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10 Things We Don’t Spend Money On

I know I’ve been sharing lots of deals on products and stuff recently. I’m trying to stick with the best deals to help you save money on Christmas gifts and other things you might need to buy this season.

However, I thought that it’d be good to offset all these posts with a link to Simple Organized Living’s post on 10 Things We Don’t Spend Money On. I love how she shows how they are choosing not to spend money in areas, so that they can put their money where it matters to them.

What things do you not spend money on?

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118 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    I haven’t spent money on underwear in over 3 years. I get free undies coupons from Victorias’ Secret once or sometimes even twice a month. Also my mother in law gives me the ones she receives.

    • Jessica says:

      I do this too!

    • Beth says:

      @Lisa, How do you get those coupons? When we moved I was getting them in the former folk’s name but then they stopped. I have purchsed stuff at VS before and I have never gotten any of those coupons.

      • Lisa says:

        @Beth,
        I used to have a credit card with them…I cut it up a few years ago but I didn’t actually close my account with them so I could still receive all the coupons! It’s wonderful:)

        • Beth says:

          @Lisa, Is there a required purchase or totally free? If just free I may have to go fill out a credit card application for that! 🙂

        • Lisa says:

          @Lisa,
          I’m not sure…I think I did make a purchase when I first signed up but you could always just get something small like a lotion or lip gloss and get signed up for the cc. You can pay the balance off right away in the store too. It’s worth it to me…undies are expensive and I’m so glad I don’t have to buy them anymore:)

    • Liz says:

      @Lisa, I do this too and you don’t have to have a credit card with VS. Both my husband and I (I think I used his debit card once) get these and they are completely free. When they ask you your phone number or e-mail they put you on their mailing list.

      • Lisa says:

        @Liz,
        That’s great! I guess I just assumed it was b/c I had a credit account with them. I give my email address everytime I checkout but I wasn’t sure how they could get my home address from that.

  • Love Love Love this post. I try to get a lot for free too, but havent been as successful as you. Any tips on getting more for free?

    • @stephanie kandray,
      Thanks Stephanie, woo-hoo for free stuff!
      I’ve been using coupons and rebates my entire life {and I grew up watching my mom who is a pro} so it’s second nature to me.

      However, if you are looking for more “free stuff” I would focus your effort and attention on deals at 1 or 2 stores (I love the drugstores). You can subscribe to get Money Saving Mom’s deals for those specific stores and then watch how Crystal pairs her coupons with sales and rebates. {She’s really good at explaining every detail.}

      Before long, you’ll have a cabinet of all your “free stuff” that you can use to cut down on your expenses or to give away!

      Good luck!

  • Allison says:

    trash bags– we just use plastic bags from the grocery store
    ziploc bags & cling wrap– we use reusable plastic or glass containers with lids
    babysitting– we mooch off the grandparents
    magazines– plenty of free subscriptions available if you just look for them
    labor for car repairs and oil changes– my husband takes care of that. parts, however, are a different story
    skiing– my husband works on the ski resort owner’s airplane a few times a year, and the guy still pays him, plus gives us season passes for lift tickets and equipment rentals
    land line phone– we paid about $200 up front for an ooma box and now we just pay about $3 per month in taxes for unlimited local/long distance calls. we use skype for international calls.
    pajamas for my son– my plan is to buy unisex pajamas for my daughter so her baby brother can wear them too. they’re only 2 1/2 and 6 months, so we’ll see how this pans out. i get them dressed before breakfast so the pj’s don’t get dirty, and i figure they don’t need a clean pair every night, so about 3 pairs per kid is good enough for me. I’m going to try this with socks too.

    • Rachel says:

      @Allison, Just a friendly mommy-type FYI-My kids are a little older (5.5 and almost 3) and their socks never last any more. They shared baby socks (and they’re still fine for the upcoming babe) but now they run around so much that they get holes before they’re ready to move up a size. I totally do unisex PJs, though, and it’s awesome. Also, always plain black snowpants, except for his year where I got each of them a matching coat/snowpants set at garage sales for like $5 each.

    • Tonya says:

      @Allison,

      I thought I was the only one who stopped using trash bags and started just using the bags from the store! I use recyclable bags for everything but my meat that I get at the store and those go in the plastic bags they have available. Since we recycle so much, we really don’t use more than 1 small grocery bag per day of trash. I gave up on trash bags when my husband deployed because I generated so little trash with just me and I haven’t looked back.

      We also don’t subscribe to magazines other than gifts, but I make an exception for All You – I can’t find it free anywhere or through the reward programs that I use and I find that it more than pays for itself after I use the coupons in it.

    • Amber L. says:

      @Allison, I only have one child, a girl, but plan on having more so when we buy pj’s we get unisex too. We do the same thing with sweatpants (buy red, blue, brown, green), sweatshirts and even lounge/comfy clothes. I have found a lot of the “boys” section is very unisex but the girls section is not. We also didn’t buy pink strollers, crib bedding, or bottles. Only unisex colors so we can use them again or give them away to anyone with either gender baby. Hopefully it will not only help my budget next baby around but someone else too! Congrats on being frugal!

    • Allison V. says:

      @Allison, I’m with you on most of that list! I have three kids and have never paid a babysitter, not that I wouldn’t have liked to! I just wanted to add, on the pj’s….it’s not the worst thing in the world if it suddenly turns cold and a little boy has to wear pink footie pajamas. My son was just excited to match his big sister! 😉

  • Wendi says:

    I don’t spend money on books. I am a HUGE reader (10-20 books a week), and I reserve 25 books at a time thru the on-line reservation system at the library. I don’t need to waste space or money on books.

    I don’t spend money on a “quick cup of coffee”. I use a travel cup and take coffee with me. If I am out for a longer time, I take a spare thermos with my cup, and refill my cup that way.

    I don’t buy deli salads. I see what looks tasty, and then recreate it at home for far less expense.

    • Karyn says:

      @Wendi, a woman after my own heart! I LOVE to read and as a child always startled the librarians with how many books I’d check out at one time. (They never believed me that I’d read them in a week despite my mom backing me up.) I rarely buy books, figuring once I start it is hard to stop. I also don’t want all that clutter in my apartment.

      I used to get DVDs from the library as well, but I got really frustrated that 90% of them had scratches making parts (inevitably near the end) unplayable, leaving me hanging. So now I try to catch movies with my DVR or get red box dvds.

  • Wendi says:

    To get stuff for free, you need to be open and willing to take what is offered.

    I regularly get excess produce and clothing. I am always grateful for what I receive, and post my thank yous on FaceBook as well as noting what I did with the produce (so they know it wasn’t wasted). This also lets my other friends know that I am open to taking their “excess” goods as well without me asking them.

    And I pass on the love to others. If I get excess goods (such as oil or syrup, which I have had in the past year), I give those to my friends with the caveat that they pass the love back when they have an overabunance. It makes a great community cycle!

  • Debi says:

    I love her ideas! Not all are feasible for me especially since I’m a huge movies junkie and my husband & I cannot abide certain personal care products due to having moderately sensitive skins.

  • Holly says:

    Love those ideas, Wendi! I do all of them, too, except we don’t use our library enough. Every time my husband wants to buy a book, I suggest he check it out at the library. Any ideas on how to actually GET this to happen, for him and myself???

    • Veronica says:

      @Holly,
      Our library lets us put things on hold on their website. We get an email when the book is in, and just have to make a quick stop at the desk to pick it up. We can renew on line also.

  • ellen says:

    I have been trying to use the library alot more.

  • Marie says:

    We rarely spend money on books, magazines, or DVDs and instead check them out from the library. Every time I think of a book I’d like to read or a movie I’d like to watch I get online asap and reserve it. The only exception is if it is something that I’ll come back to again and again (for example, a reference or cook book I’ll use regularly or a movie I love and will watch over and over). In that case, I’ll buy used off of half.com or ask for it for Christmas or my birthday.

    We also rarely eat out. This used to be a big struggle for us, but since I have improved my meal planning and cooking skills it has gotten much easier!

  • Lisette says:

    Thanks for acknowledging how heavy the volume of “deals” has been around here. It’s been a little frustrating and disappointing for me because I think the best way to save money is to just plain old not spend it and to avoid consumerism. I love a good frugal living blog far more than I love a discount shopping blog. As we know, frugal living is so much more than discount shopping.

    One of the best ways that we don’t spend money around our house is skipping a lot of weekend entertainment. When I had just one child, we usually went out to lunch, shopping, running whatever other errands we had to do since I work during the week. Life has just gotten too busy (and too broke) for that, so now the girls and I stay home, prepare food for the week, clean up the house together, take a nap and cuddle and usually make and eat a special dessert. Finding simplicity in our life has been really good for all of us, and more than anything, I appreciate the “down time” to just love on my family.

  • Anna S. says:

    We do the same thing with our library- I just need to get better about returning items on time 🙂 Thanks for this post- these kinds of articles always make me more focused on our goals and leave me feeling refreshed and inspired. Sometimes, compared to others around us I feel so ridiculously cheap- it is nice to be surrounded online by so many other like minded people.

  • anonymous says:

    I don’t spend money on shampoo, etc that I can get free after ECBs. I would be careful about the point she made about not spending money on antivirus protection for the computer. We had a free one we got online and it must not have been any good because a virus got through and we had to completely wipe clean our computer. It costs a bundle to have this done. Since then, we have paid for a good antivirus protection.

    • @anonymous, My hubby is a computer programmer who writes software for a major insurance company and he works on computers in his spare time. We do not pay for anti-virus….we use the free version of AVG. Many times he has gotten a computer to work on that had a virus and their Norton wasn’t able to find the virus but AVG did. He also uses specific free online tools for cleaning off those viruses. There are many really good free resources out there. 🙂

      • My Boaz's Ruth says:

        @Amber @ SiMoney Savers, AVG is the antivirus software we had on our computer (And updated regularly) when we got hit with the Antivirus Trojan — twice. We now have Malwarebytes on our computer.

        After AVG forced an upgrade and then started loading stuff without asking, we stripped the program from all computers and found another plain antivirus to deal with.

        • @My Boaz’s Ruth, I hate that you had such a problem with it. We have used it for several years on multiple computers in the home with zero problems. Not to mention that the majority of his clients have switched to AVG, however I would never try to claim that there is any anti-virus out there that is infallible. 🙂

          He also uses Malwarebytes when “cleaning up” a computer and loves it!

  • Megan says:

    We don’t spend money on cable television! And after finding deal sites like yours, we don’t spend money on things like toothpaste, floss, or shampoo. We still do spend money on plenty of the categories she mentioned. I’m considering a moratorium on purchasing clothing for next year (besides the kids needs).

  • Mona says:

    This might sound silly but I don’t spend money on bottled water. I always carry a reusable bottle from home that has filtered water from my Brita pitcher. If I stop anywhere to buy food it saves me at least a 1.50 on a bottle of water. Also I use the library to check out any cookbooks I have my eye on. If at least 6 recipes turn out well then I will buy the book from a used bookstore or Borders when they have a 40% coupon.

    • Anna S. says:

      @Mona, Not spending money on bottled water is not silly at all! We don’t either- we have an undersink- mounted water filtration system. In my opinion, buying bottled water on a regular basis (basically just filtered tap water) is a waste of money and horrible for our environment! I don’t have a problem with people buying it occasionally when they are away from home, but buying several cases every week???

      • Melissa says:

        @Anna S.,
        I am So glad you mentioned about buying it when away from home. At home, it’s reusable bottles all the way. But, when we go away, I take a case of bottles along. It is So much cheaper then purchasing 1 bottle at a time on the road!

    • Shantique says:

      @Mona, not silly at all. I recently moved in with my mom and sister and she goes through 2 cases of bottled water every week! In the beginning when we were doing our grocery budgeting she wanted me to chip in for that. I said “No way…NO ONE in my family will be drinking bottled water. The water from the tap and the filtered fridge are perfectly fine for us!” She does the super packs at Costco and they are like $5. That’s $520/year! Insanity!

  • Anna S. says:

    When we go out to eat at a restaurant, I find that purchasing the drinks can really make the tab go way up- I always order water, but my husband thinks that a meal at at restaurant is not complete with out a soda(even if we have one sitting out in our car- he still wants to buy a $2 drink!)- does anyone have any ideas on how I can change his mind about this? Maybe something you have done in your own family?

    • Megan says:

      Drink a Coke or whatever at home before you leave. I know it’s not the same, but it has worked for us!

    • Chelsea says:

      @Anna S., As a server, I see this regularly. I like living frugally, and it amazes me how much people are willing to spend out at lunch… and drinks make the tab go way up. Our managers are ALWAYS pushing us to sell the more expensive items, for example, if people ask for water, they push us to try and sell bottled water instead of tap.

      My hubby used to be bad about buying pop at restaurants as well. And since it’s free refills, his idea of being frugal was paying for the drink and going through 5+ sodas during our meal. At the restaurant where I work, one can of pop, with ice, can fit into a standard cup. That’s a lot of soda! Eventually he came around to realization that it wasn’t healthy and it was much more frugal to not buy the pop at all. I challenged him more in the health aspect than the frugality, and I think it had a bigger impact on him. He still gets one 12 pack of pop every Sunday from the store though, but that’s a compromise we’ve agreed on. 🙂

    • Susan Boice says:

      show him the bill when it comes and tell him that if you both did not get a soda, you could have split that really good looking desert… LOL

      We get water too when we go out..I was floored when I saw a cup of coffee for 1.50!

      Sue in NJ

    • Brenda says:

      @Anna S., Maybe try water with lemon or lime. I do that regularly & that adds a lot in the flavor aspect. Sometimes I’ll even add a sugar packet which makes a nice lemonade (the good kind!).

    • MaryBeth says:

      @Anna S.,

      This is something I’ve never tried because we’ve just cut all eating out from our budget so we can go on a cruise when my husband graduates in June, but I know my grandma brings the packets to add to water to make it juice (is that clear? I’m not sure what they are really called). She then can have lemonade, or whatever juice packet she brought, for free because the water was free. I don’t think any restaurants have given her a hard time about it.

    • Lana says:

      @Anna S., When we travel we want sodas with meals and I won’t pay for them either. We order water and drink it all so we only have ice left and then pour a can of soda into the cup when we get beck in the car. Now we have a soda in a restaurant cup as we ride down the road and everyone is happier. When all 5 kids were still home I would bring along 2L bottles and do this for really cheap. Hubby and I are now empty nesters and over 50 so we get senior drink prices at many places and it isn’t so much that we won’t pay for it occasionally.

    • michelle says:

      @Anna S., My husband drinks coke and I drink water. I decided to not make a big issue out of the occasional $2 splurge and am thankful that we are able to afford going out to eat occasionally.

    • Anna S. says:

      Thank you all so much for the wonderful ideas!

    • Elle says:

      @Anna S.,
      I say, let him have his $2 soda when you go out for dinner, but then rarely go out to eat! 🙂

  • Ashlee says:

    We don’t spend money on coffee out of the house, we always bring it from home (minus the annual trip for a holiday treat at Starbucks of course). We don’t spend money on movies and books, we use the library. We don’t pay for car repairs at a repair place. My uncle repairs cars and being recently laid off we always take our cars to him to fix. We get a nice discount and he gets some income.

  • AmyLauren says:

    I don’t spend money on most of those things, except for the occasional splurge. I haven’t paid for toiletries (or either paid a very small amount usually less than $1 for something) in almost a year. I don’t go to Starbucks (I even have BOGO coupons I’ve never used) and I rarely go out to lunch. You would not believe the money you can save by taking lunch to work, and I can also get off work earlier because it doesn’t take long to eat at my desk :).

    I have to work on my fiance though. He can’t get gas without going into the convenience store to get the soda he “needs”. $2 for liquid sugar! At least he shops sales at the grocery store…

  • Date night – we still value the importance of date night, but we try to spend nothing! During the holidays there are plenty of free xmas concerts, we also have several churches in the area that host Saturday night “coffee shops” There are no charges, but they ask for a small donation for the ministry that is featured that evening. We get to contribute to a local ministry and get some adult time all in one. We even have free movie tickets coming from a recent Catalina deal.

  • Veronica says:

    We almost never go out to eat – maybe once or twice a year. We don’t go to the movies, but use Netflix instead. No contracts on cell phones, and we get most of our health and beauty items free after bonus and ecb bucks. I have a Kindle – that I got almost free after selling back my kids’ college textbooks to Amazon – and download the free books. Otherwise we use the library – for books and dvds. That’s easier since I work part time at the library! No coffee out unless we have a free coupon. We also don’t buy bakery items – cakes, etc – I make the cakes for everyone. The one exception to this is when it’s my birthday – my dh always buys a cake for me. My son and husband get haircuts, but my dd cuts the back of my hair, and I cut the sides. Finally, no gym for us – we have a treadmill, Nordic track, and weight lifting machine in the basement – all found for free on Craigslist and Freecycle.

  • Sherri says:

    We don’t pay for TV- no cable, no Netflix, etc. We occasionally spend $1 for Redbox, maybe 4 times a year. Most of our entertainment comes from the library.

    We have a budget of $20 per month for entertainment- which gets us a pizza from our favorite restaurant about every 3 weeks. We usually get carry out, or if we eat there we drink water. Sodas are only for special events (at home or at restaurants).

  • Katie says:

    Here are some things we don’t spend money on:
    water (we drink tap water from reusable bottles)
    cleaning supplies (we use bleach, vinegar, baking soda, and homemade reusable rags & scrubbies)
    cable
    haircuts (DH uses clippers, by far the best return on $20 investment for us, and my hair is thick & curly. I wear it long and usually pulled back, so I get very little benefit from paying a stylist to cut it. My mom cuts it for me a couple of times a year)
    extended warranties
    interest (debt free for almost a year now!)
    cell phone data packages
    long distance (we use vonage & skype)

    • Holly says:

      @Katie,
      We just bought the $20 home hair cutting kit with scissors and clippers and I cut my hubby’s hair…. I did a good job for my first time and it definitely saves money as he looooves to get his hair cut often (every 3-4 weeks!) Definitely a great buy!!!

      • Shirley says:

        @Holly,
        I have been wanting to do this for my boys. Where can you get clippers for $20? I have checked around and have found them to be $40+. Probably worth it in the end, but just a little pricey at the moment. Poor boys haven’t had hair cuts since their father shaved there heads at the end of the summer.

        • Holly says:

          @Shirley,
          Our walmart had a Wahl (I believe I’ll have to double check the brand when I get home) for $20. Like I said it includes size 1-8 on the shears plus scissors and some clips and ear trimmers…. It’s not too bad to cut the top with scissors using your fingers as a guide to pull the hair and cut along then just angling down to fade into the shorter sheared sides (we used a 4 on my hubby’s sides and back then I cut the top to about 1.5″) hope you find one at your walmart!

        • ClaryJane says:

          @Shirley,
          I would really watch the sales over the next couple of weeks. These usually go on sale during the Holiday season!

        • Emily says:

          @Shirley, I found a Norelco at Target for about $20 two years ago. It paid for itself in less than 2 haircuts! I always cut my husbands – he just buzzes it anyways.

        • angela says:

          Check the Wahl site for rebate forms too! I got a deal on a set for $5 at Rite Aid after Wahl rebate and RA coupons!

  • Susan Boice says:

    I love posts like this .. I do all these things that she mention.. But I love to see someone else does the same things I do.. (Makes me feel better when I sometimes feel like I am being cheap… LOL)

    Sue in NJ

    • @Susan Boice,
      Oh good…another “frugal friend”!!

      Over the years, I have felt a little embarrassed about being so “cheap” but then I realized that we’re being frugal now so that we can spend money on things we really want {like our new farmhouse} later.

      I’ll gladly give up fast food, cable, and fancy clothes now to have more choices and financial freedom later! It’s SO worth it.

  • Gina says:

    We don’t spend money on babysitters. We trade date nights with friends. It’s great because all of our kids then get a night to play together as well. 🙂

    • ClaryJane says:

      @Gina, We don’t either! I usually “trade” with my neighbor. She watches my 3 when we need a sitter and I watch her 1 when she does. I think I get the better end of that deal! If she can’t do it then my in-laws usually will. I have not paid for a sitter in 3 years!

  • Terri says:

    Just about everything in the bathroom cabinet is free or cost just a few pennies. Toiletries and cleaning products. Between the Scrubbing Bubbles and the Glass Plus, I can clean just about anything and when we get to only 4 tubes of toothpaste or deodorant, I start to panic!

  • Denise C. says:

    We have an espresso maker at home, so I try not to hit up Starbucks. $5 a pop for a caramel brulee latte adds up. I get one magazine, Better Homes & Gardens & since I’ve been a loyal customer for so long I only pay about $6 per year for my renewal, plus my sister-in-law gets it for free (I signed her up as my “freebie”). One of my biggest goals for 2011, is to cut back on the amount of times I go to the grocery store. I have a great store by me that carries anything & everything you can think of. My problem is, I love the store a bit too much. Small runs for milk, bread etc. are ok. My trips to Super Target also need to be slashed. I tend to go there when I am bored, roaming the aisles. Not good.

  • Terri says:

    Just about everything in the bathroom cabinet is free or cost just a few pennies. Toiletries and cleaning products. Between the Scrubbing Bubbles and the Glass Plus, I can clean just about anything and when we get to only 4 tubes of toothpaste or deodorant, I start to panic!

    I also download only free music from iTunes or anywhere online and get CDs/DVDs from the library.

  • HeatherHH says:

    We don’t spend money on….

    * Restaurants. If we have been given a gift card we go, otherwise we almost never do.

    * Babysitters. We almost never leave our children without one of us. On the rare occasions we have (usually because of a doctor’s appt that we can’t take all 6 to), then they have stayed with a friend or family member free of charge. When we go out somewhere, it’s as a family. And our together time as husband and wife is after the kids are in bed, or when they’re still up.

    * Hair cutting. I cut my husband and 2 sons’ hair, and give mine and my daughters’ a trim when it needs it.

    * Many standard homeschool supplies. I don’t buy handwriting workbooks, because I can make my own worksheets online and print them. I don’t buy math workbooks for the younger set. We do real world math and counting informally until they’re old enough to start in on Saxon Math 3, and then they write in a notebook. Etc.

    * Electronic gadgets. No I-pods, blackberries or whatever here.

    * Probably more

    One area I differ on is the books. If it’s a good worthwhile book, I want it available to my children. I’ve got six children already, and as I’m in my 20s still, I hope Lord willing, to have many more, so I figure it’s a worthwhile investment. Almost all of them are gotten used for under $4 through Paperbackswap or half.com. And others are often Christmas presents from family.

  • Holly says:

    We dont’ spend money on:
    *Internet- we live above a business and are able to use theirs, it isn’t super fast, but it is free

    *Toiletries- like most people we play the drugstore game and stock up (even though my hubby is brand loyal on a few products like deo and hair mousse)

    *Bottled Water

    *Lunches at Restaurants

    *Fruits and Veggies in the summer/fall- we get a lot from the garden my parents share with their group of neighbors

    *Pens/Pencils- aside from coupons, I always pick them up at conferences, banks, etc one at a time and stash them so we have a good supply (I never take more than one though, I hate to be greedy, I make sure they get used though)

    *Cable- we decided to get a netflix subscription instead of cable for $9/month which is about what we would spend at the redbox for cheap date nights. We feel its affordable without depriving us of some tv entertainment.

    *Gym Membership- We play Wii Fit, Run outside, and use my hubby’s iron gym he received as a wedding present.

    • Beth says:

      @Holly, Some of the things you listed are considered stealing you know!

      • Holly says:

        @Beth,
        I think you mean the internet and the pens, but we use the internet with permission and I’m talking about pens that are giveaways and promotions, not taking ones that are not intended for that. As a teacher they give away pens at school and I keep those for my students.

        • Beth says:

          @Holly, My Apologies! I know that places I have worked before have struggled to keep pens available due to pen theft. My bank actually put out a sign this weekend that they will no longer allow any customers to use their pens anymore.

      • Holly says:

        @Beth,
        No problem! Pens are hard to keep ahold of! My old bank always gave pens and lollipops away like crazy so I still find those pens around! And whenever you’d borrow one at the counter, they would insist you keep it!

  • Mandy Tillette says:

    DAYCARE!!!!!!!!!!
    Car payments
    convenience foods (unless I have a coupon to make it a steal)
    Cable (we use netflix and hulu)
    Soda and unhealthy snacks (of course I do purchase Coke for my hubby on rare occasions)
    Expensive toys and clothing for my children. They have me all day everyday and that is a trade off I think they would choose IF I gave them the option:)

    • Chelsea says:

      @Mandy Tillette,

      Daycare- I love it!!!

      And living without expensive toys…that is us too! We know every inch of every playground within a 15 mile radius of our home…plus all the regulars that go there 🙂 I haven’t bought them a new toy in who knows how long, and besides, that is what grandparents are for!

      We also don’t spend money on books. The library is cheap and close and if nothing else, it is a great excuse for an outting!

  • Love this post! We are right there with you, only we don’t pay for cable tv either. Going tv-less for the past two years has made a big difference in my kids attitudes and use of their imaginations. It has also helped me to be more productive.

    We do occasionally splurge on a restaurant, though. That could be my downfall!

  • april says:

    we dont spend $ on bottled water: everyone has their own sport bottle

    we dont have cable, we do have Netflix because we use the streaming through the Wii which is great for the kids to watch.

    I cant remember the last time we went out to a sit down restaurant…it’s very expensive with 5 of us. we do only order water(nless its included in the kids meal). we did have $1 menu from mcds about a week ago. before that, it was july since we had fast food.

    haircuts, everyone is done at home and usually before school starts around here, the church across the street has free haircuts for kids

    we only have pay as you go cell phones(2) for me and hubby. we ditched the landline because none of us are big phone talkers and have the internet for people we converse with on a regualr basis.

    we only pay $15/month for dsl internet

    i only pay $ for 2 magazine subscriptions a year(All You and Mother Earth News) all the other mags I get are from free subscriptions and I swap with my mom with ones she reads

    we use the library alot! I check out books, cd’s, and dvds there first. If its a cd I like, i can download it to my computer and not have to go buy it.

    our city has a lot of free activities, free movies in the park in summer(2 a week), free fountain to play in the summer, free dowtown art stroll on the first friday of the month, a free family thing with crafts and movies the second saturday(i think) of the month, and more.

    im sure there;s more it;’s just everything is so routine I dont think about it!

  • Vanessa says:

    In the past 4 months that my husband and I have cracked down on our spending, I’ve noticed that I have saved a lot of money by asking myself if I really need that product or is it something that I want just to make my life easier. I also ask myself if I have something that I can use instead. I’ve found that this helps me not to spend money on small insignificant things that I don’t really need. {I’m really having a hard time giving up the paper towels though!}

    We have absolutely NONE of the newest and greatest electronic gadgets except for an MP3 player that my husband got for Christmas last year. That includes no cell phone, which our friends love to tease us about! Our computer is a VERY old hand-me-down from a relative that still has the HUGE monitor that takes up almost the whole desk! 🙂

    We also LOVE our library and use it all the time…we live less than a mile from our library and we practically live there! 🙂 They have books and DVDs, computers with games for the children, storytime for the children once a week, and even a coupon box where people can exchange coupons!!

    I also save money by cutting the boys’ hair {since I have no background in hair cutting, this has been a sometimes interesting learning experience :)} I estimate that I save close to $15 a month!

  • Rae says:

    We don’t spend money on:

    –cable. We do have really nice tv’s (that was a non negotiable for my husband) but in exchange we got rid of Dish. We have one of those flat antennas that is about the size of a book (was worth the $35 to save from having to mess with changing the rabbit ears for different stations like we had to before we got this one). The free service looks much clearer on our hdtv than standard programming (was too cheap to pay for the digital programming when we had service) anyway and we all have been able to live without the other channels.

    –haircuts for me or my boys. I get my haircut every 1.5-2 years and go to a place that gives a free haircut in exchange for donating it to charity. And I cut my boys hair at home. My husband does get his cut because he has difficult to cut curly and course hair and has to get it done every week.

    –toiletries. The only thing I am brand loyal on is Dove deodorant but I am able to get that free more than enough to keep my supply stocked. I don’t have enough to make big donations anymore after giving up Wags but have more than enough for my family just using CVS.

    –magazines. I get free subscriptions and I asked my parents for a subscription to All You for my birthday one year (I even found them a great online deal for a 3 year sub. for $30)

    –for the most part cleaning products. I will occasionally buy paper towels if they are on a REALLY good deal (think less than $.50 for Bounty or less than $.35 for cheapos) but I hide my paper towels (yes I know this sounds weird but my kids and husband waste them if they know where they are) so they last a long time.

    –texting/web usage on phone. And I only get the phones that I am paid to take (after rebate)

    I know there is more that I can’t think of though because I get strange looks a lot when I say I don’t buy this or that.

  • Holly says:

    @Beth,
    Definitely something to keep in mind, frugality can be a sneaky idol…

    Hopefully though, most are using this to get ideas or just see what others are doing in similar or different situations 🙂

  • Susan says:

    I get senior drinks at McDonalds for 50 cents! Also, other fast foods have free or discounted food and drinks for seniors. And senior is 50+, so you don’t have to be all that OLD to get these great deals! Also, I take advantage of the $1 menus at these places.

  • mich says:

    Crystal –
    Out of curiosity, what blogs do you read for tips and tricks to be a good homemaker, mom, wife, cook, etc.?

    Thanks,
    Mich

  • Monica says:

    Newspaper, magazines, manicures/pedicures and movies to name a few!

  • Jeannine says:

    Very interesting! As as long time homemaker I am finding that I can save even more money by stretching out what I already have.

    One big thing that we do not spend a cent on is TELEVISION. We have found that the commercials and ritzy lifestyles add to covetousness.

    Plus cable is very expensive.

    • Lisette says:

      @Jeannine,

      Stretching what you already have is such a great frugal technique that is so under-rated. I’m just now starting to realize the value in doing things like adding a cup of water to a bottle of apple juice or laundry detergent, cutting the end off of a tube of moisturizer, etc. I’d love to hear some of the ways you’re stretching what you have in case I can try something new!

      • Lana says:

        @Lisette, I like Rachel Ray’s idea of adding oil,vinegar and salt and pepper to an “empty” jar of jam or jelly and shaking it up for salad dressing.

      • Jeannine says:

        @Lisette,

        One thing that I am trying to curb is any waste of leftovers. I serve them for lunch or even for dinner with a few filler items, like cheese or apples.

        And of course food can be re-purposed. For instance I just cooked a whole chicken in the slow-cooker with potatoes. I served that as a soup. The next day I cut up the leftover pieces of chicken and mixed it with broccoli and mushroom soup.

        I still have some left so the next meal will be either chicken salad or chicken fajitas.

        Thrown out food is money down the drain. Another thing is if I notice my stockpile is fairly good then I can skip a sale even if it is “so good.” More money in my pocket, less out.

        Another thing is to make more things from scratch. Instead of buying my husband something for his birthday in a few days myself and the children just finished up a pair of navy blue curtains with big bass fish on them for the garage!

        Would love to hear other’s ideas for stretching out what we already have on hand.

  • Heather Shaw says:

    We use things until they are no longer useful.

    We don’t spend a lot of money on clothes, toiletries and pretty much spend no money on accessories

    We shop very little, when we do it’s always with cash (we live credit card free)…so don’t spend on interest either.

    We rarely buy warranties

    We don’t decorate much. Our furniture and decor is very simplistic/kid-centric LOL

    Great article!

  • candice says:

    we don’t spend money on any of that except we do use netflix…. my son wants a smart phone so bad but its pointless…. he doesn’t understand that… we refuse to get him one… i do have a 3 yr gym membership its 40 a month but really wishing i didn’t get it…. i never have time to go… but we are under contract. before we moved to a new state we both had jobs so it was easy to spend whatever whenever but now my husband works and i stay home. we love the library here

    • Amber L. says:

      @candice, Have you ever looked at the fine print of the gym membership? A lot of them have an early cancel fee that comes out to be cheaper than if you kept paying the $40 a month. You might also be able to transfer it over to another person (check fine print before doing this). I have a coworker who didn’t use her membership so she “gave” it to another coworker. The new person paid the monthly fee and used the membership happily. Both might be worth a shot? Good luck!

  • Liz says:

    We don’t spend money on birthday presents outside of our immediate family (husband/kids and parents). I found myself getting stressed out trying to buy ‘stuff’ for extended family and friends as well as receiving things I don’t need and don’t use in return. We weren’t very popular when I first suggested this but it’s cut down on our expenses as well as my stress level. For my birthday I typically will ask for cleaning services from my mom and gift cards from my in-laws. My husband and I just buy each other something we truly need (clothes, something for the house, etc) or nothing if we don’t need anything or money is tight.

    I’ve suggested this for Christmas but so far haven’t gotten buy in, maybe next year 🙂

  • erin says:

    Gym membership: I babysit for two hours each week in the childcare area and get free membership.

  • Lana says:

    We live in a town with 4 colleges and 2 community colleges. The concerts and cultural events that we can attend for free are endless and we couldn’t even begin to take advantage of them all.

  • I don’t spend money on paper towels or trash bags.

    Instead of writing it out here, you can read my post I wrote a while back below on how I avoid spending money on these items.

    http://thefrugalfreegal.com/2010/08/two-items-you-can-cut-from-your-grocery.html

    The Frugal Free Gal

  • CJ says:

    Alcohol and cigarettes – biggest waste of money in the world!
    Movie theatre – I’d much rather rent a DVD for $1 and watch it when I want and not have lots of other people and their noise around me.
    Books – I love the library!
    Trash bags – I get a large roll of bags included with my trash collection fee, and use grocery bags for smaller trash. I recycle almost everything so dont have much trash anyway.
    Shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, etc – there are so many opportunities to get these for free, no one should pay for them.
    Internet connection – I use dial up and only pay $12 a month for AOL.
    Hair salons – I dont want to waste money and time on my hair, a simple trim 3 times a year for $10 at Great Clips is good enough for me.
    Cellphone and electronics- I’ve had the same cell phone for more than 5 years and still have a VCR that I use almost every day. I dont need the newest gadgets to keep myself occupied.
    Things I do spend money on – concert tickets, CDs, restaurants, cable.

  • Becky says:

    Books – we use the on-line reseravation system through our library.
    Travel – we haven’t taken an airline trip in 5 years. We skip the stress and expense and have fun locally.
    Coffee – I make my own wonderful capuccino mix.
    Android – as much as I’d love to have a fancy android phone with the latest apps, I don’t. We have a 5-yr old Tracfone that serves it’s purpose just fine (for less than $10/month).
    Cable – we would just watch more TV if we had cable. We choose family time instead!
    Music downloads – I prefer the variety of the radio! I do have a cheap-o mp3 player, but I rarely use it.
    Hair salons – I keep my style simple with cuts only every 4-5 months. I go to an inexpensive walk-in place with a coupon. My son & hubby use the home “buzzer”, which saves a ton of money.
    Health club – we got a free treadmill for home workouts, but much prefer walks and bike rides with the family when the weather is good.

  • Jenni says:

    I like this post, though I do buy a lot of the things she mentioned on her list, like paper towels, or a Netflix subscription. It’s good to see how so many things are “optional” that we usually consider to be necessities, and that questioning them is the first step toward freeing up more money, if you want to and think you can do without it.

    That said, I think it is always good to consider not just cost, but the value of something, in terms of whether you should or should not buy it. I know that Crystal has mentioned that she splurges on certain things, like her hair, which others wouldn’t. For me, what I do spend money on is facial care products (though I get a deal through my sister who sells them). I use them sparingly, but find that especially as I age, my skin really looks and feels different when I use nicer products than when I use the freebie I got with a coupon. We also eat out occasionally with our boys, because as much as I love cooking from scratch, sometimes it’s just nice to have a break.

    I try to follow the “library only” rule most of the time for books, but occasionally there is a book, especially if it’s a Christian one, that I can’t find at the library, so I usually wait till I have Swagbucks or use some of my birthday/Christmas present or budgeted spending money to buy it. I have stopped buying cookbooks in general, though, because I don’t have time to try all the new recipes from them.

    • @Jenni,
      Jenni, I think it’s TOTALLY fine to splurge on a few things; that’s what we save for in the first place — thanks for bringing this up!

      We splurge on the basic cable {b/c I know it’s not a necessity!} and I love shopping Craigslist for furniture and then refinishing it — also not necessary, but fun!

      As long as you’re saving more than your splurging, you should be just fine. Everything in moderation!

    • Crystal says:

      Agreed. I think we all have to evaluate our own family’s priorities and needs and then decide what areas are best for us to save and what areas we might spend more on.

      And now I’m curious what your magic skincare product is!

      • Jenni says:

        @Crystal, The Mary Kay Timewise line, especially the Night Serum. I went without it for awhile until my sister could visit and bring me another set, and already, after a couple of days my skin feels and looks so much better!

    • Wendi S says:

      @Jenni, I think you hit it on the head about “necessity.” It’s so easy in the American culture, and many other cultures I imagine, to get caught up thinking that certain things are a necessity. Just by realizing that there are people who don’t spend money on that thing *ever*, helps me remember that it is an extra rather than a necessity, and it helps me remember my priorities.

  • Jimi says:

    I cut all our hair. That has probably saved us $10 over the course of our marriage. We quit using any hair products except a little conditioner orhair gel or spray, if needed. Buying the natural products seem to cost more but they can be spread so thin it is really a bargain. And I don’t have to worry about the sensitivities of anyone because they are hypoallergenic. The dish soap I use is so mild and natural that I can use it on my hair and body. I dilute it a bit for handsoap, too. I do not buy very many things in a package. We buy bulk whenever we can. We filter our water, grind our grains, make our bread and sew our clothes, if we can’t find what is needed at the thrift store or on clearance. I signed up for free birthday meals at Ruby Tuesday, Zpizza and a couple of local restaurants so I can go out to eat for free every week this month. And we use restaurant.com when there is a sale. We drink water with lemon with our meal and do not order dessert. We do not use fabric softeners or very many cleaners because vinegar, soda, hydrogen peroxide and natural soaps clean most everything. What germs vinegar doesn’t kill I understand hydrogen peroxide does. We don’t use mouth wash. We don’t use drugs unless absolutely necessary. We try to eat right and exercise so we don’t get sick. Medical bills can bankrupt you. Hopefully there is something here you might like to try.

  • Jimi says:

    That should be $10,000.

  • WilliamB says:

    I have come to the conclusion that there’s almost nothing that I NEVER spend money on. I don’t buy water at restaurants is literally the only thing I could think of.

    But there are a lot of things I RARELY spend money on. The list includes:
    – food on the road or at airports
    – lunch at work
    – bottled water
    – store-bought baked goods (there are times when buying would be cheaper than making)
    – shipping on online purchases
    – hot new electronic gadgets (let someone else buy the expensive, buggy version, I prefer a reliable older technology)
    – extended warranties (only for car tires, I have a knack for getting punctures)
    – certain cleaning supplies

    Books are an intermediate thing. I don’t mind the money spent but I don’t have much time for reading and my bookcases are about full, so I get it from the library if I can. If I like it,I’ll buy a copy. Unfortunately my city’s library collection is not good and interlibrary loan is $5 per book; it’s often cheaper to get a used copy online than interlibrary loan.

    • WilliamB says:

      I thought of something I never pay for: toothbrushes. Unfortunately it’s not because I play the drugstore game. It’s because I need my teeth cleaned 3x/year – not a cheap way to get a toothbrush.

  • Amber L. says:

    This might sound silly, and some places don’t allow it, but we share trash collection with three of our neighbors. We don’t have curbside recycle but we all take it to the collection bin once a month so after recycling, composting and general re-using we only have one bag of trash a month. So do the neighbors. The one neighbor pays the trash bill for a year (cheaper that way) and we split it three ways and all use the same can.
    Also, our one thrift store has a half price day four times a year. Everything in the store is 50% off. It can be a bit crazy, but I always stock up on books (.25 cents each) and then donate them back when I am finished. The money from the thrift shop goes to local charities.
    Don’t forget church rummage sales. The last one I went to had $1 a bag. I took my own reusable bag and FILLED it with kids clothes (think Gap and Gymboree), clothes for myself, books, shoes, and even new dishware for our home. All for $1. Church rummage sales or swaps are a great place to try for new to you items.
    Glad to see so many other people are as frugal as me. My coworkers think I am crazy with some of the things I do (course they think I am crazy for not having CC debt too!).

  • Hollaina says:

    I don’t pay for childcare. I am home 99.9% with my son who has Autism, and I prefer it that way. When my Husband and I do occasionally go out, we have a friend watch him for free.

    Haircuts are something we do at home. My husband buzzes his own head and clips my son’s hair as well. I trim my own hair about twice a year.

    I have not paid for a magazine subscription since I was 16 years old… Ten years now of being able to find them for free.

    Family Outings- We find local free community activities and spend time as a family there, bringing our own food and drinks of course.

    Clothing- I regularly have clothing swaps with friends and their children.

    Bath/Beauty/Personal Products- I either make my own or play the drugstore game and come home with some awesome free things.

    Date nights are done at home in a creative manner so as not to usurp the budget.

    Umm, there is more, but I cannot think of it at the moment.

    Love all the ideas you ladies are sharing though!!!

  • ClaryJane says:

    We go to the free events in our area. There is a university here and there are always plenty of free events. Also, we go to a lot of the parades. The universities dental college often hands out free toothbrushes and toothpaste at these. There are also A LOT of pencils handed out at these too! I try to sit next to a group with really young children or senior citizens. The parents of the younger kids usually do not want their pencils and the older generation usually do not want the dental items! So I rarely have to buy toothpaste, pencils or toothbrushes!

  • Amanda says:

    LOL! I was just talking about this with my inlaws…I made the comment that I never buy trash bags. I either use grocery store bags or my mother will often give me items she’s bought for the kids in trash bags, so I reuse those. They were teasing me and my hubby about being to cheap to buy trash bags! But I think I won in the end…they had bought everyone gifts, and what was mine? Trash bags! A box of 45 will go a long way around here!

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