What Not to Scrimp On


I’m cheap and proud of it, even when my friends tease me about it. Though, there are some things that even I have learned are not worth scrimping on. Here are four of them:

Therapy: I have several friends who know they need therapy and even say the want it, but they claim they can’t afford it. Having gone to several therapists myself over the years, I know that it can strain a budget. However, I believe that for those of us who need it, we can’t afford not to. Even if you need to eat out two fewer times per month or spread your sessions out to once every quarter, find a way to get in front of a talented therapist. It can improve your life to the point that your entire outlook and career possibilities will greatly improve.

Feminine Hygiene Products: *Spoiler Alert: No, this will not spoil the ending of the new movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, but it may spoil your lunch.

While hiking in Tennessee, I had a terrible experience with an off-off-brand feminine hygiene product (aka. maxi-pad). I have always bought generic, but I think this time, I must have purchased a sub-generic brand – it didn’t even have wings! And after several miles on the trail, I desperately needed to deal with – you guessed it – a Feminine Equipment Maintenance Emergency (FEME). Back at the car, there was no bathroom in sight. While my husband studied the National Forest sign at the trail head, I tried to remove the pad. I noticed immediately the absence of the usually satisfying riiiip sound. Instead, to my horror, the pad crumbled into several gory pieces which spilled out into the front seat of my car. Interestingly, my cussing didn’t help at all so, I quickly switched to Plan B and spent the next twenty minutes trying to contain the disaster and then return to the sunny “We’re on vacation!” frame of mind.

For any men that are still reading and haven’t obstructed your view by vomiting on your monitor, do you understand why sometimes, we women are just wee bit ornery? It’s not your fault and we shouldn’t take it out on you. But sometimes we just get annoyed at our high maintenance bodies.

Shoes: Years ago a friend introduced me to the cost per wear philosophy. Now, when I shop for comfortable black leather shoes that I will wear at least three times per week, I spend more than I normally would on shoes. When I calculate the cost per wear, the price of the shoes seems pretty reasonable. And the comfort of my feet affects my energy level, so it’s worth the extra money I spend on a quality pair of shoes.

Condoms: Do I really need to add anything here? Okay, I’ll state the obvious. No amount of money that you will save on cheap condoms could compare to the amount you will spend on a child. And, while we are on the subject of condoms, here’s an interesting tidbit that has nothing to do with scrimping. Years ago when I worked at a sexually transmitted disease clinic, I actually went to a conference session called “The Joy of Latex, but that’s not the best part. The middle-aged sex education instructor actually stretched a condom over her entire head to demonstrate to us how to respond to patients who said, “I don’t use condoms because they don’t fit me.”

Where was I? Oh yes, what not to scrimp on. As frugal as I am, even I have standards and so should you. Decide what is worth spending a little extra on and don’t feel guilty about it as long as it doesn’t interfere with any of your basic necessities.

Image courtesy of frogmuseum2

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14 Responses to What Not to Scrimp On

  1. d.a. says:

    Feminine Hygiene products: have you thought about using cloth menstrual napkins? Once you get over the squick factor, they’re easy to use, soft, and save a ton of money. I keep a few disposables in my work desk and purse for emergencies, but otherwise, I really enjoy the savings from washable pads.

  2. HAR HAR HAR just got to the end of the article HEE HEE HO HO HO *whew*

    anyway, Hip Hip Hooray on the shoe point. I gotta take that advice and rrressssissssst the cheap ones.

  3. Fred333 says:

    You are write about not scrimp on condoms. I had a scare a couple of years back and that really opened my eyes to quality latex.

  4. princessperky says:

    I have to second the comment on feminine products..find a brand you like and stick with it!

  5. baselle says:

    Third the comment on feminine products – I had an issue with the ahem, fit, of generic tampons.

    Not to mention you can always repurpose a small tampon box as a money hiding place. Better than a cookie jar – no thief is gonna stick his hand in that!

  6. Amanda says:

    Feminine Hygiene products:

    Diva Cup. It costs a little more up front than a box of tampons or pads, but it’s reusable for a good long time (I’ve heard at least five, some people say up to 10 YEARS). It’s made from medical grade silicon that can be sterilized, so it’s more sanitary than tampons. You can wear it for up to 12 hours, and it holds as much fluid as three tampons. It’s completely comfortable and very secure. Check it out! You’ll love it!

  7. hank says:

    I find myself getting cheaper and cheaper each day… Is it a disease??? good grief!

  8. Ann says:

    I second the diva cup.

  9. otis says:

    Therapist? Oh yeah…but wait…those are called friends. Much cheaper than some wacked-out shrink and they’ll actually help you break stuff to get through the frustration.

  10. Carol says:

    Excellent post. Made me laugh. I am past the time of the feminine hygine products and condoms but agree, not there are things to scrmp on. I have a cousin who one month was broke and decided not to buy her birth control pills and had a baby nine months later.

    I will not scrimp on meals at home. I spend time looking at ads each week to shop loss leaders

  11. Pingback: Welcome to Carnival of Personal Finance #122 at Mighty Bargain Hunter

  12. Cindy M says:

    Was expecting a comprehensive serious list here; you crack me up.

    1. I’m way past the feminine hygiene products and condoms, praise the Lord. Tried the cup thing years ago and was frankly grossed out, went back to the pad thing. We’re talking years ago. Thank God for menopause.

    2. Therapy: Save your hard-earned money and join a local church. I cannot stress this enough. The self-esteem/obsession thing is overrated and destroys good people. Better to learn it truly IS far more rewarding to put yourself in a position to help somebody else with REAL problems and in the process it will take your mind off yourself, always a good thing.

    3. Good shoes: For years, I’ve been able to pick up good leather shoes and boots at thrift stores and garage sales.
    Ditto good wool jackets, skirts and coats. Stick with classic styles and you save a bundle.

  13. Vivian Sauter says:

    I can add another four to your list: Never search for bargains on parachutes, scuba equipment, tattoos and vitamins.

  14. Mary Ann says:


    Several good points…I want to reinforce your point about shoe value. The quality of our shoes, especially for pairs we wear frequently, affects not only our energy levels, but our physical health. Remember that your feet hold up the rest of your self. They take a pounding, not only from pavement, but from the weight of your body and the types of moves you make, such as running, jumping, even skipping for joy – as well as the types of moves you don’t make – the longer you sit in one place, the more blood pools in your feet and this can cause swelling and discomfort. It can affect your ability to balance and walk until you move around for a while after standing up. And of course all these effects increase with age. They are moderated by good shoes that support your arches and stabilize your ankles – and plenty of these types of shoes can be found in great styles. Shop for normally higher-priced brands of shoes at discount shoe stores and in catalogs as well as at sales.

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