Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Gotta Have It

When I was beginning my career as the CFO of the HomeFront Corp, it did not take long for me to become a devotee of The Household Budget. I found that the two nickels Rob and I were rubbing together went much farther when I actually knew where that money was going. I also became acutely aware of the cost of everything. I joined the elite ranks of people who could look at an item and say "hmm, that's a great price," while nodding approvingly.

In those early days, I was a big fan of the generic, no-frills products. I found that in many cases the store brand was just as good as the big money product, and I am still fairly satisfied with the no-name labels. But in the back of my mind, I sometimes heard my mother's voice saying "Sometimes you get what you pay for." I most often heard her when I was cursing the inferiority of some super cheap household item.

Now that we have a few more nickels left over at the end of the month, I have found that I have relaxed the reins over the brand-name products. This week's WFMW centers on the specific brands we choose over their less expensive counterparts. To that end, here are the things that keep the employees at the HomeFront Corp happy.

JIF peanut butter: This is a demand request from Rob. To say the man loves his peanut butter is like saying the ocean is salty. I'm pretty sure that he eats peanut butter at least once a day, and it has to be JIF. Having grown up with Skippy, I figured one peanut butter was as good as another. Apparently I was mistaken, as it is JIF that is superior in taste and texture. Rob grew up eating the store brand peanut butter, but having tasted the ambrosia that is JIF, he can never turn back. Besides, I hear that choosy moms choose JIF.

Clover Farms Icy Tea: I may be wrong, but I think this brand is only available in eastern PA. Icy Tea comes in a gallon jug and looks like motor oil, but oh my stars and garters is it full of sweet deliciousness. It's local challenger, Turkey Hill Iced Tea, is also very good and they make better flavored tea, but something in the Icy Tea keeps us coming back.

Downy Fabric Softener: I've used many dryer sheets in my day, mostly because we couldn't use them while I was growing up (due to allergies), and most of them have done a fine job of making my towels feel softer than a piece of cardboard. But Downy . . . well, Downy just smells like babies to me. Everything soft and snuggly and warm about a baby distilled into one piece of paper than I can toss in my dryer . . . um, excuse me while I throw in a load of laundry.

Crest toothpaste: Just the straight-up mint flavor, no fancy concoctions like vanilla or lemon or whatever else is out there. I don't know if it works any better, but the minty taste is just right for me.

Huggies Extra-Sensitive Wipes: There are many wipes out there that say they are fragrance-free and hypo-allergenic, but the Huggies Extra-Sensitive are the only ones that have been the most gentle on my kids bottoms. Plus, they are thick and they retain just the right level of moisture; not so dry as to chafe tender skin, but not so wet as to be slip-sliding all over a squirming toddler's business end.

Glad Force Flex trash bags: I have learned, through serious trial and error, that not all trash bags are created equal. Not even the heavy duty kind. I'm willing to pay a pretty penny for a reliable trash bag.

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: These things really are magic. I once scrubbed an entire crusty refrigerator with just one magic eraser. They are so good they practically pay for themselves.

After reviewing this list, I'm surprised to see that I don't buy as many name brands as I thought I did. I am usually happy to go generic, or to try new or different products, but I will admit to the above as my tried and true stand-bys. They work for us!


  1. Most of the time we buy store brand stuff. But like you, we have a few exceptions. Grahm crackers is one of them. Honey Maid only, please. The kids won't eat the other brands. They will eat food off of the floor, but not a store brand grahm cracker. Weird kids.

    And I totally get the whole peanut butter thing. My husband thinks it is a food group unto itself.

  2. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Paul Newman's salad dressing. Any other just won't do.

  3. Anonymous11:57 AM

    i'm selective when it comes to dish soap; it has to be Dawn. And, window cleaner has to be Windex. The toilets have to be cleaned by Clorox or Lysol. I like Pine Sol or Mr. Clean for my floors. OK - so, I've got some 'hang-ups' on the cleaners! Which will not be surprising to you. Diana L.

  4. Caught this post late, but my God, woman, you live at the motherlode of all drinks known to mankind: A-Treat Birch Beer not to mention nearby fresh, right out of the oven that day Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets. And you're fussing with Iced tea?! Buzha Moy! If I had access to that combination right now, I'd mainline it.


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