$4 Paper Towels and other things you shouldn’t be embarrassed to buy.

I was in the grocery store, and in need of paper towels, when it hit me. As I stared at the price tags for 6, 8, and 12 roll sized packages, I pondered one of life’s great questions. Will anyone notice if I buy the cheap stuff? My wife and I are trying to conserve cash, maybe a bit more than others these days, but until now it had never occurred to me to wonder. I have always just picked up the nicest looking paper towels they had. $10 for 8 rolls of Viva. I’m not really into floral patterns, and the Brawny guy is a little intimidating. Before I departed with my parcel of rolled dead trees, I noticed a sign for $4 paper towels. “That’s more than half the price”, I said aloud. The nice lady standing next to me chuckled. So, without hesitation, I threw back the $10 pack of 8 and picked up a $4 pack of 8. Then it hit me. What would people think of my cheap paper towels?

“That’s more than half the price”

Honestly why do I care? I am not sure, but it made me think. What are the other items I am buying, not because they are superior in quality, but because of what other people will think? The average person does this on the wine aisle. If you are going to buy yourself a bottle of wine, the $10 Pinot will do just fine. However, if you are going to a party at a friend’s house, you pick up the $18 Pinot. It’s all about appearances. I think the wine example is even a bit more justified, considering your hosts are probably putting out $200 for steaks and accoutrement. But why do we care about what others think of our paper towels? Well we do, and I am suggesting we shouldn’t. They are white and go on the roll. They serve their purpose. The same can be said for name brand oatmeal. Have you ever taken the $3 bet and bought the grocery store brand oatmeal to see if its better? No? Why not? Could it be that you don't want others to see your non-name brand oatmeal lurking in your pantry? How about toilet paper? Ok maybe that’s too much of a sensitive subject. Instead let's talk about dish soap, laundry detergent, or hand soap. Are you buying it based on appearances? I think there’s a chance you are.

Next time you are at the grocery store, take a look in your cart before checking out. Could you save any money by putting back items you are just buying for appearances? If so, save the money. Your friends will still love you, the cheaper products will work just as well, and you can focus on quality in everything you buy. Lastly, if you ever find yourself at my house, don’t worry should you spill something. I have $4 paper towels.

Here’s to saving,

Timothy

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