Often, in the interest of saving money, we sacrifice convenience. Whether it be making our own foods from scratch rather than buying pre-made mixes, washing and chopping whole fruits and vegetables instead of buying pre-cut, or making our own homemade cleaners rather than grabbing something off the shelf at the store, we trade a bit of time for a bit of savings. Most of us don't mind. We know those savings can add up.
But sometimes, at different seasons of our lives, we may choose to pay a bit more for the convenience of having something ready-made. If we are frugal by nature, this might be difficult at first, but let's remember, it's just a choice to buy a benefit for a season. Another option is to come up with our own frugal version of the commercial product.
For example, right now, our kitchen mop is unwieldy for the boys. But the Swiffer Wet-Jet is just the right size for them. They'll mop the floor for me with the Swiffer. Yet, the refill pads are a bit more than I'd prefer to pay. It feels like a waste. Yet...would I take the trade-off: spend some money I wouldn't ordinarily spend to make it convenient for the boys to take over cleaning the floor? In this season, I think I will settle for that. (Update: I realized I could take some old wash rags or microfiber cleaning cloths--bought at the Dollar Tree--and use clothes pins to attach them to the Swiffer; a workable more frugal and environmentally friendly solution).
However, I'm going to skip buying the bottle of refill solution. Because the boys love to push the squirt button, too much solution ends up on the floor, and that is a waste. So I give them a squirt bottle with water mixed with Shaklee's Basic-H (or you could do water and vinegar, or another combination), have them squirt a small area, then wipe it with the Swiffer. (Update: Also at the Dollar Tree, I found a bottle of Mop and Shine. Just squirt it out and then wipe it up. This is another option).
When the baby comes, I may also spend a little money that normally I think is unnecessary to buy paper plates and some convenience foods that my husband or I can prepare quickly and easily. Hamburger Helper isn't my preferred dinner of choice, but if I can give the box to my husband and it gets me out of cooking dinner during the week or two post-baby, so be it. A trade off for a time.
What are some trade-offs you've chosen to make to save time right now, or vice versa--to save money? Or...what are some frugal ways you've found to substitute your own version of common convenience products, such as the Swiffer pads and solution?
(linked to Works for Me Wednesday)