Grocery Shopping: Because Being Lazy and Proactive About My Eating Habits Are Better Than Saving Money

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I read something on Pinterest the other day about things you should NEVER  buy at the grocery store. Among the items included many of our weekly (okay whenever-we-make-it-to-the-grocery-store-ly, which averages about 2-3 times a month) purchases. And so I said to myself, “Self, someone has to speak out against this insanity. Someone needs to tell these Pinterest Looney Toons to get a hold of themselves and drop the homemade spice mix. Self, that someone should probably be you.”

Okay fine, I didn’t actually say those things to myself. I was busy muttering under my breath about not wanting to put pants on and needing to eat more cheese, but whatever. I thought them. In fact, I’ve thought about this often enough I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to shit I’m never going to do. And about 60 other Pinterest boards dedicated to shit I’m probably never going to do.

Anyways, I’ve come up with a very important list of things you should buy at the grocery store because the cost outweighs the amount of time spent doing whatever it takes to make those things happen.

Whether you're trying to save money or just be the ultimate Pinterest mom, some of these "money savers" are actually not worth your time or energy.

Things you shouldn’t bother Pinteresting or forgoing because the grocery store makes it So. Much. Easier.

Spice mixes: Let’s start with this one (and ignore the fact that I do, actually, make my own taco and fajita seasoning but to be fair, I don’t really measure any of it). Sure, you can mix and match your seasonings easy enough. But ain’t nobody got time for experimentation. When you’re in a hurry, isn’t it reassuring to know that your X,Y,Z isn’t going to be fucked up because you were smart enough to use a spice mix which had the perfect blend of crushed red pepper, dried pineapple flavor and bacon bits (patent pending)? I thought so too. Also, no one makes ranch like Hidden Valley. There. I said it.

Miracle cleaning solution: Let’s talk about this “Blue Dawn and vinegar” bullshit I’ve seen all over Pinterest. I tried it when we first moved into the house. I was thinking to myself, “Self, this is going to make a great post one day. You’ll be all ‘Blue Dawn and vinegar’ was really a miracle in my stained bathtub!” And you know what? I was wrong. Because all that shit did was smell nasty. I understand cleaning with vinegar and baking soda is also supposed to help – I used it dozens of times to try cleaning my garbage disposal. It masked the odor alright…with vinegar smell. Give me Scrubbing Bubbles and a Plink drop any day.

Vinegar: We rarely use most of the vinegar in our cabinets. Brian uses the balsamic for his salad dressing (along with a pre-packaged spice mix) and I use the white vinegar when I dye eggs on Easter. And yet, there are people who make their own fermented vinegar. Dudes. You guys. This stuff is cheap. Who wants to stink up their house for a product you use a couple times a year or whatever.

Dryer sheets: I LOVE the smell of clean laundry. I hate doing laundry, but the smell of fresh from the dryer laundry makes my heart go pitter patter. On Pinterest, I ran across a pin for homemade dryer sheets which looked super cute, but sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. One of the comments on it, though, was priceless – “I tried this and my laundry smelled like vinegar!” Bring on the store-bought dryer sheets so my laundry can smell delicious.

Bottled water: Oh hell yes, I’m going here. I know this one isn’t a Pinterest thing, but I’ve seen it on the money-saving lists. Sure, I’ve got reusable bottles and travel cups and mugs galore (I usually get them free with brand names on them when I go to fancy blog conferences). We even bought fancy pants Brita water bottles (okay – these are great for traveling). But you know what I hate? When I wake up with enough time to brush my teeth, throw pants on, and MAYBE brush my hair before I race to the train…and have to spend more time filling a bottle with water than I did doing all of the getting ready part of my morning. Instead, I can grab a bottle on my way out the door and satiate my thirst while I commute into the city. Besides, when you buy them at Sam’s Club, they’re so cheap per bottle. And water is never truly free, y’all. Need I remind you about your water bill which is payment for water that comes out of your faucet?

Pre-packaged snacks: I love snack packs. A lot. And you know what? Those pre-packaged little goodies keep me from killing my poor boyfriend. Because I’m high maintenance like a freakin’ gremlin. Also, they keep me from eating the whole fucking econo bag of Doritos that I would otherwise buy at Sam’s Club in one sitting. It’s been known to happen.

So the thing is, you guys…I get it. If you’re on a money-saving kick, this might make sense to you. If you’re on an all-natural ingredient thing? I totally get that too. But before you go out to buy the necessary equipment and ingredients to pull these tricks off, don’t forget to add the math for the time it takes you to do this shit. Your hourly rate counts as money spent, doesn’t it?

What crazy DIY shit have you seen recently on Pinterest, or the Internet, or anywhere really, that would be much easier to purchase? Have you tried any of the DIY options I mentioned? Are you a die-hard DIY maven? Are you a bottled water drinker?

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23 Responses

  1. I use the “fill it yourself” water bottles most of the time but mostly because I hate plain water. Those nice insulated bottles are great for my morning iced coffee (make that shit the night before). But I do keep a small supply of bottled water around for exactly the reason you mentioned – sometimes there just isn’t enough time. Or sometimes I’m going somewhere that I want to take a beverage but not have to worry about keeping track of the container.

  2. I will say this for white vinegar, I’ve been adding it to the washer when we do the laundry for over a year now and it really does make a great natural fabric softener. Dryer sheets used to make me itchy (I think I’m slightly allergic) so it’s been awesome not to have to use them anymore.

    1. That makes a lot of sense. I’m pretty lucky that I don’t have allergies to dryer sheets. Do you find that you can smell the vinegar on your clean laundry afterwards or does it dissipate?

  3. No kidding? People make their own dryer sheets?? Mix their own spices? Some people have waay too much time on their hands! I buy the econo jumbo sized spice mixes from Amazon, so I don’t even have to go to the grocery store! I tried some baking soda/hydrogen peroxide cleaning thing once. Didn’t do shit. If I need something cleaned I leave a note for the housekeeper. I do drink bottled water because at one point I was allergic to the shit the city was sending through the pipes. I buy a few 1.5 liter Smart Water or Fuji bottles because they are the thicker plastic and stand up to being hauled all over and refilled multiple times. I reuse them until they grow their own eco system on the bottoms, then I toss them and get new ones. We have the water cooler and the big blue jugs at home, hubby refills them at the water robot. I don’t know how “clean” the water is but I’m not allergic to it so it’s all good.

  4. OK Chrissy, you did ask… I’m with you on a lot of these things. BUT the water… and it’s not the cost, it’s the trash. It is just a matter of getting used to reusable bottles. It is the one thing I have really committed to (environmentally speaking). That and using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, but that is a whole other thing…

    1. I totally respect that. For me, I do reuse the bottles when I’m at the office, but eventually I toss them – (I recycle cans and bottles at home and drink water from the fridge when I’m just hanging around the house). I also know that if I don’t have those bottles of water to grab when I’m racing out the door, I won’t drink anything until I realize I haven’t had anything to drink at around noon-ish. And those bottles are a way to confirm I at least drink 12-16 oz of water a couple times a day.

  5. I tried the Dawn and vinegar thing once. My daughter and I almost died. Seriously, I couldn’t breathe. Never again! Like you, I’m sticking to my scrubbing bubbles.

  6. I use water bottles. It may not matter, but, I bring home the bottles and recycle them. I can taste the chlorine in tap water. Yuck!
    The craft lady dies….I can buy most of what I used to make at the dollar store, or dirt cheap at Hobby Lobby.

  7. I don’t do Pinterest. I mean, obviously I have a Pinterest but I just keep it there for looks. There is one board I use. And it’s for exercise. Those DIY things give me hives.

  8. I kind of fall in the middle. I buy water bottles, but after I drink them, I fill them up with filtered tap water (or the water coolers at work. I don’t make my own spices (except for Emeril’s Essence, which is really easy to make — BAM!) I buy the humongous bags of chips at Costco, but I portion them out into sandwich bags to take to work for lunch. I don’t make my own cleaning supplies, but I’ve been known to make my own body butter and shit. I don’t live over on Pinterest, but I have several boards (and some of them are for DYI stuff). I would probably be more crafty, but I have the attention span of a gnat.

    There is a lady in my FB feed who, if she read this post would be all, YOU ARE GOING TO KILL YOURSELF WITH CHEMICALS!! YOU ARE GOING TO DIE! GAHHHHHH!!!!
    I love the smell of a crisp chemical apple orchard on my jeans and I only have an eye twitch one day a week….so I don’t know what in the hell she is talking about.
    You totally need to pin this post!

  10. This weekend my in-laws stayed with our kids while we were out of town. Yesterday, I grabbed a bottle of light Ranch dressing for my salad, thinking it was …. light Ranch, duh. I didn’t notice that there seemed to be a bit of extra room on my normally crammed refrigerator shelves. It was only after I finished my salad that my son told me “oh, Grandma mixed a bunch of dressings together in that bottle to free up some space.” Okay, I do tend to put very nearly empty bottles of salad dressing back in the fridge rather than throw them away or consolidate, but dammit, when I reach for a bottle that says “light ranch” I don’t want everything that’s ever been in my fridge! And I want my shit specifically labeled: whether it’s light ranch or mango chutney southwest whatever. I don’t want it all mingling. Even if there was only one tablespoon left.

    And no, I didn’t notice the taste, but whatever.

    All this goes by way of saying, there is a very specific taste to Paul Newman’s Ranch that is different from HIdden Valley Ranch, and you need to honor the difference, not mix it all up. Don’t do it! And, yes, I know you can make your own ranch from a special blend of whatever you probably have in your spice cabinet, but when you want Hidden Valley, you gotta have Hidden Valley. Ammiright?

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