Sunday, February 20, 2011

Things I've Stopped Doing to Save Money and Increase Life Satisfaction

So, in reading my thrift-spiration books (e.g. Compleat Tightwad, Tightwad Gazette, Ultimate Cheapskate's Guide to Life...etc) I came across multiple remarks that it's often more a matter of NOT doing things that doing things that characterizes a frugal lifestyle. Picking and choosing what TO spend money on means making many choices about what NOT to spend money on.
Here's a list of things I don't do anymore (some I do occassionally but not much really) that occurred to me. I wonder how much $$ this adds up to in a given amount of time.

-Using the dryer. I like hanging laundry up.
-Using shampoo/ hair looks better
-Using teeth are whiter
-Drinking water from plastic bottles...tap water is cheaper and less toxic (usually)
-Paying dues to professional societies...I had no respect for them anyway and I don' need to use them to network anymore (this was between 1k and 2.5k/year!)
-Turning the heat up...I don't like to sweat
-Buying dairy (except butter)...can't eat it anyway so that wasn't really a money saver, it was more of a sinus saver
-Eating meat at every meal or even every day...beans are cheap and keep forever and peanut butter is delicious.
-Buying salad dressing...I almost never managed to finish a bottle before it went bad whereas oil and vinegar kept separately last for ages and can be used for other things.
-Buying overly processed foods (except candy)...I cook mostly from scratch and enjoy cooking more than heating up a bag of something. I DO occassionally get a pre-fab Amy's Cheeseless
-Pizza or go out to eat and have tater tots. It's good not to go too far with these things.
-Throwing out food scraps...almost everything goes into compost or gets reused. Greasy waste does get thrown out (actually, set out by the road for the stray dogs to eat in the hopes they will get the craps in their owners' yards) since it will interfere with the compost and attract dogs/cats/pests
-Washing the kitchen floor...that's not frugal, it's just lazy and I should really do that again. It's been like 6 months.
-Buying new clothes (except undies, socks and footwear though in reality, all of my socks have been gifts in the past few years)...there is more choice at thrift and the prices are so so so much better most of the time. Occassionally I'll need to make an exception for a specialty item like super sturdy pants for outdoor work if I can't seem to find the size or quality at thrift after a few trips AND if the pants can be had on sale. Shirts have not been a problem neither have "dress" clothes. Dress clothes can be found at any christian based thrift store, worn for one event, and returned.
-Buying household cleaners...use vinegar, borax, washing soda, or plain old soap.
-Buying new furniture. The last purchase was the couch in a box for about 400$. I got that because I wanted something that could be transported in a car and the couch disassembles easily into various flat pieces of wood, a set of covers and several pieces of foam. It won't get me in "House Beautiful," but I wasn't really a candidate anyway.
-Paying to exercise. I don't pay for yoga classes anymore. I get them free at work and in reality I don't go much.
-Paying full price for office supplies. I find TONS of them at thrift stores or just lying around (pens and pencils you find lying around). Odd but true. File folders, binders, paper, notebooks, clips, staples, pens, pencils, white boards...all at thrift. I almost never use a printer anymore so I haven't bought ink in 2 years.
-Drinking pop. I just quit buying it in quantity. Every now and then I'll have a can or bottle for a treat but once out of the habit, it mostly tastes too sweet. I'm attempting to make home-made gingerale or ginger beer (the first attempt tasted like bandaids someone had peed on so we'll see...).


Anonymous said...

As always, Jill, I find your column funny and educational. There were several of those list items that I currently still do, so I'll see if I can make progress in that regard. I would also add that I really try not to buy forms of entertainment like books/CDs/DVDs when I can head to the library or borrow from a friend.

Jill said...

yes! I do that too.