Friday, January 19, 2007

Before kids (BK), I was a very brand-loyal shopper. I didn’t buy anything but the brands spending the most ad dollars. Tide, Kleenex, Cottonelle and the like. I would have sooner starved than to have bought a cheap brand, and heaven-forbid a generic! But now that I am a stay-at-home Mom of two children, I find myself compromising my snooty shopping habits to save a buck or two. Now, don’t get me wrong – some things just aren’t worth the savings because – well – they suck. And that’s what inspired me to list a few of the dollar-savers my family has deemed passable, as well as the brands that continue to have our loyalty. Since I look for ways to be cheap in every household category, I thought it best to break it up. This week, I’m listing laundry-related items.

I used to be a Tide-only gal – but I’ve changed my tune for an acceptable knock-off found at Costco. Kirkland brand laundry detergent in the huge container with the spout is a close-enough second to my favorite, Tide. It is available in both a Tide-like container colored suspiciously like the real-thing, as well as a fragrance-free variety. The best part – are you ready for this? UNDER TWELVE DOLLARS!!! I do laundry every stinkin’ day and this thing lasts me a long time! Definitely worth a try.

Now – different detergent for babies, or same soap as the grown-ups? I have friends on both sides of this coin. I think if you are comfortable using regular detergent on your little one without ill effects like rash or hives – then go for it. I usually took precaution the first few months anyway, sucking it up and buying the expensive as hell Dreft. The Target “compare to” brand and All brand wanna-be just didn’t smell as nice and baby-like to me. Now that my baby is over a year, I usually use regular fragrance-free detergent. (See Costco plug above).

Fabric Softener:
I know it is weird, and my Mom always tells me it is unnecessary, but I use both a liquid fabric softener AND a dryer sheet. I like my clothes soft and static-free, what can I say? I have tried off-brands, but Downy still wins it for me every time. So, I watch the Sunday paper for coupons and also visit to see if they have any coupons available for printing. At the time I wrote this, they didn’t – but they will….trust me. You can also check out to find out which stores in your area have the best deal on that product. Just enter your zip code, type in the product you are searching for and Voila!

I will occasionally buy Bounce fabric softener sheets – or even an off-brand. But I don’t mess around with the liquid stuff. I’ve found most off-brands to be too runny or to smell too strong. Costco’s Kirkland brand was a really good knock-off of Downy April Fresh, but they have changed the packaging from a pourable jug to the big ole container with the spout. I don’t like it. It is too hard to pour into the Downy ball – so sorry, Costco. You lose my purchase on that one.

Stain Treaters:

Oh, I’ve gone back and forth over the years between Spray ‘N Wash and Shout – but lately Spray ‘N Wash has my vote. That fairly-new Spray ‘N Wash Dual Power product ROCKS! As their Web site says, “its unique technology combines two different stain fighters in one amazing product! A powerful pre-treater and an oxi stain remover activate when mixed and start to break down and lift stains – right in front of your eyes!”

Yes, it is true. And it smells good, too. And a good smell is important when you spend too much of your time amidst dirty laundry. A good laundry product that smells clean and fresh is definitely important. And the clincher? COUPONS! for LOTS of coupons on LOTS of products without a lot of survey questions and opting out hassle.

I know there are lots of other laundry products out there, but honestly – I don’t use them. My delicates aren’t washed in Woolite – but regular detergent. I don’t use stain pens and all of the other fancy products. Basically just a detergent, a fabric softener (or two) and a stain-treater. That’s enough work for me in the laundry room.

I’d love to hear how your shopping habits have changed since you’ve had kids, as well as the money-saving products you have tried and liked! Please post your comments!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Try apple cider vinegar as fabric softener. Works beautifully, no chemicals, and rinses completely away so you don't smell vinegary (I promise). Very cheap.