Recently, I posted on our Facebook Page and asked people to share one thing they don’t pay for that many people do. I compiled the most-suggested ideas into this post in hopes it will inspire you with some ideas of ways you can simplify and save money.
Remember, though, that being intentional with your finances doesn’t mean you are miserly and miserable. If you pay for something on this list, that doesn’t mean you aren’t frugal or that you are failing. You get to choose where and how you spend your money. These are just ideas to get your creative wheels turning — especially if you are looking for ways to save more money.
20 Things You Don’t Have to Pay For
- Handyman services — YouTube can teach you how to fix almost anything! Just a few weeks ago, our dishwasher stopped working. Jesse researched online, found the part we needed to order on Amazon, and watched YouTube videos to fix it! (Note: I wouldn’t recommend trying to fix things you don’t feel confident fixing. We’ve had some situations where our attempt to fix something ourselves ended up costing us a lot more in the long-run. So be wise about whether you feel comfortable making the repair before starting!)
- Manicures/Pedicures — Kaitlynn taught herself how to do gel and dip manicures just by (again!) watching YouTube videos. You will need to invest in a few products to do it yourself, but if you are a person who is more artistically minded, you should be able to pretty easily learn to give yourself (and others!) a great manicure — for pennies compared to what you’d pay at a nail salon. (By the way, you can also “cheat” and use something like Impress nails — which work surprisingly well!)
- TV Streaming Services (or cable) — You can often watch shows free online (such as through Tubi or Peacock). Yes, there are commercials, but free is free. 🙂
- Paper Towels — We stopped buying paper towels many years ago and learned that we were just fine using rags/wash cloths! You can see what we use instead here.
- Bottled Water — Get a water filter and refill a reusable water bottle or cup. (Read more how I drink a gallon of water every day.)
- Hair cuts — With a simple trimmer set, you can learn to cut boys’ and men’s hair. Janelle commented on Facebook and said: “My husband is an active duty Marine and is required to get a zero fade haircut weekly. That was costing us upwards of $60/month (sometimes more depending on the location he was stationed at). I have been cutting his hair for over a decade now saving us over $7200 total!”
- Books — Use your local library, Libby, and Hoopla or earn free books from MyReaderRewards. (Here are other ways to get books for free or almost-free.)
- Amazon Prime — While it can be a convenience, you can just wait until you have enough stuff in your cart to qualify for free shipping. (I wrote a post awhile back on whether or not Amazon Prime is worth it.)
- Dining Out — Learn to make restaurant meals at home and/or buy take n’ bake or frozen pizza when it’s on sale to have in the freezer when you don’t feel like cooking!
- Beverages — One of the most over-priced items are sodas and coffees at restaurants. Either drink water or bring your own from home if you are going to be out and tempted to stop and get a drink. (Here’s an idea to drink more water!)
- Pet Grooming — Dana commented on Facebook and said, “I groom our dogs myself. Just one is over $75/groom. When figuring up they need grooming every 6 weeks and we have 3 that have to be regularly groomed, I save our family a lot of money by learning this skill and doing it myself.”
- K-Cups — Buying coffee in bulk packages is much less expensive than buying K-cups. Kimberly said this on Facebook, “$10 for a box of 12 is ridiculous when I can finish it in 2 days. A canister of Maxwell House will last me over 3 weeks.” And you can use a reusable K-Cup if you want to make coffee in the Keurig without paying high prices for K-Cups. (And by the way, don’t forget that you can get 3 months of unlimited coffee and tea for FREE at Panera right now.)
- Oil Changes — Learn to do them yourself and you’ll save a lot of money!
- Gym Membership — You can invest in your own workout equipment (my treadmill that I use pretty much daily and have for years has paid for itself over and over again!) or go outside and take a walk/run or find free workout routines on YouTube. (Another very inexpensive option is to buy a one-year subscription to GetHealthyU TV for just $3 for an entire year!)
- Pre-Packaged Snacks — Find some quick and easy snack recipes your family loves and make them yourself. It’s likely going to be a lot healthier, too! (Here are some of our favorite homemade snack ideas.)
- Straws — I invested in a few steel straws a number of years ago and we use them pretty much every single day!
- Hair Coloring — You can do it yourself at home or ask a friend to do it for you. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, check to see if there’s a local cosmetology school that offers services to the public.
- Magazines — There are often so many options to get free subscriptions to magazines (we always post them here when we find them!) You can also often read magazines or access them online for free from your local library.
- Music Streaming Services — You can listen to music for free on YouTube or Spotify (with a free subscription).
- Photo Prints — Walgreens and CVS regularly offer free photo prints! Take advantage of these for gifts and for your personal collection.