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7 Things We Don’t Buy

Inspired by the recent post on 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).


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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  • Mel says:

    I don’t know if we’ve ever bought shaving cream. I agree, soap works just fine! And my hubby has crazy thick facial hair. I buy a pack of cheap napkins at the dollar store instead of buying paper towels but we don’t always have them either. We don’t buy fabric softener. We don’t buy name brand clothing. I don’t buy shoes unless a pair dies. I have one pair for each thing: tennis shoes, dress shoes, and sandals. I have no need to have a million pairs. We don’t take our vehicles to have the oil changed. Hubby does that. And any other repairs the vehicles need. We don’t buy new cars or have car payments. An older vehicle works just fine for us.

  • Dana says:

    We don’t buy:

    TV – at all. We turned off the service a few months ago, and save about $100 a month. it also saves on our electric bill.

    I buy books at thrift stores, for about $1.50

    We started a garden this year, small in pots. It will save so much in produce bills soon 🙂

    I wish I could stay away from paper towels, we use a alot!

    • D Lee says:

      Consider the exchange program for books at the Free Little Libraries. We also have had a book exchange in our teacher’s lounge.

  • I am trying the no paper towels. It is okay most of the time but I do miss them on occasion. We don’t buy movies either unless it is one that we know we love and will watch plenty of times, even then it is usually given as a Christmas gift or a birthday gift.
    I have cut way back on the number of cleaners I buy and use vinegar and backing soda a lot to clean with. I make our own laundry detergent and love it!!! We have a lot of laundry with 3 kids and my husband who uses 2 sets of clothes a day. I am sure there are a ton of things I don’t buy that a lot of people do but I don’t miss them so I don’t even realize I don’t buy them 🙂

  • Angela says:

    I cannot shave with soap. My legs go all wonky. But we just snag ours at the dollar store usually.

    No paper towels for us either. I feel like its a total gimmie for saving money and it makes me feel like I’m doing at least one thing for the environment lol!

    We don’t drink coffee which saves us a ton and we try not to buy pop often either.

    It is always a bit of a bummer reading some money saving articles and I’m like well… Already don’t do that or that or that… Lol

    • Pam says:

      I don’t buy waxed paper, using the lining of cereal boxes instead. I also use butter or margarine wrappers to grease baking pans. Saves on sprays like Pam.

    • AJ says:

      When I condition my hair in the shower, I use what’s on my hands to put on my legs. It’s slick & doesn’t leave your legs dry like soap. It’s also good for underarms & bikini areas!!!

    • Scott says:

      99 cents for a bottle of Suave conditioner. I shave my face with hair conditioner. I have for probably 10 years now. Prerequisite would be to shower long enough to allow the warm water to soften your skin and hair follicles. This one suggestion makes a night/day difference. So just make shaving the last part of your shower. Very reasonable price and does not dry your skin like soap.

    • Ashley says:

      I use a super moisturizing body wash and that works better

  • Brenda Robinson says:

    If you don’t use fabric softener, crumble a piece of aluminum foil, and throw it into the dryer. This eliminates static, and is reusable until it starts to fall apart.

  • T Hunn says:

    I don’t buy dog or cat treats for my pets. I use plastic grocery bags to pick up their waste. When my night light bulbs burn out, I replace them from and old string of Christmas tree lights. I don’t buy weed killer for my yard. I pull the weeds the old fashion way by hand or use a hula hoe in the rocks. I use a reverse osmosis filter for my water faucet instead of buying bottled water. I have a dog and became good friends with all my neighbors, instead of buying an alarm system. Ooma is my phone rather than a land line. I am learning how to use my note 5 in order to reduce/ eliminate paper notes.

    • Lenore says:

      Your dog and cat are very angry! LOL!

    • Kayleigh says:

      I buy a large bag of a different kind of food to give as cat/dog treats. They don’t know that it’s not a ‘real’ treat, love and beg for it (yes, cats beg also).

  • mgarland says:

    Soda pop. Only purchase it maybe when we have pizza
    Cable TV we have never had it. We share Hulu, Netflix with our adult kids
    Tons of cleansers.We use windex or something similar.
    Bought a bagless vacuum cleaner.
    Weed and feed for our yard. If we do it is once every 2-3 years and the application is a lot less than they recommend. a
    Facial moisturizers I use cold cream. Cheap works well. My son uses the scentless esp to shave with.
    I am an empty nester so many things that come in bulk I may share with my children.

  • Amber says:

    Purchase soda when $3.00 for 12 pack so only 25cents a can. We enjoy a soda with supper on Friday nights. Use bar soap and save the little pieces then when I have enough I tie them in old panty hose or my daughters old tights and then I have another “bar” of soap.

  • Krista T says:

    We don’t have cable TV. We have some dvd’s (we buy second hand) and Netflix to watch instead.
    We don’t buy disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are awesome for saving money AND the environment!
    We also don’t buy disposable feminine hygiene products. I prefer to use a reusable menstrual cup and save over $100 per year. My $40 menstrual cup investment lasts 4-5 years.

  • Chris Bruno says:

    We use conditioner for shaving cream & we use Suave so much cheaper & leaves your legs so soft!

  • Suzanne says:

    I do all of the above except I do use paper towels. I also get most of my reading materials from the library for free. Now they allow you to check out e-books and audiobooks, all for free.

  • Flo says:

    We don’t buy coffee, alcohol, tobacco, pop, ammo, cable, collectible-anything, or make-up (I react to everything I tried, anyway.) I make laundry soap. I use baking soda water for the first hair “shampoo” and then a dot of shampoo for the next, and then a dot of conditioner. (My daughter and I have been using the same bottle for months.)
    We have pets, but we have always set a limit for emergency pet care. Anything above that means euthanasia. (If it is that dire, is it really kind to the pet to put them through all that?) We explain it to the vet at the beginning and they can usually figure out what absolutely has to be done to get them through the emergency without all the “it would be nice” tests and treatments, or they understand that we will not put them through major surgery for a few more months of time. And I do agree that having pets is expensive!! They have a line in our budget! We have had horses (never had a vet bill over $110), dogs ($200 limit), and still have cats ($200 limit for indoor cats, euthanasia for barn cats) and chickens. (Chickens don’t go to the vet. Either they live with minor first aid, or we have to dispatch them ourselves.)
    My splurge is shoes. My feet are fussy and I WILL have comfortable shoes. My dress shoes are 8 years old, my sandals should last that long (Crocs), and my hiking shoes should last a few years. My athletic shoes have to be replaced far too often for my taste, but that’s what happens when you use them hard. (I do stretch them as long as possible by replacing the inserts at least once.) And then they turn into chore shoes until they have to be tossed.

  • Karen B says:

    I would gladly cut the cable but hubby likes it too much. We do have the lowest tier which also includes our internet so it’s not too bad. I don’t buy purses unless they come from the thrift store, and I’ve always had a purse I loved.

  • Tracy says:

    We make our own soaps, lotions, bug repellents, laundry detergent. I try to use every scrap of everything. We have goats so we use the milk. We have chickens for eggs and feed them lots of table scraps. We grow or raise most of our food. We are trying to be a self sufficient household but I need to get fruit trees and grapes established. I have an embroidery business so I get cheap clothing. I cut my boys hair.

  • Nancy says:

    We don’t buy cable, paper towels, paper napkins( I hemmed some pieces of fabric so we use cloth napkins), hamburger buns and hot dog buns… bread works fine, shaving cream, fancy cleaners… Comet, glass cleaner and Lestoil do it me. I made covers for the swiffer and the dusting wand, they get washed and like you said if they are too grungy I just throw them out.

  • Whitney says:

    We don’t buy laundry soap or fabric softener sheets. Wool dryer balls only and I make our powder detergent. We don’t buy soda either. It’s a waste. No cable for us. Young kids. They watch cartoons, so we use Amazon and Netflix. We only turn in the lights when it gets too dark to see. We live in the desert and so electricity is really expensive so lights off until the sun goes down.

  • Lisa says:

    We have never had cable. Rabbit ears and internet only. Haven’t turned on our furnace in 9 years. We cut our own firewood for the woodstove. Dryer is only used when necessary. Otherwise the clothesline or drying racks work great. I reuse baggie, use grocery bags for garbage. Compost for free mulch. Make a lot of food from scratch. Started as a must due to not enough income but I continue a lot just to save.

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