Buying Things You Don’t Really Need It

by Frugal Brian


Everybody’s going organic these days. I appreciate the whole “I don’t want pesticides in my food” – I really do. But here’s what; there can be as high as a 50% markup on organic foods; 30% at least. Do you know why? I’m going to tell you. Those poor little organic farmers don’t get to enjoy what helps keep the factory farmers in business. It’s true; intense labor wages without the aid of government subsidies is killing the organic farmer. So someone’s got to pay the organic farmers… that would be you.

Where should you get your organic stock?

If you absolutely have to go organic, try to stay out of the grocery stores when you do it. Farmer’s markets are great places to pick up organic foods and at the same time you’ll be supporting your local farmers… Oh, did I mention that it is usually cheaper than the grocery stores? And if it truly is the pesticides that bother you, try to keep in mind that vegetables and fruits such as asparagus, onions, sweet corn, pineapples, kiwi and bananas all manage quite well without the use of major quantities of insecticide.

Oh and one more thing about organics… if you shop at an organic store, please do not assume that everything they sell is organic. Be sure to check that what you’re buying actually has been grown organically. Just a word to the wise – they frequently stock both.

This greeting card IS your present!

If you’re one of those procrastinators (like me), you will find yourself running out to the store for that last minute birthday card, anniversary card or get well card quite frequently. Shame on you… and me. C’mon folks; grab that pencil as well as your kid’s crayons and make the darn card yourself. Even if you have a program on your computer to make greeting cards and you print it up at home, it’s still going to cost you less than it would if you bought it at the store. And don’t even believe that “all our greeting cards are 20% off”. 20% off of what? Talk about your markups, the markup on greeting cards as opposed to let’s say, printing it at home is 200%. Next time you’re at the store buying a greeting card, be sure to pick yourself up one of those ‘Happy Bankruptcy’ cards.

I don’t care how many times you walk up and down the aisle; you’re not going to find a card that says exactly what you want to say. Not exactly. I don’t care how simple the card is, if you make it yourself; it’s going to mean so much more than some crappy little card you bought off the shelf at the store (where there were 500 more just like it). Not your cup of tea, eh? Okay. You’re on that computer every day… There are several really good ‘free E card’ websites that will allow you to send your friend a greeting card over the Internet. Free. And you get to write exactly what you want it to say on the inside. What could be better?

Convenience= markup

Greeting cards aren’t the only convenience item that you will find ridiculously marked up at grocery stores. Beware of the time saver… It is seldom a money saver. You might be saving yourself an errand or two by picking up everything in one store, but make absolutely sure that the time you’re saving and the money you think you’re saving on gas is worth the extra money you’re spending on convenience markups. Light bulbs and office supplies are prime examples. Grocery stores are relying on you, the consumer, to say “Oh look light bulbs… We need those”. Not that badly, you don’t! Look at that price! What is there, gold in that light bulb?

How’s this; if you’re going to buy those convenience items because you don’t want to make yet another stop at yet another store, will you at least be sure to have a coupon for it? Thank you.

But mom, it’s my favorite!

…which is why a month later, it’s still sitting on the shelf in the kitchen cabinet, ¾ full! Cereal is one of the biggest convenience items that families continuously get roped into buying. You don’t even have to know what the markup is on a box of cereal to realize how expensive it is. Hold that box in your hand and then look it the price. Now look at the box. Now look at the price. Now look at the box again… Get it? It’s just not worth that! The average markup for a box of cereal is approximately 28%, but Brands like Kellogg’s for instance, slap you dead in the face with a 42.5% markup. And that’s only one major brand; they all do it. Tell your kids that you don’t care how great Tony the Tiger says they are… if your kid wants them, he’s going to have to get a job. Maybe Tony the Tiger is hiring.

Here’s what you do; you can buy one box of the major brand; one time… we’ll let you get away with it just once. Next time you’re grocery shopping you’re going to buy those generic brands that come in a bag instead of the box. You’re going to pour that bag into the box from the brand name that your kid just finished off. No one has to know. It’s between you, me and your pocketbook. You can save like 23¢ for every serving your kid chows down on; and I know you’ve watched that kid pack away the cereal. And just like the generic aspirin sitting on the shelf next to the big name brand aspirin… it’s the same thing, people! Wake up and smell the Cookie Crisp!

One final word on fruits and vegetables; be they organic or non-organic, do everything in your power to buy in season. If you can buy from local farmers, the prices will be far lower than if you have to pay for vegetables that have been shipped from across the continent. This is where the farmer’s markets can come in handy yet again. Not only will you be getting the freshest possible fruits and vegetables in season, you will be supporting your local farmers and their families.
So folks, watch when you pay for THAT!

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