10 Things we DON’T Spend Money On

posted by Andrea | 11/22/2010


Since I started my business nearly 3 years ago, my #1 goal has always been helping my clients to create their best life by simplifying and organizing {big shocker!} At times this has been a bit overwhelming; but for the most part, I really enjoy what I do and the fact that I am able to de-stress so many people on a weekly basis — honestly, I should be a therapists!!

And throughout the years, one of the main questions I have been asked {besides if I color-code my closet} is how I simplify our spending, organize our budget, and reduce our expenses.

Wow…that’s a biggie!

Photo Credit: Arvind Balaraman

OK, so I know that every family and situation is completely different, and I am by no means going to tell you how to spend YOUR money. Instead, I’ll simply explain a few choices my husband and I have made to drastically reduce our expenses, improve our budget, and simplify our finances.

Sound good?

First of all, for those of you who don’t know me — I’m obsessed with shopping the sales, using coupons, and finding rebates. These choices save us a nice chunk of change every year, but today, I want to talk about how we save money and simplify our budget by NOT SPENDING {imagine that!}

Let me explain:

When we first got married in 2006, my parents suggested that we try to live off 50% {or less} of our income. That way, we would build up a savings account and if one of us lost our job, we would still be able to manage.

Great advice — except neither one of us made very much money working for non-profit organizations.

However, we figured my parents probably knew what they were talking about {don’t you just hate it when your parents are right!} so we decided to give it a try. But in order to do so, we had to live simply and limit any extra expenses.

So we decided not to spend money on the following things:

Warning — you’re about to see just how cheap we really are!!!

UPDATE: after many life changes, a new house, a new baby, etc. we now do spend money on some of these things :)

1. Restaurants:

I know, this is a big one, but we almost NEVER spend money going out to eat. We do occationally go out to eat, but only if we have a gift card and we use BOGO coupons to make our gift cards last even longer.

2. Magazines, Books, DVD’s, etc:

We don’t subscribe to any magazines, we don’t buy books, we don’t buy or rent DVD’s, and we don’t subscribe to any online movie programs like Netfix. I do get one magazine as a gift and we subscribe to a few free catalogs.

Plus we have a library right down the street from our house, a library at church, and a library at Dave’s school so we can get tons of magazines, books, DVD’s, etc. for FREE. And the best part is, we can return them once we’re finished, which means no clutter in our home!

3. Fancy Electronics:

We don’t pay for fancy cell phones, GPS systems, MP3 players,  Bluerays, DVR’s, HDTV’s, or anything that starts with an ” i “. We only get the free phones that are offered through Verizon every 2 years and we don’t pay for any type of data plan — no text messaging or internet access for us!

We get the most basic internet package from AT&T…and we recently broke down and “splurged” on the basic {23 channels} cable package when our antenna stopped working!

4.  Computer Warranties & Programs:

We get excellent deals on our computers so the warranties are often just as much as the computers — which means it’s probably not necessary to have  the warranty. We also don’t purchase any anti-virus, spyware, software, etc. because we get it all for free online.

Visit Ninite.com to download all kinds of free programs, tools, gadgets, and security essentials.

5. Cleaning Products & Services:

Yes, you read that right — we don’t spend money on cleaning products or services! I am not brand loyal so I simply use anything I can get for free after rebate or for free with a coupon (which is a lot!). I make all our own rags, and I borrow a friend’s steam cleaner for my heavy cleaning — which only uses water.

We don’t pay for any type of cleaning service…however Dave definitely does his fair share of cleaning!

6. Alcohol, Pop, Coffee, and other Fancy Drinks:

OK, let me just assure you that we are NOT against drinking alcohol, pop, coffee, or any other fancy beverages…we’re just cheap!

We don’t pay for drinks at restaurants, and we only buy coffee when we have gift cards or when I redeem my Swagbucks. I never buy wine, beer, alcohol, pop, coffee, or tea from the grocery store unless we have company over AND I can get an amazing deal.  I make my own hot chocolate, I get free coffee after rebate, and believe it or not, I’ve even gotten great rebates on alcohol from Rite Aid!!

7.  Toiletries:

Don’t worry, we still wear deoderant and wash our hair…we just use products I get for free!  As I mentioned before, we are not brand loyal and are satisfied to use whatever I can get for free with rebates, coupons, and sales.

So far, in 2010, I have only spent $3.60 on toiletries — and we have bathroom cabinets filled with extra hair products, make-up, shaving necessities, toothpaste, toilet paper, and more. I also give bags of toiletries away to our church and other community organizations every year.

8. Recycling:

When we first bought our home and started looking into utility companies, we soon realized that recycling was expensive. We still wanted to do our part to be environmentally friendly so I looked around on the web and found loads of free recycling plants in our area. So, every couple of months I deposit our recycling on my drive to work. It takes me about 5 extra minutes and cuts our garbage bill in half!

9. Lawn Care, Plants, and Snow Service:

We do all our own mowing, edging, raking, blowing, weeding, spraying, plowing, shoveling, etc. Yes, it takes time, but we enjoy it…and those services are super expensive.

I’ve also managed to get nearly ALL the plants in our yard for FREE!! How? I found a ton on Craigslist – all for free! I also made friends with our neighbors and offered to split their plants in exchange for a few free sections — they readily agreed! After 2 years, I ended up with so many plants that I was able to give a bunch of them away!

10. Interest, Finance Charges, and Late Fees:

Yup, I’m ending with a big one — but have you ever really looked into how much money you waste on interest, finance charges, and late fees?

Aside from our home and a few student loans we had early on, we don’t buy anything unless we have the cash. We still use credit cards for all our purchases, but at the end of the month, we pay them off — in full.

11. Clothes:

OK, just one more! I just had to throw this one in because in 2009, Dave and I decided not to spend any money on clothes — and we succeeded! We did ask for a few items for Christmas, but other than that, we went an entire year without purchasing any clothing or accessories. And it wasn’t even that difficult to do!
So these are just a few of the things we choose NOT to spend money on, and believe me — it really adds up! Each year, we’ve manage to live off LESS THAN 50% of our income, mainly because we just don’t spend our money. We use the extra 50% to build up our savings, pay down our mortgage, invest, and plan for retirement.

Now again, let me reiterate that my intent is not to tell you how to spend YOUR money. I’m just trying to answer all the questions I get about how we simplify our budget and reduce expenses.

So what can you do to start saving more and spending less?

I’m no financial expert, but my advice would be to start small and pick ONE area that to focus on. Maybe you can reduce your grocery budget by $10.00 a week, or only go out to eat once per month. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s do-able for you and your family…and then commit to sticking to it for several weeks. And remember, every little bit helps!

What do you do to simplify your budget?

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119 comments

  1. Kathy

    11/24/2010

    I am doing better with coupons and save us money. I would like to know how to get cleaning products & toiletries for free. I am not brand loyal when it comes to these products and save but haven’t gotten it for free. Please help!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Scrubbing Bubbles has TONS of BOGO coupons. I wait for the products I want to go on sale (sometimes BOGO) and then use the BOGO coupons so they are all free.

    Walgreen’s and Rite Aid have great rebates on these types of products as well.

    And here is a link to some of my favorite coupon resources: http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2010/10/04/my-favorite-coupon-resources/

    Let me know if you have other questions…hopefully this helps!!

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    Thanks so much! I just printed a bunch of Scrubbing Bubbles coupons before you told me this, but none are BOGO :( I will keep on the look out!

    [Reply]

  2. Nina

    11/24/2010

    im wondering if you can give more info about your computer deals. I’m in the market for a laptop but balking at the price. I have slot of computer savvy friends and as long as people keep up to date on their updates w free programs you should be as fine as norton it’s just that most people don’t and/ or expose themselves to viruses.

    Coupons overwhelm me the whole 2/3 50cents or whatever… And then do you literally get in line 3 times? Same place, same cheaper and they don’t care? Just seems so strange to me.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Nina,
    first of all, when it comes to computer deals, I’m VERY patient. It took me over a year to find a great deal on our first laptop!

    I’ve had the best luck with Staples…and I wait until they offer the deal to trade in an old computer. I can usually find a free or nearly free computer somewhere among family or friends, and then I trade that in to get another $50 -$100 off the already low price. And there is usually a rebate to go with it too

    I also exchange all my ink cartridges at Staples ($3-$5 each) and then use that money towards my purchases.

    [Reply]

  3. WenDee Riffe

    11/25/2010

    Actually–I did need the optifree. I use it as well as my son and husband and that was an awesome price. I also needed the deodorant and 99c is great for secret. Now~~the candles I didn’t need. I am using them at Christmas for a Christmas party. Now the tissues~~~what’s your thoughts on those!!?? They were marked way down but I do see that as I am throwingmy money away!!?? Should we go back to the hankies!!?? Lol!!!

    How do you start out with 0 out of pocket!!??

    Thanks—

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    WenDee, it is difficult to start out with $0 out of pocket…but I often do this by transferring a prescription and then getting a $25 gift card for doing so. Then I use this gift card to supplement my coupons and rebates to achieve my $0 out of pocket goals!

    We do buy tissues when they go on sale and have coupons…otherwise we just use toilet paper!

    Just keep plugging away and really think about each purchase and if you actually need it. However, if it’s totally free, then you can give it away even if you don’t need it!

    [Reply]

  4. Krista

    11/25/2010

    I totally agree with all these points (even making your own cleaning products is safer and mostly cheaper!) except for the one about toiletries…
    I’m really concerned about what chemicals we put into and on our bodies including our food and cosmetics. For this reason I will NOT buy name brand or even cheap off brand stuff. It has to be organic and the smaller ingredient list the better. Now, I don’t wear make-up but once a week and I am the only girl in the house so our bill is pretty low anyway, but that is one thing I’m not willing to compromise on. I’m hoping it will save on health care in the long run and just keep us healthier as a family. ;)
    Oh, and my hubby subscribes to NetFlix, but it’s the cheapest version and he pays for it out of his own allowance so I can’t complain!

    [Reply]

  5. 10 Things Not to Spend Money On (^_^) « L.A. COUPON MOM

    11/25/2010

    [...] 10 Things we DON’T Spend Money ON: Simple Organized Living. [...]

  6. 10 Things we DON'T Spend Money On « Simple Organized Living | Daily Money Saving Ideas

    11/25/2010

    [...] And just remember to start small. Try saving $3-6 each week … … Link: 10 Things we DON'T Spend Money On « Simple Organized Living ← Great Freebies for Busy Frugal [...]

  7. Joanna @ Starving Student Survivor

    11/25/2010

    You’re so cool. I saw the post title on Money Saving Mom and thought my usual, “Yeah, okay, let’s see what she’s got.” I kind of have this little competition when anyone says they’re frugal and then they say stupid things like “Brown bag your lunch” or “Watch out for those ATM fees.” But you passed the test. I nodded all the way down your list. Only differences: I live in an apartment so I don’t pay for any yard care; and I have yet to master the Drugstore game, so I pay a little more for toilet paper. But I have resorted to using baking soda instead of buying deodorant and shampoo!

    Thanks for being an awesome saver.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Aww, thanks Joanna!
    Yes, we’re pretty intense when it comes to living a simple, frugal life! I’m so glad I meet your high standards :)

    [Reply]

  8. Sarah

    11/26/2010

    I am just wondering if you have kids. With three children ages 3, 2, and 9 months I wonder if I can avoid buying clothes for a whole year. Mostly shoes as they seem to out grow them every 3 weeks!

    [Reply]

    mindy Reply:

    most likely not :) One thing I do is go to one of our local thrift stores when they have bag sales 2x a month. $4 and fill a grocery bag with any clothes and shoes. I get clothes sizes bigger – some are play clothes and I have found some very, very nice “good” clothes. I bet I have only spent $200 on new clothes and shoes for our son, who is now six. Everything else is thrift or brought from friends sales.

    I usually go every other month and there are times I need other things and will find amazing prices on good clothes. And he does wear real nice clothes as I am kinda picky for him. HTH

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Mindy, this is exactly what I was going to suggest!

    Sarah, we do not have any children yet but I do work with lots of women with small children and I always suggest going through the kid’s closets on a regular basis to take out anything that does fit. Then take those clothes to the donation center and purchase the next size up. This way, you never have piles of un-used clothes cluttering up your home, and you don’t feel bad getting rid of the clothes because you hardly paid anything for them.

    Another frugal idea might be to find a family with children who are just a few years older than yours and ask if you can buy {or have} their children’s clothes as they grow out of them. I see this work all the time!

    However, when it comes to adult clothing, I honestly think you can go for at least a year without buying something new. You might have to get creative, but it’s a GREAT way to save!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    And don’t forget consignment shops!!! I just took in a a couple bags of clothes (not a consignment shop, but a thrift store that buys clothes in our town) and made $40 credit for trade in. That equaled 3 pairs of jeans. They would have only given me $25 cash, but that would have only bought one pair of jeans for my teen son on a clearance rack at Kohl’s. I’ll take the three used ones instead. And if you have the time and brand names you can always sell on ebay as well.

    My kids are teens now (three 17 and one 14), I rarely bought them clothes when they were little. We almost always received hand me downs. You need to let people know you are willing to take them though. Often people don’t want to offend you by offering. I miss all those hand me downs.

    I think we are going to try the year with no cloths, I just have to get my teen daughter on board : )

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, consignment shops are a great way to recoup some of your hard earned money AND get a great deal on other gently used clothes. Definitely a win-win for teen clothing!

    [Reply]

  9. KP

    11/26/2010

    I need your advice. Everything you wrote I could have wrote, since we do every one one of those things to save money, yet, we are barely squeaking by. We have 4 small kids (oldest is 6 and the youngest is 2 months), so I suppose a lot of our income goes to caring for them. But, I am wondering how you do it? We can’t save 10% (much less 50%!) after the bills are paid even when we do all those suggestions above and then some. We live in a part of the country where the cost of living is much higher than where you live, so maybe that is part of it, too. We also live in an old house (a part of it is 225+ years old), so of course there are renovations and such to take care of. We have cut out everything that is not necessary.

    We have mental checklist for every purchase and go in this order.
    Do I need it?
    No – stop right there and don’t buy it.
    Yes – 1) Can I do without it for little longer?
    (If the answer is “no” for any answer we go to the next line)
    2) Is there anything I already have that I can substitute for this need?
    3) Can I make what I need?
    4) Can I borrow it from someone?
    5) Can I get it at a thrift shop?
    6) Can I get it on sale with a coupon?

    I just don’t know where else to cut and still have more of a disposable income or extra money to save. I know the Lord will provide and have seen Him provide when things looked hard.

    Thank you for your blog! I found you from moneysavingmom.com. I so need some organization around here. I joke and say that before I had kids I was a very Type A personality. Now I am way down the alphabet at a Z! :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Honestly, it sounds like you are doing a great job of budgeting and eliminating any unnecessary expenses. Even though you might only be saving 10% — that is still a lot better than going further into debt!

    I think the main differences between your situation and our situation are just what you mentioned: you live in a more expensive location than we do, you have 4 kids (we don’t have any), and I’m guessing you only have 1 income (while we have 2). These are huge differences!

    One thing I might suggest, is to see if there is any way you can start bringing in a little more income. Is there a job you can do from home? Can you work a few hours over the weekend? Then, any additional income you make can help you build up your savings account.

    You also mentioned that you live in a very old home — would you ever consider moving to a smaller, less expensive home? I LOVE old houses too, but if it has become a financial burden, you might want to weight the pros and cons of your home.

    Unfortunately, these are the only suggestions I have for you right now. Keep plugging away and saving as much as you can…then look for ways to bring in a little more money. Every little bit helps — and you are right, God always provides!

    [Reply]

    KP Reply:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write back.

    We do have only one income. My husband can’t get another job part-time as his current job sometimes requires him to be called back to work afterhours or weekends. I also homeschool, so as for me getting a part time job, right now it is not something I can do – I have so much on my plate. And with having a newborn, I am still not getting a decent night’s sleep and am nursing frequently. Perhaps if the kids were older I could do that. We have considered it a possibility in a few years.

    We lived in a very small 2 bedroom ranch before this house and lived there for 6 years, knowing it was just our starter home, and planning on buying a bigger house in the country someday. We had to move when I was pregnant with our third. The house was just not big enough. We bought this house 2 years ago, and it is our dream home. It had everything we were looking for and the buying price was right. We have put so much money, time and love into this house to fix it up, and this is where we are planning to stay until we die. :) We have suspended all projects for the time being unless they are really necessary.

    I’ll be recommending your blog to several people. You have some fantastic ideas and it is a very refreshing, encouraging blog to read.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow…you DO have a lot on your plate!

    Honestly, it sounds like you are doing everything you can do right now. Once your children are a bit older, there might be more possibilities, but for now, you need to focus on taking care of your family, teaching your children, and everything else that goes along with being “mom”.

    And I would never tell you you to give up your dream house — we just purchased ours and are moving in 3 weeks so I totally know how you feel about it! I just thought I would throw it out there as a possible way to decrease your expenses!

    Thanks again for all your kind words. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

    [Reply]

  10. Kris

    11/26/2010

    Great post! I’m always trying to find the best deal for cell phones and wondered if you would you mind sharing how much you spend a year on cell phones with your Verizon plan. We’ve been using Tracfones and mostly use it just to communicate with in our family for 1-4 minute calls. We spend about $120 a year for my phone and $175 for my husband. Is your plan cheaper?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kris,

    I mentioned in a previous post that we’ve been with Verizon for several years now and we love their service. We get free phones every 2 years and Verizon has excellent coverage. However, we do spend quite a bit more on our cell phone bill than you do — about $60/month (for both of our phones combined)

    Keep in mind we do not have a land line AND I use my phone for business purposes as well. We use several thousand minutes EACH MONTH!

    I’ve done my research and Verizon is simply the best deal, with the best plan, and the best coverage for our needs. If you are happy with your current plan, then I would stick with it!

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    We saved quite a bit on our cell phone bill this summer. We added both my cell phone and my husband’s cell phone onto my parents bill. We write them a check every month for our portion (since ATT has add a phone line for $10 each….we write them a check for $30, which also covers any additional minutes we might use), and since I am self-employed, I can write this expense off. So my suggestion might be that you look into combining a “family plan” with extended family or really close friends. We’ve discussed the data plans, knowing it was a complete splurge, totally unnecessary. We are truthfully still discussing it, but reading your blog post encourages me to maybe wait just a little bit longer, build our savings a bit more, finish that darn bathroom renovation first…lol.

    [Reply]

  11. Great Article “10 Things We Don’t Spend Money On” | AZ Best Coupons

    11/26/2010

    [...] 10 Things We Don’t Spend Money On from a Blogger named “Simple Organized Living”.  She’s got me thinking about some goals I can make for myself in 2011. Subscribe via Email Enter your email to receive daily updates: Family of 5 on $80 A Week Can a family of 5 eat well on just $80 a week, including 1 in diapers? Follow me each week as I take out $80 in cash and post my progress here. Coupon Links Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes // [...]

  12. 10 Things to Not Spend Money On | Coupon Kutters blog

    11/26/2010

    [...] Andrea at Simple Organized Living has written a wonderful article titled “ 1o Things We Don’t Spend Money on“   [...]

  13. Weekend Wanderings

    12/04/2010

    [...] Andrea is a girl after my own tightwad heart:  10 Things We Don’t Spend Money On [...]

  14. Teresa

    12/04/2010

    Hi Andrea,

    I was wondering which sites do you buy your gift cards? Can you get them at a discounted price?
    Thanks.

    Great article, btw.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t usually “buy” gift cards…we just get them as gifts. I also get free gift cards for coffee shops by redeeming some of my Swagbucks (see my sidebar for more info).
    However, if you are looking to purchase gift cards, I would suggest http://www.restaurant.com — you can get $25 gift cards for $10 or less!

    [Reply]

  15. Wendy Mihm

    12/20/2010

    This is incredibly impressive — especially your challenge to not buy a single article of clothing for yourself for an entire year! I am in the process of launching a finance website targeting women called http://www.financialrx.com/ where I try to help them to achieve a healthy, happy financial life. I have to admit that, though I’m dispensing advice on how to be frugal, I’m not sure that I could do that myself, but your example is so inspiring that I think I am going to give it a try…

    [Reply]

  16. Lori

    01/29/2011

    I’m a frugal too. Even though we could afford not to be, it’s a fun challenge to me to save as much as possible and I feel like since I don’t bring in much income (SAHM) I can at least contribute to the family by saving what my hubby brings home. One other suggestion is if you need clothes, I have gotten clothes at Gap/Old Navy/others for about as cheap as I could get them at a thrift store. I go to their clearance and often they’ll have 40% off coupons or just store-wide sales and combine that with their clearance prices and you can spend very little for a new wardrobe or just a shirt!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    My mom is the same way Lori — and that’s where I learned many of my frugal shopping tips! I too love a good challenge AND saving money so I always try to get the best deal possible…eve if I don’t “have to”.

    And thanks for the tips about Old Navy and Gap. If we do go shopping, we ONLY shop on the clearance racks…but we just don’t need that many clothes right now! So the main reason I’m “not shopping” is because we don’t want the extra clutter — the savings are just an added benefit!

    [Reply]

  17. saving money: one month down « iCate

    02/01/2011

    [...] november which spoke of items a certain frugal family never pays for. i was intrigued. click here to read it. subsequently, i spent time over the holidays reviewing our 2010 budget. specifically, i [...]

  18. Lisa

    10/20/2011

    People are always so surprised that I have kids and don’t eat out and don’t have tv or internet. I’m a librarian–we USE the library for dvds. Occasionally I relent for a few months and we’ll subscribe to Netflix for a while, but when no one knows what they want to watch again I shut it off for several months. Why pay more for bad food? If I want a treat I’ll save up and go to a GREAT restaurant–not a chain unless, like you, we get a gift card! When the kids were younger we got tons of hand-me-downs and they never cared. We do have pre-paid cell phones, but text only since that’s what teens like. Much cheaper! I make laundry soap–one batch lasts 6 months so it’s not a big deal.

    Excellent post!

    [Reply]

    nina Reply:

    do you have a recipe for your laundry soap? i have been thinking of making my own. we are a family of 6 and even with coupons i am still spending a pretty penny on laundry products

    [Reply]

    Edith K. Reply:

    I have been using HM laundry soap for several months now. I was using Wisk, and have seen no difference in my clothes since we switched (only in my wallet!). I have plans to switch to the HM clothes softner after I finish using the Downy I bought on sale. Both the recipes and others can be found at http://thefrugalgirls.com/homemade-cleaners.com

    [Reply]

  19. Liz

    01/25/2012

    This whole site is just inspirational. Makes me want to leave work, rush home and start getting my home in order and save money. I could use some advice about coupons. I have a weakness for them, but find I end up spending more with coupons than I normally would have… HELP!

    [Reply]

  20. Heather

    02/11/2012

    How in the world did you go a whole year without buying clothes???? Wow! I want to do that!
    Heather

    [Reply]

  21. Adriana

    02/27/2012

    thanks for share!

    [Reply]

  22. Rochelle

    02/27/2012

    We also use credit cards and pay off the balance in full every month. The nice thing about this is you can use your “cash back” bonuses to get restaurant or clothing store gift cards for free. I have even gotten gift cards to Shutterfly, which I just redeemed for a free photo book & still have some more to spend the next time there is a sale :). Also when you redeem your “cash back” bonus in the form of gift cards you actually get more money back then if you take the cash.

    [Reply]

  23. Madonna J

    02/28/2012

    I don’t understand how people can get so many toiletries for free. I never see any coupons for more than $0.35 or maybe $0.50. If I’m really lucky I’d find a bogo, but free? Never. I’ve never found a store in Austin, Texas that will still double their coupons. And most stores won’t let you use coupons on items already on sale and then put everything on “fake” 10-15% off sales so you can’t use coupons. Am I missing something? I want in on the deals!!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Madonna, I get all of mine free at CVS by combining their sales, extra buck program, store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Then when I earn the extra bucks I spend them on more extra buck items. I also earn my CVS gift cards free online so that I never pay out of budget at CVS. I knot only get free toiletries but much of my food and all of my vitamins and over the counter medicines. I have learned to save so much I started a blog just about CVS with weekly deals and lots of lessons and tips so others can learn to do it, too. Many shoppers do the same with the programs at Rite Aid or Walgreens and there are great blogs and couponing sites out there that give all the details of how.

    [Reply]

  24. Sherrie Hagenhoff

    03/11/2012

    We’re kin folk! We don’t feel deprived, we do feel satisfaction for the self discipline it takes to live this way. Money saved is money we can use on ministry or when others need help. We aren’t stressed about money all the time. And we save for retirement. We have more than we need and more than we even want. Thanks for putting it into words so well. Ok-confession- we DO splurge on coffee and I make sugar free drink mixes by the pitcher and frozen juices. Too funny I have to guess that you don’t buy LOTTERY tickets! Figured that might be the first! followed by cigarettes. The people I know who are most stressed about money and think they are the poorest (because they are) are the ones who buy those and everything else on your list.

    [Reply]

  25. Pearl

    03/13/2012

    Free magazine actually do exist! I get Better Homes and Garden and Fitness magazines FREE through Coke rewards. (If you work in an office environment, just snag those Coke bottle caps and box codes from the recycling bins.) And for those who own Kindle devices, I can also access my 2 magazines for FREE electronic through it. Win – win!!!

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  26. Crystal @ Blissful Homemaking

    03/23/2012

    We are VERY bad about going out to eat. We also do buy soda. Other than that, we follow your list. We are trying very hard not to eat out. Once my second child was born, it was a lot harder to stay organized. I am trying to get organized again, hence why I started my blog.

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  27. Denise Best

    01/13/2013

    We’ve never spent a penny on gambling or traveling to gambling destinations!

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  28. Not thrifty Just nifty

    02/14/2013

    The thing is to remember that it is not about what you give up, but what you get in return!

    I do not use coupons because I have found that they lead me to buy things I ordinarily would avoid. I cook only fresh never frozen foods and do not ever buy prepackaged anything. The only premade thing I buy is sandwich bread, because honestly it is cheaper and I am too lazy to cook loaves of normal white bread.

    I also avoid buying the latest gadgets, however a smartphone to me is a complete paradigm shift and something that i would never want to live without. From being able to access apps that pinpoint where the cheap gas is near my location, to being able to scan items in a cookbook and where to buy odd ingredients close to my house being shown; the smartphone is a true game changer. Add to this the usefulness of always having an mp3 player, internet access, youtube, and video games close at hand, the smartphone is invaluable for those with young and easily bored children… in fact is saves you tons of money instead of paying for impulse purchases to stave off boredom!

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  29. Sarah Thompson

    04/19/2013

    Hmmm…. Don’t you now have not only two iPhones but an Ipad? Confused.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Sarah, this post was written over TWO years ago — life changes :)
    Our income is higher, our student loans are paid off, and I run a full-time web-based business from home… so the “tools” I need and use on a daily basis are much different than they were 2.5 years ago.

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  30. Julie

    01/03/2014

    I am just curious as to exactly what you mean by living off of less than 50% of your income. My husband and I recently bought a house and it has significantly changed the inflow/outflow of your money (rent was $850, mortgage payment is almost $1700!). We were doing very well at saving prior to buying our house, but not so much now. Our income will essentially stay the same, but our expenses have sky-rocketed—water, electricity,heat—EVERYTHING. I also have student loans still (we are barely in our mid-20s), and we pay significant money on them as well each month–way over the minimum payment. Do you not consider the extra money paid on that as living on less than 50% of your income? Also, you always talk about free toiletries/hair products/cleaning products. I live in the Chicagoland area. Any suggestions on how to get me plugged into some of these deals?? Just trying to help us not spend a few dollars,and put a few more of them away for another day!

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