Things I Don’t Buy Anymore

For years, I’ve been tracking every cent I spend and looking for ways to reduce my expenses. You’d think I’d have found every shortcut by now of what to not buy. But I continue to add to the list of things I don’t buy. 

But as my life evolved from life-long student to working mother, as I learned more about personal finance, as my values changed to include acknowledging the impact my actions have on my world, and as I find that I am happier with less, I also discovered new ways to save and minimized lifestyle inflation.

I started by cutting some of the obvious items, such as $120.77/mo for cable and a similar cost for two phone lines. Then I realized the importance of also reducing the smaller recurring costs, including $40/mo in soda and $14/mo for streaming TV. Now my family is learning more about how to DIY and easy ways to prepare food on our own rather than buying pre-packaged or pre-made. 

One-by-one, I’ve made changes to reduce my expenses. In most cases, they’ve also improved my health and reduced my waste.

Here are some of the things I no longer buy

Cell phone contract (replaced with monthly pre-paid plan)

Cable TV (replaced with YouTube, free streaming, or HD antenna)

Anything from vending machines

Anything from convenience stores (except on Free Slurpee Day)

Tissues (unless someone’s ill)

Paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery

Plastic baggies

Plastic storage containers

Bottled water, Soda, Iced tea, Juice

Coffee filters (I got a reusable one)

Individually wrapped items

Plastic pots for propagating plants (I put my succulents in old plastic containers until ready to pot)

Shredded cheese (we buy the block and shred ourselves)

Canned beans (we buy dried)

Taco seasoning (we make our own)

Pasta sauce (we make our own)

Broth (we make our own using vegetable scraps)

Guacamole or salsa (we make our own)

Basil (we grow our own)

Meals at Sit-down Restaurants (unless with friends or on special occasions)

Memberships for gyms/salons (though I do join organizations I value, e.g. PTA)

Newspapers or magazines

Coupons (yes, some people buy coupons)

Services I don’t pay others to do

Trim my grass or trees

Trim my nails

Color my hair

Rub my back

Carry food from a kitchen to my table

Clean my pool

Clean my house

Deliver food to my home

Individually wrap each ingredient in plastic and mail it to me

Run my errands

Change my oil

Put gas in my car

Repair or replace (most) appliances

Pressure wash the house

Wash my car

Watch my kids (we moved closer to family)

Wash/dry clean my clothes

Wipe my butt*

Keep track of my continuing education hours


To be honest, many of these services are performed by my “I’ll look it up and figure out how to do it” husband. Without him, I’m certain I would need to hire help for at least some of these tasks. But I am grateful that my partner and I agree on a financial plan that includes doing things ourselves whenever possible. It keeps us skilled, strong, and out of debt!

*I am considering getting a bidet, so this might change.


What other things have you been cutting out of your expenses?

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8 thoughts on “Things I Don’t Buy Anymore”

  1. Nice one! there are so many things you can do yourself rather than paying someone to do them. I am a big advocate of outsourcing things like mowing the lawns and washing the car.

    1. Thanks Rohan! My husband and I got great workouts this weekend from washing the car and pulling weeds. As a bonus to saving money by not outsourcing, we also don’t need gym memberships!

  2. An inspiring list of items! We haven’t had cable TV in over 20 years, and rarely purchase tissues or paper towels. I whipped out my sewing machine & made a bunch of cloth napkins that get used over & over.
    All of your food related tips are great – not only do beans, tomato sauce & veggie broth cost little to make homemade, it’s also healthier to make these items yourself. You can avoid all sorts of weird additives like “powdered cellulose” to prevent caking (powdered cellulose = wood pulp) and mold inhibitors in grated cheese, by grating your own cheese.
    I was just about to head out to my garden to harvest basil for pesto. Another great thing to make yourself.

    1. Thank you Baby Boomer Super Saver! We haven’t tried making our own pesto before. We’ll have to try that. I also love the points you made about cheese. We recently included that in They Put What in Cheese?! I can’t believe what strange ingredients they are putting in foods these days! It’s good motivation for keeping our gardens growing.

    1. Thanks Money Beagle! Yes, personal finance really is personal. As our lives change over time, how we each choose to spend our money also changes. This list is a living document for me and I know things will constantly be added and removed. I hope we can all be inspired by others regarding the financial choices we make.

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