Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Things We Don't Buy

Amy Dacyczyn has always said that the concept of passive frugality was difficult to get across. Back when she was being interviewed regularly, photographers wanted to take pictures of her doing frugal activities like hanging laundry or baking bread.  

However, she felt like what she chose NOT to spend money on was most significant and had the greatest impact of her family's lifestyle. She wanted them to photograph her zooming past McDonald's without stopping or bypassing the junk food aisle at the grocery store. 

Things We Don't Buy

Technology - I don't keep up with technology. I make do with what I have until it stops working. Back when I had a desktop computer, I also had one of those huge monitors that went with it. I didn't like it because it took up so much room on my desk and I wanted one of the flat screen monitors, but I wouldn't buy one. I made do with that dinosaur for years, way past the time it was fashionable to do so, until the computer tower bit the dust. 

Insurance - I don't pay more for Insurance that necessary. I have two options when my Insurance comes due. I can pay $159 now or I can pay $89 in two installments. By paying the $159 now I am able to save myself $19 in the process. I drove my last car for 15 years (and still going strong), so I saved $855 over the lifetime of the car by paying it all at once. 

Paper Plates, Napkins, 
Plastic Forks, Spoons, Knives - I don't want to spend my hard earned money on something that is used once and then thrown away. I don't mind washing dishes, so that is what we do here. 

Beer, Wine, Coffee - I know people spend money on these items and I believe that it's up to each individual how to spend their money. As for me, I don't care for the taste of any of these, so I don't buy them. 

Soda PopI mostly drink water, but will drink a pop once in a blue moon. I do buy them every now and then for my daughter and I do keep Sprite on hand for sick tummies. Not buying them very often just happens to save me money. 

Magazines or Magazine Subscriptions - I have had many free magazine subscriptions, so much so that I have begun to dislike the majority of them. The only magazine I would pay for is Mother Earth News because I love it.  

Newspaper Subscriptions - I would pay for this if they delivered here, but they don't, so this is why it gets added to the list. ;)

Sports Equipment, Sports Tickets, Sports Training - My family is not interested in sports, so we don't spend any money in this category. We do have friends however who spend a great deal of money for their children to have sports training. 

Fundraisers - As a substitute teacher I am asked on a regular basis to buy items for fundraisers. Depending upon what it is, I may or may not buy it. 

Last year when the basketball team was selling Cokes, which we do not drink, I asked the coach how much money the team made out of a single sale. 

The Cokes were on sale for $22 and the team made $3.00 from the sale of each one. I donated $10 in the name of the student who asked me and felt like that was a good compromise. 

School Pictures - We do not always buy school pictures. My daughter's senior photo session turned out to be very upsetting to her and it shows in her photos. They were just awful, so I did not buy any of them this year.  

Individual Frozen Dinners - These are expensive for the amount of food they give you, so not a very good deal money wise. 

Cable TV - I enjoy watching reruns of old TV shows, so we usually trade for them at McKay's Used Books and I watch them on my DVD player, so no money spent for cable TV. 

Landline Telephone - I pay $70 a month for mine and my daughter's cell phones. It also serves as an alarm clock, address book, and calendar. Like so many other people, I do not see a need for a landline, so I do not pay for one. 

Lottery Tickets - The odds of winning are so slim that I am better off keeping any money I would spend on lottery tickets. 

Vacations - If we had a bigger income, we might go on vacations, but honestly I don't like driving that far away from home, so for now we don't spend money on vacations. 

Manicures & Pedicures - I know some people who spend $25.00 to get their nails done. I think those are really nice and if I had the extra money I would consider it, but for now I can take that $25 and put it to use on something that we need rather than something we want. 

Making a list like this from time to time is useful and helps me to make better choices for our financial situation. 

Living within my means.


  1. I love reading others' "don't buy" lists.

    In our house, we don't keep up with most of the tech stuff. My husband and kids have "dumb" phones, and I still don't have a cell phone. I keep thinking maybe I should get one. But as it turns out, when I am going someplace and I think I might need a phone, there's usually one in the family that I can borrow for the moment. We never did have a gaming system, when our kids were growing up. Still don't have cable (in almost 30 years of marriage, we have never bought cable), netflix, or any other paid TV/movies service. We borrow dvds from the library (our library is one of those that has a great selection of dvds).

    I only buy paper plates and plastic cutlery, for road trips. And actually, we wash plastic cutlery, so I haven't bought any new packages in about 15 years. We use cloth dinner napkins, even for picnics. I couldn't imagine buying a lottery ticket. That just sounds like throwing money away to me. I don't drink soda pop, either. The cola drinks all give me a headache. My kids don't seem to miss them, either. If I had my choice, I'd choose a juice over a soda.

    But I have to admit, I do like good coffee. But I don't need a k-cup machine to make myself a good cup of coffee. I don't buy TV dinners. Like you think, it feels like such a waste for so little actual food. I've never had a professional manicure or a pedicure. We don't have a newspaper subscription. We wouldn't read the whole thing, so I would feel we weren't getting our money's worth. Instead, when I want news, I find it online. (newspapers, however, can be seen as a very good deal if you're using the paper after reading, for other purposes, like mulching a garden, lining a pet cage or shredding to use in place of cat litter.)

    We don't buy new cars. We buy 2 or 3 year old models, and drive them till they die of old age.

    The funny thing with all of these things that we don't spend our money on, is that I never feel deprived, as a result.

  2. Oh, that is a good one, Lili. I also have a dumb phone. I need it to get calls for subbing throughout the school day. During the summer, I rarely have it with me. lol

    We have had Netflix a few times, but the last time we had it my daughter would keep movies for weeks, and so it never paid to have it, so I quietly cancelled the service and she has never noticed! lol

    Those K cup coffees seem expensive to me. I don't know if I could justify that or not. They are very popular though.

    We do the same thing with cars. I've never had a new car. In fact, I've had 4 cars in my whole life and 2 of them I still have and still drive regularly. One of them has over 200,000 miles on it and like you, I will drive it until it dies of old age. lol

    Good for you for not feeling deprived. I have to say I am very content and happy with my life. I love what I do for a living and have good relationships with so many people. It's a good feeling, and nothing that money can buy. :)

  3. Passive frugality wins at my household, too. Family size, age, health, region in which one lives, and other circumstances can limit passive frugality.

    Gas, electric, and sewer rat control bill for the past month was $89.xx. Meals are homemade except for a monthly luncheon meeting DH attends. Water, sewage, and trash pickup are on separate bill.

    After reading blog and posts, I reviewed personal lists of how we pare down costs and added more to explore. Thanks again.

    1. You are always tweeking your budget, Anna, which is one of the best ways to be frugal. Amy D preached about writing down every little thing you spend money on and it will open your eyes. Of course, we already know this, don't we? :)


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