My Frugal Life: The Coffee Test

November 15, 2011

Ground coffee next to coffee beans.I have found it helpful, thriftily-speaking, to take a look at all the necessary things in my life and make a list of those that I just can't scrimp on.


Mine is not a long list. Among the the everyday things I'm prepared to spend more for is coffee (instant coffee just doesn't set me up for the day), good quality grass-reared meat and free-range eggs. I tend too to buy fresh food rather than canned or frozen, even though it is sometimes more expensive.

Among the items I've discovered that going cheap or cheapest makes very little difference is olive oil, dried pasta, plain yogurt, breakfast oats, household cleaning products, cleansing cream (Ponds cold cream remains the absolute best in my opinion and costs about 4 dollars) and dried herbs and spices. Canned tomatoes and pulses (beans) can be as cheap as you can find.

I never thought I'd ever say this - but BOOKS head up the list of "borrowing". We are avid users of our local library. No need to own a book when you can give it back for someone else to enjoy - free up those shelves for extra storage! And the same goes for DVDs.


But good butter, like good coffee, that's something I won't spend less on. It has to be the real thing, the best quality I can find and I'd rather skip a meal than spread my toast with margarine!

By Lucy from Oxford UK

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November 15, 20110 found this helpful

I agree, some things just aren't worth it generic... for me it is ketchup, it has to be Heinz. The other ones don't taste right to me. Likewise with salad dressings, I can get a generic Italian but most generic Ranch dressing I have tried were yuck!


And yes, get generic for anything else you can, including OTC medicines! The store-brand ibuprofen has the same active ingredients as brand name.

Thank you for sharing!

November 16, 20110 found this helpful

I totally agree. I economize on lots and lots things and in many ways, but there are some things I pay top dollar for and/or splurge on. To be thrifty about everything, well, the other word for that is "cheap".


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November 17, 20110 found this helpful

My list is almost identical to yours. Add All Free and Clear laundry detergent and Cascade Dishwasher Pellets (I think that's what they are called) The little single use packets are great and since I only run my dishwasher once a day the expense isn't too bad.


I have started using oxy clean instead of bleach. In so doing I am able to wash whites with pale colors. The oxy clean will bleach the whites without damaging the colors. I'm saving water by doing these together. I agree with you about the butter and coffee! These two items must be of good quality.


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November 19, 20110 found this helpful

I'm with SuzyQ; generic salad dressings are the worst. I buy a lot of generic products at WalMart and the grocery store and always buy generic over the counter drugs when needed. WalMart's potato chips and corn chips taste no different than the brand name and are cheaper even when the brand is on sale. I've found some of the boxed cereals and oatmeal are just as good.


I just recently discovered from a neighbor that there are really good buys at Big Lots; olive oil is one of them. I've been buying the darkest Folder's coffee and a 22+ ounce can is nearly $11.00. I found a really good coffee there at Big Lots for the same size for $4.50. Watch for dates on the products.

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