A recent news article on the impact of the downturn in the economy quoted a young married woman as claiming that her concern about her job and her husband's job had her purchasing generic paper towels over a brand name. I was struck by this person's efforts to get back to the basics, regular no-name paper towels. What a sacrifice! But it did get me thinking about the impact our purchasing choices have on our own personal cost of living.
I really don't know whether the reporters who use this kind of example are serious or not. But look at the difference in cost between a generic or house brand of paper towels and the high end brand names and you will see significant differences in price per sheet or price per use, however you want to look at it. Underlying this concern about paper towels is another more serious issue. The notion that you have to use a consumable. A Swifter instead of a mop. A paper towel instead of a wash cloth. A disposable duster rather than a dust cloth.
Modern advertising has convinced the younger generation of middle class educated people that they can only be clean and sanitary if they use the "disposable" product instead of the germy old fashioned re-usable cloth. This attitude of disposable commodities permeates our society to such an extent that most people never even see the alternative, which in most cases is much less expensive (and has less of an environmental impact).
You may not spend much on paper products, but you could probably spend less. Using less expensive options is not so much an exercise in frugality as it is an exercise in realizing that paying to dust your home may not be the best overall solution. It is impossible to imagine how a person caught up in the spend to clean mode could understand the real issue of living providently. Next time there is a "spill" unlike the TV ads, try using a reusable wash cloth instead of a paper towel.