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: https://andreadekker.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

    oh I wanted to mention roku…lots of people like it even better than July as it has access to more channels and shows. You do have the initial outlay of the box but then no charge – as far as I am aware.

    I got a cellphone from walmart – straighttalk – 30 bucks a mo for 1000 min and 1000 texts (I found texting easier w kids) w no contract and a 40 phone that has lasted over a year. No contract and easy to refill…they also have a 45 unltd plan is that works both work out cheaper for those who use cell phones often for less use (emergency) verizon has a pay as you use which can be quite cheap if you really don’t use it.

    [Reply]

  3. WenDee Riffe

    11/24/2010

    wow–mindy~~~thats an AWESOME savings!!! i am also soooo glad that i found this blog!!! andrea is great!!!! she has been very helpful to me!!!!

    andrea–check out my comment above and let me know if you think that was a good deal!!!????LOL!!!!

    [Reply]

  4. Jennifer

    11/24/2010

    Very impressive list! Some things I don’t spend money on are book orders that come home from the schools, haircuts for the men in my life (and rarely for the women), interest payments other than the mortgage, shipping charges (won’t buy online if I have to pay for shipping!), many toiletry items, or gum for the kids. I only get gum if it is free, much to their disappointment!

    [Reply]

  5. Tina Portis

    11/24/2010

    It’s my first time visiting your blog as well (I came over, from Money Saving Mom). Great post! I’m not nearly as frugal (I’m typing from my iPad right now) yet if being frugal makes you happy, then I say do it! I was a single mom of 3 for 6 years and lived off less than half my salary to save for a home we built. We are not big spenders yet, we are beginning to enjoy spending a little.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Tina, I give you TONS of credit for pulling that off as a single mom.

    The average American only saves 15% of their income…so for you to save 50% as a single parent is pretty impressive!

    [Reply]

  6. Kirsten H

    11/24/2010

    Very interesting, and very challenging! One thing that really surprised me is that is costs you MORE on your garbage bill if you recycle. Where I live, it costs more money if you DON”T recycle! We get a $7 credit on our bill every month for using our city-provided recycling bin that gets picked up every-other week.

    [Reply]

  7. mindy

    11/24/2010

    Where do you get your personal items? I am huge coupon/sale person and haven’t touched your $3 for the year! Do share 🙂

    Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    mindy Reply:

    meaning, I’ve spent way more than $3 and I think I get good deals.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Mindy, I get all my toiletries from drugstores (Walgreens and Rite Aid). I use coupons with sales and rebates to capitalize on free stuff every week.

    I did a post a while back on my favorite coupon resources…it might be helpful for you too: https://andreadekker.com/2010/10/04/my-favorite-coupon-resources/

    Also, if you are more particular about brands or specific products, you might not be able to get them completely free, but still find great deals for what you want. We just don’t care about the brand 🙂

    [Reply]

    mindy Reply:

    I do the same….I think you are just better at than me 🙂 I did go to both stores Sunday and spent $66 – for $250 of things, including ten packs of diapers. I have $6 RR, $10 Ups and $6 SCR so it was a good trip. I am still trying to figure out my scenarios for both stores for tomorrow. Thanks for you article 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. cheryl

    11/24/2010

    For those of you cutting cable…I use HuluTV.com for free TV shows on line. You can subscribe to your favorites and they email you when they hit your que.

    And also http://www.channelsurfing.net/ – for those of you who need your sports!

    Cheryl
    Awesome(aw-yome’/Yare’) : to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe—The only one who should inspire us to use this word is God Almighty if you research the meaning–Yet it is one of the most widely and disrespectfully misused words in our language. Only God is Awesome!!!

    [Reply]

  9. MaryEllen

    11/24/2010

    I can’t remember the last time we spent money on any of those things! It is so nice not to have to scrimp and scrounge just to have things that aren’t that important anyway. When you live without them for so long, you really don’t even miss them. I’m so glad you posted this, and I hope many people take your advice. Happiness is not made up of things!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Happiness is NOT made up of things…you are SO right!

    Thanks MaryEllen. I’m glad to know I’m not the only crazy one who scrimps ans saves!

    [Reply]

  10. agatha

    11/24/2010

    Thank you so much for all the terrific information! I’m especially interested in the free cell phone from Verizon. You say “every two years”; do you mean Verizon offers this at two-year intervals or you can get a new phone every two years? Can you direct me to where I can go to get more information? I really only need a cell phone for emergencies and can’t afford another monthly expense. Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Agatha,
    I’ve been a Verizon customer since I was in college and they offer a program that every 2 years (when you renew your contract) you can get a free phone.
    We still have to pay a monthly cell phone bill but we get our phones for free. It’s a great deal and anyone who is a Verizon customer can do it.

    [Reply]

  11. Natalie

    11/24/2010

    Not to be nosey but how much do you and your husband bring in each month? My husband is paid by commission so our income varies from month to month but for the most part he brings home a little over $3,000 and we survive somehow on it. Some months are tough while others are extra in the savings account.

    [Reply]

  12. Baby Coupon Mom

    11/24/2010

    I don’t pay for cable either, and I subscribed to Netflix for <$10, and you get to see all the Kids movies etc unlimited.

    [Reply]

  13. WenDee Riffe

    11/24/2010

    ok–andrea!!! this is what i did today~~let me know if i made out or if i needed to do this differently!!!?? also–any of the posters can throw in suggestions!!! i want to do this “CHEAP” thing as well!!!!!!!!
    went to CVS and purchased the secret deo. that was in the add for 2.99 with 1.00 ECP back 1 box klenx also in add for 1.29 and optifree for 12.99 with 2.00ECB back I had a 1.00 off coupon for the deo. and 1.00 off of the optifree

    then my ECB’s which were 3.00 i did another transaction~~ another secret deo. for 2.99 and used another 1.00 coupon 2 glade candles 2 for 5.oo and i had 1.00 off and then i used my 3.00 ECB

    thanks~~wendee
    so the total for both transactions was 21.10????

    so could i have done better or was this a good deal!!!????

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    WenDee,
    I think you are definitely on the right track…the key is to do separate transactions — which you did!

    I try to keep my out of pocket expenses as close to $0 as possible, but you had the Optifree which was kind-of expensive so $0 probably wasn’t doable in your case.

    One thing I would keep in mind is do you actually need everything you purchased? If so, then you got GREAT deals. If not, then you probably could have eliminated some of your out of pocket expenses.

    It sounds like you saved a bundle…exciting! I always love a great deal 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. Martha Cummins

    11/24/2010

    Please tell me how to get toiletries for free!!!

    [Reply]

  15. sue

    11/24/2010

    I’ve been couponing for 36 yrs. since I got married. We had 4 children who all have a B.A.or B.S. that we payed for–we built ou own home-I mean actually pounding in the nails, 23 yrs. ago and did have a small mortgage that has been payed off (My husband wasn’t willing to live in a half finished house for many years like many friends did, He thought our family life was more important) But couponing has certainly progressed far since then. I just found out how to use swagbucks withou spending money so I’m hoping for free running shoes soon–Luv your site!

    [Reply]

  16. Erika--www.couponkutters.com

    11/24/2010

    Do you mind if I put this article on my blog http://www.couponkuttersblog.com ? I own a coupon service http://www.couponkutters.com and the blog is deals, etc to go along with the website…but great info for people working on saving money!

    [Reply]

  17. April

    11/24/2010

    Andrea, all are great tips,
    I, actually, don’t think you are cheap at all, you are just smart.
    I do all the same things and some more.
    I have to make a note about clothes. .. Where were so many coupons available for a clothes this year. For example $10 off $10+ in Lord & Taylor past spring with no minimum purchase required. Coupon was in various magazines. Lord & Taylor is not a cheap store, but it have a discount racks like any other store. So I got my hand on a few coupons and renewed my spring wardrobe. Sometimes just paid tax and sometimes had to add a dollar or two.(literally) No need to go to a Salvation Army.
    Also magazine subscriptions doesn’t need to be purchased. I get 5-6 magazines weekly. All free. Recently started to receive Wall Street Journal. Also free.
    Website, you mentioned Nitite.com. I didn’t know about that . I will check it out. Thank you.
    DVD rentals: if you have Red Box nearby, they offer a free rental every single week. But library is a great way too.
    There are many ways to save money, of course.

    [Reply]

  18. Andrea B.

    11/24/2010

    You should be proud of how “cheap” you are! I am well on my way, as well! I visit multiple “freebie” and “money saving mom” websites where I find tons of free samples. I’ve been washing my hair with samples for 3 weeks now! People make fun of me all the time but this year alone I’ve been able to pay off over $7,000 in debt and that’s WITH adding our first baby into our life! 😉

    Your post has been so motivational to me and I just added your coupon site suggestions to my favorites and added you to facebook and can’t wait to start reading. I defineitely need help with the couponing – it’s SO time consuming which is why it’s my weakest money saving area!

    All in all: You should be VERY proud of yourself, keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Andrea…and congrats on the new baby AND saving $7000. That’s quite an accomplishment!

    I know that coupons can be time consuming, especially if you’re not used to using them, but there are lots of other ways to save on groceries even if you don’t use coupons. Check out this article for some tips — https://andreadekker.com/2010/06/20/cut-your-grocery-bill/

    And just remember to start small. Try saving $3-6 each week with coupons. You will still see the savings add up in no time!

    [Reply]

  19. Leslie B

    11/24/2010

    My husband and I are pretty frugal. We make almost everything we can from scratch in the kitchen. That really adds up! (and its great for you!)

    [Reply]

  20. Jeannette

    11/24/2010

    We spend no money on television. We do not own a television so we do not have a cable bill.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    That’s AWESOME Jeannette!

    I hardly watch any TV, but my husband likes the NEWS and sports — so I’m not sure we’re ready to totally give it up!

    [Reply]

    Jeannette Reply:

    Andrea,
    It took a while but my husband kicked it to the curb literally. I stayed away from it myself for about a year, never even touched it. Started sewing more, playing with children, reading more books.

    [Reply]

  21. Davonne

    11/24/2010

    If you check out Hulu.com you could probably get rid of your cable. That’s what we did and it’s awesome! Great tips.

    [Reply]

  22. Living So Abundantly

    11/24/2010

    Great tips! It’s encouraging to see others make the most of what they have and use their resources wisely! =)

    [Reply]

  23. mariah

    11/24/2010

    Hi, I have 2 questions…how many are you feeding in your family? and what’s your monthly grocery bill look like? I’ve been trying to stick to $400 a month. We eat all organic and healthy…so no junk food and soda expenses…but I’m having trouble sticking to my budget…not off by much, but definitely more than I’d like. Do you think it’s doable to eat off $400 a month for a family of 5??? Plus I pack school lunches for my kids…:) Great tips!

    Mariah

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Mariah,

    Great questions! We actually don’t have any children yet, so it’s just me and my hubby. However we do regularly have people over for dinner, we pack all our own lunches, we rarely ever go out to eat, AND we give lots of food away to food pantries, and the food drive at our church.

    That said, I only spend about $20 per week on groceries.

    I know that probably seems like an super LOW number…but it’s true. We grow and preserve most of our fruit and veggies and I cook from scratch all the time.

    I use TONS of coupons and rebates and pair them with the best sales to cut our costs. I also don’t focus on organic foods {which are definitely more pricey}.

    However, I think your goal of $100 per week for a family of 5 {including organic foods} is VERY reasonable. I know people who spend 2 to 3 times that much for a family of 5.

    If you are looking for one way to cut some of your costs, I would suggest cutting out a little meat. It’s usually the most expensive thing on your list and if you focus on Italian or Mexican foods, you can limit the amount of meat you use. We also have breakfast for dinner at least 3 times a month…which is REALLY cheap to make.

    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

    mariah Reply:

    thank you, that does help!!!

    [Reply]

  24. Kimberlee@ThePeacefulMom.com

    11/24/2010

    We are a lot like you, only we don’t even pay for cable! We decided to go tv-less 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. It definitely simplifies your life and my children are much more active and imaginative.

    [Reply]

  25. Allison

    11/24/2010

    Date night – we still make date night a priority. But we challenge ourselves to spend nothing on our dates. we exchange babysitting with another thrifty couple. We have a free xmas concert at a local college coming up. We also attend a “coffee house” one Saturday a month at a local church. There is no charge, but they ask for a donation to support the ministry of the night. We have even found ourselves at the local library, with matching arm chairs in the reading section, enjoying a magazine and some silence.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    These are GREAT suggestions and ideas Allison! Thanks for sharing them with the rest of us.

    I’m convinced there are always ways to have fun for free {or really cheap!}

    [Reply]

  26. Jeannette

    11/24/2010

    Very interesting! As a long time homemaker I am finding out also that using what you already have is an excellent money saver. Another one that we spend no money on is television. I feel it robs me of creative juices, time and money. The reason why I think it takes money to watch television is that the commercials and ritzy lifestyles of many of the people on it encourage us to spend away. Not to mention the rank filth on the there.

    [Reply]

  27. Nicole

    11/24/2010

    I was so intrigued by the title that I had to check out the story. I am too extremely frugal and only buy what is needed and you are way more frugal than me. I am wondering, do you ever feel like you just want a nice night out somewhere or something like that. I am finding myself in that situation now. We rarely eat out and I have not bought myself new clothes in at least a year now and we only buy the kids clothes off of clearance racks or hand me downs.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Nicole,
    You bring up an excellent point…and I CAN relate to wanting a nice night out!! That’s totally normal, and I don’t think it’s bad to splurge once in a while.

    However, if you read some of the other comments, you see people trading babysitting services with friends, going to free holiday concerts, and using gift cards to pay for their dinner. We do this too, so I’m convinced that you can still “splurge” and stay on budget!

    As for the clothing issue, wait until the New Year and the stores will be FILLED with amazing clearance deals. Purchase a few items that you can mix-and-match with things you already own and it will feel like you have a new wardrobe. You could also ask for store gift cards for Christmas!

    Don’t be too hard on yourself, it sounds like you are doing an excellent job working within your budget!

    [Reply]

  28. Stephanie Kandray

    11/24/2010

    Thanks for a great read! We’re doing a lot of these things but it’s always nice to know there are others out there who are happy to be cheap!

    [Reply]

    stephanie kandray Reply:

    p.s. where do you get your restaurant gift cards from (aside from gifts)?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Stephanie, it sounds like you are pretty frugal too!!

    As I mentioned in the post, my husband is a teacher AND a coach, so we are usually never in short supply of restaurant gift cards {especially since we don’t use them very often}

    We also purchase an Entertainment Book {$20} every year which supports his school. This has all sort of BOGO coupons — and even free offers which we then pair with our gift cards to REALLY make them last.

    I know that http://www.restaurant.com has great offers like $25.00 gift cards for only $3. However their selection can be limited at times…but you can check that website out.

    And finally, I redeem my Swagbucks for gift cards as well. {If you don’t know what Swagbucks are, you can click on the link in my side bar!}

    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  29. KatieBee

    11/24/2010

    I LOVE all the ideas and your commitment to frugality. Since my husband is a contractor, life as we once knew it is a bit more financially restrictive. But it’s forced us into a much simpler lifestyle which I have come to enjoy much more.

    Our city forces us into using recycle and garbage, but as I was looking at our municipal bill 3 months ago, we get charged less to recycle, so now our goal is to use less, recycle more! Many larger municipalities offer similar deals for recycling, as they want to lessen the landfill.

    I have had many magazine subscriptions over the past 5 years, all free, through our frequent flier miles on USAir. Because we never travel enough to get free flights (once or twice a year), we do get enough miles to qualify for free mags. I never renew; only get a new subscription if there are miles to cover it. Many air carriers offer similar programs.

    We went from eating out about 8 times a month to 2 times, expertly scheduled to coincide with either a special groupon or restaurants.com certificate. It makes eating out much more special (1 night is a family night, the other date night). I have always couponed and cooked a month at a time, but now we really stick to the meal plan. And if something comes up (like yesterday), we have breakfast for dinner and call it a day. Our grocery and “entertainment” bills have been cut almost 70% since July and no one feels it!

    So glad I found your site – it’s full of inspiration and reminders of how we can all simplify a little each day! I look forward to lots of great information over the coming new year.

    [Reply]

  30. 10 Things We Don’t Spend Money On :: Money Saving Mom®

    11/24/2010

    […] it’d be good to offset all these posts with a link to Simple Organized Living’s post on 10 Things We Don’t Spend Money On. I love how she shows how they are choosing not to spend money in areas, so that they can put their […]

  31. CarliAlice

    11/24/2010

    Hello, Andrea. I’ve read a few of your posts over the last month and appreciate all of them. I really loved this post and has some great things. Right now I’m working on the grocery budget and I’ve also stopped spending money on magazines and books (we do have Netflix but I cut our cable down to extended basic to make up the difference — still trying to get the family on board to cutting out cable entirely). The only thing I can say is that as the wife of an IT guy we don’t buy warranties; however, he feels that your playing a big risk with the on-line free anti-virus. He’s seen one to many times where this worked for someone for years and years and then they get hit big — and it’s a lot of work to fix the computer. So we’ll always be purchasing Norton. I did get him to not pay for his on-line games this month — so I guess I’m doing good!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks CarliAlice,
    It sounds like you are making excellent progress in your quest to simplify your spending and get your finances more organized! Love it!

    I appreciate your advice about the Norton anti-virus. We have looked into purchasing it in the past, but we’ve just had such great luck with the free versions. I’m sure your husband is right…but for now, we’ll stick with our free version {told you we were cheap!!}

    Oh, and best of luck weening your family off cable — You can do it!

    [Reply]

  32. Erika

    11/24/2010

    Wow. That’s all I have to say….wow!

    Ok, wait, I will say more. 🙂 That is so awesome! Takes discipline, but so worth it!

    [Reply]

  33. Heather

    11/23/2010

    Thank You for this list! I do some of these things, but will be following some more recommendations — and making a list myself!

    [Reply]

  34. Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead

    11/23/2010

    I used to be a couponing queen when I lived in the US…but in Germany they are virtually non-existent and up until a few years ago you couldn’t even save much by shopping around because prices were all set across the board. So it’s an entirely different challenge here but we totally want to be more thrifty. it seems like the money just flows through our fingers faster than we’re bringing it in…

    Not spending money on books & magazines is a tough one…especially the magazines for me. But I’ve noticed recently that I could easily spend $20/month on them and then I barely even read them. So I decided that no time to read them currently means I don’t get them.

    Seems like there is always something to take care of, fix or improve on our old house too…guess that’s why we should be working more on our nest egg. Perhaps I should be taking that money I was spending on magazines and putting it away now instead…doh 😉

    Enjoying your blog and always happy I hop over from oh Amanda’s top 10s 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Tiffany,
    I have heard that grocery shopping is much more difficult {and expensive} in other countries. I’m sure that’s frustrating for you.

    And I know what you mean about never-ending expenses for your old home. We’re moving to a 120 year farmhouse next month…and we’re already saving for the pile of renovations we plan to tackle!

    I’m impressed that you are willing to give up your $20/month magazine expense. That’s a great start and it sounds like you could probably put that money to use somewhere else in your budget. Plus, many magazines have online versions that are nearly as comprehensive…for free!

    Keep building that “nest egg”!!

    [Reply]

    Tiffany Reply:

    Thanks for the response. 🙂 I’m a once a month shopper for the most part anyway so at least I have been able to cut back our spending a bit by not giving in to all the impulse buys. And I also go to one of the discount grocery stores here for a lot of the basics which saves a fortune.

    We have invested a ton of money into our farm for renovations over the last 4 years…but the good news is that everything we’ve put in has been to improve the overall value of the house and expand living space wisely so I’m sure we’ll get our money out when we sell eventually. Not to mention we got the house for a steal 🙂 With old houses it just sometimes feels like it never ends and there is always something new you could be improving…but when you learn to do a lot of things yourself and have the time, you can also save a ton plus it’s so fun to see people’s shocked faces when you tell them it was you who built that 🙂

    The magazines always tempt me when I go into our local post office…there are always so many great ideas that I know I could write about on my blog as well…but I already have a list a mile long of things to write about that I never seem to get to with all that goes on daily. And I know I would flip through them and set them aside for the next year…so it’s really just not worth it.

    I think you’ve got a lot of great stuff going on in your blog. I know you’re inspiring a lot of people who sometimes feel like hope is lost! I always try to tweet you from time to time too 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Tiffany,

    I appreciate all your kind words — and the tweets!

    And from one Farmhouse lover to another…I know all your hard work will pay off!!

    [Reply]

    cheryl Reply:

    I just started voluntering at the library and did not realized you can CHECK OUT magazines, and they seem to have all the ones on the news stand.

    Just checking books out instead of buying them is huge.

    I have been without cable TV for six months and I’m fine! That is saving $50/month. Whomever said “just stop spending” is correct, at least until you are out of debt and learn to save wisely.

    Cheryl
    Awesome(aw-yome’/Yare’) : to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe—The only one who should inspire us to use this word is God Almighty if you research the meaning–Yet it is one of the most widely and disrespectfully misused words in our language. Only God is Awesome!!!!

    [Reply]

  35. WenDee Riffe

    11/23/2010

    ok..let me start by saying~~you dont know me from adam but i have been following you now for a few weeks!!! i discovered you from another blog!!!??? i am really wanting to be “cheap” like you!!! LOL!!! i want to start with the groceries and toiletres!!??? i think that if i can starte here it would reduce our spending a grea deal!!!!??? thanks and cant wait to see your response!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, thanks WenDee!
    I’m so excited to have another “frugal friend”!!
    And as I mentioned in the post, I’m a big advocate for “starting small” so I think it’s a great idea to start with your groceries and toiletries.

    Here are some of my suggestions…

    TOILETRIES:
    Go through your current toiletries to see what you have and then try to make them last as long as possible. You might also try using up any travel-size products you have lying around too. Watch for great deals and coupons for the products you like and then stock up.

    GROCERIES:
    Figure out your “normal” grocery bill and then try to shave $5-$10 off this week. Maybe you skip a favorite snack or a 12 pk. of pop. Also, try eating from your pantry and freezer to save even more. Only $10 per week will add up to over $500 saved each year!

    Does this sound doable?

    [Reply]

    WenDee Riffe Reply:

    yeah–this sounds doable!!! i am excited to get started~~~i linked up with money savvy mom that i found on your blog!!! i want to start the CVS ECB and MC thing!!! i think that i can also add that in to the grocery bill and the toiletries–if i get them at CVS will be free–or so thats what i am reading!!!LOL!!! oh–i do know how to spell toiletries!!! sorry for the typo!!! i am excited to get started and well let ya know how it goes—i only wish that i had stared when my 17 year old son was little~~he has grown accustom to pop and brand specific cereal etc.–however–thats and excuse so onward!!!!! i feel as if i have failed him in the area of finance–not just in cereal and pop but other areas–i look forward to learning more from you so that i can pass it on to my son~~thanks

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    WenDee, I’m always a huge fan of getting toiletries for free from local drugstores. Start following a few “coupon blogs” and they’ll help you find the best deals. Money Saving Mom is great.

    And don’t get discouraged by all the time you could have been saving…you’ve decided to start now and that’s all that matters!

    Good luck!

    [Reply]

  36. mandi@itscome2this

    11/23/2010

    ok, i”m in awe!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — I’ve totally exposed our extreme “cheapness”

    [Reply]

  37. oh amanda

    11/23/2010

    Wow. You guys are awesome! We’ve been trying to shave down our budget by switching insurance companies, etc.

    [Reply]

  38. Tweets that mention 10 Things we DON’T Spend Money On « Simple Organized Living -- Topsy.com

    11/22/2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stacy , Andrea Dekker. Andrea Dekker said: How do we save money? By NOT SPENDING it — there's a simple concept! http://ht.ly/3dPLx […]

  39. kim

    11/22/2010

    This is awesome! Especially as you have “saved” some of that money to purchase your new home!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Kim…our scrimping and saving did allow us to purchase our new home!!

    [Reply]

  40. Henna

    11/22/2010

    These are great tips! Quick question – where do you find the bulk of your coupons? I feel like the best coupons are in the paper, but that requires spending money on the actual newspaper (which I don’t even care for, I can get my news online, I just want the coupons). I’ve visited Coupons.com but I feel like it’s a bit limited.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Henna,
    Yes, I feel your frustration about wanting the Sunday paper just for the coupons. One thing you could do is JUST subscribe to the Sunday edition. It’s only a couple of bucks and you’ll save so much more.
    Also, here is a great link to some of my favorite coupon resources. Definitely check that blog post out.
    Let me know if you have other questions…hopefully this helps!!

    [Reply]

    tracy p. Reply:

    i go to my local trash and in the newspapers section and just grab some coupons from there. if you ask they usually don’t mind u doing it. good for having multiples.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I’ve done this before too. I also find extra coupon sections for free at McDonalds, Starbucks, or other coffee shops!

    [Reply]