Saturday, April 14, 2012

Brand Loyalty

Monogrammed and only a quarter!
We all want something for nothing or next to nothing. Last summer I popped into a consignment store and found a pair of like new Chaco sandals in Tim's size for $4.00. They run about $95 retail, so I was definitely saying cha-ching!

I've been thinking about what items we deem worthy of a splurge and which items call for penny-pinching. For years I bought the cheapest liquid laundry detergent I could find and teamed it with Spray and Wash. Just recently, I switched from the no-brand liquid to Tide powder. While I haven't employed the scientific method to analyze the results, I bet I'm using less soap and getting cleaner clothes.

Here's my list of items worthy of  splurge:

1. Born Shoes - I've bought two pairs of these. Sadly, my favorite pair went belly-up a while back. Hands down these are the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. Full price, they'll set you back a cool $100, but you can find sales or hit Ebay for deep discounts. (They're actually worth $100).

2. Skecher Sandals - I picked up a pair of these before our trip to Disney World. We zipped from Cinderella's castle to the Tree of Life, from Tom Sawyer Island to Space Mountain non-stop for twelve to fifteen hours each day. Every inch of my body was screaming  "hot tub" and "ibuprofen". My feet were cool and comfy. I can't recommend these enough.

3. Gap or Old Navy Jeans - I've had four kids and need all the help I can get. They fit great and hold up well.

4. Bras -  Like I said, four kids. Ardent nursers, one and all. We don't call these foundational items for nothing.

5. Nursing Bras - Ditto. You absolutely get what you pay for here.

6. Huggies Overnite Diapers - When your baby is on the verge of potty training, these industrial strength numbers will save you a ton of laundry.

7. Real Whipped Cream - If you're going to indulge, do it right.

8. Ticonderoga Pencils - Dubbed "The World's Best Pencil," these babies actually live up to their slogan. Years ago I invested a frustrating and fruitless thirty minutes trying to sharpen a stash of those festive pencils kids get for Valentine's Day and birthdays. Gosh, those pencil look so fun -- army tanks and balloons and such -- but do you know what? You can't sharpen them. And the erasers? They tear right through paper and don't erase a thing. Ticonderoga pencils are the only way to go. HT: veteran homeschooler Danielle Bean.

9. Good Red Wine - For reasons I can't fully explain, I can drink ultra-cheap chardonnay and enjoy it just fine, but cheap red can bring on a migraine in no time flat.

Lots of other things I deem "Nice, but Not Worth the Splurge." While flying, I've been bumped to first class. What's not to like about champagne and extra leg room? But I've never actually paid to fly first class.

Exhibit A - Why I buy cheap sunglasses.
With kids' clothes, I indulge in an occasional splurge for Christmas or First Communion, but most of our togs are hand-me-downs or come from consignment stores and attic sales (where I am utterly amazed by the amount of money people will shell out for children's clothing). I once had a very conscientious babysitter apologize for letting my kids get their clothes dirty. Do I care? No, I do not. When the big boys head off for a Scout trip or the little ones climb into a mud puddle, my blood pressure doesn't rise.

(Now the black Sharpie on the Easter dress? I was nearly breathing into a paper bag over that one. Spray and Wash plus Tide did the trick!)

I have a mental list of items I don't buy used -- sippy cups, water bottles, bike helmets, underwear (though I've snagged a few pairs of tights on consignment), and car seats (I'm pretty sure it's illegal to sell these used).

Since having kids I've all but abandoned anything that requires dry cleaning. And my sunglasses? Straight from the Dollar Tree.

What is worthy of a splurge? Where do you cut corners?


claire said...

I never had a problem with Luvs diapers for overnight, and they're so much cheaper! However, I understand that different diapers work better with different body types...

Better Than Eden said...

Well it was different in the past when we really couldn't afford it but now organic food (as much as possible) is definitely worth the splurge to me.

And bathing suits from Land's End. They're attractive, COVER, and have a lifetime guarantee. I got a brand new suit a few months ago because the one I bought a couple years ago had a spot where the spandex was thinning and stretched out. No receipt, nothing. I love when companies stand by their stuff...worth the extra dollars!

Definitely don't splurge on furniture (I like the rustic look anyway ;) and most of my clothes are hand me downs from friends...but that's more because I hate shopping...

And all my sunglasses come from Dollar Tree as well!

claire said...

Totally agree about the Lands End bathing suits! I just ordered a pair of swimshorts (they look like they're a little longer than mid-thigh) there for a pretty reasonable price, much cheaper than some of the modest swimwear sites!

Amy Parris said...

While it's not exactly a splurge, I try to stick to Ziplock bags. I use them all the time.

Also I now only buy underwear from Victoria Secret. While it's hard to pay that much, they fit and don't ride and last a long time.

I'd love to know the brand of bra you love because I do not love mine and would be willing to splurge on this too.

I'm with you on the kids' clothes.

Kelly said...

Claire - I'll try Luvs! Huggies are not cheap.

Eden - I meant to add Lands End bathing suits to the list. Lots of options. They hold up great. If you hit their overstocks, you can get a bathing suit for $20-40.

Amy - I'll check the brand and let you know. Maybe I need to give Victoria Secret another shot.

Karen said...

can't believe no one commented on the wine - definitely good wine - red or white. Karen

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