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.
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.
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.
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).
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.