My husband and I are currently throwing every extra dollar we can toward saving for our first home. We try to keep our budget as trim as possible, and giving up certain luxuries is a great way for us to save money.
That means giving up a lot of things that would be nice to have along the way—short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards and all that. Holding onto your dollars is hard work!
But it’s not all loss. In fact, sometimes we come up with even better ways to do things when we’re trying to avoid spending money! Or, we discover that we’re actually more content with less.
Maybe you have a savings goal you’re working toward and are looking for ways to trim down your spending. Hopefully this post will inspire a few ideas of your own.
Disclaimer: Everyone’s List is Unique!
As you read through this list, remember that these are just things that we’ve chosen to give up or to replace with something less expensive.
Everybody’s journey is different, so what works well for me and my family may differ from what works well for you and yours!
So much of this has to do with your family’s priorities. What do you value? What’s important to you?
Note: I’m definitely not suggesting that it’s frivolous or wrong to spend money on the things I’ve listed below! I’m adding this disclaimer is because I don’t want anyone to assume that I’m scolding them in any way. ;)
Remember, your list is unique to you!
The things we cut out of our budget will change as our family does, but this is where we’re at right now.
I’d love to know what kinds of things you choose not to spend money on. Leave a comment down below so that we can all benefit from your ideas! Benj and I are always searching for new ways to save money because every dollar makes a difference.
This list is all over the spectrum—from laundry products to vehicles—but I hope you’ll find it helpful.
15 Things We Don’t Spend Money On
1. New Cars
Don’t get me wrong— new cars are nice! We like new cars, but they’re just not something we feel the need to own right now.
Benj and I have personally decided that we will never finance a vehicle. It’s not because we don’t like the idea of owning nice vehicles, but because we’re committed to staying debt-free (apart from taking out a mortgage someday).
My dad has always preferred buying new cars, taking impeccable care of them (and by impeccable, I mean you’d mistake the interior of his 6-year-old car for a brand new car off the lot), and driving them until they die. It’s always impressed me!
There are benefits of being the first owner of a vehicle, but we’re okay with the tradeoffs right now. And if we ever do decide to purchase a new car, we’ll pay cash for it.
2. Cable or Satellite TV
The average cost of a cable bill is around $100 per month. That adds up to $1,200 every year! Having never actually paid a cable bill, that number surprised me.
Neither Benj nor I watched much tv growing up. We developed other interests as a result, and now prefer pursuing our hobbies or reading instead.
When we do watch something, we use Netflix, Amazon Video, or rent a movie through iTunes for a few dollars. I also enjoy watching videos on YouTube!
3. Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener
Last year, I discovered the magic of wool dryer balls! You just toss them into the dryer with a load of wet laundry.
Dryer balls shorten the drying time, soften your clothes, and reduce static. Plus, you can pick up a nice set for only $10 to $20.
These are the ones I use and they’ve held up really well!
If you’re worried about missing the scent of your dryer sheets and fabric softener, simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to your dryer balls. (All of those artificial fragrances and chemicals used in most dryer sheets are toxic anyway!)
4. Cell Phone Contracts
Around the time we got married, Benj and I switched to prepaid cell phone plans and haven’t looked back!
We now purchase our phones upfront instead of leasing them, and are free from having to sign any contracts. We’ve saved quite a bit of money over the past two years because of it.
Prepaid plans are simple and straightforward, and we avoid lots of extra fees. Currently, we use AT&T and only pay around $60 per month (including taxes) for our 2 iPhones. We get unlimited talk and text with a 1GB data allowance.
For a small price increase, we could raise our data sixfold. However, we’re trying to spend less time on our cell phones anyway, so it’s a great challenge that’s helping us to both save money and be more present.
5. DVDs and CDs
Benj and I own very few physical copies of DVDs and CDs. When we want to watch a movie that isn’t free on Netflix or Amazon Video, we’ll typically just rent it.
I’m sure we’ll be buying a few DVDs here and there as Jack gets older, but I doubt we’ll ever have much of a collection.
If we enjoy music enough to purchase it, we buy the digital version to support the artist. Otherwise, we like using the free version of Spotify, which gives us access to anything we want to listen to!
6. Lots of Household Cleaners and Products
I stick with a few tried and true household cleaning products. My logic on this one is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” :)
I’m happy with my current cleaning system, so I don’t feel the need to continually try different products.
While paper towels are a more convenient way to clean up messes, I try to use rags when I can. Norwex cleaning cloths are another way I use fewer paper towels. They’ve actually worked better than most cleaners for me, and they’re reusable!
7. Bottled Water
Besides not being good for the environment, bottled water can be expensive!
Benj and I each own two water bottles: a Kleen Kanteen and a Berkey Sport. We love them. They were an initial investment, but now we never need to buy disposable water bottles.
Before going out, we fill up our Kleen Kanteens with filtered water, which makes it easy to stay hydrated.
The Berkey Sport has its own high-quality filter, so we can fill our bottles anywhere (even in streams, if we need to) without worrying about the water quality. I love traveling with my Berkey for this reason.
8. Soda, Juice, and Other Sugary Drinks
Sugar-filled drinks are nice treats, but they’re not healthy to drink on a regular basis. They’re also pretty expensive, so we typically try to avoid buying them.
Instead, we prefer saving them for special occasions like celebrations, holidays, and parties. We enjoy them even more this way!
9. Alcoholic Drinks
Continuing on with the drink trend… I know this is a tough one for many people, but we mostly try to limit drinks to special occasions, celebrations, holidays, and parties—mainly because of the expense involved.
10. Manicures and Pedicures
Most women I know fall into two categories on this one: either they rarely (or never) get their nails done, or they go on a regular basis.
While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the few times I’ve had my nails professionally done, and would love to go more often, it’s just not something that’s making the cut right now.
At-home gel nail kits (with a UV light) or high-quality nail polish are cheaper alternatives if you’re trying to save some money.
11. Gym Memberships
Gyms are fantastic for many reasons, but they just don’t fit into our lifestyle right now.
Instead, we spend time outside, walk, or do indoor workouts, like yoga and T-Tapp. Benj is also into cycling and has a nice road bike he can make use of.
Rather than investing in a gym membership, you could buy a nice pair of walking or running shoes, a jogging stroller, a bicycle (with a bike trailer if you have little ones), or workout gear for much less. And don’t forget— there are thousands of free workout videos available on YouTube! You can find every kind of workout, from prenatal yoga to HIIT.
12. Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions
Subscriptions like these can really add up over time, especially if you’re subscribed to a few! Often, they’re underutilized or gradually ignored.
Instead of getting the local newspaper, we find our news online. Any magazines we enjoy reading can easily be borrowed from the library.
13. Monthly Subscription Boxes
There are some amazing subscription boxes available for pretty much everything under the sun! I’m often tempted by the ads that are always popping up in my social media feeds. (I’m looking at you, FabFitFun…)
One day, I would love to try some of these boxes out, but (sadly) that day has not yet come! If you’re signed up for any subscription boxes, you’ll probably want to regularly evaluate whether or not you’re loving what you receive each month (or quarter).
14. Extended Warranties
Instead of purchasing extended warranties, we prefer to assume the risk ourselves.
I’m sometimes influenced by fear when it comes to larger purchases. “What if this, that, or the other happens?” But it rarely makes sense from a financial perspective, so we just hold onto our money.
I’ve found that if something does go wrong, it typically falls within the standard manufacturer’s warranty anyway.
15. Full Price Movie Tickets
Benj and I were never frequent movie goers to begin with, but now that we have Jack, we go even less often. Since we’re only able to go out on dates occasionally, we normally prefer to spend that precious time connecting face to face, rather than staring at a screen.
But when we do go, we like to go on Tuesday nights when our favorite theaters offer discounted tickets ($5, baby)! Check and see if any of your local theaters have a discount night. Many do!
You can also hit up your local dollar theater, look for promotions offered through websites and apps, or purchase discounted tickets from Costco.
We also never spend money on snacks or drinks at the concession counter, but that’s another story.
What’s on Your List?
Remember to leave a comment down below with a few things you choose not to spend money on! We’re always looking for ways to cut our expenses so that we can put more money toward our future home.
Happy saving, y’all!