Stuff We Just Stopped Buying

I’ve noticed there are a lot of items that Mr. Money Monster and I just don’t buy.  These little items add up to big savings over the course of a year or more.

Here’s a not all-inclusive list of items we ALWAYS live without…

New Cars:  We have NEVER owned a new car.  Even before we met each other, we never bought a new car.  I can’t see this changing in the future, ever.  It’s a sure fire way to flush a few thousand down the proverbial toilet the moment you leave the dealership.  We currently have two vehicles and are seriously considering taking it down to one.  One is paid for and the other has a balance of $7,000.  Quite affordable, yet a huge frugal No-No!  Geez, give us a break, we just started on this hardcore journey a few months ago.  I think I remember reading somewhere that Rome wasn’t built in a day 😉   How do all you Money Monsters handle transportation?

Cable:  Mr. Money Monster and I cut the cord a few months ago and haven’t looked back.  Mini Monster isn’t bombarded with the latest waste-your-money toy advertisement, and neither are we.  And since we’re not a big sports family, Netflix covers our entertainment needs just fine.  A win for everyone.    

Our paper towel alternative

Our paper towel alternative

Tissues/Napkins/Paper Towels:  Is it really necessary to purchase these items?  I’m not an expert but I’d estimate that you could easily drop $5/week on said items.  At $5/week, you’re dropping $260/year on paper.  Yes, we do blow our noses.  We just tend to use toilet paper for this 🙂  This started because I absolutely hate clutter and am probably the biggest minimalist who ever lived.  But, it just so happens that minimalism is married to frugality!  Who knew.  Thanks to my little neuroses, we don’t spend money on tissues, ever.  Granted, it could be awkward offering a sniffling guest some TP to blow their nose, but, if they’re in our house, it’s a fair assumption that they know us well and wouldn’t care.

Napkins…use cloth.  They’re classy and make you feel like you’re dining at a fancy restaurant.  Enough said.

Okay, we do always have a roll of paper towels on hand for the unfortunate event of pet vomit (yuck).  It happens.  Otherwise, we use rags from the ghosts of clothing past to help us out in the cleaning department.  Oh how I wish we had a cleaning department 🙂

Shaving Cream:  Nope, you’re not gonna see it in our house.  And Mr. MM shaves his head!  We both use a good old fashioned bar of bath soap to lather up for our shaving needs.  I started doing this when I ran out of shaving cream and realized it actually worked.  I never looked back.  When I met Mr. MM I realized he doesn’t waste his cash on shaving cream either.  I knew we were a match!  You should try it.

Soda and Juice:  Again, we just don’t buy it unless we’re entertaining family or friends.  We both grew up with less than most and having this stuff in the house wasn’t a daily thing.  I grew up loving water and milk (preferably chocolate of course), and so did Mr. MM.  We are perfectly fine doing the same thing now.  They’re just not good for you anyway.  Sometimes “Mammaw” (Mini Monster’s term of endearment for her grandmother) brings Mini Monster some juice boxes.  They promptly sit in the refrigerator and go to waste, unless we have some kids come over for a play date. 

Family Photos:  Really?  Is it really necessary to drop cash on these pictures with the change of every season?  Don’t call me a curmudgeon, I like these pictures, but I would never pay a professional photographer to take them.  Have a friend do it, or set the timer and take them yourself.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the standard poses. Just sit in the leaves and hold your children and act perfect.  See…done.  I guarantee you they WILL be Facebook worthy 🙂    

Of course I could go on and on and on, but I’m fairly certain you don’t have time to read a 3,000 word post about our grocery list today.  We’re always on the lookout to cut something from our shopping list.  Got an idea?  Share it!

Mad Money Cat I NOT loving his photo opp

Mad Money Cat I NOT loving his photo opp

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  • Piggy Mar 8, 2017, 2:18 pm

    I feel like we’re long-lost frugal sisters. My mother was visiting recently and was appalled that we didn’t have boxes of tissues everywhere and instead used TP. And a brand new car? I wouldn’t even know how to go about buying one. This is a great list and I dig your blog with a real big shovel.

    • Mad Money Monster Mar 8, 2017, 3:06 pm

      Thanks for making my day! Really! For the life of me, I can’t understand why people buy tissues! And they’re so expensive. NO WAY. EVER. Haha.

  • Ning Jan 11, 2017, 10:29 am

    So many great ideas!! I’m cutting down on clothes buying this year with a budget of $200 for clothes for both of us, and I expect to spend most of that on wear and tear stuff.
    Also, you mean people keep napkins and paper towels? What? We use paper towels as napkins. I never tracked how long the paper towels rolls last, but I’d say between 1-2 weeks per roll. We get ours from Costco, but I’m going to start using rags and see how that works out.
    Thanks for all the good ideas!!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 11, 2017, 2:31 pm

      Of course! I’m glad I could give some ideas. It wouldn’t hurt to have a roll of paper towels on hand before going cold turkey 🙂 You never know when you’ll need to clean up a pet accident…unless you don’t have pets. We usually have a roll hiding somewhere, but we only use them for special circumstances. Daily stuff like cleaning the mirrors is done with our old t-shirts. Ha.

  • Jacq Jan 9, 2017, 10:31 pm

    I do have tissues in the house from the last time I was very sick and the tp wasn’t cutting it. I only have paper napkins because my mom bought them. I use paper towels as napkins. I don’t think I even go through a roll a month. I get the 12 pack with a coupon like 1x a year.
    Other than items specifically for our family trip – sun protective clothing, I’ve been very good about not buying new clothes. I asked for and got socks for Christmas so I can now take ones with almost holes out of rotation. My family listened and did not buy me clothes! I have too many anyway. I suspect near the end of the year I may need to replace jeans. I try for a rotation but several pair are from 2013, we shall see.

    Wishing everyone a happy 2017 full of not buying whatever you want. 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 9, 2017, 11:04 pm

      That is awesome! Sounds like you’re on FIRE! I love how you say you’re taking your older socks out of rotation. 🙂 One trick we use for napkins – cloth! We wash them with our laundry and it makes us feel like we’re eating in a fancy restaurant. Ahhh.

  • jen Jan 9, 2017, 12:59 pm

    I am one of those people that spend big $$ on family pictures! I think if I didn’t I’d regret it because you can’t go back in time . I am pretty cheap but that I just wont sacrifice unless I’m broke 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 9, 2017, 3:20 pm

      We all have things we value and spending money on those things is absolutely fine. For me, it’s our home. I am completely okay with dropping money on updating our home and making it look like it’s straight out of a mid-century modern magazine. I agree with you about pictures. I wish I were better at keeping them organized. Once the time is gone, it’s gone.

  • Mrs. Dibidend Nov 13, 2015, 4:35 pm

    I totally agree on this list! My husband used to buy paper towels and napkins when he was a bachelor, but now that I do all the shopping, I removed those items from our list to save money!

    I also stopped buying brand/new clothes and ALWAYS stop and think if I really need it. If I want to splurge, I go thrift shopping. I always find good deals there.

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 14, 2015, 9:38 am

      Couldn’t agree more on the napkins and paper towels. They’re such a waste. And it’s better for the environment to use cloth alternatives anyway. It’s a win all around 🙂
      We’re working on the new clothes thing. We try to be creative and only buy when there’s a huge sale or if we have a gift card.
      Thinking before buying is a key ingredient on this journey. It’s tough to retrain your brain 😛

  • MrFireStation Nov 13, 2015, 9:26 am

    We’ve been slowly switching to LED bulbs too. The ones we buy last 23 years (you can’t help do the math at how old you’ll be when they expire). For me, in addition to the energy savings I calculate roughly a 4-5 year payback), the benefit is you don’t need to change light bulbs ever again! This is especially nice in the winter months when a light that is outside in the snow & ice goes out. No fiddling with opening/closing the fixture – and dropping the screw needed to close the fixture in a pile of snow!

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 13, 2015, 12:18 pm

      It’s amazing to think that lightbulbs can last for decades! Technology has come a long way since I was a kid 🙂 I actually read there is a company making energy-efficient, LED Edison bulbs. Saving money in style is right up my alley!

  • sulfen Nov 8, 2015, 5:18 am

    I wish that I could live without paper towels. I do get them at costco very cheaply so each roll lasts me a good 6-10 days and it costs about $1.25 each. I think that my greatest cut was when I spent money on $10 LED bulbs. They’re saving me a good $70 per month on electricity.

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 8, 2015, 11:54 am

      We haven’t made the switch to LED bulbs yet, but everything I hear points in the “worth it” direction. It did take us a bit to get used to not using paper towels but, like everything else, it’s not so bad when you get used to it. One roll/10 days is great! You’re doing much better than most people in this department. Feel free to share more of your story in the future.
      Mrs. Money Monster

      • sulfen Nov 8, 2015, 12:00 pm

        LED bulbs are certainly worth it. Just remember to keep their receipts because most of them come with a 10 year warranty. So at $10 a bulb you can expect it to last at least 10 years and cost a maximum of $1 per year per bulb. Plus if you get it from Amazon all of the receipts are already there.

        You should buy at least one and put it in the room where you spend the most time in. And look at your bill for the next 2 months and see if there is a considerable drop. If you save at least $0.09 of electricity per month then it will pay for itself by the end of the 10 years with a profit. If you don’t see a difference then it won’t be worth it for you to make a full switch. But they’re about 40% to 80% more efficient (depending on brand) so it’s worth it to try it out.

        • Mad Money Monster Nov 8, 2015, 3:46 pm

          Wow, I had no idea they lasted for a decade! This is certainly worth investing. Thanks so much for the analysis breakdown. I’ll be sure to put it to good use 🙂

    • David Michael Wareham Feb 20, 2017, 8:52 pm

      Thats alot per roll for paper towels ,watch prices at those warehouses

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Nov 7, 2015, 3:52 pm

    We stopped buying clothes exactly one year ago this month, and I don’t think we have any intention of making this a regular purchase again. We spent a ton of $ on clothes in the past, so needless to say, we have enough! 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 7, 2015, 8:44 pm

      Congrats on eliminating clothes from your shopping list! I’m a firm believer in buying classic, mix and match pieces. I’m also convinced I could go nearly a decade without buying more clothes. Financial independence will be worth the sacrifice! Stay strong 🙂

      • Claudia @ Two Cup House Nov 7, 2015, 10:03 pm

        Me too! All of my clothing is mix-and-match, so I really don’t think I need to add anything. FI will definitely be worth it–so fun to follow along this journey together!

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