money management

Things I never pay for

No Spending LimitationLast week, I came across Bargain Babe’s list of 44 things she never buys, and I loved it! First of all, aren’t we all a little curious about how other people live their lives? Or am I just a PF voyeur who likes to see inside how other people save money?

Second of all, it got me thinking. What sorts of things do I avoid paying for? Are they intentional choices, or just things I don’t use? And, perhaps most importantly, can I beat Bargain Babe’s 44? 🙂

So, I’ve been keeping track as I think of things since that post, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

45 things I never pay money for (ha-ha!)

1.  Bottled water. We have a Brita filter and fill reusable water bottles when we need some H2O on the go.
2.  Coffees on the go. The occasional coffee date with a girlfriend? Sure. But if I’m just heading to work? It’s a thermos from home or the break room coffee from our office coffee machines.
3.  Pre-cut fruits and veggies. I prefer them fresh, anyway.
4.  Single-serving meals.
5.  Car payments (anymore! hooray!).
6.  Oil changes. If I can do them myself, anyone can.
7.  Movie tickets. We only go if we get free passes. Renting is so much cheaper!
8.  Snacks at the movies. If you go to a theater located in a mall and happen to bring a Victoria’s Secret or Urban Outfitters shopping bag in with you, no one will assume you weren’t shopping and instead are sneaking in Subway and dollar store candy. 🙂
9.  Body wash or hand/body lotion. I ask for them for Christmas and my birthday, which keeps me stocked for the year!
10.  Hair cuts. I let my curls do as they may and trim them myself when the ends start to need it. (Yes, I even cut my own bangs! It can be done!)
11.  Manicures/pedicures.
12.  Any makeup beyond foundation and a little mascara.
13.  Gym membership. My PS3 Zumba is all I need.
14.  Wrapping paper. Yup, I’m that annoying person who unwraps gifts veeeery carefully and saves every gift bag and ribbon to reuse later.
15.  Cigarettes. I don’t smoke, so I’m not sure that should really count, but I want to get up to 44!
16.  Fast food. Same as above.
17.  Crack cocaine. OK, now I’m just being ridiculous. I’ll stop with the frivolous ones after this, I promise. 🙂
18.  Apps. It’s free or no app for me.
19.  Trash bags. We just reuse plastic shopping bags.
20.  Parking for concerts and events. We don’t mind walking a little!
21.  Candy. I just don’t have the taste for it anymore.
22.  Disposable dishes, cups, silverware.
23.  Disposable cleaning wipes.
24.  Name brand anything I can find a store brand for instead.
25.  Music. I love my Pandora and Spotify; they’re all I need.
26.  Checking and savings account fees.
27.  ATM fees.
28.  Credit card annual fees.
232.  Professional tax prep. The free sites work just fine for us.
30.  TV. With Hulu, why pay?
31.  Dog grooming. It’s not always fun (and it’s definitely not always neat!), but I wash and trim Big Dog and Little Dog myself.
32.  Gourmet ice cream. We are ice cream fiends (one of my guilty pleasures), but a carton of store brand ice cream, mix-ins like peanut butter chips and cookie crumbles, and a little creativity is just as yummy.
33.  Magazines. I’m a bookworm.
34.  Books. If I like what I read from the library or borrow from a friend, I ask for it as a present. Most books I only want to read once and not come back to, so why buy?
35.  Minor household repairs. DIY!
36.  Car washes. Professional, anyway. We pay for the hose, water, soap, and occasional soap bubble fight.
37.  Dry cleaning.
38.  Extended warranties. For the most part, they’re useless (and hardly cover anything).
39.  Prescription antibiotics. Whenever one of us (unfortunately) needs them, many common antibiotics are free at local grocery stores and pharmacies. Check out what you can get!
40.  Tanning. Not healthy and not necessary when you live outside like I do in the summer time!
41.  Photo printing. We got a great digital photo frame for our wedding and keep various USB drives full of different pics (the dogs, vacations, etc.) that we switch out from time to time to keep things fresh.
42.  Return address labels. I donate to enough pet charities I have enough cute doggy and kitty labels to hold us over for a long time.
43.  Brown bags for my “brown bag lunches. I use a cute insulated bag instead. (Sorry to ruin the series title for you guys!)
44.  The local newspaper. It’s all online!
45.  Batteries. We bought rechargables and a recharger a while back, so no more new purchases!

And so (although I confess I ran out of steam and gave up just when I had beaten Bargain Babe, hahaha), that is my list. (PS – I hearted your post, Bargain Babe. No hard feelings?) 🙂

What about you guys? What would be on your “never pay for” list?





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  • I am with you on many of these: books, music, manicures/pedicures, snacks at the movies, ATM/bank fees, etc. I keep track of library book and bill due dates on my calendar to avoid late fees. I rarely buy shoes, makeup, and hair products and can count how many times I’ve bought lunch out at work.

    Overall, we are just frugal people – always have been, always will be – and don’t feel like we’re missing out by not spending money on a lot of things that aren’t important to us.

    • Exactly…I don’t feel like we’re missing out, either. We really enjoy the simple things and experiences over stuff, so these things don’t really feel like a sacrifice.

  • I don’t pay for a lot of those things either! And I work for a rally team as a side job so I have to change my own oil or it’s just embarrassing (because it really is that easy)

    • It really is. The Hubby laughed at how intimidated I was to learn, but now I can’t believe I ever paid someone else to do it for me!

    • I copied a bunch from Bargain Babe’s list because they were the same for me, too. The more you talk about stuff like this, the more you realize how many people get by just fine without things that some people buy all the time. It just goes to show how each of us really doesn’t need as much as society tells us we should!

  • You do your own oil changes? That is awesome! You should do a blog post on that. I do a lot of things on my own, but for some reason oil changes scare me. I am afraid to get oil on in my eyes.

    • You know, maybe I will do a post on it! It really is easy, and I feel so accomplished doing it. (Even The Hubby is impressed.) 🙂

  • soda, I drink water w/lemon; coffee at Starbucks or whatever name brand is in the area, drink my coffee at home. cut vegetables, I do it myself. trash bags, I also use the bags from the stores. baggies, I use tupperware. retail for clothing, its on sale, and preferably 60% -70% off at the end of the season or consignment stores. manicure/pedicures.
    What I do prefer… decale teabags, the dollar theater here in town, lunch out 1x a week, I bring in my lunch 4 days a week. don’t use sugar much, but have to have real butter, I water down my juices a little, and I use a lot of fruit for my meals and for smoothies, so I do buy frozen fruit. Car payments, unfortuantely my ca died 2 years ago (I had it 10 years) and I upgraded, but I know the resale will be good even in 10 years, I don’t drive far to work. I do things for others when I can, pay it forward thinking..and I try to live frugally as possible.

    • Sounds like you’ve really got stuff in order! Paying it forward is such an important part. Good for you!

  • Wow, I was looking around for good articles on frugal spending because I seriously need to get my spending down to a better amount. Your post shows me just how much I spend every month on things that you can get by just as well without.
    I think for me my struggle will be mainly movie tickets as well as coffee. I am a huge film buff and I have to be constantly updated with the latest films (before they get spoilered by something I read on Twitter).

    Thanks for this post, I will try to see if I can cut down on these things as well. 😀

    • I’m so happy this post inspired you! Bear in mind I don’t cut back on everything (I’m a firm believer that you should allow yourself SOME splurges, so you should allow yourself some, too.) Good luck with your mission, though…it’s so worth it!

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