Frugal? Absolutely… But I have my limits.


Yesterday my husband came home with store brand sliced American cheese. Food Lion (aka Shitty Kitty) brand, to be exact. For those of you who know me, you understand why this was a tragic mistake on his part. For those of you who don’t, allow me to make a long story short by saying you don’t mess with a woman’s cheese. Feel free to carry that where you need to.

Now hubby/dummy thinks this vinyl cheese square substitute is just fine. He even made a grilled “cheese” with it last night to prove his point. And you can rest assured that he will eat every last square of it, without my help. He bought the family pack too; joke’s on him! But Bagwell, my aged, not-so-picky, Boxer actually let it fall back out of his mouth. He looked at me, jaw agape, with a painful grimace, as if to say, “What the hell is happening here?” This is a dog that happily eats cat vomit. Even he gets it.

Now, I’m as frugal as the next mama, and I enjoy my coupons and bargains and “twofers” thoroughly. But I am no cheese masochist–As my dear husband, (whom I might come around to speaking to tomorrow,) quickly learned. I buy the bastard brand on many items, as I feel they are not much different than the national name brand, and often, much cheaper. Things like canola oil, sugar, flour, ibuprofen, and dryer sheets. Even milk and eggs are fine generic. It literally is the same shit in cheaper packaging for 2/3 of the cost. But there are some areas in which I feel it more than a little distasteful to go generic on. Clearly, I am more selective on my individually wrapped pasteurized processed cheese food.

Here’s where else I wont skimp…

Poptarts™. This is barely food anyway, so going cheap-O is a line a wont cross. “Frosted Toaster Pastry” will not pass muster in my house.

Soda is a splurge anyway, so wait till the real deal goes on special. But if you're a daily soda drinker, the BJs brand (in the can) is not bad.

Coffee. After becoming a mother, this is truly the only vice I have left. So I feel like being a coffee snob is permissible.

Frozen Pizza. I have , with an open mind and in times of need, tried them all. I really have. But once you go Digiorno™, there is no going back.

Cat litter. The reduced cost is so not worth the increased stink. We’re a Tidy Cat™ family.

Peanut butter. If I have to stir the separated oil back into the butter, I’m not eating it. JIF™ please.

Canned tuna. According to Newman, this is tantamount to bottom-shelf canned cat food, and doesn’t smell much better. This coming from the garbage cheese man.

Toilet paper. I think this is a no-brainer and goes without saying. Your heinie deserves better than public restroom grade single-ply parchment.

Here’s where you can cut corners and go generic:

You're likely mixing this into a casserole anyway... you won't even notice the difference.

Crackers–Triscuit™, WheatThin™, Club™ & Ritz™ look-a-likes are all pretty much the same as the name brand.

Condensed soups–mainly for cooking.

Spices.–With the exception of anything real exotic, which a store brand probably doesn’t offer anyway, I think spices are all roughly the same. ie. garlic salt is garlic salt. Chili powder is chili powder.

Fruit snacks–It’s really all the same garbage.

Ice cream–The bigger the clear, plastic bucket, the better. Yessss. Generic cones are good too.

The only difference is the label...

Certain cereals–Special K & Raisin Bran fakes are right on; Fruity-Os <bastard Fruit Loops> are doable. Your 3 year old won’t notice.

BLOCK cheese–Most varieties of block cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, colby, swiss etc.) are fine generic… this NEVER ever EVER applies to sliced American.

Diapers–Wal-mart brand (“Parent’s Choice”) and Walgreens brand are not bad at all, and literally half the cost. A box of 70 size 5s is $13 at Walmart. Don’t skimp on the wipes though. That’s the difference between shit in your hand or no shit in your hand.

Steak Sauce–Store brand might be a little thinner, but if that doesn’t bother you, then don’t pay $6.50 for a teency bottle of A1.

Pasta–all shapes.

Cheaper alternative or garbage? Never tried these.

Salad dressing. All kinds–Maybe I’m not enough of a salad connoisseur, but I can’t tell the difference.

Mouthwash–As long as it has the same % of the main ingredient <alcohol, for most of them>, I say clean is clean.

What generic products are a staple in your household? Which items are you brand-picky on?

This exercise in brand loyalty is dedicated to my dad. Love you!


About dramafreemama

I am a wife, homeowner, teacher, sister, pet-owner, and friend...But the most humbling and moving role in my life to date is that of a mother, or better yet, a MOMMY. We live in a rural area of Virginia and we keep it simple. This blog is about juggling life in all these different roles. Please subscribe/follow and ENJOY!
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5 Responses to Frugal? Absolutely… But I have my limits.

  1. Could not agree with you more! I will throw that crap out before eating it or feeding that to my kids.

  2. Colette says:

    Butter………no matter what they say. “I can’t believe……IT’S NOT BUTTER” !!!!

  3. JessiFabulous says:

    This isn’t relevant to your post, but I needed to tell you—–

    My current 6th grade class has some kids who are so unbelievable. I haven’t experienced disrespect like this since my first year teaching. Thank god for my happy pill, because without it….

    I’ve already written up most of the class, and it apparently has done nothing to phase them.

    Anyway, as a mother and a wonderful person. I’d like to thank you for raising your child to be respectful and kind.

    My plan today was to begin self-portraits which would be colored using complementary colors. It takes a normally boring assignment to a more fun and creative level. Instead, we’re writing essays on respect for a test grade. It sucks.

    I love children and I love my job, and it’s days like today that I’m so thankful for parents and children like you and yours.

  4. Oh my! I cracked up when I read this. My hubby recently attempted frugality on a ridiculous scale and then got mad when what he bought went bad within a two days and he had to throw it away and go buy the usual stuff. LOL! At least he tried!

  5. I told a friend of mine “I don’t like cheese” once and he said “what kind” I said you know those American cheese slices. Even as I said it, as a person who does not like cheese I realized how silly my statement sounded. It was like saying “I hate hamburgers because of eating at McDonalds”.

    My friend went on to name cheeses and ask how much experimenting I had done to come to my conclusion. I eat pizza and Cheeze It’s was my only real response. These days I know I like sharp and Mozerrella but not plain. I like them added to a few select things. I won’t make/eat a quesadilla but I will put chicken or beans in a tortilla and add some grated cheese for flavor.

    I can’t think right now of what things I must have only one brand name of. I am trying to experiment more and be more label discerning. Many things I grew up with are filled with things I no longer want to ingest.

    Being single the only person I have to argue with about grocery shopping is my teenager who swears all but one or two things from Trader Joe’s just tastes too weird for her.

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