When Spending More is Sometimes not an Obvious (but Best) Choice

I enjoyed a couple of more peaceful days at work this week. My boss has been in back to back meetings which accounted for much more relaxed (and more productive) staff. My colleague Jenny stopped by at my desk a few times and we chatted about personal life, past vacations and plans for the weekend (both of us will ‘play it by ear’). Jenny showed me most recent photos of her children and I pulled out some shots of my nieces and a brand new, two week old nephew. Jenny also shared with me a super cute story about a five inch long, flying cockroach that she saw in our kitchenette area. Well, it actually flew out of one of the disposable cups as she attempted to make herself a cup of coffee.

As we enjoyed our rare chit-chat, another colleague stopped by –

“hey guys, have you seen that video about the Chinese fake rice? It’s all over Facebook”


” You know, when they put plastic bags into a rice making machine and make fake rice out of it”

“Wow, great”

At which point I had to pick up a phone call, temporarily missing out on the fake rice story.

Well, since I remembered it later that day, I googled it and it seems like other countries are guilty as well, not just China. I am posting if below for your convenience so you do not need to search for it.

Enjoy –

Anyway, it’s just another fiasco adding to all the GMO, fake Chinese eggs (yep, you’ll find them on YouTube as well), fake green peas and fake sweet potato noodles. It actually turns out that all of these is just a GMO and pesticides loaded corn.

As I finished watching the fake ‘everything’ video, I clicked on another one only to learn that the ‘Dawn’ I am using to wash my dishes has really sucky ingredients too. Actually, it is in the bottom 5 brands as far as healthy ingredients are concerned. After the ‘Dawn’ I also re-confirmed that basically half of my beauty products, including toothpaste are in the absolute “No” category.

None of these ingredients (well maybe except ‘Fragrance’) sound too friendly

I mean deep down I know that if you cannot pronounce the ingredient, it is probably not that good for you. I also know that Seventh Generation, Nature Gate or other organic / vegan brands are the way to go but you know how it is. Other products are much cheaper, also we get used to them. Dawn, Colgate, Palmolive, I just grab them. I combine coupons or I buy them at a local Dollar Tree for $1.09 a piece . But of course, at the end of the day nothing is more expensive than treating cancer that all these products may be causing.

On top of some questionable products, I was actually able to find some health conscious products in my bathroom too 🙂

Simple brand. Kind to skin. No artificial perfume or dyes. No harsh chemicals. Great. But then, in a small font, keep reading. No harsh chemicals** ** that can upset your skin. WTF Simple? Do you use chemicals or not?

Yep, still loaded with sodium laureth sulfate. What a disappointment.

One small change at a time, I figured, as I searched for natural dish liquid on Amazon Prime (through my work’s account). After 5 minutes of searching I pulled a trigger and purchased Seventh Generation all natural clementine zest & lemongrass scent 6 pack. $17.50 for six 25 oz bottles. Wow, I thought, that’s expensive but worth it. After all, we are using dishes every day so I want to ensure we don’t eat any toxins at a dinner time.

That’s expensive but worth it…

Hmm… Then it hit me. Let me think about the price here for a moment. Is it really that expensive? I usually buy a 9 oz bottle of Dawn at a local Dollar Tree for $1.09. Let’s do some 3rd grade math here:

6 bottles of 25 oz liquid = 150 oz (Seventh Generation) = $17.50

150 oz / 9 oz = 16.66 (to get the same amount of liquid, I would need to buy 16.66 bottles of 9 oz Dawn)

16.66 * 1.09 = 18.16 (to buy 16.66 bottles of Dawn at $1.09 each, I would need to spend $18.16)


$17.50 for the best, natural stuff vs. $18.16 for something of much lower quality.

Think Mariana, think!

So I took a second step and ordered a bulk (6) pack of another healthy, all natural ingredients product

When we brush our teeth I want to know that we are putting only loving, all natural and safe ingredients into our mouths. This 6 pack cost $28 but will last us for at least 7-8 months. No regrets here!

Curious to hear your thoughts on the topic. Do you always care that your cosmetics, beauty and household products are are of only natural ingredients?



  1. Bethany says:

    I think this is a very hard line to draw. While all natural products are important to me, they are not as important as being financially secure. Once you start getting into all of the health stuff, it is a very slippery slope and soon you find out that everything is bad- not just sugar or white flour, but seemingly innocent things like oatmeal or even candles. And all those “healthy” alternatives cost 2-5x as much as the regular products. I know one lady who is SO into her health stuff (everything from grain-free meals to bleach-free diapers) that it keeps them from saving enough to buy a farm, which is one of their bigger goals. Perhaps the natural stuff is more important to them than the farm- I don’t know.

    I think a nice go-between for people who want to be healthy but don’t want to spend as much is to make your own personal care and cleaning products. The other option is to just not use them. We have a smaller apartment, so I don’t use a lot of cleaners, and neither of us use a lot of cosmetics. I make our own laundry soap and bar soap, but for now other items are just purchased cheaply. I expect that in a few years, we will have enough in investments that buying natural products will not be a big deal. I just can’t understand putting off bigger goals (home ownership, financial stability, travel, etc.) for “healthy” food and home products.

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      I agree that it can get very expensive, very quickly! And it can very easily also become an obsession. I know as I see it first hand with some of my friends. All is vegan and all is organic. And all combined costs a small mortgage. Gulp.
      I definitely try not go ‘go overboard’ too much but do try to read the labels to see what’s inside a product. Sometimes I care more, sometimes I care less. We are currently probably around 50% organic and 50% it does not matter.
      There are only 2 of us so it is much easier to justify as compared to spending money on all vegan / organic / natural if we were a 4+ people household. Saving $$ is a big priority here as well so trying to stay focused.

      The exception were I will not badge and buying organic is the only choice is dairy (milk, butter and eggs) as well as chicken / beef. We don’t eat much meat, probably 2-3 pounds a month total so it is not too bad. We are hoping to be living in suburbs in the next 2-3 years with a small garden and raise our very own organic chickens, producing very own organic eggs 🙂

  2. Becky says:

    I buy the natural dish soap and laundry soap because my husband breaks out in a rash with the more conventional kinds. I watch for the dish soap to go on sale, and then buy several at once, so it’s really not too bad. The Safeway store brand of laundry soap works fine. I also find that the natural cleaners usually go farther, i.e. I use less each time, so they last longer.

    That being said, there are other products I don’t buy natural and organic, because we simply cannot afford them and still pay our bills. I have had times in my life where we ate entirely organic and natural, but this is not one of them. So, I try to get it that way when I can, and buy what I can afford the rest of the time. It’s a balance. Often the gluten-free foods I buy are organic, but not always. Sometimes I have no choice but to buy the more expensive option because of that.

    I decided (not without some anguish at the time) that I’d rather feed the kids/family plenty of conventional food than a small amount of all organic or natural. I sure do grow a ton of garden produce, though, and it’s all organic. I can and freeze that. My husband raised natural pork and chicken and turkey for us, but now that we’ve moved into town, we can no longer do that. We still have some left in the freezers, so I’ll see what I do when I run out. I did buy natural, grass-fed beef from a farmer and have tons of that.

  3. Margaret @ Live Like No One Else says:

    I agree with everyone’s comments. We need to do what we can with the info we have. I find that the more I learn the guiltier I feel though because of what I could be doing or buying that I’m not. We just have to do what makes sense for each of us. But I like your math Mariana. Sometimes it does make sense.

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