Uber Frugal January: 5 items I don’t buy at the grocery store

Soap nuts!
Image Credit: Lisa Brewster via Flickr

This month I’m participating in Frugalwood’s Uber Frugal January. I was thinking about ways to limit our spending this month, specifically at the grocery store. I realized there are already lots of things that I save money on because I simply don’t see a need to buy them. These are some of the first that came to mind:

#1. Detergent, Fabric softener, Dryer sheets. My mom is a laundry scent addict, and growing up our clothes always came out of the laundry room smelling like a field of…artificial cloud flowers? For several years after I flew the nest I assumed you had to buy detergent, softener, and dryer sheets to properly get your clothes clean and smelling good.

I gradually dropped the dryer sheets, then the softener. Then we switched to a homemade detergent, and finally we have gone to soap nuts. I bought a box of them for $10 at Marshall’s at least 6 months ago and haven’t even gone through half a box. Our clothes come out clean and smelling fresh and we can compost the soap nuts when they are spent. Now our clothes just smell like clean cotton, and I think that’s a much nicer smell than a chemical cocktail any day.

#2 Soda. Pop. Coke. Whatever you call that fizzy stuff in your neck of the woods. I was never a huge pop drinker (yep, Midwest girl right here) but gave it up completely when I was pregnant and haven’t gone back. Incidentally, I’m still drinking decaf coffee, after giving up the high octane stuff for 9 months I only crave the hot beverage part of coffee and not the caffeine.

#3 Breakfast cereal. Mr. Journeys is a die hard oatmeal fan and Little Journeys has followed suit. I like to change up my breakfast with eggs one day, a bagel the next, maybe pancakes if it’s a lazy weekend. I no longer really see the appeal in that bowl of cold cereal, other than convenience. Toasting a bagel and slapping on some (a lot of) cream cheese and homemade strawberry jam sounds much yummier these days. BTW, check out your grocery store’s bread mark-down area. I routinely get 5 packs of great bagels for about $1.49 at my local Kroger.

#4 Paper napkins. We switched to cloth years ago. Single use paper products seem more and more silly to me. Except for toilet paper. That’s a single use paper product I can get behind (ahemm).

#5 Single serving sized yogurt, applesauce, pudding, etc. If I buy yogurt or applesauce I get a large container and portion it out into smaller containers as needed. I’ve become more and more averse to wasteful packaging, and I really don’t even notice the extra 20 seconds it takes to put my yogurt into my bowl instead of peeling off the film from a single serving size container.

How about you? What are common items that you don’t buy at the store and don’t miss at all? What do you wish you could take off your list altogether? 

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