Skip It (Some Semi-Easy Ways To Save Money)

First of all, who remembers this? Better yet, who owned one?

Now that we got that out of the way, it’s been way too long since our last Save It post (like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one to name a few), so the other night I was thinking about a few things that we just don’t buy, and how going without those things probably adds up to saving a decent amount of cash-money. And it doesn’t feel particularly martyr-ish of us – it’s normal and easy after years of living this way. So it feels less like “going without” and more like “streamlining and simplifying.” We’ve mentioned a few of these things over the years, but I realized there were others that I never really thought about (or blogged about) so here’s a big ol’ brain dump of all the things that we typically skip.

  • Meat three or four nights a week: Some nights we just opt for spaghetti, bean burritos, vegetable stir fry, homemade pizza, nachos, sweet potatoes and salad, etc.
  • Fabric softener: We use vinegar sometimes, but most times it’s just nothing. We don’t notice a difference!
  • Dusting spray: We both grew up with Pledge, but now we just use microfiber cloths and water.
  • Regular dry cleaning: All of our clothes are machine or hand washable so we only do one trip per year for a few coats/blazers instead of monthly trips.
  • Dog grooming: Burger’s short haired, so we just bathe him at home and cut his nails ourselves and we’re good.
  • Newspaper: We get our news online (almost every newspaper has an online format now) and on the radio (NPR).
  • Bottled water: We have a water filter and use Klean Kanteens that we refill ourselves.
  • Starbucks: In the past year or so I’ve become a chai lover – and it’s $3.99 to make seven cups from this grocery store box, as opposed to that price for one cup at Starbucks. So I save that for special occasions and make a cup at home every morning instead.

  • Gel, hairspray, mousse, or serum: I haven’t bought that stuff since college. I’m just a wash and wear girl – plus I tend to break out a lot from hair stuff, so this is for vanity as well as saving money.
  • Lipstick: It’s not my bag baby, so I use what’s in this makeup tote and nothing more (not buying 20 shades of eye shadow definitely keeps money in my pocket too).
  • Creams and self tanners:  I’m pale and totally cool with it – plus my mom looks awesome for her age and doesn’t use any fancy potions or creams, so I’m hoping to follow in her glamorous grandma footsteps.
  • Perfume: I like the smell of my shampoo (John doesn’t wear cologne either).
  • Haircuts & colors: Maybe once every two years I get a $35 cut, but other than that I just trim it myself. And of course cutting John’s hair saves us money too.
  • Regular manicures and pedicures: I go about once a year with a friend (and usually hit up Starbucks while I’m splurging) but other than that I do my own toes at home and usually leave my fingers bare.

  • Gym membership for me: It’s just not my thing, but John loves his.
  • Alcohol: John has just never been a drinker and I might drink a bottle of wine a year at home (although most years it’s a gift from some sweet house guest) so it’s not a monthly expense for us.
  • Disposable diapers: More on that here.
  • Diaper bag: I never got one, just used a purse and kept extra stuff in the car.
  • Incandescent bulbs: Using CFLs and LEDs in the bulk of our fixtures adds up to a lot of money saved. We’d love to eventually go all LED in our house, but it’s not exactly a cheap switch, so we’re trying to chip away at different rooms over time.
  • A second car: This one definitely doesn’t works for everyone, but since I’ve been freelancing from home for the past seven years it’s no big deal to have one car (and it saves us the cost of a car, the gas, the maintenance, and the insurance).
  • Bag-checking fees: Even when we’ve flown with a dog or a kid, we’ve actually never paid to check a single bag (we’re nerds for the challenge of packing light).

Best of all, saving in some areas allows us to more easily afford other things that are more important to our family, like project materials, organic produce, cable TV, and ceramic animals. Guess it’s all one big balancing act right? I’d love to hear your “skip it” list! And this is a no judgement zone. You might LOVE to get your hair dyed but can resist giant dangly earrings when I can’t (I may or may not have over a dozen of those in my night table).

Psst- You can peruse over 30 money-saving posts of yore here.


  1. says

    We skip cable. Every couple of years, I spend a day at my parents’ house and binge on cable. Half of it is reruns from the last time I binged, so it’s not worth the expense for me. But we get our paper. Online news just isn’t the same, especially for events listings.

    • says

      I so agree…we save $20+ a month by just using the free channels (with an antenna) and really only miss it for sports games that are only broadcast on major channels (our local soccer team gets “blacked out” a lot when it gets picked up by national channels). It’s a big money saver!

    • says

      We recently moved due to my husbands job, and I’m unemployed so cable was the first thing we cut. All we ever watched were Frasier reruns anyways…

      We ended up doing the 7.99 instant streaming thing with Netflix through the Wii. I can not tell you how much I’m loving not having that $180 a month bill.

    • says

      I would love to know more about cutting the cable cord. I’ve been dying to get rid of it(that bill just irks me). With Netflix, can you still see series shows or just movies? What’s the instant streaming thing?

    • GreenInOC says

      Same here. I haven’t had a cable TV bill for 3+ years and I love it!

      @Andrea, you are just using the TV screen to view, so you can do whatever Netflix offers! You’ll need a device hooked up to your TV in order to do so (Logitech Revue, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, some gaming systems but I’m not a gamer so I don’t know for sure which one(s)).

      Your TV will either be digital TV ready or you’ll need a digital converter box. Then you set your input to Antenna or whatever the appropriate setting is for your TV & set-up and then scan for channels.

    • Ann says

      Us too! People think we are crazy when we tell them we have a tv (with netflix and hulu–both $8 a month) but not cable. We watch all our current shows on hulu with our subscription, we just have to wait an extra day.

    • Cortney says

      Andrea, we use a combo of Netflix (for movies, mostly), Hulu (for those tv series you want), and a little of Amazon Prime (you can get lots of movies/tv shows that way). We figured out we were mostly skipping cable for Netflix, so we dropped cable and never looked back. We splurge for faster Internet, and I watch my Downton Abbey through the PBS app on my iPad (free app). This combo gets us pretty much anything we really want, maybe with the exception of a few things (Duck Dynasty, anyone? lol), but then, I’m not a huge tv watcher.

    • Cortney says

      Andrea: I should have mentioned we stream all of those services through a Roku…we LOVE it. You can also watch YouTube through a Roku. We’re never hurting for something to watch…I’d rather just read a book, though! (I use BookBub for that…lots of free books for an eReader!)

    • Ruth says

      Another in the cable-free camp.

      Netflix you can watch series shows and movies, although the selection is limited for both. We have Netflix and also pay for Hulu (different options, more recent seasons of shows) so that we can stream that through our Playstation and xbox and also get a few more shows. That totals to $16 per month.

      If you don’t have Playstation or xbox, Husband set up a dedicated computer attached to our tv, with wireless keyboard & mouse so that we can control it from the sofa. It cost a few hundred bucks but if your only option is hooking up a laptop every time you want to watch a show, it might be a good thing to look into.

      We also have a digital antenna so that we can watch broadcast channels. It comes in crystal clear all of the time, nothing like the days of yore when one of my parents would be on the roof and the other one would be in the house shouting whether the picture was good. We barely watch it anymore because we have gotten spoiled by 30 second commercials on Hulu, but it’s free.

    • Alyssa M says

      It’s been four years since I had cable, and I don’t miss it a bit.

      In response to the question about streaming, a lot of content from the current TV seasons is available on, usually with a one day delay (although sometimes it’s a week or even a month in rare circumstances). Although CBS doesn’t make their content available on Hulu, I can watch favorite series like The Good Wife on their website. I’ve also been able to stream some sports on ESPN. I also use Amazon Prime to stream movies and older TV series — for a flat rate of about $80/year that includes streaming and free shipping, it seemed like a no-brainer to me.

    • brynne says

      Look into Roku or Apple Tv. Hubby and I got rid of cable and have been doing great with netflix and hulu.

    • Anya says

      I also skip cable — we got an antenna a few years ago for $50 (?) from Radio Shack and it gets most of the standard channels (this really depends on where you live). And we also share our wifi with our landlady.. Cable bills can be so expensive!!

    • says

      I cut my cable off about 2.5 years ago and never looked back. Like Melissa said, the only downfall is missing sports games when they’re only broadcast on ESPN. I also have an antenna, which allows me to pick up about 20 channels. I use Netflix which costs me 8.65/month after taxes. My daughter has never known cable tv. She watches cartoons on Netflix and I can’t tell you how awesome it is to not have to deal with commercials.
      Andrea, it does include several shows, but not all. They’ve added tons so it might be worth it to look into whether or not they carry the ones you really like. I have a few friends who use huluplus and netflix instead of cable. It costs them less than $20/month. I was told that Huluplus plays more tv shows. Based on what I used to pay when we had Dish network, I probably save about $1500/year not having cable. Wooot!! :)

    • Kay says

      We cut cable too, and have a Roku box for streaming Netflix. We have “rabbit ears” for the main stations but rarely watch them. I don’t care to watch the news anymore because I had to for so many years for work, so I guess I’m rebelling now. The only thing we haven’t figured out is college football games. My husband sorely misses the ones that aren’t broadcast on our main stations.

    • Yulia says

      No cable here either. We have satellite. We used to pay $45 per month, but I got tired of that. I called and they told me that based on the few channels that we actually watch, I could downgrade my programing to their lowest and cheapest one. We now only pay $20 and get most of the “basic cable” channels. It’s awesome!!!

    • Sarah says

      Okay all you cable-cutters, have any of you figured out how to get Bravo shows???!!!

      Seriously, Bravo, HGTV and FX are the 3 reasons why we keep cable. We have work-arounds for all but Bravo, which is my lifeline!!

    • lara says

      not sure if anyone mentioned, but if you have internet, you can stream netflix through ipad and connect w/ special cord (about $20) to your tv.

    • Diana says

      Same on the cable. The only time I’ve ever lived with it was in the college dorms. There are a few channels I wish we got but we just find things online to don’t watch it. Probably saves us a lot of time too!

    • Patty says

      Same here. No cable. We never got one when we bought the house (3 years ago) and at this point it’s never going to happen. We use AppleTV to watch movies, stream HuluPlus, and watch some ABC Family shows on the iPad app. And now we’re trying out Netflix but I don’t think it’s going to work out. Not worth the money. Cable is too much$$$ that I’d rather spend on something else!

    • Abby says

      Maybe it’s because I live alone, but I gave up cable for two months and had to get it back. My friend that also gave up cable doesn’t miss it. It’s worth the savings if you can do it. I’m just owning up that I’m a bit of a TV junkie ;)

    • Abby says

      @sarah, Bravo, HGTV, and Food Network were the reasons I came back to cable. My real housewives addiction couldn’t handle the no cable! I did find them on Amazon Prime the next day, but it was $1.99 per episode even with a prime membership.

    • says

      A tip to all you folks who want to cut the cable bill: If you have a computer in or near your living room, you can use an HDMI cord to basically use your tv screen as a giant computer monitor. So then you can watch Hulu and Netflix and anything the web has to offer on your big screen. You just need to make sure both your computer and tv have HDMI ports.

      Also, the antenna is a great suggestion. We get about 10 channels in HD and all we had to do was buy a $10 indoor antenna (about the size and shape of a book) from Best Buy.

    • says

      Wow, you guys are awesome. I am completely tech-inept but I will get a helper to translate (aka my husband), haha. Thanks everyone!! I can’t wait to ditch that bill.

    • says

      I should say that we do have Apple TV but obviously don’t really use it to it’s full capabilities. We are in Canada and I hear that our Netflix isn’t even close to as good as the US version :(

    • Emma says

      I’m in the UK and I avoid paying for basic TV (no channels are free here) and “cable” (like Sky) by running an HDMI cable from the PC in the back room through the wall (I drilled a hole)through to the TV in the living room. This is great for watching iPlayer and Netflix and also for video games via Steam. I have a cute little wireless keyboard to control it.

    • says

      We got rid of cable too. We pay $40 + taxes per month for Comcast Internet and stream movies, tv, etc through our Amazon Prime account. I looked into Netflix and Hulu and while they have their perks we opted for Amazon Prime because of all the additional shopping perks/discounts you get. The only thing my husband misses is ESPN. We plugged our cable directly into the back of the tv and get about 20 free channels that include local ABC, NBC, etc. We also get PBS which is perfect for our 2 and 4 year old. I watch Naahville online on the day after it airs! Saving about $100/month and love it!

    • Sally says

      Us too! We have a Roku box at each TV and pay for Hulu Plus and Netflix Streaming, which comes to <$20/month. We also watch other shows online (e.g. Project Runway, Design Star), either on the computer in the living room or the laptop. We occaisionally splurge and buy a series (e.g. Nurse Jackie, Boardwalk Empire) on Amazon or iTunes. College basketball season is the only time we wish for cable, but some in broadcast over the air (we live on Tobacco Road) and we go to a friend's house or a sports bar for other stuff. We figured out that the cost of a few beers and plates of nachos in Jan-Mar was less than cable!

    • Jessie says

      Yup, we skip cable, too. The only time I really miss it is during college basketball season, and then it gives us an excuse to see family/friends for games. We also have “dumb” phones (no smart phones for us) and Clear wireless internet, which is super cheap. We’re certainly not anti-technology…we just despise the cost and would rather spend elsewhere.
      Love your whole list, Sherry, and we have a lot in common in those areas!

    • JessieBelle says

      we haven’t had cable in over three years. it is amazing. The only times we miss it are for sports and severe weather. But if there is a game on we want to watch bad enough, we will go to a friend’s house or a bar. We have netflix, but we hardly watch it except on our phones, paying for tv is for suckers. Between Project Free Tv, and Megashare (both amazing, safe, FREE streaming websites, we watch all the tv and movies we want! :)

  2. says

    We skip the dog grooming too and just bathe our dog in the tub, we also reuse all our grocery bag plastic bags to put in trash cans or to clean out the litterboxes, and I just about never do my nails or toes- what’s the point if they’re just going to be covered with spray paint in a few hours anyway? :)

    We definitely try to put anything we can save towards big stuff like home improvements and vacations, and the day to day change towards organic/farm fresh food whenever we can.

  3. Steph says

    I wish I could skip manicures and pedicures sometimes (I love the pampering but it’s expensive) but omg I’m so terrible at it. It’d look like a 4 year old did it.

    I’ve way cut back on Starbucks which is kind of a big deal because I was a once-a-day-sometimes-twice kind of girl for YEARS. Getting a mortgage kicked that habit. lol

    I stopped dying my hair, that was a big one. And I only get it cut maybe 3 times a year total. I’ve also just tried to cut way back on my clothes shopping. My closets been known to get out of control.

    And finally, my friends and I were away at a friends cabin for a weekend and found a skip it. There’s a video of me and my mid-twenties friends, doing the skip-it. I put it to Spice Girls music. :)

    • Kala says

      I take the old polish off, cut and file my nails myself and have the salon paint them. It’s only $10.

    • braelin says

      I stopped coloring my hair when I was in grad. school and living on a $600/month stipend as my total income… that was over 10 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I one time calculated it and figured that it has saved me over $7,000 (that’s 7 THOUSAND) dollars over 10 years (and that’s not even counting not buying fancy color protector shampoo…). Plus, when I look back at my obviously dyed hair from 2012 I cringe… it didn’t even look good (!).

  4. Krissy says

    I had a skip-it! I was a pro!!

    We skip a lot in terms of grocery shopping. We have our vegetable garden, raise pigs and rabbits, and hunt for venison. It shrinks our grocery bills immensely.

    • Stacia Reagan says

      Same here. I just started raising chickens this year so I get all the eggs I will ever need from them. They also control all the garden weeds and provide tons of fertilizer for the my garden that is full of vegetables. For example, this morning I went out and grabbed two eggs, a tomato and plucked some basil leaves and made a tomato/basil omelet with some shredded cheese for breakfast.

      My kids snack on the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries all day long.

    • MegW says

      Me too! We have a freezer full of fish and venison and a garden full of veggies. (Though just because we catch our own fish and save on the grocery bill probably doesn’t put us ahead because cost of owning a boat probably negates that, but it’s a hobby we love, and I’ll take a day on the boat with my husband over time spent at the grocery store!)

      When it comes to saving on groceries I do a lot of price matching. My grocery store will price match other stores sales, so I’m able to save a ton on produce and store brand items that you normally don’t find coupons for.

      We also have a wood burning stove insert in our fireplace, which really helps to heat the house and saves on propane costs. It takes time to cut and stack the wood, but it’s good exercise, and between our 16 acres and family land, we have plenty of access to free wood.

    • says

      I’m in this camp! My brother in law hunts so we get venison from him, and we raise and preserve foods from our garden. It’s awesome being able to stand out there at night and decide what’s for dinner. Our bill definitely goes down in the summer more than any other month and we’re expanding our garden every year. Someday when reno’s are done we might get into a few chickens.It also helps that we limit animal product intake too. We’re not vegan, but we eat vegan a lot (it’s super tasty!). When I do buy animal products (eggs, cheese, meat) I try to get them from local farmers who pasture raise. It costs more but it’s totally worth it for us and it also lasts us a super long time. One of the staples in our house is making a big batch of vegan burgers and then vacuum sealing them. I don’t have to spend the money on the vegetarian ones in the store that have tons of filler, and it’s a lot cheaper.

    • Sally says

      We have a tiny garden, but I figure we save a lot on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.

  5. Lindsay says

    The big items I save on are cable TV and eating meatless most days of the week. I also try to save on gas by driving as little as possible and combining trips/errands as efficiently as I can!

  6. Riva says

    We skip cable/satellite, and cell phone costs too. We have prepaid plans and just buy one refill card a year, and use an Ooma phone at home that runs off our internet (we only had to pay one flat fee one time to buy the physical product). We don’t pay for cable or satellite either. My husband made an antenna with a 2×4 and coat hangers a few years ago so we can catch over-the-air channels and anything else we watch online or rent.

    When my mother-in-law found out we didn’t have cable she sort of freaked out thinking it was because we were really poor and couldn’t afford it … but I really don’t think we’ve missed it at all in the years we’ve gone without as we have so much else to do with our time besides watching TV!

    • Andrew says

      Riva – you took my thoughts right out of my head. I switched to a pre-paid cell plan and I love it. Best part is that I save more than HALF from the contract service. I also use a VOIP service for my home phone. It’s OBI-TALK and like OOMA, you just buy the hardware and then there are no monthly or yearly fees. I seriously cannot believe I don’t pay a dime!

    • Sally says

      Me too! I analyzed our cell phone bills and switched to an AT&T Go Phone. It’s 10 cents a minute plus I get the $5/mo texting plan. I’m averaging <$20/mo instead of $45/mo in a contract. I realized most of my calls were short, the long calls I were to my family members from home…now I use Skype, Google Voice, or Facetime for those. My partner loves to chat with friends any time of day, so we kept her on a contract plan.

  7. Sarah says

    We’ve paired down our cleaning supplies significantly. We only use bleach, vinegar, dish soap, and CLR. CLR is the only real commercial thing I buy on a regular basis. I also make our own laundry detergent and it saves a ton! I’ve started to use henna on my hair too instead of box dyes (it’s healthier) or salon treatments (way cheaper).

    • Ronica says

      I use the one at, though now that we have a front loader, I don’t add water and just use it as a dry powder. 1 T per load. So cheap, and you could not pay me to go back to purchased stuff, even if you delivered it. This just plain works better. I use a microplane grater for the soap, which makes it blend better.

    • says

      We used to make our own laundry detergent too with shredded soap, borax and oxyclean but then realized with septic you shouldn’t use shredded soap. It might melt in the wash, but it solidifies again in the tank/pipes which are colder. We switch between commercial detergent and soap nuts. Since we wash a lot in cold water, and the saponifiers in soap nuts are activated better by warm water I’ll actually make a liquid soap out of them first before using. I’ve never had a problem with clothes coming out grody. If they’re really dirty I might add a splash of Dr. Bronners regular soap.

  8. Peggy McKee says

    What brand of microfiber cloths do you use? I’ve heard that some are great & others awful.

    Great post! My favorite money saver is the Consumer Reports recipe for all purpose spray cleaner. Here’s the link:

    I like it better than anything I can buy–and I use it as wiper fluid except in winter. Best, Peg

  9. says

    So the light bulb thing – last night yet another expensive CFL burned out in our kitchen. I’m finding that they aren’t lasting longer for us at all, and in fact seem to burn out quicker than regular light bulbs. Any ideas why? So for us, the small savings on energy is not offsetting the cost of the expensive bulbs, so I think we’re going back to regular old light bulbs!

    • says

      Oh no, that stinks! Anyone else having an issue with that or know of a cause? Ours tend to last a lot longer (the decorative ones that are still fluorescent burn out like five times in the span that a CFL lasts for us). Maybe it’s some sort of shortage? Do you have a lot of surges or outages or something?


    • says

      CFL burn out quickly for me too. They definitely don’t last the 5 and 7 years that they proclaim to (maybe one or two years?). I try to save the money back guarantees but by the time it burns out they’ve been lost.

    • Brittney says

      Do you have them on a dimmer? If so, you have to get special CFL bulbs for dimmers. We were having that problem in our house too and found that to be the problem. We are working on going all LED right now. I like the color of the LED much better. :)

    • Tony says

      In the past I’ve noticed CFL bulbs don’t last as long if you frequently turn the switch on and off as opposed to leaving the light on for a duration of at least 20 minutes at a time. It seems like the bulb has to warm up to it’s fullest brightness before being switched off again. But sometimes it’s inevitable that you just have to turn the lights on briefly and then switch them off.

      I’ve noticed that certain brands like “Luminus” seem to burn out faster than “Phillips” bulbs.

    • says

      I have the same problem with CFL bulbs…they don’t last very long at all! I had someone tell me that it had something to do with little power surges in your home, but I have no idea if that’s true or not. All I know is that the light bulb aisle and I have become close friends! :)

    • says

      My mom has had issues with the CFL canned (read: big) lights. First of all, they take like 5-10 minutes to come on, and then they have replaced 1-2 of them a year. And they are the expensive ones. No idea why.

    • Jessica says

      Yes – we’ve had that issue with the CFL bulbs too. Aren’t they supposed to last at least a year or more? We’ve had some burn out in just about the same amount of time as the traditional bulbs :(

    • Nancy says

      Yup…we are back to regular bulbs! I am so glad to hear that we aren’t the only one this happened too!

    • Stacey says

      Check to see if you are using the correct wattage – if I put 100W in a lamp/overhead that says 40 or 60 they burn out quicker (CFL or the regular bulbs)
      We have “old” not CFL bulbs in some parts of the house still and if they are the correct watts they’ve lasted for years.

    • says

      Having CFL bulbs on a dimmer that is not CFL specific, or frequently turning them on and off (like in a bathroom) will burn CFLs out far faster than they are supposed to. And, like another reader said above, there is a huge quality difference between name brands and the cheaper ones.
      For lights that you have to turn on and off a lot, I’d recommend either upgrading to LED or looking into some of the other options. I believe I read that there is a new incandescent that, while not as energy efficient as a CFL, will perform better with frequent on-off action.

    • Barbara in CT says

      My GE CFL bulbs don’t make it past a year. Obviously, I need to find and use the Phillips brand. Traditional bulbs are no longer being sold in Connecticut. We do have outages being at the end of the line.

    • Meg M says

      I must be one CFL light bulb pro! We bought an entire set for our rental condo in 2005 and when they didn’t burn out when we were ready to move in 2007 we took them with us. (We had saved the old bulbs for just such a reason.) we’ve since moved another two times, moving the bulbs with us each time, and have never had to replace one! We are going on 8 years now with no burn-outs! Those babies survived a cross-country move and everything! I will say that I am fanatic about saving electricity though; our bill is almost always under $30/month and that includes central heat and air conditioner usage.

    • Brien says

      I read in the newspaper that turning CFL’s off and on will shorten their lifespan. I’ve definitely noticed that in our house. Our lights that we have on timers that are on every day 6pm-1am have lasted for 2 years and still going. The ones we turn off and on last less than a year. It’s annoying.

    • Lisa says

      We’ve experienced the same thing! It is really frustrating. We are in a rental, so we haven’t really investigated why it’s happening. Hope someone else can “shed some light” on the situation.

    • Diana says

      I read that CFLs need to be in unenclosed lights. So even though we have large glass globe lights in our home, they burn out faster because of the retained heat.

    • Amy says

      What Tony and Brian said is totally right: CFL’s burn out quickly in lights that are turned on and off frequently.

      I used to have trouble with *some* CFL’s but not others, but then realized it was only in the bathroom and kitchen, where we’d pop in for a few minutes then pop back out throughout the evening. Those lights kept burning out after only a year or so. The living room lights, on the other hand, get turned on when it gets dark and left on until bedtime, and those are still going strong for about 5 years now.

      So I’ve gone back to incandescents in the Kitchen and Bath, and am planning to buy LED’s soon, now that there are some good choices.

    • Mary says

      I have a box of burned out CFLs in my garage. You can’t just throw them out because they are full of toxic mercury. What am I supposed to do with them? They do not last as long as claimed.

    • Christie says

      The CFL bulbs only last about 6-8 months at my house. I’ve been stocking up on incandescent bulbs lately since they are so much cheaper. I had an electrician out a while back and he said the voltage was high in the house. I’m not sure if that’s true or he was just trying to sell us his professional grade flux capacitor, lol. It was supposed to lower the voltage, but we don’t have any other problems, nor do we have a couple grand to spend on a giant surge protector.

    • Oriah says

      My understanding is that you aren’t supposed to use CFL’s at all with dimmer switches. I’m a little ocd and write the date on the white plasicy bottom part of the bulb so i know exactly how long i’ve been using them. I’ve also noticed that if i avoid touching the glass portion of the bulb they last a lot longer. I only screw them in using the plastic base. I’ve been using cfl’s for about the last 8 years and have only replaced 1 since i stopped touching the glass when i install them….maybe i’m just super lucky.

    • Tamara says

      CFLs dieing early….you are not alone. If they are on a dimmer, just switch to traditional or LED. If you have power surges or outages in your area, CFLs are not for you. Large can lights, CFL versions do not last. If you convert to smart lights switches, use LEDs or traditionals.

      Also, while you can twist a traditional bulb just that extra bit to make sure it is really in there, doing that with a CFL actually damages it. I’m not sure how it is damaged. An electrician tried to explain it to me but the details passed me by. The only thing I got was don’t torque the CFL bulb.

    • Sally says

      If your local home depot doesn’t take the used bulbs, check to see if your town has a household hazardous waste collection site. That’s where I take ours.

    • LibbyP says

      We had this problem, too. We especially noticed it on the first floor of our two story house. We speculate that our upstairs activities shake the floor/ceiling and harm the bulbs in the process. We’ll try the next type of bulb (we imagine one is being invented now) but for now, we’ve gone back to regular light bulbs for the first floor.

    • Carolyn says

      The ballasts in CFLs require some care and consideration. If you turn on the bulb, they should be allowed to warm up and stay on for at least 15 minutes before turning off. Also, it’s important that you get the correct bulb for your fixture, as other readers have mentioned. For instance, some are not meant to be in enclosed fixtures. This page gives a nice breakdown toward the bottom We use LED in our kitchen and haven’t had to replace any in the past three years. We’ve had to replace CFLs in our outdoor lamps, but we typically leave them on all night. Some of our bathroom bulbs are hitting the 4 year mark (CFLs). I haven’t had good luck with the dimmable CFL bulbs though 3-ways have worked fine for us.

  10. meghan says

    Great post. We skip cable but I am a sucker for getting my hair coloured and I love pedicures. Such a waste. I just wish I could get my toes to look as nice as they do after I’ve been to the salon. Our pup is a mini goldendoodle and as cute as he is he requires grooming every 3 – 4 months at $75 a visit. Ouch! I know we could do better.

    • Emma says

      Why beat yourself up? You are entitled to take care of yourself. And keeping your pup cute? That’s being a good pup mom! :)

  11. says

    Wow I skip a lot of these things too. I will say though I am sure you save money working from home too..gas, 2nd car, lunches out, office clothes. I envy you “work at home” people. Don’t take it for granted.

  12. Emily says

    I get $100 haircuts (my hair is thick, curly and going gray!) but we don’t have cable or home phone, and we have stupid phones (i.e. not-smart phones). I’m holding out for my job to upgrade me!

  13. Emily says

    We skip a lot. I like a neat house so we skip knick knacks (tho my shelves and cabinets are definitely styled). We skip cable, we eat all fresh foods, and don’t eat out like ever because it seems to be healthier to eat at home. I skip makeup and creams and opt for the basics. And we are starting to skip TOYS because our kids don’t play with them! They are happier outside playing with friends and Barbies only collect dust around here! I am trying to pare down the closets and choose basics and essentials only because who wants to look at a junky closet?

    Fun post!

    • Lisa says

      AMEN to the skipping on toys!!! We find at every friend’s house that we are in minority as we only have a small amount of toys for our sons – 20 months and 2 months (who obviously isn’t playing with toys yet). I think parents (and doting grandparents) go way overboard with toys for kids. My son has more fun playing in the kitchen than he does with his toys. I buy most of his toys on Craigslist or at garage sales. And we are toy minimalists for sure… I’m sure my mom is appalled at how few toys my son has had. We rotate toys as well so he misses them and enjoys them more when we rotate toys out to play with. Kid stuff is one of the areas that as Americans we tend to binge and buy WAY too much for our kids.

    • Amanda says

      AMEN to buying few toys. I used to buy everything I saw, practically, when we had one kid and more money. Now he’s older and we have another with a third on the way. Money is tighter and I got really sick of kids throwing toys everywhere and then not playing with them. Got rid of at least 50% of the toys and rotate what we did keep. Kids have more fun and my house is WAY tidier. yay!

    • Carolyn says

      My mom saved so many classic toys (legos, fisher price, hotwheels, action figures, lincoln logs, etc). Plus I have friends and co-workers already promising toy rotations that I doubt we’ll need to buy any for our son. I am afraid of the generosity of family members, however, at upcoming birthdays and holidays. We live in a tiny house and there’s not enough room even if we did desire a ton of toys. :)

  14. says

    Kevin and I forgo a few things, but it’s all in an effort to save up for our splurges, especially travel. That’s our weakness.

    I’d be willing to eat nothing but Ramen and sit on the couch with the lights off just to save enough to travel the world.

    • ann says

      yes, yes, yes, yes! we are keeping our older (but fairly well maintained) cars as long as possible so that we can spend that money to travel. My husband never took family vacations as a kid and my family did them every few years, so it is important to us to do trips with our kids. Toys have also been downgraded. Blocks, legos, balls, toy cars, and wrestlers stay, pretty much everything else is in a box waiting to go to goodwill after the kids haven’t asked for it for a month.

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