I am a self-confessed tightwad. But I am also by nature a rule-follower and if someone – or some company – tells me to do something (and plasters on the threats for not doing it) I do it. But for some things, it’s just not worth it.
Take my printer, for example. It didn’t cost me a great deal – it was certainly less than £100. But it is a laser printer and so it has very expensive toner cartridges. Unbelievably, a replacement set of the printer’s own brand toner cartridges costs a few pence less than £500: the ink is presumably made of ground-up precious stones. I read the dire warnings about using ‘compatible’ ones and worried about it, until a pal pointed out that if they didn’t work, it was cheaper to buy a whole new printer than a set of ‘proper’ ones. So I bought a set of fakes – which currently cost around £70-80. I’ve only put one replacement in so far, and while the printer keeps flashing that I need to replace the inks, it works OK.
Buoyed by this success, I am now moving on to other things. I need replacement electric toothbrush heads. Currently, Superdrug has them on offer for £7.99 for four, which is a bit of a bargain given that they can cost double that. But I don’t live near a Superdrug and also, I can do better: on Amazon I find 12 compatible heads for £1.96 – plus £3 postage. So, £5 for 12: and what can go wrong, it’s just a titchy plastic thing with a brush on it. Then there’s coffee. I love my Nespresso machine and buy their capsules – which work out at about 30p each. Aldi does a three pack (30 capsules) for £5.97 – so that’s about 20p a cup. I’m not sure about this one (I’ve not bought them yet) as I’ve had some rubbish white-label capsules before. But I might give it a go.
However, there are limits for fakery. I’m not fussy (really) but I can’t handle ersatz Marmite. I also think cheap foundation is a false economy as it wears off too quickly (Estee Lauder is £32 but it would withstand a nuclear explosion, I’m sure). And as for own-brand toilet paper..... however broke I am, I would never be without the pure white comfort of Andrex. What do you think? When will you fake it?