desert living makes it a MUST (plus I work in a kitchen.HOT.) #2 would be hair conditioner. As I live in a desert and my hair is to my waist, I've gotta have it (though I do not put it on my scalp.) The rest of you items I am in agreement with you. Good article!
xyppur  - I'll be as nice as I can. |2010-07-28 11:50:54
frugal nomad does say it's "my list of 12 Things I can do without". Unfortunately he then proceeds to describe each item as something no one needs.

Frugal nomad, if you'd written an article describing why you don't need these items instead of claiming no one does, the response may have been far better.

Spices: If you buy them at your local chain grocer in the baking aisle you are being gouged. You'll get a better deal and fresher product from the bulk jars at a Whole Foods (still not cheap, but better than Kroger/Safeway/etc).

Fuel additives: Never used them and thought they were crazy until I had trouble passing an emissions test. I still think most of them are worthless or a temporary fix for a long term problem.

Conditioner: To each his own. My boyfriend doesn't shampoo and only conditions when he has long hair, but will use a bar of soap on his scalp when it's short. I have very fine hair and only shampoo weekly or less and don't both with in-shower conditioners, but do use something like a leave in conditioner every time I blow-dry. I also use styling products with my current short hair style, but never needed any for my long hair.

Deodorant: Sorry frugal nomad, but again I can only half help you. I can and do get by without deodorant about half the time, but I know I'm extremely blessed in this regard. I also regret skipping on those days when I end up with wet patches on my shirt. Also, I have a brother with 4 teenage sons. If anyone ever tries to tell a teenage boy he doesn't need deodorant in modern society that person would be wrong. Just wrong.
frugal nomad  - The real challenge |2010-07-28 16:09:32
It's all in good fun. I don't mind getting clobbered - it comes with the territory. We learn quite a bit from reader feedback. Some of the best information you can get is from the reader comments. We like to think we've attracted a pretty savvy crowd.

What I've learned from these comments is to never confess you don't use deodorants in a public forum. And always have a few spices in the house - even if you have not intention of using them. My greatest fear is if I took my reader's advice and stocked up on garlic salt - I might be forced to buy deodorant.

You know what I'd like to challenge readers to do is come up with a list of the things they can do without.

The article was inspired when I was moving and couldn't believe the amount of stuff I had that I never should have purchased because I never actually got around to using them.

Beth  - deodorant? |2010-07-27 20:25:19
I agree with a lot of what you've said, and obviously, each person has to choose for themselves.
but trust me on this one- there are women of a certain age who NEED deodorant, even if we bathe more than once a day. at this point in my life, it could be 68 degrees in my house and I'd still be sweating - and of course, I can't afford to have it that cool in here. :^D
drkbella  - LOL |2010-07-27 09:26:18
ko- i think people are being a little mean here to the poor guy...

i think the whole point of the list was to get you to look at what you don't need but buy anyway... its probably taking frugality to the nth degree, but he has a point. (and i'll stick up for him with the spices because while i may use other spices to spice up ((LOL)) my food, i have to say that my mainstays are pepper and salt ((technically sea salt)) most of the time...) (and i'll have to grant him a point for conditioner because while i do use it when i wash my hair ((my very dry, frizzy, curly hair that would fall out if i washed my hair more than 2 or 3 times a week (((and don't mistake that for not showering- which i do when i'm dirty which seems to be ALL THE TIME since this stupid heat wave hit))) but to continue, most expensive and semi-expensive conditioners are full of water and then some chemicals. which is ridiculous- and technically if you use olive oil to condition your hair it might actually be cheaper than buying conditioner because first you would dilute it with water or something and second you wouldn't be using that much of it- a little olive oil goes a long way...)

of course these tips cannot apply to everyone and every situation- because, in reality- all of us are snowflakes and therefore are unique and individual... LOL. you all have my permission to stop being ridiculous and pompous starting... right... now... :)

frugal nomad  - Drkbella, you're a saint |2010-07-27 09:45:32
Finally, a few compassionate words. My wounded spirit is starting to heal. I had no idea you could use olive oil as a conditioner.

Most of all, let me thank you for backing me up on the spices. I just have no use for most of them. I knew I wasn't the only who got by on salt and pepper.
doraflood  - Frugal means eliminating or cost-cutting -- not go |2010-07-27 08:27:31
1) Conditioner. Obviously, you've never dated anyone with curly frizzy hair in the summer? That said, no need in buying the $18/bottle -- I like Tresumme for $4.99/32 oz. An no substituting olive oil or kitchen remedies - it's more expensive as well.

2) Garbage bags. Use reusables at store and by big Hefty's for home use -- don't bag your trash cans -- except the big kitchen one with the Hefty and then weekly go around and collect trash from all the other cans. In the end, it's better in the long run because they give you too many grocery bags -- how many times have they only put 3 items in a grocery bag because they thought it would break -- or just eggs or just bread in one bag?

3) Upholstery protection? The $7.50 Scotchguard can has saved my rear on more than one occasion -- and you can use it on shoes, luggage (yes!), nice table cloths (hang them over the bathroom rod to dry - it will help prevent a stain from setting), and just inside your front door carpet, AND your car seats. And it's cheaper than getting your upholstery cleaned if you did forgo buying protection. If you are forgoing a protection plan to save money and hoping you will not need to have your cushions dry cleaned (ads chemicals to the environment and costs more than the protection), you're going the wrong way. Viva la Scotchguard!

4) Deodorants. Save water (environment) and cost of water if you are billed. A good deodorant means you don't have to shower every day -- or it's best to use if you live in 100+ weather like AZ, NM, or TX. And they can be cheap (Dove) and don't smell. You don't have to buy high priced smelly AXE.

5) Prescription reading glasses. First, don't forgo annual (or semi-annual eye appointments -- which are covered under health insurance) over the age of 40. Especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. There can be underlying causes. Next, reading glasses can cost less than magnifying pieces. It's all relative. I've see $5 reading glasses and $75 magnifying pieces (try Levenger). Reading Glasses come in different levels. I'm at 1.75 magnify, as identified by my eye doctor. He didn't sell me prescription lenses - told me to go to CVS. Loosing glasses and buying multiples is not about frugality. It's about laziness. Again, you have to have SOMETHING to read. You are just switching A with B and not presenting a viable cheaper cost.

6) Air fresheners. In general, I would agree. I lived in Boston for 20 years and never had one. Then...
frugal nomad  - I should have listened to my editor |2010-07-27 08:42:04
Damn, I was just trying to be honest. I've got a personal thing about deodarants and colognes. My editor told me I would draw fire on that one and I guess he was right. In some European countries they use deodarants and colognes to avoid the hassle of bathing.

If you live in a temparate climate,bathe once a day, have air conditioning in the car and the office - why do you even sweat?
sammiesue67  - Really? Some of these - |2010-07-27 08:13:56
Don't make a lot of sense.... I know that we surely should buy a filter for our water - but really - no toothpicks? and - Conditioner is the best stuff for MY hair.... I think out of many great articles here - this one is just not well thought out. Some - I totally get others... don't belong on this list.

Spices beyond salt and pepper make food taste GOOD!!!!!!! People don't want to eat at home because other places use SPICE for flavor!
No one should be that cheap. I proudly display my spices and they don't cost me a fortune.
frugal nomad  - let me guess - you're born in 67 |2010-07-27 08:23:09
Sammiesue,I'm devastated. From your handle, I'm taking a guess you were born in 67 which might explain why you still have hair worth conditioning. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't have that problem.

I feel like I'm under assualt from the spice brigades. It's enough to drive you to use toothpicks.

Folks, we can negotiate this list. I'm open to suggestions. Name your favorite spice and I'll mix it with my pepper.
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