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I am always looking for ways to save money. The reason why I love saving money is it frees up money to be used for another purpose – like travel or help us reach financial freedom sooner.
Many of my friends think I am some money saving genius. However, it isn't that at all. I just flat out don't spend money on certain items.
I find it wasteful. Money that could be better spent in other ways.
Call it a frugal lifestyle or smart shopping.
There are just certain items I refuse to spend money on.
Our grocery budget for a family of 4 hovers about $550-600 a month. So, obviously there are some money saving tricks involved to eat the healthy lifestyle we choose. Learn how to save money on groceries.
But, my frugal living tips aren't just with groceries, it spans across every facet of our lives. It boils down to the simple concept…there are just certain items I just refuse to spend money on. Period.
There are other ways I prefer to spend my money. Many of them I learned when we did our first spending freeze. During that time, I understand what was important and what didn't matter. Those were money lessons learned.
It changed my whole money mindset.
In all honesty, it was hard coming up with this list of things I quit buying to save money. (Seriously, I had to think about it for days because I don't even consider these things anymore.)
The reason why is because I haven't bought this stuff for years, so I forget how the money saving quickly escalates.
This post doesn’t include obvious ways to save money like meal planning to avoid takeout, not buying bottled water, or only buying what you need. You can find that list here – 53 Items Not to Buy at the Grocery Store.
This list is specific things I don’t buy in order to save money.
Saving money also helps the environment. Many things on this list clog our world with trash, debris, or nasty chemicals. I am thankful for my friend for reminding me of our environmental impact. I was focused on the money saving ways.
For me, paper towels are a complete waste of money.
What is the purpose of wiping something up with a paper towel and throwing it away? When instead, you can use a towel or rag to pick it up and wash them.
When I say complete waste of money, I look at using paper towels as one dollar bills and I literally feel like I am cleaning with money. True story, I find them totally wasteful. Same with flushable wipes.
Instead I have invested in quality kitchen towels and washcloths to get the job done.
Even better my favorite microfiber cloths!
Funny note… my sweet mother-in-law brings her own paper towels with her when she visits. She is obsessed with them and she knows how I feel about them. Something we will never agree on, but at least we can laugh about it.
My addiction to soda came in college. It was offered everywhere and it was cheap. With long hours and crazy schedules, I would turn to soda for a quick pick me up. Later, I realized it was because I developed hypothyroidism.
Once I started working, I quickly realized how much soda was adding up when I bought it at the grocery store. It was taking up a good chunk of my grocery budget each and every month. On one specific grocery store trip, soda was 25-30% of my total bill. That was the last day I bought soda.
To this day, I don't buy soda, energy drinks, and all of the other fancy drink stuff (honestly, I don't even know what they sell because I don't buy it or go down that aisle). And I have never liked coffee.
What I drink instead: water, tea, green smoothies (yes I have a daily obsession), and coconut water (which I use in the smoothies).
Don't miss them. Don't need them.
The cost of dryer sheets per load is fairly cheap (3-7 cents per sheet). However, it was hearing everything about they may not be the best thing for our health. We were running out, so I decided to give dryer balls a try.
Dryer balls are amazing!
I prefer them so much more and I think they do a better job.
My Favorite… These are the brand I bought and couldn't be happier.
Believe me… it took awhile to get the courage up to stop wearing store-made deodorant that I was taught that I absolutely needed. Plus after trying many different brands over the years, I quickly realized that not all deodorant was equal (and many left you stinkier).
So, I was very hesitant to change my routine and make my own natural deodorant.
After a couple of years of thinking about switching, I finally took the plunge and made my own from 3 simple ingredients – coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oil.
Um, I quickly felt like the biggest idiot because the natural deodorant worked amazingly well and it was so much better for my health too. Not to mention, the cost to make the natural deodorant was pennies!
Here is the DIY deodorant recipe I use…
These seriously disgust me.
There have been plenty of research studies proving that fake man-made fragrances aren't good for your health. Plus the chemicals they use to spray the air fresheners make breathing more difficult.
Options to freshen your house naturally include baking soda and essential oils, opening the windows, and simmering a fruits and spices on the stove.
Plenty of DIY options to freshen your house naturally and for a fraction of the cost.
There is a pill for this and a pill for that. Instead of shelling out money each month, I prefer to try and find all my vitamins and minerals in food. Specifically real food.
After a health issue a couple of years ago, I wanted to change our diet and “detox” our bodies – better put, a cleanse. (Detox has too many meanings and it is a word I don't like using because of how the industry has shifted it.) Anyways, I was amazed how all of the detox or cleanse programs included supplements that ranged from $100 a month upwards of $1000 a month. It was shocking.
I wanted to use real food that I could find at any grocery store. Something that was sustainable over a longer period of time.
A perfect example is turmeric. You can buy turmeric curcumin for a pretty penny. Or just mix in the real spice turmeric into your drink or meals.
Another is apple cider vinegar pills. I am still shaking my head over the price of those. Apple cider vinegar is one of the cheapest things to buy. It costs pennies to make a quick drink with real ingredients.
Side note: For health reasons, my doctor wants me to take certain extra vitamins to make sure I am getting enough. One is fish oil.
More Frugal Living Tips:
- 175+ Simple and Easy Frugal Living Tips to Save Money in 2019
- Need a Spending Freeze This Year?
- The Ultimate Guide to a Frugal Lifestyle
- Does Being Frugal Mean you are Cheap?
- How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
This goes for anything canned – primarily fruits, veggies and beans.
Okay, in all honesty, anything from a can we rarely buy (exceptions would be canned pumpkin and full-fat coconut milk).
It is so much cheaper to buy fresh fruit and veggies rather than buying stuff from a can.
Buying dry beans and making your own is WAY cheaper plus they taste a thousand times better. To save time, I always quadruple my batch and freeze the rest.
Not to mention the health benefits are greater when produce is fresh and come with less preservatives. Plus the debate whether aluminum cans are good for our health…
This past winter, we participated in two opportunities to give meals to families who couldn't afford them – one was Thanksgiving dinner and the other was a food drive for another local school. My heart was breaking the whole time because we never eat from cans. And honestly, neither of my kids even knew that green beans came in a can or potatoes came in a box. This is something that I would love to see healthy food reach everyone regardless.
No canned fruits or veggies are bought and it is a great way to save money. Instead I shop for fresh produce in season.
I felt like to have a clean house it must smell like a clean house. Which meant it must smell like how we perceive a clean house to be – full of cleaning product chemicals.
Once we had kids, I realized how bad all of the traditional cleaning products are for our health.
Nowadays our cleaning products consist of the following:
- Microfiber cloths – I love these!
- Baking soda
- Essential oils
Some cleaning products I make my own. But, mostly we use the microfiber cloths the most.
Just a note… Yes, I keep clorox wipes in the house for the really bad sicknesses. But, thankfully, they don't need to be pulled out very often.
Pure convenience. That comes at a price. A steep price.
Buy snacks in bulk and divide them up into little containers. (our perfect sized containers). Also, I like to make a lot of our own snacks – specifically nut mixes.
The cost for precut fruits and veggies is outrageous! It is simple to cut up at home.
The biggest ripoff is buying cauliflower rice. Instead I use this to make my own and freeze. To save time, I buy 5-6 cauliflower heads at a time, chop it up and freeze. This tool makes it easier.
Besides frozen pizza, frozen dinners give me the creeps. I think they taste awful. Plus the cost is outrageous.
The deli section is just convenience at a high price. Have you done the math on making your own coleslaw and buying it from the deli. The difference may just shock you.
Sometimes I can get a deal where prepackaged snacks are cheaper than buying them in bulk. So, I will take advantage of the money saving deal and buy extra.
This Mom Will Admit… I still buy some packaged snacks for my kids when we are out and about or for school lunches. They have learned that those prepackaged snacks are for out of the house only. If they are hungry at home, look in the fruit bin first.
Shaving Cream or Gel
In all honesty, this is something I bought one time in my whole life. I hated it completely. Plus an extra product to store and an additional cost.
Instead I use body wash. It works just as well and I'm already washing with it. Others have said conditioner works well too.
Why spend money on extra things we don't truly need? But, have been taught by marketing experts that our lives will not be the same without them.
This is something I haven't bought in a really long time (even though my kids beg me all the time).
Potato chips are not filling. They don't have any quality ingredients. They may taste good and are very addicting.
But, what is the point of spending money when they don't fill your belly with quality nutritious food?
It is a simple thing to cross off your list and add nutritious nuts to make your own trail mixes.
How to Handle Paying Full Price
Anything that is full price I will wait for it to go on sale. I hate paying full price. It makes me cringe!
Don’t get me wrong I would love to have flat consistent prices on things – especially grocery items, but that isn’t going to happen. That is how businesses work and make their money – SALES.
So, instead I use the grocery stock up list. For other household items or clothes, I just decide what I am willing to pay in advance. (Learn how to shop for clothes on a budget.)
If I don't have time to wait for something to go on sale (like when our dishwasher broke), then I use price rewind which is a benefit on my credit card. Sometimes, the item never goes on sale; other times the price on appliances may drop $200. That is cash back in my pocket.
All in All – Stuff I Refuse to Buy
With my personal list of stuff I refuse to buy, it has saved us thousands of dollars each year. There is no doubt about it. That means we can reach financial freedom sooner.
Your list will be different from mine. And that is 100% completely okay.
In the end, how you spend your money is a choice.
My choice is to spend it on travel and experiences. So, don't judge me for having the cash available. Now, you have learned what I refuse to buy to save money.
We all have choices.
If you don't have a plan for your money, then that is a recipe for disaster. Learn the Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom. Then, you start building your strong foundation with money.
More Money Saving Posts:
- How to Budget Money and Still Enjoy Life
- How to Organize your Personal Finances in 8 Simple Steps
- 175+ Simple and Easy Frugal Living Tips to Save Money
- Money Mistakes To Avoid That Will Leave You Broke
- 12 painless Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget