Thursday, January 04, 2007

What we don't need

I write a lot about shopping here at Like Merchant Ships. After all, bargain hunting is the fun part of good stewardship! But in living frugally, sometimes the more important things to discover are the things our families DON'T need. A few examples from our week:

We're going gung-ho on the low carb eating. As I was making this week's food budget, I realized that eating this way doesn't have to cost extra. Eating low carb is about *subtracting* starches from the dinner plate, not replacing them with pricey specialty products.

We just canceled our Netflix subscription. Sure, it was cheaper than cable TV or the movies, but we had reached a point of film saturation. Now we're watching and trading the used DVDs we received as Christmas gifts. We may renew our Netflix when summer comes, but we don't need a steady stream of movies ALL the time.

At first we lamented selling the fancy high chair we used with the firstborn. Elise is just as happy in this inexpensive portable seat! Not only does it save space, its tray easily fits into the sink. It is so nice to spray it clean without a geyser of water shooting all over the kitchen! (Thanks to Jordana for reassuring me on this!) We had a similar success by using a sling and convertible carseat instead of both the infant carrier seat and a larger seat down the road.
Have you recently discovered something your family DOESN'T need? Share below! If anyone's still having trouble commenting, please email me at Thanks!


Jennifer said...

Toddler beds! For the most part. With my first 2 kids people always tried to push me to get a toddler bed. We had 2 twin beds that dh's parents had given us. So we just moved each child into the twin when they were ready. many people don't think you should do this.

Then when our 4th was born and we needed the crib for her, and my third was only 21 months and we didn't have another bed. Someone gave us a toddler bed. So at that time we had 2 twins, a toddler bed and a crib. When she outgrew the crib we had my parents bring down the bunkbeds my dad had made for my brothers. then we moved the boys into the bunk beds and the girls each got 1 of the twin beds. so we never did buy another bed. And if we had it would have ended up being extra in the end.

I think people need to think carefully about this purchase, because usually it isn't neccessary.

most people don't need a toddler bed at all. Due to our strange circumstances it did come in handy and didn't cost us anything, so it worked out.

Anonymous said...

We had the same portable seat - brings back happy memories! My son tended to slide around, so I put a tub decal on the seat, and he never slid again, plus it was waterproof! Also, we got a toddler rail for the front of our crib, so the little one could get in and out by himself! No need for a second bed!

TheNormalMiddle said...

Newspaper. As much as I like reading it each morning, that time can be better spent in the Bible or another book. I can catch news online (my browser opens to foxnews each time I open it up). I can watch the news on tv. Why pay $150 a year for my local paper?

Expensive coffee. I've found the good old brands like JFG are just as tasty to me as starbucks. I'll splurge for the occasional fancy coffee for holidays/company, etc.

Too many shoes. I have learned this thru trial and error. I buy my kids a pair of tennis shoes, 1 pair of church/fancy shoes (black in winter, white in summer), and 1 pair of semi-dressy shoes like brown boots or clogs that can go with jeans or go with dress up. Three pairs per kid. The only time I break this rule is if I find a very good sale like $2.00 for a pair of stride rites markdown (this has happened!) In the summer my kids live in flip flops so we don't even use the 3 pair rule then always.

I could come up with more but this is your blog not mine LOL

Anonymous said...

highchair, i too for my second prefered this seat as well it can be pushed at the table when she is older

a change table...never used it...

toddler bed i agree with as well

im sure there is so much more but im thing we cannot do without in this house is SLEEP

Celina in Canada

Sharon said...

I also never used a toddler bed. I just figured why spend the $ when she was going to have to sleep in a twin bed anyway. I never bought one of those rails either. I just put pillows on both sides of her bed on the floor and no furniture or sharp edges near the side. I also make my own baby food. Cheap and super easy. Also with children's clothing, for how much it runs in the store, I rarely buy anything. Everything they wear are hand me downs or garage sale clothes. I figure they go through it so fast, why spend a small fortune on it?

Anonymous said...

diaper bag...always just used a larger purse and it easily carried a couple diapers, flat wipey container, and sippy, along with my wallet, etc.

changing table...i used a curved vinyl covered pad on top of my dresser (had snaps that attached to back of dresser to prevent slipping). Made terry cloth slipcovers for it.


baby food!

microwave. We must be the only family in American without one, but I don't like how food feels or tastes from them. It takes only minutes to warm something on the stove top or toaster oven.

CAR PAYMENTS. Our 10 year old car is going strong and whenever I wish for something cuter, remember the payments we don't have.


marycelery said...

We, too, try to abstaining buying more things. I have two signs that I use to drill this into me

- "Shop your pantry" - on my refrigerator near my shopping list. My pantry is truly difficult to work with. It had very deep shelves and no light. Things get lost easily in the pantry. This little sign nags me to look around BEFORE I go shopping.

The second sign is for my hobby

- "Shop your stash" - I love to sew, but hate going through my already purchased fabric - my "stash" of fabric. I am now in the process of clipping pieces of fabric and putting it into a notebook so I can find it when I want to sew. I also include the yardage and width of the fabric.

I also check out a free site dedicated to sewing -
They have reviews of clothing patterns, pattern vendors, fabric vendors and more. It helps me know how patterns work out before I buy them.

Finally, I try to avoid buying "media" - books, cds, dvds, etc. I learn to haunt the public library system and to become an absolute expert on search engines and inter-library loans. My family loves media (especially books!) - I only buy them if we enjoy them so much, we cannot live without them.

I wish there were more that I didn't do, but I am a beginner on this journey

Miss Mary

Anonymous said...

Wow, great tips shared here in the comments! :)

We have a little high chair like that, too, and it's perfect for our small kitchen. :) I wish the tray stayed on better, but for free, I can't complain! :)

Cute baby, btw :)

Vida said...

I have to second the special baby soap. And formula. Why be a SAHM and not nurse, especially with all the benifits for baby? And think of the thousands of dollars I saved by nursing three (so far) babies!


Anonymous said...

Elise is so beautiful. Reminds me of an Eloise Wilkins illustration somewhere...


Roberta said...

We too have a seat similar to yours, and it works great. (I cannot believe your little girl is already old enough to sit in it! She is just beautiful!)
For baby: don't need a baby bathtub or a bath seat. For us it is just more space cluttering stuff. I just bathe baby very carefully in the sink or tub, with towels under smaller baby, and helping secure older baby.
I am still a long way from
1 Timothy 6:8 "But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. but am getting rid of as much stuff as possible to focus on what is really important.

Anonymous said... - I never forgot the local library existed, but I've been pleasantly surprised lately how many of the specific, recently-published history books that my husband wants to read are stocked somewhere in our county library system!

Laura in KY said...

I can't say enough about those seats. Due to a sudden influx of little ones, we currently have *4* of them around our table! I couldn't imagine having multiple high chairs. I also love them, because they are so easy to pack up and take with us if we eat at another home, potluck dinner, etc. Love them, love them, love them.

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

darn it, blogger ate my comment yesterday again!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I did the same thing with the Blockbuster movie pass. We used it for a while, but we sort of reached a movie saturation. We don't have cabe or a tv. We just get DVD's to watch on the computer. We got rid of it a few months ago. We might pick it up later.

Unknown said...

We also got rid of Netflix although I usually get rid of it in the summer not the winter. We watched too many movies over the Christmas break.

We also got rid our our regular phone because we have 5 cell phones among family members. It is going to be a bit of a hassle getting used to it but I think it is a way to cut back on 2 bills and save close to $100 a month.

PS I am such a ditz at the word verification. I always mess it up!

Kim C. said...

We have found many items to be unnecessary for us, as we have 10 people in less than 1200 square feet.
Crib (we use a portable playpen or put the baby in bed w/siblings after 6-12 months)
Changing table - never had one
Individual dressers - each one in our house is shared by 2-3 people
Baby bathtub - like another reader, I use the sink for very young babies and tub for bigger ones.
Toddler potty - we use a stepstool and teach them to get on the big potty right away.
Baby swing - with many interesting siblings, automated entertainment is no longer needed. :)

Meredith said...

I should point out that the sippy cup in the photo above is one lone cup we received as a baby gift basket. Babies aren't nearly interested in drinking from these as they are real cups, and we take advantage of that interest to start cup training early.

It's a Mom Thing said...

I know you're saving your dishwasher for special occasions, but you can stick that booster in there with your other dishes for a thorough cleaning every once in a while. And I love that you can travel with it!

Anonymous said...

TV. If we had it, I'd have to give up blogging.

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure how I found you but did you see the tip on shannon "rocks in my dryer"'s wednesday about the redbox video? There is one inside our local grocery store. The dvds cost $1 to rent but there is a website that gives you codes so you can get them for free. We rarely rent movies but since that tip, I have gotten at least 5 FREE!!

Candy said...

I love your counter tops!