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.
- 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).
- 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).
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.
Starr @ The Kiefer Cottage 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.
Melissa @ Loving Here 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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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 Hulu.com, 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.
Look into Roku or Apple Tv. Hubby and I got rid of cable and have been doing great with netflix and hulu.
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!!
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!! :)
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.
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!!!
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!!
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.
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!
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!
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 ;)
@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.
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.
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.
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 :(
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.
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 ABC.com the day after it airs! Saving about $100/month and love it!
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!
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!
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! :)
Stephanie, Sandpaper & Glue 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.
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. :)
I take the old polish off, cut and file my nails myself and have the salon paint them. It’s only $10.
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 (!).
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.
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.
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.
We have a tiny garden, but I figure we save a lot on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.
Haha Skip It! We are from the same generation, it seems
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!
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!
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!
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.
Ladies, try sidereel.com. You can find all of your favorite shows.
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).
Hi Sarah, I’d love to see your laundry detergent recipe!
I use the one at thefamilyhomestead.com, 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.
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.
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
I found some at TJ Maxx a long time ago and they’re still going strong! https://www.younghouselove.com/easy-upgrade-leave-em-in-the-dust/
Thanks for that link Peg!
I always buy mine from the automotive department at Target. They are about 1/3 of the cost for a pack and the SAME thing you can find in the cleaning section.
Crystal @ 29 Rue House says
Ours don’t soak up as well as they use to but I think that may have something to do with using dryer sheets. The dryer sheet leaves behind a residue that blocks the soaking capabilities (which is why you’re not suppose to use them with towels and cloth diapers).
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!
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?
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.
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. :)
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.
Carrie Harris 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! :)
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.
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 :(
Yup…we are back to regular bulbs! I am so glad to hear that we aren’t the only one this happened too!
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.
Cheryl @ Living Design 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.
I feel like they burn out just as fast, too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Home Depot has a box to drop them in.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 http://eartheasy.com/live_energyeff_lighting.htm 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.
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.
Why beat yourself up? You are entitled to take care of yourself. And keeping your pup cute? That’s being a good pup mom! :)
Rene @thedomesticlady 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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
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. :)
Jess @ Little House. Big Heart. 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.
I so agree with you. We are the same about that here!
Kristen @ LoveK Blog says
I totally agree with you on saving to travel! We love traveling and purposely save for it.
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.
We purchased one of those “skip its” at a tag sale for a quarter – even better was that is was the kind with the lemon on the end!
Ooh, those were the best!
The Lemon Twist! Those were the days…
I had the lemon twist, too! Love it. How about inch worms, lite brites and rock ’em, sock ’em robots!
I skip so many of the same things as you..Starbucks, mani/pedis, bottled water (a filtered water pitcher is so much better for the environment, too), haircuts (GreatClips works for me), etc. I do love my cable TV, though. With 2 small kids, we don’t eat out much or go to the movies, so that’s our little splurge.
Wendy @ New Moms Talk says
Here’s a few of ours…
Baby wipes.- We use these http://www.newmomstalk.com/2013/02/11/diy-baby-wipes-and-solution/
The dryer.- I dry 80% of our clothes on the drying racks (jeans and bed sheets are the exception).
Fancy baby toys.- We make our own. http://www.newmomstalk.com/2013/01/28/diy-felt-board/ and http://www.newmomstalk.com/2013/03/11/egg-struments-diy-car-seat-and-stroller-toys/
Our car for grocery shopping.- Before we just moved (on Sunday), we’d load up the food we needed under the jogging stroller as everything was within walking distance.
I love doing my nails. I admit I have a fairly large nail polish collection, but I justify buying a $5 bottle every now and then by not having them professionally done. I also only get my hair cut/coloured twice a year, which saves a lot of money.
It’s funny you use this savings post with a skip it. I had allowance of 50 cents growing up and I had to put half in the bank. It took me about 20 weeks to save up enough money for a skip it but I did. And it was blue. And I loved it. And I would love an adult one if I could fit my foot in it.
My savings strategy is spend the same as when I was 24… even though I’m 31 I spend the same as when I was 24 even though my salary has changed over the years. It’s not possible for everyone but since I don’t buy the “hippest” things out there I don’t realize I’m missing them.
I do splurge on Ouidad hair products but a curly girl has to do what they have to do to avoid afros.
Haha, I love the saving up for a SkipIt story!
What an awesome post! Eliminating all this stuff is pretty environmentally friendly, waste-free, and simplifying, and I LOVE it. We go without most of this stuff too.
Thanks Lauren! We love hearing all of your tips too!
I’m with you on the meat. Actually, it wasn’t even a conscious decision. I just realized that not every meal had it and I’m perfectly happy.
I stopped buying a lot of books and really take advantage of my public library. I read a LOT more and I try a lot of books I might be afraid to try if I had to buy them. If I read a book that I absolutely love and know I’ll read again and again, I buy it. In the meant time, I save a ton of money AND I don’t need to store a bunch of books that are just gathering dust.
I also don’t buy much music anymore. Pandora, Spotify, and Slacker have all been enough for me to listen to on a day to day basis. If I hear a song I absolutely love and need to have in my workout rotation then I can buy just that song.
Janelle @ Two Cups of Happy says
Ou, I love this idea!! My man and I do a lot of the same things on your list. One thing I skip is shaving cream – I use hair conditioner instead! Double duty means one less thing to knock over in the shower :)
We also skip on most kitchen accessories – since ours is lacking in storage space.
I have shaving cream & still prefer conditioner! It seems to cause less bumps for me.
Yes! Hair conditioner as shaving cream is the best. I think it works even better, actually. And we’re planning on ditching satellite pretty soon. It’ll save us about 100/month and will get us off the couch and force us to be more creative/active with our leisure time. That’s a win/win in my book!
Not to be nitpicky but what are you saving here? I’ve used conditioner instead of shaving cream, too, and while I liked it, it just made me have to buy conditioner way more often because I used more to shave than I did on my hair. So this one seems kind of like six of one, half dozen of another.
Lisa E says
Amanda, really? I ask because every time I buy a shampoo and conditioner set, which is usually sold in the same sized bottles, I always go through the shampoo first and have a bunch of conditioner leftover. Using it to shave is a win-win in my book for this reason.
Lisa E says
Okay, I thought I already posted this but I’m not seeing it. So, if this becomes a duplicate, my apologies. Amanda, I’m surprised you say that. This is why. Whenever I buy shampoo and conditioner, they are usually in the same size bottle and by the time I’ve finished the shampoo, I always have a bunch of conditioner left. Maybe because I shampoo twice, ha! In any case, shaving with the leftover conditioner seems to be a win-win situation for me, especially since I like to change up brands every so often.
Hair conditioner, what a great idea!
I run out of conditioner WAY before running out of shampoo
I have tried this several times and it just doesn’t work for me! I find shaving cream gives a much closer shave. I do find that mixing baby oil with body wash works pretty well in a pinch too.
disposable diapers & wipes we skip most of the time too! love our cloth diapers and wipes. :)
we just got rid of satellite and are using Netflix and hulu on a roku box. Its awesome and way cheaper!
and we skip most of the same things you do! except the big one the second car. Hubby works an hour and 15 mins away each way..so not practical for us right now.
Paige // Lively Green Door says
Our skip it: Paper towels! http://livelygreendoor.com/2012/07/living-without-paper-towels/ We bought 14 white tea clothes and use them instead of paper towels, and had retired dish towel rags for cleaning. We haven’t used paper towels since April 2012!
Lauren (in PA) says
Yes, I only have a roll of paper towels on hand to clean up the occassional furballs and general messes. I also use cloth napkins. And I usually find new cloth napkins at 2nd hand shops. Gotta love Target salvage at Goodwill!
We have really slowed down on the amount of paper towels we use too. Cloth napkins at every meal. It freaks out some of our family and friends who think they’re using our “nice” napkins, but I just keep reminding them that it’s all we use. One yard of fabric can make 4 napkins, which just get tossed in the washer with the rest of the laundry.
And for those who might call out that then I’m having to constantly launder the napkins… My whole collection of cloth napkins take up about as much room as one sweatshirt in the washer.
Allie @ 6000 Miles says
This is a great idea – I always try to go paper towel-less but it’s been tough! I think having some beautiful cloth napkins around would help :)
MegW — My family/friends say the same thing when using our napkins, “oooh, you’re being so fancy!!” It cracks me up because we use them every day for even the most mundane foods :)
Melissa Breau (@MelissaBreau) says
So I just wanted to add my un-asked-for 2 cents here… everyone says that digital is “greener” and more environmentally friendly than newspapers but I don’t get it.
Digital uses electricity; newspaper uses trees, a renewable and sustainable resource here in the states. In most cases a paper newspaper is actually more environmentally friendly.
Kristina Nelson says
Yikes, nothing DIY-home here! It’s so sad to me you don’t read the newspaper, opting instead to “read news online.” Hopefully you understand this cannot replace the depth and expertise of newspaper reporting. I hope you instill different values in your daughter, the next generation of readers.
Thankfully almost every newspaper has an online format now, so we regularly read NY Times articles here (Clara doesn’t quite yet, but maybe in a few years – haha!). We’ve also always shared budget-saving tips on our blog (it’s an entire category in our archives). We think saving money around the house is home related and our readers tend to request these posts as well!
Roo // NEON FRESH says
Speaking respectfully here, this is a backward way of thinking, IMHO. Every major newspaper offers online subscriptions. Here’s an interesting article in the NY Times (which was published simultaneously in print and online) regarding the trends.
Almost everyone has internet access and can stay informed thanks to advances in the mainstream media. We’re saving trees, saving money, and have even more knowledge at our fingertips than we did five years ago. This is progress, and an attempt to shame the Petersiks for not having a newspaper subscription doesn’t even make sense here.
Can you provide some more information – Why is it sad? Which decent newspaper doesn’t have an online version?
Are you aware that “I hope you instill different values in your daughter” is not a polite thing to say?
Sherry you handle your replies with such class! Although I’m sure you half way anticipated some sort of judgement, right?! I personally do love these types of posts, along w/ DIY ones of course! Take care!
Hi– what radio news do you listen to?
We’re NPR fans here!
chrissie lynn says
hi! had to respond here – as someone who works FOR a newspaper, i can assure you – the same “newspaper reporters” that write for print are the ones writing the online content! it’s a different vehicle for the same information, certainly not “sub-par” in any way.
this is one of the things i’ll never understand about the “digital transformation” being seen as bad when it comes to the death of the newspaper. news people and newspaper lovers should embrace the immediacy of online content, see it’s value, AND enjoy the fact that instead of needing to recycle print products and pay for gas to get those tangible papers to people’s front doors we can read the daily news, appreciate it’s value and NOT have a basement full of newsprint!
Instilling values of simple living and being frugal are more important than reading a hard-copy newspaper. Plus, who is anyone to judge another person’s parenting style?? This is the most absurd thing I’ve read all day; and you really should feel ashamed that you had the nerve to actually post this comment.
Not sure if the distinction has been made by commenters, but I think it’s fine to read the newspaper online IF YOU PAY FOR IT. Just spring for that year subscription to your online local paper or NY Times, etc. If your local city paper doesn’t have a pay version yet, either send a contribution (most have venues) or find a way to buy a subscription and have it delivered to a school or non-profit. We NEED to pay for journalism just like any other job or corporations with money and an agenda will buy the papers and influence editorial, public opinion and policy.
This is a great reminder. We send donations to NPR, but we read NYT so often that we should donate there too!
Since when has newspaper reporting offered any depth or expertise? Ah-Hahahhah!
Actually its much better for the environment. Its kind of silly to kill trees just for tradition… the real expertise would actually be the articles, right? Not the fact that they are printed out, rather than online.
I read all my articles online, too, and many of the stories require you to log in and pay for it.
If you read newspapers online you should pay for it. I assume the reporters don’t work for free.
Oh yes, scroll back for that info!
For those mentioning about paying for newspapers you read online, remember that those articles are made available to the public and paid for by advertising dollars. If a newspaper did not want the public to view their articles, they would not be available for free viewing. The ads that you see on the sidebars and pop-ups are part of the revenue for the papers as well, and news companies WANT people to view their sites. Of course, for those who do pay, there are additional subscription benefits and access to additional material. Just wanted to put that out there for consideration!
But you only get 10 articles per month free on the ny times website. That less than 2.5 per week. Which is not much reading at all. My daily perusal of the nytimes site is10 articles. And That’s only a small potion of the paper.
That’s true! Thankfully there are many other news sites beyond NYT that we read (The Washington Post, Google News, The Huffington Post, Reuters, USA Today, etc). We also get free emails from NextDraft each day full of news (delivered right to our inbox) and we also love NPR. So between all of that we get a nice mix.
The only thing I miss right now about no newspaper subscription is that I don’t have anything to papier mache my fake deer head this weekend. Ooops.
I haven’t been to a hairdresser for years… I get my nieces to cut my hair. Last cut was by the 7 year old – they love it. She also did my nails and toes. Granted, I had to tidy the edges (of all the above) but she had a great time. Plus, I loved the tangerine, teal and blue toenails she came up with. I have curly/wavy hair too, and I find that no hairdresser knows how to cut it properly anyway, and the waves/curls seem to cover up a few rough cuts here n there. I tie my hair up most of the time anyway.
We don’t have cable…or TV for that matter (just watch movies). I don’t miss it much, but I’ll admit that when I’m interstate I do sit on the bed and watch hours to catch up! I’m no purist.
The main thing we do to save money is just avoid shopping malls/pretty shops… if I don’t see it, I don’t know what I’m missing. :-) I love a bargain & find thrift shops much more satisfying.
Oh my gosh,I thought I was the only woman in America who trimmed her own hair and did her own nails to save a few bucks!!! Lol :)
We skip meals out during the week (we both work FT). We realized that we were spending the equivalent of our retirement savings and our son’s education savings every month on food “out,” and that we could be bumping that noize up way far if we cut out Subway lunches. The Canadian government will give you 20% interest on the first $2500 you sock into your child’s RRSP annually to a lifetime maximum: hands up if you want to take advantage of that, and skip the stanky chicken.
Other skip its:
– new clothes. Thrift store does it, and the thrill of a great find – and because I am a label ho, this means finding Seven for All Mankind jeans for $7, which happens regularly – is amazing. Who needs to spend $300 on jeans? That’s what I call being tricked by bizzniss.
– pre-packaged food. Sure it takes a little time to cook from scratch, but if the choice is 20 minutes Facebooking or 20 minutes prepping pasta and meatballs and salad, I’ll take the food prep, Alex.
– cable TV. Netflix all the way.
– the dryer, unless it is dire. I have two drying racks on the go at any given time.
It’s all about a good balance. I hate feeling deprived. We work too hard for what we have to fritter it away on useless things.
I just got two pairs of Seven for All Mankind jeans for $10 total at our thrift store, too!! Woop, woop! Go us :)
I want to get rid of cable so bad!! My husband is a sports junkie and can’t deal without his ESPN. I mean, seriously, we are spending over $60 a month on basically ESPN. Everything else we could get on Netflix or Hulu.
Rebecca | the lil house that could says
Hayley, I believe you can stream ESPN and get an antenna to receive local sports stations. That’s what my husband does :)
Courtney Madden says
We do basically all of this, but I do love YHL for not pointing out the obvious things we never did anyway (i.e. cut out Starbucks trips or a home phone).
We currently have only super basic cable because it was cheaper than internet alone, but hubby is insisting on upgrading for football season just for ESPN! Is that really worth $80/mo?! I wish ESPN realized this and offered some kind of online subscription for around $30/mo…
I hear your Courtney! I wish that too. We’ve used my brother’s login for ESPN in the past. I’d be willing to pay ESPN a monthly fee for access if I didn’t have to get all cable.
Carrie @ Busy Nothings says
We skip about 95% of the things on that list (but can’t give up our meat, we are such carnivores!), and I’m a no makeup gal, so cheap there too. We were a one-car household until I got a job outside of our home, but since I’ve been freelancing from home for the last year and a half, we have considered going back to one-car… but, the cheapest car is the one you already own, and both of ours are paid for and working. We’ll reconsider if/when one of them dies.
Our “Skip It” list includes:
* Cable TV (we watch what’s free online, when we watch anything, which is rare)
* “Toys” (like a boat, 4-wheeler, motorcycle, etc.)
* Yearly Vacations (when we go, we go big, so it’s a save/splurge situation)
* Pets (we had a St. Bernard for 5 years before moving overseas, now we’re pet-free, mostly because it killed me when we had to give her away)
* Movies in the theater (insanely overpriced for 2 tickets, and forget popcorn/drink!)
I think this is the first time I’ve left a comment on your blog, but I do visit every day after a friend introduced me, and I love seeing your project progress. Twelve years ago, we ripped off 100 sq. ft. on our house, then added on 600 sq. ft. doing all the work ourselves. It was insane, and took us about 4 years to do it, and there are still a few straggler projects, but we love the end result and we now know what we would never do again… like drywall. ;)
Carrie @ Busy Nothings says
Oh… and I had a Skip It as a kid. I think it was a birthday gift from a friend and I wore it out! ;)
Teresa @ wherelovemeetslife says
That last one on your list… yup!!! I used to love to see a movie in theater, but with 4 kids it is insane to go to the movies. Now it is saved for birthdays. We rent it when it hits redbox (or hope Netflix will stream it). I miss the days of a $1 movie night!!!
Alice H says
Whenever I take my kids to the movie theatre, we usually go the first showing Saturday or Sunday morning because it is only like $5 per person. Just thought I would share that in case you didn’t know. We also don’t do popcorn or pop unless we have a coupon for it. And luckily we have $1 movie theatres in our town so we can go to those also.
i never had a skip it. all my friends did. even my cabbage patch doll was homemade. my mom must have been doing the things on this list when i was young too!
i guess it rubbed off on me because our family does almost everything on this list but we do drink, have three cars (yikes) and my husband gets a coffee every day because he drinks his iced year round and says i don’t make it right at home. (whatevs).
we don’t have pets or cable and we rarely go out to eat. that saves us a ton. one thing i love to do is make gifts/cards for people instead of buying for holidays or birthdays. i haven’t bought a greeting card in years.
Amanda J. says
I made iced coffee at home and my husband loves it. It seems to be smoother to me than the bought kind. I put one cup of coffee grounds and 3 quarts of water in a gallon pitcher and let it sit for between 6-8 hours. I filter the results through a tea towel into another gallon pitcher. I keep the filtered cold brewed coffee in the refrigerator. He prepares his morning coffee with some coffee creamer and the filtered coffee and no extra sugar. Which for him is pretty rare! He prefers it to the bought versions. And it is totally cheap to make!
I never had a skipit, but I do a lot of the things on your list. Except for the cloth diapers. Funny story … I asked my husband about it before my 3 year old was born and he got a horrified look on his face and said oh no … please.
Great post! We also skip all those things (except having one car, but we probably won’t replace our truck if that ever kicks the bucket). We also skip eating out most days, cable tv, new clothing (I like to pop tags), jewelry, junk food, child care (we work from home for ourselves).
We happily splurge on travel, healthy food, a really cool house in the Fan, mud runs, golf tournaments and other sporting events for my husband, professionals so we don’t have to DIY around the house, taking the time and opportunity to pursue our passions and career goals without worrying about bringing in the biggest salary, and one day college for the kids.
I use coconut oil to make facial scrubs (I just posted about it today!), remove my make up, wash my face and to shave! I am sure it has a million other uses too, I wouldn’t be suprised if it can power a car…
And I discovered I have an undying love for the library. I love saving money on books! Now, I only buy special ones instead of indulging in a weekly book habit.
I am loving everyone’s tips!
Ashley G says
I too love coconut oil because it is so multipurpose! Have you tried it Petersiks? I’m interested in the above poster’s method for face washing, as I struggle with acne and tried leaving a thin layer of coconut oil on my face, but it made my breakouts worse. Sherry what is your skin care routine? You always look radiant!
We are vegan, got rid of cable, and use Norwex cloths. I went to a party 6 months ago and thought it was such a gimmick, but now all I need to do is wet a cloth and use that for cleaning. It works amazing. We also have a programmable thermostat so in winter we set it to 59 (I hate it cold but it saves a lot of money). In the summer we don’t turn the air on until it is 89 in the house. Our monthly gas/electric bill is $102 for a 1600 square foot 1940 house. I also hang all clothes on the line in the summer
betty (the sweaty betty) says
I saw John at the gym this morning! I wanted to say hi so bad, but he was in the zone and I figured that was his ‘me time’, so I didn’t bug him. I was really star-struck though.. and now I sound like a creeper .. sorry. haha
my fiancé works in Richmond and I work in the arboretum (on the way to Richmond) so we only use one car for work. we have two cars, but only use both if I have to work late or go to a meeting somewhere. we’re saving on wear and tear and gas every week. so i’d say we’re doing pretty well!
That’s so funny! He was up so early today! I bet he would have loved to say hi to you!
Roo // NEON FRESH says
We skip cable and gym memberships. We’re actually a three vehicle fam, but one of those is a moped we purchased six years ago. It gets 120 miles to the gallon, and Jack rides it to work every day in the fall, spring, and summer.
Meep meep, homies!
Kat Gray says
Roo, I need to know more about this moped! TIHIF moped edition? (Really though…I secretly want a moped to commute to work and would love to know his experience.)
My partner has a 50cc scooter that gets this kind of mileage. It only goes up to around 35 mph, but is perfect for short in-town commute. I have a co-worker who scoots to work…which also means he doesn’t pay for parking like the rest of us!
Kat Gray says
I totally gave up paper towels
I have a two bin system under the sink – one with clean flour sack towels and wash cloths and the other for dirty
Wendy @ New Moms Talk says
We’re moving to an island soon, and I was trying to figure out how to work with cloth napkins/towels, etc. and keep it all sane with an 8-month old.
One of my sisters-in-law puts handkerchiefs in a tissue box cover, so they pull up like regular tissues. (I just learned that Sunday!)
Wendy… so curious!! Why are you moving to an island? For a job? To get away from America’s ridiculousness? And where is it?
Our list is similar to yours:
We’ve slowly started switching to LEDs as well. Kids’ rooms first, since they tend to get left on a lot. Any stores/brands/deals you can recommend?
I don’t use hair products, get manis/pedis, the make-up I use lasts me a long time, I’ve had the same perfume for years, etc.
We got rid of our DirecTV when we moved to our new house, and just survive with a digital antenna to get local channels & Netflix. We did have the one-time expense of a Roku and the antenna, but it’s quickly paid for itself. My three kids haven’t complained, and we find we get more work done.
Our new house has a special filtration system for drinking water, so we fill up our Camelbaks and we’re good to go.
We also recently started doing some meatless meals, and that’s saved an amazing amount!
I do a once-a-year haircut for myself, and my husband cuts his & our three boys’ hair.
Attempting DIYs in our new house (thanks to you guys for your ideas and tutorials!).
I have three boys, so most clothes are handed down, supplementing if need-be. Also buy at end-of-the season clearance sales for next year. My kids all grow pretty steadily, so I can guess pretty well what size they’ll be. If not, there’s another kid lined up to wear it soon enough.
Do you get sports channels on that antenna?
There is a post about value for money on LED brands – I think on Apartment Therapy – and the best “starter” LEDs seem to be the Cree bulbs. Home Depot sells them. They’re usually prominently displayed around the store. I’ve been gradually swapping them into my light fixtures and the results have been excellent so far!
As far as cutting back, we make some home made healthy cleaning products (vinegar/baking soda works wonders), skip the paper, and skip mani/pedis and DIY it. I also re-use my existing paint for other projects, remixing here and there or bumming paint from friends. Also hit Goodwill for fabrics – you’d be shocked what great things you’d find – curtains, heavy canvas, Target Nate Berkus bedding set with original tags for only $15!
Lakitia A. says
No Car Notes! EVER! My father-in-law in a dealer and can get anything at a good price. When we’re ready for another car, we sell the one we have and buy another one. The life!
I skip going to the hair salon. I have skills so I can do it all myself.
Hiring people to do work for the house (unless it’s electrical or plumbing)
Makeup. It can get expensive quick! My friends all wear makeup and I’ve seen the receipts from the MAC store. YIKES!
Buying clothes at the regular price. Everything goes on sale a month later anyways.
Those are just a few.
I am a single mom with two teenage daughters. I’ve had my hours cut for over a year now, but I manage, barely, to keep food on the table and keep the girls dressed.
I do not have cable or satellite. I was about to get it since I had finally paid off my car, but then my hours were cut.
I do not have a home phone, just a cell phone for my oldest and myself. My youngest gets upset that she doesn’t have one, but it times get hard, I will just end up with one, and that would be for my daughters to call me at work if something happens.
We go to Goodwill/Salvation Army for clothes, when they are 50% off. I am so glad my daughters aren’t into name brands, but nearly all of our clothes come from there. I only buy our underthings new….
We very rarely go out and eat. I bring lunch to work (usually cans of soup) and just eat here. I would rather spend that money on having a Pizza night with the girls.
We go to the movies about once every few months (If it’s the “Dollar Movies” we will go maybe once a month). And when we go… I use my BIG purse….
I only rent movies when redbox gives me a free movie rental. We have it on each cell phone, so that usually at least 2 free movies a month.
Speaking of renting movies, we go to the public library a lot (we do not have internet at home, so it’s free there) and borrow books and movies for free there.
Free Samples….. We love going to Costco (it has only been here for about a year and a half) and trying the samples. And buying our stuff in bulk has really helped us save money on groceries.
Okay… I think that is pretty much it
It sounds like you’re doing great! :)
@Audrey, great tips! You sound like an awesome mom… :)
Some of my best memories growing up are of going with my Mom to Costco on Sundays to people-watch and enjoy all the samples!
Amen to the public library for the internet! I have it at home now, but didn’t for years. Then for a while, I didn’t have my own internet, but had a neighbor that gave me her wifi password.
I am very thrifty!I refuse to pay full price and always shop clearance first I plan our meals around grocery ads/sales and always use coupons
I use the library for movies/books and free activities for the kids
Garage Sale, Goodwill, Consignment -for as much as possible
I don’t Color my hair or get mani/pedi-unless it’s with a gift certificate
We grow a veggie garden
And new this year I am doing the want, need, wear, read Xmas! And only gifting with our parents/own kids….cut back on a ton!
We also have one car….way easier!
We save money with the following:
Eat at home at least 5 nights a week. (Added bonus, you know what you are getting when you eat at home.)
We don’t drink soda or bottled water.
No paper and no magazines. I am dying for a subscription to HGTV Mag so I might ask for it for Christmas.
We also try and buy most things in bulk, paper towels, TP etc. Less trips to the store means less frivolous items that we will buy.
Our thermostat doesn’t dip below 75 during the summer and doesn’t go above 68 in the winter.
I also don’t get mani’s or pedi’s. Maybe once a year as a treat.
My mother in law cuts my husband’s hair. I’m on the hunt for a more budget friendly place to get my hair done.
Have you written a post about the type of water filter you use? This is something we have been thinking about purchasing over the last few months…just drinking tap water as of now!
We had one under the sink in our first and second house (they’re not too hard to install) but since we moved we now have one of those Pur ones that snaps onto the faucet (the kitchen is in such a state that it’s hardly the biggest eyesore here, haha!) but we also hear good things about those Brita pitchers. The key for us is some sort of filter and then using reusable bottles like Klean Kanteen.
We use a Britta pitcher. Growing up my husband was on well water and my parents had the faucet mount. When we moved away from home we just didn’t like the taste of traditional tap water. I kind of prefer the pitcher to the faucet mount – it gets in the way doing dishes, and with the pitcher I always have cold water on hand in the fridge!
Though who knows, it’s been years since my parents bought the faucet mount, maybe they’re smaller now?
We have a full house system and another one under the kitchen sink for extra clean water for drinking/cooking. You can tell the difference in showering and washing! The system is stainless steel from Water Resources Int’l/United Distributors (FL/GA) …lifetime guarantee, and if you ever move, they come an unloop the system and you can MOVE IT!!! Which we have done twice now… No plastic bottles, which I think is a total waste of money in sooooo many ways! We LOVE our water system… we don’t even have to boil water when the alerts come thru because of the double osmosis system! In the long run, the expense in the beginning is worth the overall savings and makes for healthier living with good, clean water!
I’d love to hear your tips for traveling light with a kid in tow! We are flying next month with our newborn (also Clara!) and I’m already wondering how in the world I’m going to pack all her stuff. Fitting it in a carry on would be awesome. :)
There’s a little bit about that in this post for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/twelve-tips-for-smoother-travel/ We just generally really try not to bring things we won’t use and just pack the bare necessities. It really helps to have access to a washer/dryer (which usually happens on family trips since we rent a house instead of staying in hotels).
Erin G says
Hi Kristen! We recently flew with our 5 month old and learned that stroller bags and car seat bags fly for free. We threw in diapers, toys and those types of things that would have taken up a lot of room in our suitcase. It was really helpful. Good luck!
We skip most of those things, too … hadn’t really thought about it before! The things I don’t skip … hair products & hair cuts! With crazy curly hair, there is no such thing as wash & wear … and it gets preeettty bad without regular trimming! So color me jelly that you don’t have to do that :D
As a fellow curly-haired girl, I feel ya! Without products, I would look like a crazy person.
Lisa E says
Amen curly sistas! :)
Curly girls unite. I saw my spending at Ulta this year…rough. And that’s not counting the two that I buy at Aveda. I consider myself very low maintenance but there’s really no such thing with curly hair, is there?
That is so weird…I have super curly hair too, and I finally gave up on haircuts because I have NEVER had one I liked. No matter whether I went to a cheapo chain or to my sister’s high-priced stylist, it was always the same: I never liked the way I looked coming out of the salon as much as the way I looked going in. Sometimes I would literally walk out in tears because I hated it so much. So finally I decided I would just quit going from place to place, getting bad cut after bad cut, in a futile search for one that I liked. Now I mostly let my hair do its own thing and just trim the bangs when they start to get too long.
I use almost no products on it either–just plain old dollar-a-bottle conditioner. Everything else I have tried (even the stuff that’s supposed to be specially designed for curls) makes it either stiff, sticky, or greasy. So now I just finger-comb the conditioner through damp-dry hair and don’t rinse it out. My hair doesn’t look salon perfect, but at least I can live with it now.
[email protected] the Manor says
Ha! Loved the skip it. I had forgotten about it until my addiction to Buzzfeed began–they mention it quite often.
It’s amazing how much those things that we think are “little” add up. One big thing we started doing it using a reusable k-cup holder for our Keurig. We spend $6-$8 on a good bag of coffee that 2 months or more, versus spending $6-$8 on a box of individual k-cups every week. It makes a big difference on our grocery bill!
AGREED i had no idea how much i was paying per pound for coffee when i was buying kcups… when i finally looked i almost had a heart attack. they come out to $40-60 PER POUND for coffee. ugh
If you or someone close has a Costco membership, that same boxed chai concentrate can be found in 3 packs for about $8. 36 packs of large microfibers are also under $15. (Of course, the ~$60 membership also belongs on a lot of people’s skip list.)
I almost bought a new version of a skip-it (made with a rope rather than hard plastic) for our daughter’s friend’s birthday this weekend! So Clara still has a chance in a few years, without having to hit up the vintage shops.
Love all the tips everyone! My favorite thing about these money posts every time are all of the awesome comments. You guys = smart cookies.
We have gone to all LED lights and love it. We skimp on the AC a lot just to keep the cost down also we are thinking about getting rid of cable since there is so much we can get on the internet and with netflix. Also we love our Tervis tumblers with ice and good ole house water instead of bottled.
I love all your ideas and it is a great reminder to think about the things you can go without.
Yesterday I was reclaiming my closet after a yard sale and I was frustrated because all my hangers didn’t match. I then quickly realized that was the dumbest thing ever and the fact that I have a closet filled with multiple options was more than I needed. The fact that I had hangers is also a luxury.
@Abby, I had a similar “my hangers never had to match before Pinterest” moment. ;)
My husband skips disposable razors. He used to be a razor junkie (“ooo, they’re coming out with a Mach 14?”) but I bought him a safety razor for his birthday last year and now he’s hooked. Instead of spending $25 for a 4-pack of blades every month, we can spend that same $25 for 100 blades. Awesomeness.
LOL at the Mach 14! Hubs and I use the same razors and we get annoyed that you can hardly find the ones with two blades anymore. Why do I need seven blades??
My cohabitator (bf of 7 plus years)wants to switch to a safety razor. Sounds like its worth it!
I just discovered Dollar Shave Club (google it!) and it’s saved us so much money, and even the lowest tier razor is much nicer than a disposable. It’s $3 per month ($1 + $2 S&H) for 5 blades!
Our list is similar. I cut my own hair or have my 13 year old daughter cut it (I usually do a $20 cut every 2 years just to straighten it out). I cut my husband’s and kids’ hair myself. I still have hair gel & mousse from long ago (10+ years) if I ever wanted it. I do have hairspray (cheapest) because my daughters dance and I need to glue their braids before performances.
We only have the “cheap” $10 cable because over-air reception is horrible and we need some sort of cable for the cable internet.
My splurges are yarn and craft supplies. I have enough scrapbooking supplies to make probably at least 15 scrapbooks (I usually make one/year). I have put myself on a yarn diet and won’t buy any more yarn until I have used up at least 1/2 of what I have.
Switch lightbulbs are coming out with a cheaper LED bulb in Sept. and get this, it has a lifetime warranty! Never buy another bulb :) http://www.switchlightingco.com/specs.html
I wanted to add a link to these Cree dimmable LED bulbs at Home Depot. They’ve gotten the price down a lot recently ($13) and are receiving really good reviews in multiple places. And they’re shaped just like incandescents and don’t look weird!