Lazy Budget Chef: 12 Things I Do Not Buy

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

12 Things I Do Not Buy

 Sometimes saving money is not about what you buy on sale but what you don’t buy at all.

Now I’m not speaking as a super money saving expert on a mountaintop because I’m just as guilty as anyone else who ran to the store to buy two things and came out with a cartful of stuff because it was on sale – oopsie.

The light bulb went off when I decluttered and organized the basement of our old place. Most of the Donate Pile was stuff I bought on sale because I thought I was saving money at the time – oopsie again.


  Pin this list of ideas to your Pinterest board! Share it with your friends!


That’s when I started to use my lazy ways to save money. I stopped buying items even if they were on sale because I gave up using it, found a reusable for a disposable, or repurposed something to take its place.



12 Things I Do Not Spend Money On


1. Credit card interest. We run a cash only house with the exception of our house and car payments. At first, I hated it (sometimes I still do) but after adding up how much money interest payments added to my student loan (scary money!) I went along with it. Now I realize waiting and saving for big items sometimes saves me even more money because I can change my mind about wanting the item and do not buy it at all.

2. Paper towels. I color code my kitchen sponges – one color for counters and one color for dishes. I wash them in the dishwasher to prolong their life. For bigger messes I cut and hemmed old bath towels to the size of a paper towel. I keep them under the kitchen sink.  I use them once and pop them in the laundry hamper. When I run out, I don’t run to the store I do laundry.


I have a roll of emergency paper towels for anything involving bodily fluids 
because I’m squeamish. I have had the same roll for almost three years.


3. Most premade commercial cleaners. I make most of my cleaners. I know exactly what is in them and my house has never been cleaner!

  • Scouring powder – baking soda. When I change the box in the refrigerator, I use the old box to scrub the kitchen sink.
  • Counter cleaner – vinegar. A 5% solution right out of the bottle is a disinfectant.
  • Shower cleaner – I make my own. Get the recipe here.
  • Jet Dry - I pour vinegar in the Jet Dry dispenser in my dishwasher. My glasses have never been cleaner and they don’t smell like pickles!

4. Furnace filters – Husband bought an allergy blocking reusable furnace filter (this is the exact one we have) because we had to keep changing our disposable furnace filter so often because of my allergies. Now we clean it the first of every month (in theory.) (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


5. Land line – We were one of the first people to dump our land line for a cell phone only house. It’s cheaper to call our family (all are long distance) because we have an unlimited talk, text, and data family plan.

6. Wrapping paper – I made cloth reusable gift bags (learn how to make my gift bags here) to save my sanity and clear some of my fabric stash.  I use wrapping paper if I have to ship something but most of the time I use a reusable gift bag.

 Do you believe these bags used to be a dress?

7 Dryer sheets – Static cling is an issue especially during the winter. I use vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser in the washing machine and pop a couple of dryer balls like these in the dryer. No more static cling and no pickle smell either!

8 Bottles of carbonated water – We make our own with a Sodastream carbonated water maker (learn more about it here). Husband likes to drink fizzy water with a splash of juice. We don’t drink soda often but will use the Sodastream to make soda for guests. Tip: Sodastream gives you a discount on new CO2 cartridges when you recycle them.

9 Coffee filters – I use a reusable coffee filter. It’s supposed to make a better cup of coffee. I don’t know about that because I never used the disposables so I can’t compare. They have cone and basket reusable coffee filters (learn more here) and they even have reusable K cup cups too.


10 Gym memberships – Husband has a gym at his office and uses the public running trails. I use dance games on our Wii and bike on the public trails weather permitting.

11 Laundry detergent – I make powdered laundry detergent (get my recipe here) because I couldn’t find one that didn’t make me break out and worked in my high efficiency washing machine. 8 years later I have more store bought options but I like the homemade laundry detergent so much I still use it.



12 Razors and shaving cream – I use an electric razor. Yep they have women's electric razors too. I have a wet/dry electric razor which works great if I need a leg touch up in the middle of the day when changing from pants to a skirt or to shorts for a workout.  Not shaving at all would be even cheaper but that is. Never. Going. To. Happen. Ever


Update 2/25/2013: Several readers asked about my woman's shaver. I bought the Panasonic Close Curves Wet/Dry Ladies Shaver from Amazon.(The bikini trimmer works great for underarms.)


What is on your list?

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66 comments:

AsSnugAsABug said...

I made fabric gift bags at Chritmas time, too!

Adrienne said...

I rarely ever buy greeting cards for birthdays. I either make my own or use a box of blank cards that I bought for $1 for 8 cards.

sara whalen said...

Thank you for sharing this list! I will definitely be trying some of your recipes.

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

Ideas to ponder!! I love making reusable fabric bags - so quick and easy and a great way to recycle

Mindi@MyLove2Create said...

Great ways to save! And thanks for stopping by my blog!

Becki Lewis said...

Woo Hoo! I do all on the list except razors (my husband uses elecric though) and the carbonated stuff. I usually only buy it for guests, but this Sodastream machine would be so much better. I have to look into it!

Rebekah {Living Big on Little} said...

Your reusable gift bags are so pretty!

This is a great list. I had one roll of paper towels that lasted me 2 years - would probably still have it, but I used it to clean out burned-on junk from our stove before we moved.

Marti said...

I don't buy most of the same things. Your gift bags are really pretty.

Katherines Corner said...

I bow and applaud your dedication. We do a lot of what you do too. What I do not buy (disclaimer I do purchase for special birthdays for the grandchildren or very large gatherings) NAPKINS! Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

Anonymous said...

I don't buy play-dough. It's not like we use it often but when we do the homemade stuff is SO much nicer!

Heather K Miller said...

I'm hanging my head in shame over here because I buy each and every single one of the things on your list! Except for coffee filters because I don't drink coffee, and furnace filters because we live in Phoenix and have rarely had to even turn on our furnace. Other than that, I purchase it all! Thanks for the motivation thought to look for places that I can save money! Many were things that I had never thought of and I feel good about now looking for places that I could cut costs! Thanks again!

-Heather @ The Unsophisticated Kitchen

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Please don't feel bad Heather that's not why I wrote this post. It is a list of ideas. Many of these things took me years of experimenting to find what works for us and could be subject to change (say if for some reason we don't have access to a free gym anymore.) Not spending money in these areas frees up money to put toward things we do spend money on like cable TV and to spoil our beloved former dog.

Judy said...

We have a septic tank - we've heard people say they had trouble with homemade laundry soap blocking up their septic. Have you heard anything like this? We only use cells, we use clorine mix on the countertops, no coffee, no soda and no dishwasher - and rare credit cards. I am feeling pretty good.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I'm not sure about homemade detergent blocking septic tanks. I have city water and sewer.

Laina27 said...

Add to my list: paper napkins and paper plates. Haven't used them in years. Use cloth napkins and plates that can be washed. Saves a ton of money and trees :)

DomesticSuperhero.com said...

LOL at never shaving

Marlo RepurposeMyLife said...

love this list! Thanks for sharing at Repurposed Ideas Weekly. I pinned it and put it on facebook.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you could buy an electric razor for women. I use vinegar for cleaning but I scent it with orange peels, mint or rosemary. I put whatever scent I have in vinegar for 2 weeks and keep that in the pantry shaking it occasionally. I use the same thing for mop water. I love the idea about dryer sheets, jet dry and scouring powder. I didn't know those. Thanks! I pinned these.

HedgehogandRabbit said...

I don't buy house cleaner (I use scalding hot water mostly, but vinegar or baking soda works well if it's bad). I don't buy shampoo (been poo free for almost 2 years). I don't buy coffee or wine (allergic to both - and I only mention it because it seems most people can't go without either). I don't buy juice anymore and prefer Talking Rain, but wanted to try that sodastream because I mostly just like the carbonated water with a splash of lemon. I also don't buy shipping boxes. I try to ship everything in the least amount of packaging as possible or I reuse a box that was shipped to me. I also reuse as much of the packaging in the boxes I get as possible. I buy a lot of my supplies online, so I get a lot of packaging, essentially, for free.

Cocalores said...

So many great ideas! I don't use credit cards either (only for purchases like booking flights or hotel rooms), but I don't feel comfortable carrying around lots of cash, so a debit card is working fine for me.
I often make my own bread, and I have a good method of getting day-old bread rolls perfectly fresh again. Saving a lot of money that way, too =)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a boatload of fabulous ideas! Thanks for visiting my blog so I could come back here and get to know you! Adding you to my reading sidebar so I can catch your updates.

Mary

Leslie {Goodbye, house. Hello, home!} said...

Fantastic list!
I am just learning to make my own detergent! Thanks for the link to the recipe.
I can add a few things I don't pend money on: cereal (I make my own), bread (same as the cereal), and paper napkins (we use cloth).
We live debt-free, too! Credit cards reek!
I love your gift bag idea! So smart!
Have a blessed day making your home!!

Momma said...

We did the coffee thing too until the hubby decided we needed even better coffee. He got us whole beans, a grinder and a coffee press. Even with the cheapest beans its still better than Starbucks. I don't buy the flavored coffee creamer anymore either. Half and half works great now that our coffee tastes better. I dump into hot chocolate powder when I need something a little more special or bailey's if its one of those days. lol My Grandma-in-law get green beans from somewhere and roasts them herself. I'm not that crazy yet.

I think we do pretty much everything else on the list too. We dumped our land line as soon as I quit daycare (couldn't happen soon enough for us. I hated that bill.) and we gave up cable as soon as I figured out we could hook our computer up to our TV. We have the best internet you can get (hubby works from home sometimes) and watch everything online. You usually get the basic local channels with cable internet too.

Kendra said...

Both my mom and mother-in-law stopped shaving after menopause. I look forward to this in my future! ;)

Brittany said...

These are all great ideas. I keep meaning to make our own cleaning stuff but I just love those Method smells so much! Still, I think I should. Love this!

Brandi said...

Thanks for sharing so many great ideas!

Genelle said...

We're on septic and were advised to only use liquid laundry detergent so I stay away from powder. Better safe than sorry!

Kelly said...

I do several of these, too. I also will never buy deodorizers for the trash cans/diaper pail/by the litter box. Instead mix up some baking soda, 5-10 drops of lavender oil and just enough water to make a thick paste. Put it into small molds (I used silicone cupcake containers) and let dry 24-48 hours. I make my soft-scrub-like cleanser with baking soda and enough liquid soap (I love Dr. Bronner's because it is minty) to make a smooth paste. Keep it in a little container or jar. Works great for bathrooms, kitchen sink, and I even use it to clean spots from the rug.

Team Jensen said...

I haven't bought a new razor in almost 3 years. I just sharpen the oneI have. I found the trick on a blog called Old School. I am constantly amazed w/ how well it works and I have very sensitive skin.

Team Jensen said...

I haven't bought a new razor in almost 3 years. I just sharpen the oneI have. I found the trick on a blog called Old School. I am constantly amazed w/ how well it works and I have very sensitive skin.

Botswana Safaris said...

I really appreciate your ideas. That’s true. We don’t need to spend more on those items. I am really interested about your reusable gift bags. It is very nice and saves money.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Thanks Marlo!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

We're the same way. Life's too short to drink cheap coffee. The money we save from not buying coffee filters goes toward fancy pants coffee beans.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I originally made them as a time saver because we give Christmas gifts to the extended family and it takes forever to wrap gifts. It's nice to use them for other holidays and birthdays too. It took me 2 seconds to wrap Husband's Valentine's Day gift yesterday.

Elise@growcreative said...

Thanks for all these tips! I never knew there was a re-usable furnace filter. I'll have to find one. I'm just starting with making my own laundry detergent and cleaners. I am discovering how wonderful vinegar is!

Sparkling said...

I've never bought dryer sheets or fabric softener because I'm afraid of the chemicals and I can't deal with the smells. I don't buy paper towels and I too color code my sponges and use cloth rags for big stuff. I can't get rid of my land line because neither of our cell carriers have good reception in the house and I don't trust not having a landline in an emergency. I use vinegar in my kitchen with a little bit of ammonia because I just can't totally believe vinegar alone is enough. Hadn't thought to put it in the dishwasher! DUH! I teach at the gym so I don't have to pay.

Lynda said...

Great list! We do most of what's on your list. Not ready to give up landline though! We've not bought store bread for several years now since we make all of our breads from buns to pitas. Also buy grain in bulk and grind it. We use cloth napkins instead of paper. Made shoe bags for traveling from my fabric stash instead of using those plastic bags. Softer on shoes and nicer in suitcase. We grow the majority of our food so we try to eat in season or from the freezer. Again great list.

Lisa Lynn said...

Great ideas! I do the same thing :) Found you on Thursday Favorite Things and I would love to invite you over to The Creative HomeAcre Hop today!
http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-creative-homeacre-hop-3.html

Erica said...

My parents have a septic system. My mom has made her own laundry detergent for years. Her recipe is a liquid one from Felsnaptha soap, washing power, and borax. Works well and makes everything smell fresh and clean without frangrances. I've seen the reciepe on Pintrest often.

Lisa Brown said...

Ooh... all good ones... and most of them I don't spend money on as well. One thing to add - cable. We quit cable tv about a year ago, and just use Netflix now... and save about $50 a month! :)

Anonymous said...

I never buy tissue paper for gift bags. I recycle tissue by running a warm iron over the sheets. Takes about 10 seconds.

Fluster Buster said...

I'm with you on about 90% of this list. Still working on a couple. I'm following you via Pintest. I host Fluster Creative Muster Party on Wednesdays and I would love it if you would come by and party with us. Hope to see you there!

Hugs, Smiles, and Blessings,

Robin
Fluster Buster

Anonymous said...

1) Cable television. We have a hookup through the computer now that feeds off of our internet connection. Its amazing.
2) I dropped AOL.
3) Winter heat. We use the fireplace almost exclusively.
4) Towels. I'm not thrilled about this but my husband prefers to swipe them from the hotels he stays in. I haven't purchased a bath towel since the day we married (not recommending this btw)
5) We don't have credit cards.
6) Soda. I don't get this. Why do people need to drink it? We do buy canned and bottled individual servings of juice and all at a major discount but..just today we were talking about phasing that out too. Even at cut rate--its a good sized expense.
7) We bought our car brand new and own it free and clear.
8) We have a limited landline to keep our cell phones private that runs about $15.00/mo. Anyone can call in; we are, however, limited to only local outgoing calls. Small price to pay for privacy.
9) We're getting ready to refinance the house, to lower the interest rate and principle.
10) We are almost--debt free, outside of the house.

Essentially--we look to see if we can cut larger expenses. I use paper towels--but they're the 1-2-3's that tear in half. I don't see any real value in not using them, or coffee filters, since they only run around $3.00/month. Same with wrapping paper and most of the things on your list. They're just too small to mess with; seems kind of silly.

The one thing we do have--and its at one of the better ones--is a gym membership. None of the places we frequent has a free one. Its the one thing I'd prefer not to let go.

Twiz C said...

My top tip for the colour coding of cloths - blue for the loo and pink for the sink! Great article.

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to switch to an electric razor but am worried I will buy a junky one. Can you recommend one? Are men and women's razors really that different? I find when using disposables I like mens better.
Angela

Anonymous said...

Oh I will add for those of you not willing to give up the land line yet...Some of us who have kids without cel phones still need one. :) About 8 montgs ago I started usong Net Talk Duo for $30 a year!! It has saved me hundreds already. It plugs into your computers usb and runs off tge internet. There is no interuption with the phone or computer at all. Plus you don't have to have your computer turned on to use it. It works great!

Selene Galindo said...

Hi, I saw your post on weekend re-treat and it was very intriguing! Thanks for all your money saving ideas!
Selene @ restorationbeauy.com

Leticia said...

I'm jealous of you,because the flour price is mind-blowing here...

Ashley Phipps said...

Thanks so much for linking up at my link party last Friday! I wanted to let you know that I am going to feature you tomorrow on my blog!

I'd love for you to stop by and grab a button off my sidebar if you'd like!

Thanks so much!

Have a lovely week!
Ashley
www.simplydesigning.net

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Everyone has their personal list of Must Haves and Stuff That Can Go, for example we like watching in real time on Cable TV. What's good or bad for one many not be for someone else and _that's OK_.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Most women's razors have a pop up binkini trimmer (works great for underarms!) that men's shavers do not. I don't get as close of a shave with an electric as I do with a manuel so I have shave a little more often. I have more details about my electric shaver experiment on my DIY blog Condo Blues http://www.condoblues.com/2012/07/one-small-green-change-use-electric.html

Anonymous said...

at our house we go with Netflix only 8 bucks a month and for our internet we use Clear, it holds up to our PlayStation laptops phones anything up to 10 devices. we live it and it's only 30 bucks a month. also you can take it anywhere which is super nice when traveling.

No paper in the house, no printer, no napkins, no paper plates no paper towels. and we like the plastic bags from the grocery store because then I don't have to buy garbage bags! all our trash cans are those small 2 dollar ones from ikea.

everything in the kitchen is a washable rag, so no their away sponges!

also I hate the electric and water bill, so everything is energy efficient, shower head, water heater, lightbulbs. and nothing is plugged in if not in use and everything is turned off during the day, open the curtains and let in the natural light! our electric and water combined Is less then 110$ a month during the winter, and since we have a wall unit ac it's only 150$ in the summer.

Kelly Tanner said...

I do a lot of these ideas... the vinegar ( for pretty much cleaning everything from laundry to countertops), the coffee, no landline, reusable furnace filter, I don't buy gift bags, I just use the ones we've gotten gifts in. This is my question how do you find time to do all these extras like bake your own bread and make your own soda and not buy paper towels? hubby and I both work full time have 2 kids and sports and life is just too crazy for that.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Good question! My husband and I super busy and we are rehabilitating a dog with behavioral issues. The Lazy in Lazy Budget Chef is I use small appliances as much as possible to do most of the work for me. I can bake our bread because I have a breadmaker. I did the towel project bit by bit when I had the time here and there or when I got the itch to do a project but didn't have a bunch of time. We usually have the Soda Stream bottles filled with water in the fridge. Making soda takes 5 pumps of the Soda Stream and then dumping in the flavoring.

Anonymous said...

Great list, but was really hoping for some new ideas

Anonymous said...

Sodastream is one of the things I refuse to spend money on. We made our own soda maker and now spend less per YEAR on co2 than we did with a single bottle of Sodastream co2. The internet is full of tutorials, and we just added a carbonator cap for a few bucks that fits onto a standard 1-liter bottle neck. We have to do all the shaking ourselves, but at a $80 initial investment and $20/year thereafter, it's more than worth it.

Anonymous said...

BREAD! With just a jar of yeast, flour, salt, water, and some other incidentals that everyone has in their pantry, you can make a long list of things that you no longer need to buy. Bread (of course), pizza dough, biscuits, shortcake, tortillas...the list is quite long. And the cost comparisons really can't compete.

And, really, it's not that hard to do ;)

Matt Berry said...

I actually buy most of the things on the list and will continue to do so. I have a wide supply of cleaning supplies (all of which, I will not give up), and I use antibacterial soap for laundry of towels (and laundry detergent for clothing). I don't use that many paper towels, I mainly use dish rags for most clean ups and for hand drying. I don't drink anything but regular water, and I have a built-in water purifier and I use a Brita pitcher. My coffee maker (and my past 2-3) has a built in coffee so I haven't bought a filter in years. I also don't have a land line. And actually just canceled my Direct just a few weeks ago. I am usually gone (I leave my house around 8am and get home around 10:30-11pm) and I typically only watched TV for a couple of hours before bed. I now only have Netflix.

Munchkin Momma said...

Flush a package of dry yeast every six months and it will help with your septic, my gram used to and in 50 years never had an issue and she detested store bought laundry soaps!

Munchkin Momma said...

Any chance you can share that link? An what razor do you have that you sharpen the blades?

Anonymous said...

Ditto! In fact I don't buy gift bags either! I'm a bit cra-cra to others, but any gift bag you give me: you might get back later! LOL

Danielle Thoma said...

hang the laundry out to dry! Saves a TON of money in the electric bill. Especially in a large-sized family like ours with 2-3 loads per day. :)

Susan said...

Sweet, I also do all of them.

Claire said...

You can actually set up a google phone for free. It's a phone line connected to your internet through your computer. Certainly a lot of people don't need them, but I like the idea that my kids can make phone calls from home without using my or my husbands' phones. Also, they won't hand out my cell number to their friends. I just hate getting "can so and so play today?" calls when I'm not at home or with my children.

Jennifer Wise HM said...

#1 is HUGE! I'm glad that made your list. I did #5 a couple of years ago and haven't looked back. I love your reusable wrapping paper idea. So cool. Pinning this post. :)
#inspirememondaylinkup

Teresa B said...

Thank you for the tips! I use fabric scraps to make reusable gift bags and I save a ton on wrapping paper, especially at Christmas.
Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party.

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