Inspired by Money Saving Mom’s post on 7 things her family doesn’t buy, here’s a list of ten things we don’t buy anymore.
Just like Crystal, I don’t buy (1) shaving cream, (2) dryer sheets/fabric softener, or (3) coffee filters (we use instant). I also don’t buy:
(4) Paper towels and toilet paper. I refuse to buy things whose only purpose is as a vehicle to throw other things away. It’s just not my style.
We use about 1 roll of paper towels a year (hello, sponges and rags!), and we get them for free with coupons or deals.
Toilet paper I try to always get for free. That works 90% of the time. Rest of the time, I find that we can get wet wipes or other alternatives for free. (And that you really don’t need very much toilet paper.)
(5) Garbage bags. See reason #1. I just empty the trash can into the trash can outside. I use grocery bags to line smaller trash cans, and we use a large cardboard box to hold our recycling.
(6) Toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrushes, painkillers, and soap. I’ve been able to get all of these items free with coupons and store deals in the last 3 years. In fact, we’ve had each in such abundance that we’ve given away probably a hundred items from this category.
(7) Books, magazines, or newspapers. Newspapers can be read online. Magazines can almost always be gotten for free, either with deals codes online or by sharing with friends. I get all my books at the library. (Although I’ve been able to collect enough Amazon returns to get a free Kindle, so I’m looking forward to borrowing from our library on that!)
(8) Anything at Airports. This may not seem like a big deal, but I spend a lot of time in airports. I fly twice a week for work, and then throughout the year I take anywhere from 2 to 10 international flights, which can have rather long layovers. If I bought whatever I wanted at the airport, I’d go broke!
So my benchmark rule is just to buy nothing at airports. If I rule that out as an option, I usually remember to bring a snack or an empty water bottle with me. Souvenirs and other things are cheaper bought elsewhere, so I try to just pretend like the stores there don’t exist.
(9) Bank or Credit Card Fees. It’s not that I never incur these fees – everyone makes mistakes from time to time. But I always call and have them removed from my credit cards or bank account. I try to plan ahead enough that I never need to use an ATM with a fee. The only exceptions here are for unavoidable international ATM fees, but those don’t come often as a little research can often find a no-fee option. All my accounts, even my business accounts, are no-fee.
(10) Pre-cut fruits, veggies, cheese, meat… Okay, we buy our bread pre-cut. But everything else, I’m perfectly happy to slice or chop on my own. I feel like the key here is owning a very, very sharp knife.
(11) Yard services. Yard work is, for me, weirdly satisfying. It’s also great exercise. Save money, be outside, get in better shape, and feel accomplished? Yes please. We do all our shoveling, raking, and mowing ourselves. And after seeing what the neighbors pay for lawn maintenance in the spring, I’m shocked at how much this “saves”.
Those are some of the things we skip completely. Any good ideas of what we could stop buying? And don’t say Netflix. That is $8/month well spent.