11 Relatively Normal Things I’ve Never Spent Money On

posted by Andrea | 09/13/2013

old fashion cash register

The other day, someone asked me what my favorite Starbucks drink was. I probably had a really stupid look on my face while I stood there trying to rack my brain for a decent answer… until I finally said, “you know, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a drink from Starbucks before.”

I could tell they were shocked — to be perfectly honest, I was kind of shocked too. After all, Starbucks has over 87,000 possible drink combinations (source), so you think I’d be able to find something I like.

After that conversation, I started thinking about other relatively normal things that I’ve never ever spent money on… and I came up with quite a list!

Obviously, there are TONS of random things I’ve never spent money on, but below is a list of pretty ย normal every-day things that I’ve never (to my recollection) spent money on,

1. Starbucks (or any other coffee house)

I don’t drink coffee… ever. I never have and I have no desire to start. In fact, up until about 2 years ago, Dave never drank coffee either. Now he drinks plain black coffee in the mornings (made at home.)

I also don’t like tea, lattes, cappuccino, or any other hot beverage — besides an occasional mug of hot chocolate. And since I make my own homemade hot chocolate mix, I have no reason to leave my house, waste gas money, and pay $3 or more for a cup of hot chocolate.

So as far as I can remember (which is pretty far!) I’ve never spent money on a drink (or anything else) at Starbucks or any other coffee house.

Crazy, I know!

2. Perfume

I’ve received plenty of lotions and perfumes as gifts, and I’ve also redeemed plenty of freebie coupons at Bath and Body and Victoria’s Secret, but I’m fairly confident that in my 28 years of life, I’ve never spent my own cash on perfume.

3. Exercise

I don’t even like to exercise (and you all know I don’t like spending money unnecessarily) so I’m certainly not going to spend money to exercise ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve never purchased a gym membership of any type, I’ve never purchased any amount of exercise equipment, and I’ve never purchased any exercise DVD’s (although I have rented some from our library at times).

4. Alcohol at Restaurants

To be perfectly honest, we rarely ever spend money on alcohol at home — not because we have anything against it, but simply because it can be pricy, unhealthy, and addicting — ย and it’s just not necessary (in my opinion).

We usually have a few beers in the house for Dave, and we’ll buy some wine coolers or fruity drinks if we’re entertaining, but that’s about it. Aside from REALLY fruity wine coolers where you can’t taste the alcohol, I’ve never really acquired a taste for alcoholic drinks — and since I don’t like spending money to exercise, I figure I probably shouldn’t spend the money for extra calories either.

So as I was thinking of things to add to this list, I realized that I’ve never spent any of my own money on alcohol at a restaurant. There have been a couple times when we’ve been taken out and the people paying insisted we order a drink (which I graciously choked down)… but that’s about it.

5. Dry Cleaning

Yes, I work from home — but I used to work in an office every day, and Dave wears a button-up shirt almost every day to school — so I’m still not sure how I’ve avoided this expense for my entire life — probably because I try to wash everything at home. Or maybe it’s because I try to buy wrinkle-free clothing as much as possible and because Dave diligently irons his school clothes every week — sometimes every night.

As an added bonus, I’ve also never been to a laundromat — so sheltered, I know!

6. Delivery Service

We don’t order lots of take out food or pizza, but when we do, we always just drive to pick it up. We live super close to any restaurant we would order from, so it seems silly to pay someone else to deliver it to our house when it takes less than 10 minutes for us to pick it up ourselves.

I guess I just figure that if I’m not willing to make dinner, I should at least be willing to go pick it up.

7. Manicures or Pedicures

I don’t have very attractive nails, so I’ve never been big on painting my nails because I feel like it draws more attention to my hands.ย I also have extremely ticklish feet and the idea of someone else touching my feet is just way too much for me.

My cousin gave me an at-home freebie manicure the day before our wedding, and I did win a free manicure coupon to a local beauty salon (which I used several years ago) but to date, I’ve never spent money on a manicure or pedicure.

I’ve also never spent money on a massage, but I wouldn’t mind getting a massage someday… if I had a coupon.

8. Pets

OK, so I won’t say that we’ll never get a pet — but I will say that we probably won’t get a pet for a VERY long time. And if we do, it will be because our children beg us for years and years — or because I suddenly turn soft.

I’m not against pets (Dave and I both had dogs growing up); I just honestly think they are a huge waste of money — sorry animal lovers!

The food, the vet bills, the cost of leaving them while on vacation, etc. etc. Not to mention the time and energy involved in caring for a pet on top of everything else I do on a daily basis — and the messes they make. No thanks!

For the record, 2 of our siblings have huge shedding dogs and the other 2 siblings are both on the lookout for a dog to buy — yes, we think they are all nuts ๐Ÿ™‚

9. Concert Tickets

Yes, I’ve been to high school band and choir concerts, and I’ve been to freebie concerts in the park. I also won concert tickets for a Point of Grace Christmas concert about 5 years ago — but I’ve never paid for concert tickets.

And if I’m really being honest, besides that Point of Grace concert, I’ve never even been to a professional concert.

10. Valet Parking

I just assumed that Dave and I don’t really have the lifestyle to warrant paying for valet parking (after all, I don’t think Culver’s or Arby’s offers that service yet). However, I was shocked to find out that many of our friends have paid for valet parking for different events. I don’t know, maybe we’re weird (or just cheap) but the thought of paying someone else simply to park my car so I don’t have to walk is a little much for me (at least at this point in my life!)

11. Lottery Tickets

Dave is a math teacher — we know the odds of winning are horrible and that buying lottery tickets is basically just throwing our money away.

So although I’ve frequently thought about how sweet it would be if we ever won the Mega Million, I’ve never actually let myself purchase a ticket (so unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll win any time soon.)


Although some of you might think I’m a totally boring bump-on-a-log after reading this post… I promise Dave and I do lots of fun things.ย Seriously, I’ve never felt like I was deprived or lived a boring life — at least not before writing this post!

And I’m certain there are plenty of things we spend money on that some of you think is crazy — right?

So I’m curious, what would be on your list of things of things you’ve never spent money on?

top photo credit


Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

Leave a comment


  1. Erica


    We have so much in common, though we do have pets… our dog is for security & our hens lay eggs, so I consider them working pets who earn their keep… plus the love & enjoyment they give us. We did go to a few concerts way back in the day… way before kids & hadn’t been to one nor paid for any tix until a couple of weeks ago when DH took one of our kiddos to one as a graduation gift (I’m expecting & didn’t think a concert was the best place for me ;). It was a local concert & the tix for both of them were cheaper than what one would spend on ONE ticket at other venues, but it still hard to spend that money… though our child was soooo excited about it & the memories of them going to a concert together make the money well worth it. Not many teens WANT to spend w/their parents these days & are disappointed when Mama can’t come too.


  2. Tracy


    I totally agree re the pets, and though I love animals I can’t afford healthcare for myself now, never mind money on pets. Once this dog dies I won’t let myself get another, if I miss pets I can always volunteer at a shelter or do some pet-sitting.

    Heck- I miss having a baby in the house but no plans to adopt- I work at a childrens’ home on Sundays instead!

    I’ve got into the habit now of questioning every purchase, is it really necessary, can it be done cheaper and especially- am I being tricked into signing a contract or is this false advertising…I’ll turn my back on most things if a seller tries to mislead me.

    Things I’d like to do without in 2014, bottled water and treats- soda, candy, potato chips! The water will be the hardest since our tap water isn’t good-tasting and if I don’t buy bottles I end up buying filters…

    The benefit of frugality besides better cash management: treats become something special again : )


  3. Alisia


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  4. Jefferey


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  5. Kim


    I drink coffee, have left $1000s at Starbucks, I’m sure.
    Your comment about pets just seems odd to me – I’m an animal lover – can’t imagine life without my cats. When 1 passes (and, yes, I’ve spent $1000s on trying to get them better) another one comes into my life not too much later. They’re part of my family, I love them, they aren’t annoying like people can be.
    To quote Mark Twain…. “A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat — may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”


  6. Laura E.


    I can see the benefit in not spending money on things you don’t value or love like coffee, alcohol or concert tickets, but it’s not neccessarily a sign of frugality if you spend the money on something else instead. It’s just personal preference on where you use your dollars. I will say that pet ownership is an emotional choice and not a financial choice, kids are far more expensive than pets and yet we have them without a second thought! People who love pets know they will cost money, time and effort and will make a mess and be an inconvience, just like kids, but they do it because they want the pet. Don’t get a pet if you don’t love animals, it’s not worth your time or money.


  7. J. Owen


    I think my phone autocorrected me there. “life worth living” oops “sacrifice living for frugality” oops “good to save money” oops.

    I guess I may have missed the point of the post. I have been looking at many sites on living a more simple and frugal existence. Maybe take issue was the wrong choice of words.

    Some of those things just didn’t seem like ways of saving money so much as things you don’t like. I’ve never spent money on broccoli, but that hasn’t helped me to be frugal, I just don’t like broccoli. And I have spent lots of money on coffee, but never vodka.

    I just came across this site anyway and will dig deeper to see what I can gain out of it; I do see some worthwhile content though.


  8. j.owen


    You have some points on being frugal but I take issue with the concert tickets. I’ve spent thousands on concerts, mostly when I was younger and before having kids. I don’t feel it was a waste of any money because I am a musician and I think music enriches my life. Live music to me is a spiritual experience. So it’s good to dace money where you can but to sacrifice loving for frugality isn’t always a good thing.

    I feel the same about travel… It’s essential to a life with loving.


    Andrea Reply:

    no need to “take issue”. I thought I made it quite clear in my post that I was not judging others who did spend their money on those things — and no where did I ever say that concert tickets were a “waste” of money.

    Like you said, “itโ€™s good to dace money where you can but to sacrifice loving for frugality isnโ€™t always a good thing.” I honestly would never want to spend my hard-earned cash on a concert that I won’t enjoy, let alone “love” (I don’t like late nights, crowds, or loud music) However, I couldn’t imagine not spending money on home renovations — which I do love.

    Spend and save as you wish — this post is just highlighting some of the ways I choose to save at this point in my life.


  9. Melissa


    A relatively normal thing that I don’t spend money on are ATM fees. I can visit my own bank’s ATMs to make sure I don’t encounter an ATM fee or make a purchase and get cash back to avoid a $2 or $3 fee for the convenience of getting at my own money.

    I don’t pay to get my hair professionally dyed. I did once and decided it was a huge waste. If I want my hair dyed I use a take home kit. I don’t even do this anymore.

    Most of the things on your list I avoid spending regularly on (except pets and concerts; I do spend on both of those pretty regularly), but I think I’ve spent money on all of those items at one point or another, just not regularly.


    Andrea Reply:

    Oh that’s a good one — I could also add ATM fees to my “never paid for ” list ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Melissa


    I fully agree with #10 and #11. I also don’t drink coffee…I tried and I just can’t get it to a taste where I like it. It’s like drinking brown water and I have to add so much sugar…it makes no sense. So I’m a hot cider and hot cocoa girl. From my house..not starbucks in most cases. We were in Chicago this summer and had a hotel downtown and parking was limited and we were unfamiliar and so we ended up using the hotel valet, which was $54 for the time we were there (one night). Luckily it was reimbursed because I cannot believe people can’t just park their own cars. Also the lottery – I would LOVE to win it…but I can’t get myself to pay to play it and throw my money away. I wish there was a way to play without paying so I could win ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Ashli


    If you have three kids and a husband who is frequently working nights it is worth every penny of the $2-3 delivery charge to not have to load them all in the car to pick up the occasional pizza! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Andrea Reply:

    haha, you’re SO right! Although I would probably just do a couple frozen pizzas in that situation ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. Arin


    I must admit that I am on board with most of your list. (1) I too have never spent money at a “coffee house” (however I was given 2 tokens on my birthday for our local coffee house and have redeemed them .. but never had to pay out of pocket). If I am honest though I do enjoy the mocha frappe at McDonalds but I do not consider that a coffee house and will only buy that on a rare occasion. Other than that neither my husband or I drink coffee. I do try to be frugal in that I have attempted to make my own iced coffee .. flavored of course!! (2) I generally put perfume/body spray on my Christmas list and very rarely do I run out before the next year so honestly cannot remember the last time I had to spend my own money on this. (3) I have only spent money on exercise one time and that was to take a 4-6 week Zumba class (which I LOVE) and I did it along with a girlfriend who wanted to try it!! I do however have a couple of exercise DVD’s and Wii games .. Zumba included .. so that does that count or are you talking gym memberships?? (4) Since we have 2 kiddos very rarely do we order alcohol at a restaurant but on the rare occasion that we get a dinner out just the 2 of us I have ordered an alcoholic beverage (and in that case I enjoy a good Amaretto & Coke .. yum!!) (5, 6 & 7) Never have spent money on the dry cleaning, delivery service or manicure/pedicure. (8) We do have a pet cat, Bootsie, but we got her out of sheer desperation .. the night we killed 5 mice while I was up in the middle of the night nursing our son was the night I decided we needed to get a cat to help with the problem, but we got her from family so there was no up-front expense other than food & shots ;D We have now put a basement under the house and no longer have the mice situation BUT after 8 years Bootsie is now a part of the family. I do NOT see us getting another pet after her though. (9) I have never bought concert tickets but my husband and I had won one day tickets to Country Fest quite a few years ago and had a fabulous time!! Oops, I am just now remembering that we did buy tickets at a County Fair to see Martina McBride so I guess maybe I cannot add that to my “never” list. (10) Valet parking .. never!! And last but not least (11) I wish I could say I have never bough lottery tickets but that would be untrue. I have on a blue moon bought a ticket (or most of the time request my husband to stop and get one) but we usually only buy 1 even then.
    I guess we are not so entirely different .. and as you indicated in your post, I do not in the least feel deprived having never splurged on most of the above referenced items. Thanks for the great inspiration!!


  13. Catherine Beam


    First of all, I enjoyed reading this blog. I think you are an amazing, self-disciplined, extremely focused young woman who is getting her message out that “less is more” in a world that is becoming more self-indulgant and distracted by the day. I cannot even begin to assess how many thousands of dollars you have saved through the years by watching your $$$$ where Starbucks, valet parking, alcohol, etc. are concerned. Good for you!! I guess the areas where I haved saved have involved shopping at farmers markets for vegetables & fruits, going to the hairdressers every 8 weeks instead of every 6 weeks, and going to thrift shops to shop for clothing for my teenage daughter and I (she actually thinks that thrift shops are very “cool”). Plus, I decided years ago that I would not have a pet when I overheard a woman declare to a saleslady that she had spent over $5,000 for her little dog to save it from a malady that the dog ended up dying from anyway months later and she was having a hard time scraping money up for her mortgage payment. That really made an impression on me. Lastly, I save A LOT of money by using the services of my local library. Since I am always on the go, I especially love the audiobooks I can check out at the library and listen on CD. Not to mention the movies, the music CDs and books, etc. Also, if I go to a department store and fall in love with a designer brand of clothing, I google it to see if I can get it on ebay for a fraction of the cost. With that said, I am nowhere as disciplined as you!!!


  14. Kristen @ Joyfullythriving


    I’m not a coffee drinker either, but my students seem to give me Starbucks cards on occasion. I have used them for hot chocolate on occasion, or I’ve regifted the cards. As for lottery tickets, I chose not to waste my money because I’d rather spend my money on something I know is a sure thing rather than wasting it on an unprobable chance.


  15. Jocelyn


    I’ve never been to a Starbucks, but I did visit an independent coffee shop 3-4 times. I also don’t drink coffee, but I’m a big tea lover. If I found a tea shop, I would be in trouble! I also have never purchased a lottery ticket.


  16. Lynn


    I have a Kruig Coffee Maker, but I will never buy those expensive “K” cups..Just the thought of spending .50 cents to $1 for a cup of coffee blows my mind. I bought (4) reusable filter cups at Walgreens for only $9.99 and I had a $5.00 buyer coupon so that made them only $5. So now I just put a scoop of coffee in them in the morning, and when I am done, rinse out the filter. I have found, since I am the only one that drinks coffee, it has saved us money, because I don’t have to throw out 1/2 a pot of coffee every day.


  17. Sher


    I too have not spent money on the majority of the things on your list, dont drink coffee or alcohol or pay someone to do my nails when I can do them myself etc.

    In general….if I can do it myself I won’t pay someone else to do it…like washing my car, shampooing my carpets, housekeeping service, landscape service etc.

    re: pets
    we had a dog for 12 years and he recently went to doggie heaven
    hubby wants to get another one and I really want to hold off
    for financial reasons.

    not just the vet bills, food, and “stuff” they need….
    but our last dog ruined the carpet in both houses we lived in during those 12 years
    (that was a big expense to rip out the carpet (ourselves!) and replace it with laminate flooring that was dog proof)

    with regards to concerts…
    I have paid for concert tickets…havent been to TONS in my 42 years of life…but a dozen or so.
    but my 2cents on that is….there is definitely “cheap” or free entertainment available in your community to take advantage of if you enjoy live entertainment but dont want to pay the expensive ticket prices

    for example…I attend the local high school annual year end choir performance (FREE) and it blows me away every year…amazing talent in the young people!!!


  18. Deb


    I was thinking about this list, wouldn’t you have had to get your wedding dress/prom dress or other formal attire dry cleaned? ๐Ÿ˜‰


    Andrea Reply:

    oh Deb, you don’t know how frugal I am — LOL!!

    My wedding dress cost $90 and I washed it in my washing machine after the wedding. Then I cut it up and saved just the large chunks of fabric that I’m hoping to use for a baptism outfit if we ever have a boy (the girls will all wear my baptism dress)

    As for formal attire, I honestly don’t have anything that can’t be washed in the washing machine (read more on that here). In high school, the girls dresses weren’t crazy fancy and we usually just traded dresses around with others… so no, I never brought a formal dress to the dry cleaners.


  19. Kelly H


    I looked at this list and thought this how is it one generation would consider all of your list a luxury and another the every day norm! while i can say i have purchased all but 1 or 2 items (I am not a gym bunny and we don’t really have valet parking here in New Zealand), but i believe there is a time and a place for all.
    I am the same age as you, Andrea, and see most of the list a luxury, except my 2 year old cat which to me a pleasure, ( I also consider owning a pet a privilge and NOT a right )

    I don’t like coffee either but I am partial to a nice hot chocolate, but iIgenerally only have one if I get a free coupon or am out of town for a weekend or day trip. We wait untill we get home when we can.

    I refuse to spent 15 on lotto ticket each week- I can’t afford it and know that the odds are mostly against us but, however I am in a work sydicate were $10 a month is more budget friendly.

    I had a 2nd hand duvet cover drycleaned that we were given, a manicure before a friends wedding once and have gone to a couple of music concerts. I have on the odd occasion had to buy my own perfume my birthday is christmas day so if I run out through the year its a long time to wait………………….


  20. Calliope


    Although I did, for a short period, I will never again hire someone to clean my house. Unless I get disabled or something. I just hate it and I think it is a huge waste of money, considering my family’s current lifestyle


    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, I tried hiring someone too when Nora was born and hated it. They never did a good enough job for me!


  21. Natalie


    Looking through the list – I realized that I never spent money on about half of the items. For sure I haven’t spend any money on Pets, Concert Tickets, Valet Parking and Lottery Tickets. I think I bought some cocktails on our honeymoon but never order Alcohol otherwise. Manicures and Pedicures – used to get them (mainly pedicures) in the beginning of the summer when I worked full time, haven’t done in the past 6 yrs. Delivery Service – probably once or twice when ordering pizza, long time ago. Dry Cleaning – a couple of times per year when I had a full time job, not in the past 6-7 yrs. Excessive – got a gym membership once -only used it a couple of times. It took forever to cancel it – never again. Perfume – I don’t think I ever bought it for myself, always for someone else (I always got it as gifts). Starbucks is the worst for me – I like the smell of coffee and taste of it – not the jitters. I picked up the habit while traveling in Italy – although authentic Italian coffee tastes nothing like Starbucks. In fact I found it impossible to drink Starbucks after returning from Europe. I am guilty of getting a decaf tall late once every couple of weeks… Otherwise,, I’m not doing so bad… ๐Ÿ™‚


  22. Melissa


    The only thing I will say about pets is sometimes they can make you money on YouTube when you record a video that goes viral (http://bit.ly/YouTube_Remy_Video). I’ve made almost $1,000 so far! Plus, the video is apart of the Friskies contest and I might win up to $10,000 (Fingers and toes crossed!).

    Rare, I know, but I just had to comment about it! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well, I agree your situation is probably quit rare, but that’s still cool! Maybe you could enter a video into America’s Funniest Home Videos and win the $100,000 prize!


    Melissa Reply:

    Haha funny you mention that. My video will air sometime this fall on America’s Funniest Home Videos, but since it already had over 1 million views on YouTube I am not eligible to participate in the contest. But don’t worry… they paid me to not participate ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol


  23. JoDi


    The only item on this list that I have never spent money on is the lottery, but the rest are things I rarely spend money on except the pets and my gym membership. You are right about everything you said about having pets (and then some! LOL) but we enjoy our dogs so much, I can’t imagine not having them around each day. When our first two dogs were getting old, I swore I wasn’t adopting more because I wanted to know what it was like to live in a hair free home, and I was the first one searching for a new dog to adopt when the first one passed away. ๐Ÿ™‚


  24. Renee


    We obviously have a lot in common! i have never bought: a lottery ticket, had dry cleaning done, paid for valet service, perfume or a mani/pedi. In addition I have never bought a bra! My mom bought them up until I got married (at age 19) and my husband has bought them every since!