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Frugal Housekeeping: 6 {More} Things I No Longer Buy and Maybe Neither Should You

frugal housekeeping tips

I’d posted in 2011 about 6 things I no longer buy in order to make frugal housekeeping easy for us, and that post has continued to be really popular every month, so I thought it was time for an update.

To do a quick recap, that list included:

1. Magazines

2. Chocolate Syrup

3. Face and Body Scrubs

4. Play Dough

5. Paper Towels

6. Glass and all-purpose cleaners

Two years down,  there are WAY more than 6 things that I no longer buy and as we continue on the path of frugal living, we intend adding more.

So, here is an update and a list of 6 more things that I no longer buy:

1. Newspapers

Since giving up magazines in 2011, I also gave up newspapers and it’s been over 2 years that I’ve bought a paper or subscribed to one. Having said that, I still know what’s going on in the world, thanks to the television and the Internet while my house is relatively paper clutter-free.

2. Salad Dressings

Since we’re trying to live healthier {ahem!}, salads are our lunch of choice, three days of the week. Now imagine the cost and the preservatives we would have had to consume if we opted for bottled dressings. Yeah, insane, right?

So, I stopped buying them and instead, making them at home. Quick, easy and SO cheap.

Our favorites are an adapted version of this Caesar Salad dressing and a simple lemon-olive oil vinaigrette. I’ve recently bookmarked this post to add more diversity to our dressings!

 3. Granola or Energy Bars

I seriously LOVE granola bars.  They’re the perfect energy-boosting snack that a mama needs. For her own health and her kids’ too!

But they’re expensive. Thanks to Katie’s Smart Sweets eBook, I was able to create a freezer granola bar recipe that works beautifully for us, is cheap  {gosh, I love this word, don’t I?!} AND healthy. A winner!

 4. Finger Paint

In my last post, I shared how we no longer buy play dough. Today, let me share that we’re not buying finger paint as well. No, that doesn’t mean Manini has zero art resources! **laughing**

We make our own finger paint. Thank you, Google and Pinterest! There are SO many wonderful, easy recipes and my favorite is this one from The Imagination Tree.

 5. Bottled or Packaged Soft Drinks

Luckily for us, Manini has never had sodas or colas. But she does enjoy a tetra pack of juice. You and me, we know that those juices are hardly ‘juice’ and more sugar, water, coloring and flavor. But a kid? Ahh, she thinks they’re “yummy, mama!”

So, I make cold drinks at home that are just as yummy and waayyy better than their packaged, pricier counterparts. Iced lemon tea, freshly squeezed orange juice and mango shakes are our favorite this year. Last year, it was just lemonade. I make a pitcher filled with our drink for the day and we pour and drink through the day. Bliss!

 6. Any Kind of Packaged or Boxed Mix

In our home, as a rule, anything that’s ‘ready-to-eat’ in a box and labeled ‘instant’ is generally not very welcome. Whether it is boiled chickpeas for a curry, tomato paste for spaghetti sauce or teatime cake, I like making things from scratch. Allrecipes, Google and Pinterest are my go-to resources as is my ever growing collection of eBooks and Kindle books.

 What have YOU stopped buying to make frugal housekeeping easier?



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  1. I’ve also eliminated most of these. I’m so glad to see a granola recipe and am going to try that this weekend! Thanks :) My little one would also love the finger paints and we’re getting closer to warmer weather so I am marking this one and will be coming back to it very soon. Thanks Prerna!

    • The Mom Writes says:

      So happy to hear that, Tamsen! Let me know how it goes with the granola bar recipe.. I LOVE it because I don’t need to put on the oven in this heat! And happy finger painting:-)

  2. Wow Prerna,
    Very good ideas and a reminder that it is possible to live without a lot a lot of things we feel are indispensable. No packaged drinks and salad dressings in my home too.
    Priya recently posted..10 proven tips to encourage children to eat more Vegetables

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Thanks Priya.. I’m constantly on the lookout for things that I can do away with or replace with homemade versions that don’t eat up my time.. Keep me posted if you drop anything from your shopping list too!

  3. We have also quit buying these things, and regarding the food choices, have seen enormous health benefits! We used to camp out at the doctor’s office but have been there only once since kicking the processed foods cold turkey last June. So, more savings there, and MUCH less stress!!

    Great post. Thank you!

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Amy! You’re SO right.. We, too, have noticed a reduction in how often we fall ill ever since kicking processed or preservative-laden foods.. We still succumb at times, such as when traveling or have house guests, and can notice the difference in our health instantly when we go back to eating fresh and raw foods..

  4. I agree with a lot of these! Newspapers…I mean, does anyone buy those anymore?! :)
    Roshni recently posted..The quest to take back ‘me-time’!

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Thanks so much, Roshni.. Actually, my ma-in-law whenever she’s over finds it really tough without the newspaper.. I guess, it’s more for our generation to be able to read news online and be done with it! LOL

  5. J.P. Choquette says:

    I love this list! Just thinking this week that salad dressings taste so much better when made fresh. I’ll have to check out your resources for recipes; that’s always where I fall. The more I do myself the more I realize the key ingredient: planning ahead. Thanks for the tips; looking forward to reading more via your great site.

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Thank you.. And yes, you’re absolutely right.. planning ahead is key to getting things done:-) All the best with the dressings! Do keep us posted on your progress:-)

  6. Growing up my mom made a salad dressing out of Ketchup and mayonnaise. I grew to hate that dressing, and I said I would never mix those two things and put them on my veggies , but now I enjoy it again. We love the fruit drinks, fresh lemonade and orange juice are my favorites. the library is an excellent place for reading both the paper and magazines, which I love to do. Of course library books, videos and music have saved our budget. We never buy brownie mixes or cookie mixes because they are better from scratch. I enjoyed this post.
    Shelley Hopkins recently posted..How to live with your eyes open

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