Permanent Purchases

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Vintage Stove

Disposable products may be the norm, but they’re not the norm in my house. I like things that are made to last. Things that I can buy once and never have to replace. These permanent purchases, as I call them, save me a lot of money, and they make my life easier, too. Because things that are made well tend to work well.

Sometimes these permanent purchases cost more up front, but they more than pay for themselves over time.

Here are some of the permanent purchases that my family has made over the years:

Stove – Modern stoves are great, but with all the computer components, they can be difficult and costly to fix, so we went old school. We have a 1957 stove. The parts are easy to come by and easy to replace. When the thermostat went out a couple months ago, we spent $50 on a replacement and swapped it out ourselves.

Cast Iron Cookware

Cookware – Cast iron cookware is indestructible, and that makes it my cookware of choice. We have pieces that we bought when we got married, pieces that we inherited and still others that we’ve picked up from yard sales and thrift stores. Instead of wearing out like normal cookware, this stuff just get better with time. It’s something I’ll be able to pass on to my kids, and that they’ll be able to pass on to theirs.

Permanent Purchases

Porch Floor – When our pine porch floor reached the end of its life, we decided to replace it with Ipe (a type of Brazilian walnut). It was a lot more expensive than pine, but it won’t ever have to be replaced. That means no more lumber bills and no more labor bills. And bonus: we no longer have to paint. We just oil the floor every couple years, and it continues to look great.

Klean Kanteens

Water Bottles – Plastic water bottles wear out, stainless steel ones don’t, so we invested in several Klean Kanteen water bottles when the kids were little, and we continue to use them today. They may have a few dents in them now, but they still work great, and I can buy replacement lids for them whenever they get worn out (i.e. the kids chew up the spouts).

Cloth Napkins

Napkins and Other Things – Paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, paper napkins, paper plates– go back just a couple generations, and these products didn’t even exist. Now, they feel like necessities to most people. And I don’t know about you, but it absolutely pains me to spend money on items that I’m just going to turn around and throw away. So I’ve done what I can to cut them out. I still buy toilet paper (that habit isn’t going anywhere); and I still buy trash bags ; but the rest of that stuff no longer makes it into my shopping cart. We use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, wash rags instead of paper towels and real plates instead of paper plates. And you know what? Cutting out all those throw away items means I use fewer trash bags, too.

Do you try to make permanent purchases for your family? I’d love to hear about some of them.

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  1. I love your stove. My stove is on it’s last leg and I would love to find an old stove like your stove. We use cloth napkins, and rags made from old towels I have cut up. Our kitchen trash can is under our sink. The can is small so I use Target bags for my trash bags. I do not shop at Target much. I have put out the word to my friends that I will take their Target bags and I receive enough bags so that I never have to buy trash bags. I love your site.

    1. Hi Sabrina,

      Estate sales are a great source for old stoves. I picked up an old, white Frigidaire for $30 a year ago. I plan to use it in the cabin whenever we get around to adding electricity. And you’re right, those over-sized Target bags make perfect trash bags. I get excited whenever I end up with one.

  2. We also use cloth napkins and rags instead of paper towels. Other permanent purchases include replacing plastic storage containers with mason jars and a few Pyrex pieces, replacing parchment paper with Silpat baking mats, buying inexpensive flatware to take to the office instead of plastic cutlery (don’t care if I lose the inexpensive stuff!), replacing Teflon-coated kitchen stuff with stainless steel or cast iron, using a Diva cup instead of tampons (love it!), and recently getting a nice stainless steel kitchen trash can that will last forever instead of the cheap plastic ones that break.

    1. All good ones. Like you, we’ve switched to glass storage containers and Silpats, and we stick cheap silverware in the kids lunchboxes (just stuff I picked up at thrift stores and yard sales). Sure beats losing our nice silverware to the cafeteria trash can.

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