Monday, 11 April 2011

Things you thought you needed but don't

Look at that, still no paragraphs, what a pain to go through it all again. Sorry, no pics on this one, all words.

I have got a pretty good idea about what I need to buy to give myself a good standard of living. To be comfortable, and enjoy life, and not to feel any hardship at all because I can't afford to fill my trolley up to the brim, is truly liberating. Just because I look after the pennies, saving a few here and there, does not mean I am depriving myself, on the contrary, I feel blessed that my needs are simple and my pension is enough.

There is a lot of info about what we should all be buying to stretch our money a little bit further, but not a lot about what we shouldn't be buying. I sometimes wonder if some people have the foggiest idea about what they need and what they don't need. People get into a routine with their shopping, buying something because they have been getting it every week since the year dot, without actually thinking about whether they really do need it at all.

I've been studying the shopping leaflets that we get through the door. The supermarkets are expert at using brainwashing tactics to get us to spend more. It doesn't work with me, but there must be millions out there who are falling for their constant barrage of in your face advertising. I thought I would compile my own list of what not to buy, and why, and it's not all food. Some of it is the biggest waste of money ever.

Aquafresh Purifying Mouthwash. £2.25p. I am finding it hard not to swear when I write about this. Why the heck would you want to swill your mouth out with this and spit it down the sink, after you have already brushed your teeth? Lunacy, words almost fail me, don't buy it.

Febreze £2. It says Fabric Refresher on the spray bottle. If your house stinks you are not cleaning it properly. Dont buy this just to mask the smells, stop creating them in the first place, and if you do have a little mishap clean it up straight away.

Oral B Battery Toothbrush £6. It comes with two batteries. So why buy something which uses batteries anyway, what has happend to good old fashioned elbow power. You can clean your teeth just as effectively with a 50p toothbrush which costs nothing to run.

Don't get me started on energy drinks! Twentyfour cans of Hell for £4. There is a big market in these type of drinks amongst youngsters. They are cheap, and I find the empty cans strewn all over the village after the kids have run amock. If someone has low energy they are eating the wrong diet. These drinks are a big con, a poor replacement for real food.

Sugar Puffs £2.08. All cereals coated with sugar or chocolate are bad for you. They are horrendously expensive as well. Try not to get your kids onto them in the first place, says this grumpy old woman, ha ha.

Look at this, a jar of Hartleys jam and a white sliced loaf, for £2. Heart attack food if ever I saw it. If you have to eat jam at least put it on wholemeal bread, not the cotton wool excuse we have for white.

Comfort Concentrated 5 litre, 142 wash, £4.49. Why does anyone need a fabric conditioner, is it not enough that the clothes are just clean? Why do we have to send even more chemicals through the sewage system only for it to cost millions to remove it before it comes back through the tap again. What a waste of money. No doubt some people might say they like the smell, well my answer would be, get used to a clean smell, ie no smell.

Actimel £3.99 for 12. What did we do before this stuff came along? Was the food rotting in our guts before these little beggars came along and sorted it out? Some food experts would say this is a complete waste of money, we don't need it and I tend to agree with them. I have never touched a drop in my life, am I unhealty? No of course not, I eat the right food. A big con, in my opinion.

Have you seen the new smaller size yogurts they have brought out, you don't get much in a small pot anyway, now it has shrunk even further, making more packaging to dispose of. Muller Snacksize with a fruit corner, eight for £3.29. Christ, I almost choked on that one. Don't buy it, it's a rip off.

Hey, look at this, a six pack of Evian Water for £3.69. Are people still daft enough to buy that. I used to, but saw the light, now it's a fill up from the tap.

Here's a good one not to buy. Plug in stinky difusers, only £6.13 each. For Gods sake, if someone farts in the bathroom open the window. Please please don't buy one of these.

Fancy a Patio Heater for £89.99? I thought not, you've got more sense, than to burn money. If it's cold, go indoors.

There's loads more, but I would be all day writing this. I bet you know a few, so I'll let you add them to the list. What not to buy. Stuff you don't need, don't want, dont care if it disappears from the shop shelves forever, and you never see it again.


  1. I'm with you all the way, Iiona!

    a couple drops of tea tree oil in a little water soln makes a natural and ideal antibac mouthwash and rinse!


  2. What a brilliant post. Best laugh I've had all day!
    Thinking hard... but it's all so alien to me now...

    Can't wait to see what other people post.

    Sft x

  3. Great post !! The list of the things we never knew we needed is endless, isnt it. I dont buy anything on that list.
    You are so, so right IMO. My dentist told me not to use mouthwash as it contains alcohol and dries out the mouth which encourages decay.
    Bottled water is 5,000 times more expensive than tap water(I felt sort of rich when I read that!) It is also twice as expensive as petrol per gallon.
    Crazy, crazy. I dont use deodorant either, have one bar of soap and one tub of cream.
    There is only one word to explain it...................Marketing. We are being sold a lot of stuff because of the millions put into understanding human psychology; pandering to our greed and envy. We can t change what is out there but we can change ourselves and have a truly wonderful life.

  4. I agree too, although I have to say I have used febreeze since moving into the top of the barn, cause my mum locked the cats in here and there is a lingering odour.
    I use pulses a lot more too, but not the tins, reconstitute them yourself and you save loads, everything appears to need to be so instant these days (and I am still working and no way near pensionable age!!!!!)

  5. Mine has to be the frozen dinners, common sense says they'll never look like the inviting plateful printed on the box and I imagine they'd taste much like eating the box :0)

  6. good post, but I buy flavoured water but tesco's own brand 4 for 1.09, only because the taste of tap water makes me feel sick.

    Josie x

  7. I agree with your list save the electric toothbrush. Severe bilateral hand arthritis,and subsequent hand joint replacement has left me with great deal of difficulty in sustaining power for manual toothbrushing. This gizmo is a lifesaver for some such as myself, for daily living.

  8. Haha Great stuff!
    When we were doing a lot of running,I bought a bottle of orange squash and we had that diluted with a pinch of salt in, because apparently the effect is the same as all the expensive 'power ' drinks.

  9. I remember when readymade cartons of fruit squash first came into the shops - it cost the same for a carton as for a litre of squash that could then be diluted to make aat least 25 x the amount in the carton - I was horrified but it is the norm now for people to buy ready made drinks - MADNESS that and buying water, what a waste of a plastic bottle and the money!

  10. Christ, I almost choked on that one. Don't buy it, it's a rip off.

    Agree with everything, just a shame about the blasphemy. I really don't need to read that.

  11. Fantastic post, agree with absolutely everything. I don't buy any of that rubbish, I make my own soap and clothes washing liquid, and if I need a mouthwash then it's a salt and water recommended by my dentist. Fabric conditioner is half a cup of vinegar in the final rinse, and shampoo is a bar of home-made soap with a vinegar rinse to clean it out of the hair afterwards. I don't even use beauty products or makeup any more as they're full of parabens and goodness knows what. Moisturiser is simply evening primrose oil, from one of those little capsules snipped with a pair of scissors. Good on yer Ilona, keep it up!

  12. My pet hate? The ad that tells us about all the germs on our soap pump! What soap pump? Why does soap need to be pumped? An old-fashioned bar of vegetable-based soap may not be hip, but it does the job, and I NEVER worry about germs on my soap pump!

  13. There's a lot I don't need but I'd rather read what others can do without. I like your list and I agree it is a waste. I do however have an Oral B electric toothbrush which doesn't need batteries and takes very little power. It runs for years and years. I just change the heads. I know I could brush my teeth for a lot cheaper but I have a real problem with the amount of pressure I use and was eroding my gums no matter how hard I tried to be gentle. Using this brush I don't need to apply any pressure. I did just find out about all kinds of eco-friendly toothbrushes but they won't work for me.

  14. Just finished reading your blogs and have found them really entertaining ....laughed my head off at "Christ i almost choked"....keep up the good works, it's great reading and thought provoking at times especially the tips xx

  15. None of those are on my lists because none of them are needed

  16. I've just noticed, we've got two lizzie's. Pay attention woman, ha ha. Deodorant, that's another one, I don't use it either. I am still washing my way through a load of hand made soap which was left over from closing my business. It's going to last ages so no need to buy any.

    Do you know, I have got a hand pump soap dispenser. I had to get an antibacterial one in 2008 when I went into hospital, it was on the list of items to take. But it is now filled with fabric conditioner which I found (note found) in that skip a couple of weeks ago. It works just as well as a hand wash.

    Didn't know about the salt trick, thanks She dragon. Don't think I will be trying it though, I don't add salt to any of my cooking. In fact I will add salt to the list as well. Don't buy it, don't need it.

    Josie, I don't like the taste of tap water either. I add a few shakes of a cheaper version of Jif lemon juice. Makes it more palatable.

    CTMOM, I'm glad you have found a gadget which is genuinely helpfull to you. I don't knock anyone with mobility problems for trying to make life a litle easier. It's all those other lazy so and so's that I was getting at.

    Apologies for my colourfull language, crl2amb, sorry. But that word makes me laugh. I will now go to the back of the class and write 100 lines, 'I must not say fa.. oh bother, I nearly did it again. Sorry.

  17. What a great post to read and start my day:) Common sense and a jolly good laugh, love it♥

  18. None of the items you mentioned are ever on my shopping list. I think many people immediately go for what they perceive to be the easiset option - ready meals also - absolute rubbish x

  19. Another 'one' I would like to add - ALL artificial air fresheners. I know you mentioned the plug-in ones but I hate going in anyone's house that have any of those revolting chemical scented masks. They make me feel ill and normal houses don't smell anyway.

  20. What about alcohol, the thief that creeps into your mouth and steals your brain, why would anyone buy that stuff?

  21. Some from my list of things not to buy:
    ANYTHING that says"Boil in the bag"--what's wrong with having it loose in a pot of water? are we suddenly unable to pour something through a sieve?
    "Breakfast" bars.
    Pre-prepared veg. When did we become unable to cut up a few veg?
    Ready made mashed potatoes?
    Microwave chips--have you ever worked out the cost per pound of buying potatoes this way?
    Ready sliced cheese/plastic cheese squares.
    Burgers ALREADY in the bun for microwaving.

  22. We've got some great ones there to add to the list. Spot on folks, some I never thought of. Plastic cheese squares, yuk, ready made mash, revolting. Keep em coming, there soon won't be anything left in the shops worth buying.

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  24. Great post. I already have a long list of things I don't need to buy but it's something I'm looking at more closely as my income will be dropping soon. The more useless stuff we can elimate the less work we need to do to pay for it all and we free up time and money for the things that really matter to us. That's got to be good!

  25. Hi Mary, nice to meet you, welcome.

    Denise, you have cracked it. Your statement, 'The more useless stuff we can eliminate the less work we need to do to pay for it all, and we free up time and money for the things that really matter to us'. Spot on, that is the whole point of being frugal. Everybody take note and memorise those wise words.

  26. Bathroom/Kitcihen Wipes.

    Packs of wipes impregnated with Flash or something similar to wipe down your bathroom or kitichen surfaces and then throw away to disappear into landfill for years to come. What happened to cloths, I always save old facecloths that have gone threadbare or hard and use them in the bathroom (as long as you tell Hubby which is which it's fine).

    And I save ouro old toothbrushes for cleaning around fiddly things like taps, especially important to tell Hubby about THIS one!! :-)

    I bet if we walked around the supermarket we could compile a list of hundreds of things. It seems the maufacturers want to supply us with every convenience at huge cost both to us and the environment.

    Sue xx

  27. What about body wash? Just can bring myself to buy them, even to try. Again, a bar of soap works!

    And I second the waste of any artifical smelly things - positively hate them. I join you in cursing - with much stronger language than you use, Meanqueen. We could spray our clothes with pre-wash, use detergent, fabric softener, iron spray and then fabreeze. Waste of money and makes me sneeze. Have friends that use plug-in things - cannot breathe in their house. (Though my waste is natural candles [soy and essential oils] - do love smell of those).

  28. Oh I've got one to add. No need for instant mashed potatoes or instant anything. It tastes terrible and costs a fortune. I think here a small box of mashed potatoes would cost something like $3.98 Canadian give or take a few cents. That's much cheaper for you over in UK but I'm sure you wouldn't buy it ;-)

  29. That soap pump one cracks me up too! Heaven forbid that the little darlings should touch a germy one - they need a few germs to build their resistance up. Wake up people.

    I've laughed through that, love them all. I saw a woman pushing a trolly through ASDA car park, it was chock full of bottled water!

    Old toothbrushes with the cheapest possible toothpaste do a magical job on helping clean grouting in the bathroom, although I must say I don't do it very often. If you just brush it on give it a bit of a scrub and leave it for a few hours.

  30. Just thought of another when I was watching the box...... your skin has 3 rights...... etc.

    Is your skin a person in itself? What utter rubbish.

  31. Haha this made me laugh! My pet hate is quilted toilet paper. What a rip off! It's about £3 for 4 rolls, and you *literally* wipe and throw it away - probably in my hand for about 10 seconds. Why would anyone spend any more that the bare minimum on it?!

    I'm loving this blog - I read a few other blogs but they are mainly American and people with kids so it's nice to have tips that are more tailored for British people with smaller households.

  32. Cigarettes. They're disgusting, oh I can't tell you how I loathe them. I love drinking tea but get angry at the individually packaged and stapled ones.