7 Things We Don’t Buy

Inspired by the recent post on DaveRamsey.com on 7 Things You Should Splurge On, I thought it’d be fun to come up with my own list that’s the opposite–namely, 7 things we don’t buy.

These are not items that we get free with coupons; these are items we just don’t buy altogether. It might not save us thousands of dollars each year to not buy these, but it definitely saves us a few hundred dollars–painlessly!

Just for fun, here’s my list of 7 things we don’t buy:

Shaving Cream

For years, I’ve only “purchased” shaving cream for myself if it was free or almost-free. I’ve found that a good lathering of soap does just as good of a job–and it’s less expensive, too.

Since making my own homemade soap, my husband has stopped using shaving cream, too. He says that my soap works great, instead!

Paper Towels

We do keep a few rolls of paper towels on hand in the basement pantry for guests, but otherwise, we don’t use paper towels. Rags work just as well–or better!–and you can just stick them in the washer when you’re finished. Or, if it was a really icky mess, you can always just toss the rag when you’re done.

Soda Pop

We’ve saved a lot of money over the years by not paying for the empty calories and sugar in soda pop. My husband still enjoys a Vanilla Coke from Sonic every now and then, but we don’t keep soda pop on hand at our house (except for the occasional 7Up or Ginger Ale we’ll buy when in the middle of sickness).

Movies

In all our years of marriage, I cannot recall a time that we’ve ever paid to purchase a movie to add to our small DVD collection. We’ve rented a lot from RedBox and Blockbuster kiosks (usually with free rental codes!) and we checked out dozens upon dozens of movies from the library, but we don’t buy movies.

In the same vein, going to a movie at a theater is usually a once a year event for our family–typically when a really high-quality movie comes out that we want to support at the box office. Considering that reduced priced movie tickets typically cost at least $6 each, we’d be spending at least $360 per year on movie tickets for our family if we went and saw a movie once a month.

Dryer Sheets/Fabric Softener

Growing up, we never used dryer sheets or fabric softener, so I’ve carried this tradition on in our home, too. Sure, we have a bit more static sometimes, but truthfully, it’s something we hardly ever notice.

Coffee Filters/K-Cups

I’m a one-big-cup-a-day girl when it comes to coffee, but we don’t purchase coffee filters or K-Cups. Instead, we use a French Press. It makes fantastic coffee, we can make the exact amount we need, and we don’t have to buy anything other than coffee to refill it!

Cable TV

We’ve never had cable TV and we’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years, as a result. There’s occasionally a time when my husband has wished he could watch a sports event or a time when we’ve wished we could watch political coverage, but overall, we’ve survived just fine without cable TV.

Now, please know that I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy any of these things. Your family might need (or want!) to purchase some of these things for one reason or another. That’s absolutely okay! Do what works for your family.

However, I thought it’d be fun to share my list to hopefully inspire you to consider if there are simple things you’re currently paying for that you could easily eliminate from your budget. Plus, I thought it’d be fun to hear what items your family doesn’t buy so that our family could be inspired to consider some other ways of simplifying in our home, too!

What 7 (or more!) items does your family not buy? I’d love to hear and be inspired!

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Comments

  1. says

    Two things I’ve never spent my $$ on:

    *Credit card interest

    * Credit card late fees

    I mean, these aren’t even “things” like a service or product that you could have and hold and enjoy? Why pay a premium on stuff you’ve already bought and used–for no reason other than I was unable to exercise delayed gratification. Of course, I would never fault anyone for paying credit card interest in the event of a true life emergency, perhaps someone with no cash or savings whatsoever on hand…

    • Julie in IN says

      Agreed! We’ve earned thousands of dollars in money back and sign up promos though!

    • says

      That’s excellent you’ve never had to spend money on interest fees. I wish I could say the same. The good news is I’ve never had a late payment on a credit card. We’ve always been able to pay on time. Credit card bills are almost gone though, so I am glad about that! :)

  2. lori says

    wish we could give up our landline but we have ADT home security and it’s tied into our phone. Any solutions?

    • kate says

      many security companies offer a wireless option – not sure about ADT specifically, but it’s out there if you shop around. i believe they use cellular signals usually.

    • Laura says

      No landline required, they installed a cell signal box (not sure of the exact name) for us since we don’t have a landline and it has worked great! Call ADT and ask about your options.

    • Nicole says

      My husband is a manager for ADT and said that you can have a radio installed that will “call” the central monitoring center instead of it going over your phone line. Good luck. :)

        • says

          Ha! No. ;)

          I got mine at IKEA. Actually they’re tea towels. I paid around $8 for 8 of them. I like the fact that they’re so large. Big enough for husband’s lap and we use them more than once at the table.

        • nikki says

          I make my own cloth napkins! I use whatever fun, 100% cotton fabric I find. I make them two-sided since I’m not very good at rolled hems and mitered corners.

        • says

          You don’t have to make your own. At Goodwill I bought some pretty yellow and green cotton ones that match my kitchen. Then I have a nicer set of four linen ones for when we have company, also purchased there. My Goodwill has baskets of table linens like placemats, napkins, runners, etc. for 50 cents per item. I got two pretty Williams-Sonoma placemats there, 50 cents each. One still had the original price sticker– $8.00!!!

      • Heather says

        Some of our napkins are bright red, and they are great for all those tomato-based meals. No visible stains!

    • Lana says

      We used cloth napkins when my five were growing up. They are so easy to clean up spills with because you have it right there and you can contain a mess much quicker. I made our napkins out of cotton fabric bought on clearance for around one dollar a yard. Dollar Tree has some thin kitchen towels that would make good cloth napkins. My homemade ones were about 30 cents each but not everyone has a sewing machine and fabric has really gone up in price. You can also make napkins out of an old cotton sheet.

      • Patti says

        We just cut out paper napkins at the beginning of the year and are amazed that we don’t even MISS them!! Once in awhile I use more paper towels than normal but it is not very often.

        • Lyn says

          How about dark-colored wash cloths? Each child could have their own color. Darker colors hide stains better.

          • Shar says

            We use wash cloths too! They work like a charm and we can wet them with warm water and wipe up their messes after meals, too. Double duty!

    • KimH says

      We use automotive white cotton towels I got from Sams.. They work great & clean up well.

    • Michelle G. says

      We have about 6 different sets of cloth napkins. We love them! We got some of ours at Bed Bath and Beyond. Others were gifts and garage sale finds. My MIL also made us a gift of an old bed skirt turned into cloth napkins.

  3. Suzy says

    We have cut out a lot over the years and even more that we just have never purchased.

    -shave gel
    - cable (we have netflix streaming and will rent a movie from time to time)
    - laundry detergent (We love the homemade soap!)
    - most cleaning products
    - full price clothing! A lot from consignment or Target!
    - paper towels
    - canned beans (I buy a bag and boil them, easy and a huge cost reducer!)
    - bread, bagels, pizza dough, waffles
    - cake mixes (they are simple to make!)

    Our basic philosophy is if we can make it easily and more cost effectively then do it! :)

  4. Becky says

    My 7:

    Laundry detergent
    Cable TV
    Cell phone plan
    Haircuts for the boys
    Music
    Gym membership
    Books

    • Julie in IN says

      Agreeing with all of these!

      My dh was home with an injury and I cut his hair out of necessity; it turned out fabulous and we haven’t spent a penny on his hair since.

      • Kelly Komondor says

        Agreed on the haircuts- my husband is in the Navy and is required to have regular haircuts which at a low price is about $10/cut. I invested in a good set of clippers while they were on a pre-Christmas sale two years ago and it has paid for itself ten times over if not more! I’ve also started cutting our toddlers hair.

  5. Becky says

    Here is my families list of 7 things we don’t buy.

    1. New toys unless its for birthdays or Christmas- we get plenty of nice toys from yardsales for cheap and all I have to do is clean them…. An exception to this is things 75% off or more that we have wanted for a while—- I just got my daughter a princess tent for 90% off… Couldn’t pass that up for 2.00!
    2. Internet- we don’t have a computer either… Luckily I can do everything at work that I need to do and I can use a family members computer if I need my facebook fix once or twice a month!
    3. Handy-man work- my husband has worked as an electrician and in construction- he can do almost anything. I have uncles that are accountants, a plumber and also in construction so everything that we need can be done by making dinner and with a 6 pack of beer!
    4. New clothes for my daughter and I. We are fine with yard sale and consignment stuff (other than underware and socks of course). My husband does gets new white shirts for work and undershirts every 6 months or so.
    5. Movies or Music- what we can’t get at the library or what we can’t get on tv or with the redbox codes- then we just don’t need it. We pay for tv, so we do not want to spend money on others. 1 movie a year for us is it (in a theater!)
    6. Hair products for my husband and I- he has dreadlocks and I have straight hair… I just wash it twice a week and we are fine. We do buy stuff for our daughters hair bc it seems to fro out after a while- she is “mixed”
    7. Paper Plates, plastic silverware, etc. My philosophy is that if you aren’t going to wash it and reuse it then don’t use it… The only time I use plastic stuff is for Thanksgiving because we have 35 people at our house with no dishwasher (and not enough plates- we only have 8!).

    Its nothing to exceptional but it works with us. We try not to spend money on going out to eat but we are super yardsalers and stick to a budget on that. We tend to buy larger items (big bottles of ketchup, shampoo, etc)-so we don’t have to make as many trips to the store and so that we don’t waste as much in packaging…

    As for a comment on something else- loved the diva cup before I had my daughter- am hoping to the size up since I now have my daughter- I think its a great product. Saves on money and although I still wear a pantyliner with it- it holds much more!

  6. K says

    1. Don’t pay for shaving cream either, both my guys use electric razors.
    2. Vegetables. I have a huge garden and can/freeze what we eat.
    3. Meat. We hunt or raise our own. We also butcher it ourselves.
    4. Eggs & Bread. I raise my own chickens and make my own bread.
    5. Cleaning products. I use vinegar or ammonia for my floors, sinks, toilets, etc. I use vinegar as a rinse agent in my dishwasher.
    6. I don’t pay for haircuts for my guys. I’m the barber. The money saved lets me go to the stylist!
    7. Books. Either use the library or get them free for my e-reader.
    8. Candles & air fresheners. My husband is allergic, so I just don’t buy them.

    • Julie in IN says

      Love your list! Lighting a match and letting it burn for 30 seconds takes care of odors immediately.

  7. Sarah says

    Love this post! I’ve gone through reading all the comments asking myself what else I can cut-out.

    I’m considering paper towels and dryer sheets. Thanks for the tips!

    Here are my 7:

    CABLE (we do the netflix instant queue – borrow movies, or get them from the library)
    HOME PHONE (I’ve always just used my cell phone)
    PAPER PLATES (I love my dishes.. and don’t mind washing them)
    SODA (I quit drinking it for health reasons. Never missed it. It cuts down on our eating-out budget as well because I always order water)
    SHAVING CREAM (I’ve always just used soap – though now, I’d like to try conditioner!)
    GREETING CARDS (I get them for free or don’t give one at all.)
    PACKAGED FOODS (more for health reasons – but I don’t buy any junk food / frozen meals.)

    • says

      I think greeting cards are the biggest rip off but I feel like a scrooge if I don’t buy them-so I do. I love Target’s 99 cent selection. I am wondering if it would be cheaper to learn a little calligraphy and make your own…anybody do this?

      • says

        if i feel i need something i use blank cards (usually get them in multiple packs at dollar store or on clearance) and write my own note; more personal anyway. you could also recycle the fronts of ones you recieve as postcards.

      • Anna says

        I made all my Christmas Cards this past year (then after Christmas got a box of cards for about 50cents and sent out some more for people I didn’t get to before getting cardmakers burn-out!) I rarely buy cards, though. One person in our life we buy a card for, because for whatever reason, the expensive card says “I love you” to them better. (Whatever!)

  8. Buffie says

    We gave up paper towels, shampoo, store bought laundry detergent, the microwave, and dryer sheets. I go back and forth with deodorant and toothpaste. I usually make my own.

  9. Kimberly S. says

    Pretty much everything on that list we buy very sparingly, if at all. Except dryer sheets. I can’t stand static! However, I use the same sheet at least twice so I really don’t spend much at all on that (at least while there are only three of us in the family!). I do also try to keep some paper towels on hand, but I use them very sparingly as well – definitely not for cleaning up messes!

    Other things:
    - Kleenex. Toilet paper is way cheaper and less is wasted.
    - Cleaning wipes. Rags and/or newspaper with the occasional paper towel are my stand ins.
    - New shirts and any new baby clothing, unless they are ridiculously marked down.
    - Paper plates. In this season of life. If I ever have more than one young child before I have older kids to help with dishes, I will probably change my stance on paper plates ;)

    • Kimberly S. says

      Oh, and home phone. We just use our cell phones. And I do not have a smart phone or data plan for mine, though my husband does for his.

    • Kimberly S. says

      Ah! One more. I should stop reading comments and thinking of other things ;)

      I cut my husbands hair, so we do not pay for hair cuts. I usually get a friend or relative to do mine, but occasionally (maybe once a year) will pay for my hair cut.

    • Ann says

      You hate static? Me, too! A couple years ago someone told me that the dryer sheet box has a warning not to let the softener sheet come in contact with your skin or clothes. HELLO!! In disbelief, I came home and checked it out. Sure enough, it was on there. I stopped buying fabric softener and get along fine without it…the secret for me is making sure to rub lotion on my legs (where most of my static is ) after every shower.

  10. Kim J. says

    I don’t buy or have significantly reduced my usage:

    1. Paper towels/napkins. I think I honestly use 1 roll cheap 79 cent roll lasts me 1-1/2 months or longer and usually that’s to clean a really nasty mess or to cook bacon in the microwave or to ‘cover’ a plate with I reheat messy food in the microwave. I have paper napkins on hand, but only use them when I have company. I live by myself and use my old cloth napkins. I wash them with my kitchen towels.
    2. Foam plates, paper cups, etc. I HATE HATE HATE these and do not have a single one in the house. I do have really cheap paper plates in the picnic basket and that’s the ONLY time I use them is on a picnic. I use small plastic lunch plates for a sandwich and chips!!
    3. I don’t have a land line. I use a prepaid cellular service with unlimited talk, text and internet and costs me $45 plus tax. The basic refurbished flip phone was free on their website when I purchased a 1-month service card online, and the phone has me a year!!!
    4. I don’t have cable or satellite TV. In fact I don’t have TV at all, not even local stations (the TV does look nice in the entertainment center though…LOL). I have access to the internet on my cell phone and at work so I can get news and weather via websites or via a local radio station. I do subscribe to the local bi-weekly newspaper to get local news which is $1 per week.
    5. I don’t have a VCR or DVD player so that means I don’t spend money on movies.
    6. Hair care: I oftentimes cut my own hair saving me $20+ every few months. When I do have a professional cut my hair I look for coupons at a hair-cutting chain salon and get cuts for as low as $5. I don’t perm my hair and I color my own hair at home. A hair-color kit costs me as low as $1 at Dollar Tree for their brand, or if I watch the sales at drug and discount stores as low as $3 depending on what brand I buy and if I have a coupon or not.
    7. I rarely buy “prepped” meat and buy in larger and/or family pack units. That means if it’s pre-pattied, precooked, marinated, etc. I stay away from it. These items are usually filled with sodium and other things. And if you stop and think about it, how hard is it to form ground beef patties or sausage patties and layer them between pieces of waxed paper and put in freezer bags.

  11. says

    1. Expensive cell phones/plans. We have a cheap landline and a pay-as-you-go phone for emergencies.

    2. Mani/Pedi/Hair cuts: The last time I had a mani/pedi was for my wedding, nearly three years ago. I had my hair cut a year ago and plan to go again next week, but I’m not going every 6-8 weeks!

    3. New clothes. I either buy used if necessary or I use Christmas/birthday money I’ve gotten.

    4. Shaving Cream. I just use the water from the shower :)

    5. Starbucks. I’m a teacher and the go-to gift for parents seems to be Starbucks cards! I get so many each year, I only go when I have cards and I never have to pay for coffee!

    6. Credit card interest/fees. We don’t have a credit card, so there are no costs!

    7. Steak or other expensive cuts of meat. I buy chicken and ground beef when on sale. Steaks are reserved for very special nights out!

    I wish we could get rid of cable sometimes, but hubby has lots of sports that he just HAS to watch! Oh, well. We save money in other areas :)

  12. says

    I don’t buy shaving cream or dryer sheets, and we also don’t have cable! This is a fun thought exercise…I’m going to post my own list on my blog! Thanks for the idea…I’ll link back!

    • Sheila says

      You can watch many games online on ESPN. My husband is also watching a lot of March Madness on CBS online.

      • Bobbie Jo says

        Yes and most political events you can watch online too…..we don’t have cable but have watched the debates online. I heard tv’s these days have a cable that you can connect your computer too – so you can watch them on the big screen – ours isn’t new enough to do this though :)

    • Jenny M. says

      -Friends’ houses
      -Sports Bars
      -Gym (if you already have a membership and they have tv there)

    • Rosie says

      buy a roku box and then he can subscribe to each sport for about
      $150 for a season and he has access to ALL the games or see what comes free with your internet. We get ESPN 3 free with Verizon Internet — just run an AVcable from the computer to the back of the TV

  13. Pamela says

    1. Milk, Coffee, Soda (We drink water with our meals. When we are eating out, we always order water with lemon).

    2. Cable TV/Satelite/Dish/Netflix (I grew up in a TV free home, so this has been easy for us).

    3. Late fees of any kind (We pay our bills on time, and return our books on time)

    4. Credit Card Interest (We have never paid interest on a credit card)

    5. Paper Napkins (We use cloth napkins and wash them)

    6. Air Freshners or Perfumes (I do not do well with artificial scents of any kind)

    7. Steak or other Expensive cuts of meat

  14. Sheila says

    Coffee-we don’t drink it. (Therefore we also don’t buy coffee makers or filters).
    Tea-same thing.
    Alcohol-same.
    Cable, satellite, or netflix.
    Paper plates.
    Fancy cell phones or electronics.
    Shaving cream.

  15. Eurokatt says

    1 – Shaving cream…gave it up 15+yrs ago
    2 – Cable/Satellite TV – 15+yrs without but am thinking about a satellite program now. I live in Italy and miss English TV.
    3 – 99% of pre-made frozen foods, boxed foods, and canned fruits & veggies. I do keep 4 boxed foods and 3 canned veggies on hand for those occasional lazy cooking nights ;)
    4 – Granola, power-bars, cookies, cakes, frosting – homemade is so much better
    5 – Video games
    6 – Minimal paper towels – (I could NEVER give up BACON!) I grew up w/mom using rags and have continued. Anything cotton becomes a rag until it’s threadbare and completely worn out. T-shirts, jeans, socks, sheets, etc. I also make sure they’re dry before adding to the laundry pile and rinse w/vinegar.
    7 – Power drinks, designer drinks, flavored waters, sodas.

    • Jessica says

      Where do you dry your rags? I use them for cleaning the house, but kitchen messes kind of gross me out if the rags are just laying around all the time drying and being stinky so I’ve stuck with paper towels. I’m interested in your process of using, letting dry, and washing.

        • Eurokatt says

          I have an top loading washer and it’s always open after washing. I lay my rags and icky towels over it to dry in the evening. In the morning they get tossed in. Yes…there IS an extra rag used to clean the washer. I wash once a week (on Sundays when the power costs less) and never have bad smells. I can only guess it’s because of good airflow. My washer is in my bathroom just off the kitchen, used frequently and no one has ever said “PU!”…and BELIEVE me…they WOULD lol

  16. Allison says

    I like reading everyone’s lists. Here are mine:

    1. soda
    2. greeting cards- I use ones I get for free or I make them
    3. coffee filters- I have a reusable one that came with my coffee maker
    4. cable TV- we watch shows on hulu, check out movies from the library, etc.
    5. magazines- although I read them when I get them for free
    6. gift bags – I reuse the ones people give me or use wrapping paper (which costs much less per gift)
    7. landline phone
    8. makeup remover- I just use soap, and then lotion to wipe off eye makeup
    9. shaving cream – I use soap instead
    10. bottled water- I drink it from the tap/ use a reusable bottle

  17. Lisa D. says

    Cable television
    hair coloring/perming
    boys’ haircuts (I do them all, and I’m the only one in the family who gets a salon cut, once every 8 weeks).
    lawn service
    yogurt (make my own)
    paper towels
    movie theaters
    I’m sure there’s more, I just can’t think of it off the top of my head!

  18. Christy says

    The seven things we no longer buy include: 1) bread (I now make it from scratch), 2) frozen vegetables (we grow and freeze our own from the garden), 3) eggs (we now have 7 chickens), 4) pork or beef (we raise and process our own), 5) soda, 6) jams and jelly (again, I make them from fruit grown on our farm), and 7) commercial cleaning solutions.

    • Bethany M says

      Love making jams and jellies. Here we have an endless supply of blackberries every summer. My hubby is so kind to eat a pb&blackberry j everyday for breakfast.

  19. says

    I never understood why you had to buy paper towels or dryer sheets. I think I have bought dryer sheets twice and I don’t think I’ve ever purchased paper towels. It seemed silly to me when my clothes smell fresh without dryer sheets and we have plenty of cloth towels to clean up messes. I started using cloth diapers for the kids and cloth pads for me so I haven’t bought feminine pads in years and only purchase enough disposables for night time diapering or days when we are out and about. We haven’t had cable in 3 years – we use Netflix and Redbox as well and actually just decided to keep our tv in the basement instead of making it the focal point of the living room. I also make my own laundry detergent and rarely buy household cleaners when I can use things like vinegar and baking soda just as easily (and with less chemicals too). I should try using soap instead of shaving cream – my husband uses bar soap but I still prefer my body wash and I wonder if I found some good bar soap or even made my own soap if I would like that. I am not a soda drinker, so I rarely buy soda either. It’s been on our grocery list lately only because I’ve had horrible morning sickness and sprite seems to calm my stomach. I never understood the big hype around the Kerig and K-cups – it seems like a waste of money when a large bag of coffee beans lasts us at least a month for the amount of coffee we drink at home.

  20. says

    1. Dryer sheets – we don’t have a dryer. :)
    2. Air fresheners.
    3. Cable TV, we have a satellite dish of our own and it functions fine.
    4. Shaving cream.
    5. Cosmetics and haircuts for me, because I prefer to look the way the Lord has made me.
    6. Home repairs – hubby can do most things and in some cases we ask help from friends.
    7. Many vegetables and fruits because we have a garden and I do a lot of canning in the summer.
    8. Coffee filters.

    We do buy paper towels because we have three cats, one of them “bulimic” and I have to clean up the mess at least twice every week!

    • AJ says

      I’m with you on the paper towels. No way I’m rinsing their mess out of a rag – and if I throw them away I’d be out of rags very shortly!

  21. amanda says

    We never buy pancake syrup — we love making almond/maple syrup at home. I store it in a little teapot in the fridge, which is easy to microwave and pour!

  22. says

    Everything you listed, plus: disposable diapers, feminine pads, wipes (we use cloth for all), ziplocks, saran wrap or foil, bottled water (we have a reverse osmosis filter and lots of refillable water bottles), haircuts. :)

  23. Tara says

    Things I don’t pay for anymore:

    Papertowels – thanks to a great post by MSM over a year ago. We use cloth napkins and for cleaning rags, I cut up old T-shirts.

    Cable/Satellite TV – Antenna works great, and we use a computer and with Windows Media to act as a DVR.

    Trash Pickup Service – We recycle and compost as much as possible, and there is a trash dumpster available at the recycling center for whatever must be thrown away

    Cream of “whatever” soups – make my own, freeze it. It’s alot healthier and cheaper.

    Movies/DVDs — I’ve never been a collector of DVDs, etc. We’ve been given many kids movies, but even those are rarely watched.

    Photo prints – I wait until I find a deal at Walgreens, or one of the many online companies.

    *Brand new clothing — 99% of our clothing comes from thriftstores, consignment sales, garage sales, etc. *exception: underwear

    • Angela says

      I would love to get rid of trash service – but its part and parcel with our water service – we pay for water, trash, and recycling (all together) and its no choice- everybody in our town has the same service.

      • Mary says

        Talk with your city council about encouraging recycling. Our city bills for water/sewer/recycling, but trash pick up is per bag (or a monthly fee for a rolling bin). I know so many people in town who recycle, compost, and reuse in order to have less trash to pay for each week. I think the city got some sort o grant when they started the program years ago.

        • Rachael says

          We did this in our community a couple of years ago and ended up with an awesome recylcing service. Some of my friends and I used Facebook to spread the word and it was very effective.

  24. Laurie G says

    This is fun! Here are the 7 I chose:

    1. Deodorant. I make my own and love it. It is better than anything I ever bought, aluminum free, and honestly now I can go without many days without any odor.
    2. Facial Cleansers & Moisturizers. Again I concoct my own and love it. I think my skin looks and feels better as well.
    3. Dryer sheets. I either concoct my own spray if I desire with essential oils or put a few drops of essential oil on a rag and throw in. Usually I do neither.
    4. Dishwasher detergent. Make my own.
    5. Household cleaners/ Furniture polish. Make my own.
    6. Windex. Ditto.
    7. Cable TV. Not even happening. I don’t need encouragement to waste a minute of my life.

      • Laurie G says

        I don’t have time to write out all the different recipes I use, but I will say that I get 99% of them from Crunchy Betty. Her blog is all about making and using your own products. I LOVE her stuff. I do tweak some things to fit what I need or what works, but I think we all do that (hello recipes?). http://www.crunchybetty.com She has a search feature on the right near the top like Crystal.

        BTW, that is also where I learned about the oil cleansing method for your face, which I believe is one of Crystal’s upcoming DIY projects. It is the bomb! My skin has never been happier and no more shiny face.

        I have not yet made her recipe that included beeswax for the deodorant. I made her first, simpler version and have used it for months without needing to make more. It calls for 1/4 c. baking soda, 1/4 c. cornstarch, 5 TBSP coconut oil and after mixing into a paste add 9-10 drops of essential oils- whatever you like. I chose a mixture of lemongrass and lavender this time. You do probably want either lavender, peppermint or tea tree or a combination for their odor-fighting antibacterial properties.

        It will get more liquified as coconut oil does if it gets too warm so that is why she came up with a beeswax version. You could put this into a cleaned out, used deodorant container, but I just put mine in a small jar I had from some body scrub. Mine is in my climate controlled bathroom and has been fine.

        I did end up scaling down the baking soda in mine as it was a little irritating. Oh, and do NOT put this on immediately after shaving. Ouch. Wait an hour or so. Some days I do not even notice that I have not put any on and honestly I used to get um… a little funky without deodorant sometimes. I had a lot of trouble with store bought breaking me out or just causing pain, so this has been wonderful for me. Good luck! :)

  25. Julie says

    My husband and I have cut back a lot in our year and a half of marriage, and I can say that we don’t spend money on these things and also don’t feel like we miss out on anything!

    -Soda
    -Cable
    -Landline
    -Storebought Laundry Detergent- We use Crystals homemade detergent recipe-borax, ivory soap, washing soda

    -Lysol/Clorox Wipes- We clean with homemade disinfectant and microfiber cloths

    -iPhone/Date plans- we cut these a year ago and went from spending $150+ to $20/month using “old” phones under my in-laws family plan

    -Lunches Out- We both bring our lunch-sandwiches or leftovers every single workday. We save a ton of money this way, it counts ;)

    Choosing not to spend money on these things will allow us to add one other BIG item to this list next month when we pay off my car!

    • Julie in IN says

      Great idea on joining your parent’s phone plan!

      We do not text and that saves us a bundle!

  26. Honey says

    I don’t buy soda, expensive facial products, cable, dryer sheets or fabric softener (except in the dead of winter), and a lot of toiletry items I only ever get for free:)

  27. Kim says

    1. Most recently, paper towels (We are actually switching to cloth right now!)
    2.we do not purchase a lot health and beauty aids (this includes makeup, shaving cream perfumes) We do however slurge on good razors, deodorant and soap/shampoo with the use of coupons)I have a few allergies…
    3. sodas
    4. dishwasher detergent (I make ours) laundry detergent is next!
    5.we don’t buy anything having to do with coffee
    6.we don’t go out (and if we do it is a SPECIAL occasion!) I enjoy cooking and my family likes it so it works! I also make ALL of our birthday cakes and cookies. I want to tackle bread next.
    7.I do alterations or hemming or patching that needs to be done. If it is for me, my SIL helps out.
    8. Also ( a strange one) I barder for dance classes for my oldest daughter. A good friend owns a dance studio and she has 3 children… I make there birthday cakes. In return she my oldest gets dance class.

  28. Wendy Jahns says

    Your list is pretty much the same as mine at this point, in addition I have the following:

    *Taxes (Husband is a CPA)
    *We fix our own vehicles
    *I use Vinegar as a multipurpose cleaner and laundry softener
    *No soda, I make our own juice or lemonade from scratch.
    *I make my own bread
    *We clean/wash our own carpets (We have a Rug Doctor)

  29. Nora says

    Had 7 kids and used cloth dippers on all of them, never paper! Loved it. Cable TV can be a lot but we are big baseball fans and have a game going all the time so I can’t ever giving that up. Even I would miss the sound of baseball! Plus there are some great shows on TV, you just have to look.

  30. says

    #1. Cable (Netflix rocks!)
    #2. Haircuts (Haha, I know, but I just DON’T care! And my hubby is great at cutting his own hair and the boys’ hair.)
    #3. Fabric softener (we use vinegar)
    #4. Carpet cleaning (Hubby bought me a steam cleaner for Christmas a few years back…LOVE it!)
    #5. Cleaning supplies (for almost everything we use vinegar and baking soda)
    #6. Late fees or credit card interest (always pay it in full! An exception has been when we had a huge emergency and didn’t want to take out a loan…but that was paid off less than a month later.)
    #7. Gym membership (we did, however, purchase a couple of double jogging strollers so we could workout together)

    We DO, however, “splurge” on eating out (especially when I’m pregnant), movie dates for the hubby and I, paper towels, and a few other things. :)

  31. Jenny M. says

    Crystal, LOVE LOVE LOVE THE FRENCH PRESS IDEA! Thanks!

    Stuff we don’t buy:
    1) Cable (we recently gave in and hooked up home internet when my husband restarted a school program online last year for career advancement but for years got by on public computers at library, work, and school a few times/week even while I finished a degree)
    2) Hair Care
    I cut both of our hair (and I am NO BEAUTICIAN) and color my own a few times/yr when I need a change
    3) Laundry stuff (dryer sheets/softener/detergent)
    We get detergent free from a family member who gets it free at CVS as a result of me introducing her to the drugstore game!
    4) Books
    The library and internet give us plenty of reading material.
    5) Cards and Photos
    I love the online deals and get card packs as gifts each year!
    6) Music
    We listen to CDs we already own, the radio for newer stuff, or online radio like pandora when we’re in the mood!
    7) Milk
    We only buy it 1 or 2 times/yr. We watched a documentary once where the cows udders were dripping bacteria and since then we can’t stomach the prices or the memory of that video. Shudder.

    I would LOVE to see a series of guest posts on keeping/raising chickens for eggs. The video we watched showed the chicken’s living conditions and now I only buy free range eggs because it sickened me so much. They taste so much better when we buy fresh eggs directly from a chicken owner though!

  32. Angela says

    1. Cable TV / movie theaters (we have a digital antenna in our attic, we have a pc plugged into our tv, and we have netflix)
    2. Husbands hair cuts/shaving cream
    3. cleaning chemicals (allergies) (i use vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda) (bleach is the only exception)
    4. dryer sheets (vinegar for softner)
    5. home repairs
    6. auto repairs (tip – if you still have the oem muffler on your car- if you ever have to replace, you can cut off the bolts that attach and you won’t be forced to use a muffler shop (they cut and weld))
    7. we use the ‘my kcup’ which allows you to use your own coffee
    8. soda pop
    9. plus I personally, because of health/allergy reasons, cut out
    ice cream
    cheese
    caffeine (i drink herbal teas)
    soy (although i can still have tofu)
    milk
    gluten

  33. says

    Coffee Filters make great snowflakes though! :o) I have never owned a coffee pot, but there are so many craft projects you can do with coffee filters. That is the only reason I ever have them on hand.

  34. Emilie says

    1.) haircuts: my MIL does them for my husband adn three boys and I am grwoing mine out

    2.) full price clothes: always on sale/hand me downs/thrift shop/rummage sales

    3.) cookies: I make my own

    4.) shave cream: I use dollar store conditioner

    5.) oil changes at a service station (for our van): my husband does them for a fraction of the cost

    6.) no more credit card intrest (paid it off this month!!! and we are never going back to carrying the balance)

    7.) swifter mop supplies ( a cousin made me a knit cover that can be washed and I use regular cleaner mixed with water). I forget to use this as often as I should.

    This list really made me think of things I should not be buying. Thank you to all for the ideas!

  35. Melissa says

    We just gave up cable last month. We have streaming Netflix and Hulu through the video game consoles (hubby is a big kid!) For $16/month we can watch 95% of the shows we used to pay $70/month for :)

  36. Mindy says

    If you do splurge on dryer sheets you can reuse them after as dust clothes or use them with a swiffer They are great at picking up dust and dirt!

  37. Nan says

    I sure was glad to see someone else with cats! I would not be able to give up paper towels as long as there is cat barf and litterboxes to clean up.

    • peever says

      Agreed. I use cloth napkins and towels for most everything, but I still keep paper towels on hand for cleaning up cat messes.

  38. Lyn says

    1. A second car
    2. Free Hulu, no paid t.v., no Netflix or movie services
    3. No credit cards, no debt
    4. Salon services (only several haircuts/year for me, husband shaves head). Color own hair.
    5. Vacations away from home/Travel
    6. Gourmet food (homemade, made from scratch)
    7. IPads, IPods, IPhones

    We live on about $2K/month and I am at home. We omit a lot more than this (and work hard to be frugal), but still feel we have a very good life. Sometimes cutting back can make a real difference when it comes to life choices. It does for us, and I’m thankful I can be home due to health.

    Yes, a vacation would be nice, but it is even nicer being at home. In making decisions we choose what is best for us over what might be better or good.

  39. Stefanie says

    We go without:

    -a home phone (our cell phones work just fine!)

    -cable tv (we have streaming Netflix for $8 a month and this more than entertains us. Plus, we don’t even rent movies this way)

    -books (except for on occasion and for our son). I don’t like the extra clutter, and hardly ever have I read the same book twice. My son, however, will read books over and over, so we usually buy books second hand or as gifts for him.

    -NEW CARS- This has saved us a TREMENDOUS amount of money. We have only paid cash for our vehicles (usually from saved up tax returns). We get used vehicles in good condition at really low prices. This also lowers our insurance costs a lot. Having two cars without any payments has made our income go SO much further.

    -Kleenex (toilet paper works fine for us)

    That’s all I can think of for now, lol.

  40. Betsy says

    Wow. These are great posts– love reading all the comments and ideas!
    Here are my seven, some of which have been said already:
    1. Cable
    2. Haircuts for our four boys
    3. B-day cards from our kids to family members or friends (hand-made is much more special and inexpensive)
    4. Credit card- will not pay an annual fee.
    5. Cookies– make homemade– so much better and healthier, plus less $
    6. House cleaning– do it myself and call it a workout!
    7. Gym membership– love the outdoors!

    • Julie in IN says

      Tattoos…LOL No piercings here either. ;o)

      A nine seat Suburban is a NEED not a splurger here with 7 growing children! After months of praying, the Lord blessed us with an incredible used vehicle; even the salesman was shocked at the price it was listed at. The Lord provided that price!

  41. Molly says

    I won’t hit 7, but that’s ok. :)
    - meat
    - paper napkins
    - pre-baked goods (like pastries from the store)
    - pizza (homemade is just so much better)
    - bottled water
    - tv/cable (we got them for free or not at all)

    Now I’m at 6 and feeling the pressure! Oh I know – oatmeal packets. Give me the bulk container so I can eat the quantity I want with a banana!

    • Lyn says

      That was funny, Molly. Yes, more oatmeal with real banana is better than a tiny portion of oatmeal with banana flavoring. :)

  42. Tonya says

    1. Garbage bags. I use bags we get from purchases at the store in place of garbage bags. We recycle so much that we don’t have very much trash so the small size is perfect for our family of 3.

    2. Expensive salon visits. I go 3-4x a year to get my hair trimmed. I wear it back nearly every day so I don’t particularly care what it looks like at any given time. If I color it, I color it myself at home with hair dye I got inexpensively or free after a coupon & ECB’s/RR’s/etc.

    3. Dryer sheets. Gave these up and don’t even miss them. If I can get a Bounce dryer bar for less than $1 after a coupon at the commissary, I will snag one.

    4. Bottled water. Tap works just fine. It’s an acquired taste, but it’s really fine.

    5. Magazines. I get tons of them in the mail, but they are all with free subscriptions. Occasionally I will find a deal for All You at $1/issue and I will buy a year worth, but that’s rare. With the coupons, it ends up more than paying for itself.

    6. Books & Movies. The library rents them free and for newer movies, we either borrow from a friend or get a free code for Blockbuster or Redbox kiosks.

    7. Expensive handbags. My $15 washable Vera Bradley wallet purse is all I need. I don’t care that it’s not a Coach, Dooney & Burke or Louis Vuitton. I would never spend that much money on something that is going to end up dirty and on the floor.

    • Lyn says

      Just recently renewed for $1/issue for All You magazine also. Even with less coupons, it’s still a very good magazine and will pay for itself by using some of the coupons. It’s one of the few magazines I really like that is useful and that I can relate to.

  43. Katie L says

    Some of ours are:
    Chicken broth
    Bread (except tortillas and bagels)
    Bottled water
    Cable TV
    Baby food
    Diaper wipes
    Haircuts for husband and sons

    It gives me a great sense of calm about money to know the things that we as a family think are totally worth the $$ and the things that aren’t worth buying for us.

  44. Shemar says

    Garbage bags—-I reuse plastic grocery bags.
    Cable tv—I wish I had cancelled sooner.
    Bottled spaghetti sauce—–made from scratch
    Bottled water—-we bring our own water
    DVD rentals by mail—-just use kiosk once in a while
    bottled/packaged salsa— made from scratch
    brand new car— owned and taken care of 17 year old car with great gas mileage.

  45. Karen says

    Well, I’m on a super-restrictive and controlled diet right now so I’ve given up buying most all foods and drinks (Milk, all carb-based foods, most fruit, sweets, etc.)

    But, on a normal basis, I don’t buy:

    1. Cable (never had it) and I actually don’t get any tv reception since the switch to HD. I just use the tv for dvds and have Netflix.
    2. Shampoo (I went “no-poo” about 3 years ago and haven’t gone back, it’s conditioner only for me)
    3. Paper napkins. I switched to cloth a few years ago when I randomly stopped in Pier One and found some on clearance for under $1.
    4. Paper plates, silverware, etc. I bought some cute little plastic plates for using on picnics with the boys I nanny.
    5. Landline–dropped it a few years back
    6. Physical presents for the boys I nanny. I buy a pass to a playplace they love instead. They have more than enough toys at home without me adding to their collections. (I guess my paying for the pass is more a gift to their parents though!)
    7. Credit card interest. I always pay the bill in full.