Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Things We Don't Spend Money On

Green beans from our Summer Garden

   I know that a lot of my friends like to live a fun but frugal life so I thought that I would share some of the things that we don't spend money on.  I get great ideas from other people and I hope that my sharing may help someone else and I hope that my friends here in Blogger land will share some of your ideas with me!  Here we go...

Cable or Satellite TV:  We got rid of both over the years and to be honest, we do not miss it.  We have a Roku that we can stream things online.  I stream YouTube, Netflix (gift from our Jaysn as he put us on his account) and many other channels.  Did you know you can download PBS and many other channels and stream them for free on Roku?  For things that I cannot stream via Roku, I can usually find online.  

New Release Movies on DVD and New Bestseller Books:  I borrow all of those through our local library. They will also make their way to the thrift stores and yard sales soon enough for me to pick up there.

Expensive Cell Phones and Plans:  We use Tracfones and have the phones that triple our minutes, data, and texting.  I have to buy a $19 card every 3 months for each of our phones and our unused minutes do roll over.  Our phones are smartphones, but I got them on sale for under $50 each and we will use them for years to come.  I don't want or need to expensive I phones.

Most of our Red Meat:  We are blessed with hunters in our family that supply us with venison and elk meat.  Sometimes they even give us fish that they have caught.  This is a huge savings for us and much healthier because we know the meat is not pumped full of antibiotics.

Most of our Breads and Baked Treats:  I make most of the loaves of bread that we eat here.  I will buy bagels, hot dog and hamburger buns and the occasional English muffins.  I also make banana, pumpkin, cranberry orange and zucchini bread.  Cookies are almost always made at home (unless I run across a deal that makes them cheaper than making them at home).  Just a heads up.  Sometimes the cookie mixes are cheaper to use when they are on sale than making them from scratch.  Mixes like peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia nut and pumpkin have been on sale for $1 or under for the big sizes and I stock up on those, along with brownie mixes when the prices drop.  This honestly not only saves me money, but time and my personal energy as well.

Haircuts and Coloring:  I honestly don't remember the last time I got my hair cut by a professional.  Jeff and I have been cutting each other's hair for years and years now.  Together, we make a wonderful team and are much happier with our haircuts that we do because we know the "quirks" of each other's hair.  As for coloring.  I stopped coloring my own hair years ago also.  It was such a hassle and the color never lasted very long.  As I got more gray hairs, they became harder and harder to take the color anyway.

Fine Dining at Expensive Restaurants:  Growing up, I was treated to fine dining a lot due to my father being the manager of an exclusive resort.  Not only did we eat there a lot, but when we traveled and stayed at nice resorts, we also were treated to amazing meals there.  Not only is that not in the budget for Jeff and I now, but it physically pains me to see how much people will spend on a nice fine dining experience, especially when I know that I can make the same food here at home for a fraction of the price and it will taste just as good and in some cases, even better.

Expensive Vacations:  While friends of ours drop thousands of dollars on vacations, sometimes multiple times a year, we don't.  We seek out great deals at hotels, go camping or stay with family for our vacations.  We are planning a trip to Las Vegas in the Fall and by watching the fares for airlines and buying at the right time, I was able to save us about $1000.  We will be staying with my son Josh and his girlfriend while we are there for a week.  We will be taking them out for dinner and a show one night as a thank you and we will buy some groceries while we are there and I'll make some of our meals since they will most likely both be working for the majority of the time we are there.  I want to make some of Josh's favorite meals.  They are trying to buy a home in a gated community with a pool so we can enjoy that during the day.  Josh is also letting us borrow his truck so we can go and see my friends that live down there too.  We would like to go and see one of the Circ d Soleil show and I have found some places to buy the tickets at a hugely discounted rate.  You can find all kind of coupons for B1G1F deals down there too.  In planning for a future family cruise, we are already researching discounts for those.  A cruise is on our bucket list and is something that we feel I can handle since I can rest when I need to.

Lawn and Garden Care:  Although we are both getting older and it is becoming harder for Jeff to take care of our yard, we are implementing a few new plans to make it easier for us.  We just got a garden cart at an auction that will help with some things and we are planning on building raised beds in the near future to cut down on bending and weeding.  One of our sons used to have a lawn car business years ago as a teenager here is town and was paid good money for doing people's yards for them but that is not something that we can afford.

Having Pizzas Delivered to our Home:  Well this is an easy one for us since we do not live in a town that has this service or even has a pizza parlour. 😉  There are advantages to living out in a small farming town.  It is so easy just to pick up a frozen pizza on sale and stock my freezer for times when we want a quick pizza.  Other times, when I have the energy, I will make them myself.  When our boys were growing up, I almost always made pizza from scratch because it was so much cheaper and my kids and hubby could plow through multiple pizzas at a time.  There are no places here in town that deliver anything, so that alone saves us a ton of money.

Full Price Movie Tickets:  We do not go to the movies much, but when we do, we go to matinees.  It saves us quite a bit of money.  Most of the time though, we just wait for it to come out on dvd and them borrow it from the library, Redbox it or wait for it to come on Netflix.  

Full Price Clothing from Retail Stores:  Most of our clothing comes from thrift stores or yard sales.  If we do shop retail, it is from the clearance rack or a really good sale.  We stock up on things like socks and underwear during the back to school sales when it is the cheapest and shop the off season clearance racks to find amazing deals on other items.  Sometimes they are even cheaper than the thrift store prices.  We spend less per year on clothing than most people would spend in one shopping trip to a retail store buying 4 items or less at full retail prices! Our closets are filled with Columbia, North Face, Land's End, Eddie Bauer, Coldwater Creek, Michel Kors, Lane Bryant, Carhartt, Talbots and other expensive brands of clothing, outerwear and shoes.  My handbag and purse collection has Kate Spade, Brighton, Vera Bradley, Tyler Roden, Coach, Whiting and Davis, Mulberry, Coldwater Creek, Aldo, Rolfs, J Crew, Cole Haan, and many others.  All these were thrift or yard sale finds.

Expensive Jewelry from Jewelry Stores:  Don't get me wrong, I love pretty jewelry, especially anything "opal" related. I can count on one hand the times we have bought things at jewelry stores and that includes our wedding rings 33 years ago.  The other things were a ruby ring and a necklace and earrings set (a gift from Jeff to me) that we deeply discounted.  All those were bought years ago.  I find nice sterling silver, gold and even diamond and other gemstone jewelry at thrift stores, pawn shops and yard sales.  The rest of my nice and "expensive" pieces were inherited or given to me over the years by my mother and father.  I have passed down some of my jewelry to my girls already so they can enjoy it.

A High Mortgage:  We do not need, nor do we want a McMansion or huge home.  Our home is about 1,200 square feet and is where we raised our boys and frequently had their friends, some for extended periods of time, stay with us too.  We paid $400 a month for our mortgage (and that was adding some extra money above the minimum payment) and have been here for 25 years now.  After refinancing several times due to unforeseen things happening in our lives, it is now paid off.  I hope that we never have to pay on a mortgage again.  I am happy here in our home and I love the security of knowing that it is paid off now.  We will do everything we can to make the changes needed as we age.

Certain Fruits and Veggies:  Our garden provides us with Summer apples, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, mint, parsley, oregano, chives, blueberries, strawberries, Jerusalem artichokes, sweet cherries, green onions, and fresh salad greens, green beans, kale, tomatoes and squash during the growing season.  Each year I try to plant something new for us to try.  

   I know there are more things, but I can't think of them at the moment.  Please add to my list in the comments of what you don't spend money on.  I would love to learn from each of you also!


  1. I don't buy Starbucks every morning- I am not a coffee drinker but I do have a cup of tea at work each morning- most of my tea is given to me as gifts. I use the same tea bag for 2 cups at least.

    I don't drink a lot of soda pop- if I do drink it , I have maybe one over the weekend.

    I don't drive much other than to work and back. I try to keep my driving to a minimum so that when we want to visit my FIL who lives 4 hrs away, we can.

    All of my home decor is from thrift shops or things I have made myself- they are unique to me and my home and nobody else has them.

    1. Good for you! :) I do the same thing with tea bags. Most of my home decor is also from thrift stores, yard sales and some family pieces that were made for me or I inherited. :) Thanks so much for commenting and I hope you have a wonderful day!

  2. It's so interesting to see how each person saves money--sometimes a little differently and sometimes the same as I do! Great question, Debbie!

    What I personally don't buy very often: Starbucks/Dutch Bros/etc. I have to confess I don't like coffee, so that's an easy one for me.

    Artichokes: I love them, but can't afford them. I started some plants and will grow some, hopefully.

    Berries from the store: These are very expensive to buy. I grow as many as I can, freeze them for winter, and u-pick the rest if I can't grow enough

    Food from the deli: This is a rare purchase, because it costs more than when I make the item--potato salad, for one. And, mine tastes better to me. We have bought a couple of rotisserie chickens from Costco in the last few months. They are so cheap--$4.99, and do taste good.

    Piano lessons: I am a piano teacher, and have taught the interested children. My 7th has turned out to be the most interested, and it gives me great pleasure to see her using her music at church.

    Jam: I make it with my berries, or u-picked berries, or peaches from my sister

    Peaches: My sister has a peach and cherry farm. I never have to buy those. I can many, many jars, freeze and make jam.

    Heat: We have a furnace, but rarely run it. Instead, we chop wood we source for free and burn that.

    There are other things, too, but that's all I can think of right now:)
    Have a great day!

    1. HI Becky! We rarely buy coffee out either and if we do, we try to buy it from the grocery store coffee bar because it is half the price or less that Starbucks or Dutch Brothers. I too love artichokes and will buy 1 or 2 a year as a treat when they are at their lowest prices. I wish we could grow them here (believe me, I have tried) but our growing season is not long enough for them. You are so blessed to have a sister with a Peach and Cherry farm...I love fresh peaches! Thank you for sharing what you do too! I love learning from others!

    2. I had to laugh. Today, one of my texts was Starbucks asking me which Bingo row I was going to fill next. I have the app because once in a great while, I buy Rob a coffee. He, unlike me, loves coffee. I had to laugh and think....this is one Bingo game I am never going to win--I don't have a row almost full. I don't even have one square filled!!! So funny:)

  3. Many of your savings are just like mine. I love thrifts stores.

    1. Thank you my friend! I hope you are having a lovely time with your sissy!

  4. We dont do the cable or satellite tv, we do netflix and hubby put up an antenna. That gives us 26 free channels over the air in high definition quality. Hubby and I hunt, he does get more deer than me so we love our venison. We have a garden with raised beds, fruit trees and berry bushes. We get fresh delicious fruits and vegetables which is a nice break on our grocery bill. And while you I think you and Jeff are quite smart cutting each other’s hair, my mother thought it was terrible the first time my now hubby, then boyfriend gave me a haircut. I was quite pleased as he did an excellent job, but she thought it was controlling and that I should go to the salon, get a bad haircut and pay them too much money as she did. Over time as my hair grew longer she was quite vocal that it was too long, etc. over time she got over it. I have run across a few people that think he should not be cutting my hair for me, but most people I have told have a very positive reaction. They think it is great that he will not only do it for me, but that he does such a great job and saves me alot of money. A friend got a bad haircut at the salon and had gone a long time letting it grow out before getting it cut again. We were discussing her hair and she complimented my hair and asked where I got mine done as it looks so good. She said be a pal, share your stylist with me. I laughed, told it was hubby who wielded the shears to care for my locks and if you would like him to give you a haircut, ask him. Well she did not need any prodding, she complimented him on his handiwork and said she would really appreciate it if he would give her a haircut. He said ok, and she stopped by on the weekend when I planned for hubby to trim mine.
    Net result she was very happy with the haircut he gave her and asked if he would be willing to continue cutting her hair for her, she would pay him. He said sure, not a problem, but I can’t take any money from you, you are a friend. I told him he should do it as a side business, but he said he would have to get a license to charge any money, and the cost would not be worth it. So he does mine, the children’s haircuts and has for a couple friends of mine. So I save hundreds a year without sacrificing looking good. I figure if I am getting compliments and my friends are asking him to cut their hair, I have a pretty good thing going. He is quite handy with tools, repairs and upgrades to our home are DIY. We try our best to insource where we can but I just wish he would let me turn the thermostat above 62 in the winter instead or wearing a fleece pullover.

    1. Hi Keri. :) I love that your hubby cuts your family and some of your friend's hair. It really does save a ton of money and it sounds like he has found a really good skill doing it too! Your hubby sounds like a real catch!

  5. Debbie, I loved reading your list of money saving things you do!

    What I don't do that saves money - I don't color my hair; I don't cut my hair (I used to have long hair before I lost it, but it is growing out, again), I don't do professional facials, manicures, pedicures, massages, etc., I no longer buy books, I generally don't go to see movies (can't remember the last movie I went to see - but it was more than 8 years ago, when daughter was in high school, I believe) or concerts, or vacations (last "vacation" was when daughter graduated with her Masters and I went up for the ceremony, 2 years ago).

    I didn't have cable for the longest time, but I have it, now. I do buy new clothes, but I usually go to a discount clothing place where I find things priced for a few dollars. My monthly clothing budget is $10, but I don't shop for clothes every month. When I do shop for clothes, I have about $30-$40 collected over 3-4 months.

    1. HI Bless. Sometimes you can find the best deals on clothing in retail stores on the clearance racks and they may beat thrift store prices!

  6. Great list. I thought of a few more.
    -No maid. Everyone is responsible for their rooms. I do the main areas.
    -No Car washes. The Hubby and son do that
    -No snow removal. The Hubby and son do it. I help if its really bad.
    -No dog grooming. I do it for the dog. Have since she was a puppy.
    -No paying for movies/popcorn. I work at a theatre and this is one of the work perks.
    -No paying for IT. My husband does it all.
    -No plumber. My FIL is a retired plumber. It costs me a home cooked meal with a beer and cost of parts.

    1. Thank you for adding to the list! How lucky for you that your FIL is a retired plumber. That saves a ton of money right there!

  7. Great post. Love the comments as well.
    I love coffee but only go out for it if I'm meeting a friend. Even then, I will only buy a 'drip' coffee rather then something more expensive.

    I stopped coloring my hair when I got more compliments once I stopped putting the color on it! I also stopped other professional services like manicures/pedicures.

    I rarely go out for dinner and when I do it's the senior's outings on at a restaurant with a flat rate, all inclusive meal. Same for movies - I haven't been to the movie theatre in years but when I did I opted for a senior's matinee ticket.
    I have a credit card that gives me miles on an airline. I usually pay off the balance every month. I cash in my miles for airline tickets although they also offer other discounts. I travel to see friends/family so no hotel or rental cars needed. Most meals aren't any more expensive then eating at home as we cook together.
    For me, a basic cable package is worth it to me. I pay for time-shifting so I can see prime time shows starting at 5pm. I also pay a monthly fee ($20) for unlimited North America calling. My cell phone is an old fashioned flip phone that's prepaid. I pay $100 for the year and the minutes rollover year to year.
    For groceries - I watch the sales. Try to stock up on the monthly 10% off sales the first Monday or first Tuesday of the month. I go to the non-profit grocery store to buy their bread at $0.10 per item and other things they might have.
    Cheers, SJ

    1. Hi SJ, is time shifting like on demand? I have never heard of it before. You are doing better on your cell plan than I do with mine and I thought I was doing great! ;) Thanks for sharing all you do!

  8. You live very smartly!! We do a lot of the same things you do. We travel because our daughter lives far away and so does my mom who is a widow. Thanks for sharing. I wish more people would learn to live frugally. It's good for one personally and for the nation.

    1. Thank you Angela. :) I hope you are able to travel more to see your family. Do you have a credit card that gives you miles (like SJ does) or belong to an airline's frequent flyer plan?

  9. This is such a great list, Debbie. We do many of the same things here and they do save a lot of money. Fantastic that you have cleared your mortgage and that you own your home outright. That's a goal we have. Meg:)

    1. Thank you Meg and I pray that you will be able to pay off your mortgage soon also. It sure has lifted a huge burden off my husband and I. :)

  10. Debbie, it sounds like on your worst day you can get more done than most of us on our best day!

    1. :) Jean...well I don't know about that. On my worst days I get absolutely nothing done...sip, zilch, nada. ;)


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