There are some things I will NOT spend money on, even when I’m not trying to save $20,000 to pay for our wedding. I’ve been frugal for years as a means of necessity, but old habits stay strong with me. I find that there are a few things that really pain me to spend money on, so I avoid them if ever possible…. to me, these things are like burning money.
Of course, I’ll spend my cash on other things that people deem frivolous- like sending flower to a sick friend (worth the $70 in my book) or buying something if it goes to a good cause (like TOMS shoes or a fun fundraiser) but I save wherever I can.
1. Iced Coffee & Tea
Rarely, if ever, do I buy coffee or tea out. I brew my own hot coffee at home every morning (I like a morning caffiene buzz) but I also have gotten into making iced coffee and iced tea at home in the summer. If you see my Instagramming a photo of an iced coffee from Starbucks, I either am dying of thirst, exhaustion or it’s a special occasion. I used to buy iced coffees all the time, not realizing how stupid simple it was to make iced coffee!
Most people know to skip the $5 lattes, but honestly, I make all of my beverages at home and bring them to work in a mason jar or travel mug- which includes iced coffee, iced tea or other beverages which I make with Mio or Crystal Light to save a few bucks a week. Even when I need to grab lunch on the go, I cut costs by by skipping the beverages.
Estimated Savings: $50 a month (assuming you buy drinks 10 times a month!)
2. A Four Year Degree
Education is so important, but I didn’t go about it the normal way and saved thousands on my Bachelor & Master’s Degrees. I was so debt-averse in undergrad, I lived at home and commuted. I attended a community college for the first 2 years and then graduated with the same degree everyone else had, but paid about $40k less. I paid for my undergraduate years with scholarships, financial aid and the $8,000 my grandmother left me after she passed (I took care of her and worked full time while I went to school.)
I was in debt for a time to pay off my student loans from graduate school, but luckily, they’ve finally been paid off. I hated being in debt for my graduate degree, but luckily, my undergraduate degree was paid for through strategy and sacrifice. I didn’t get to go off to my first choice school, I went where we could afford and really was scared about getting into debt.
Estimated Savings: $40,000 (from 2 years of undergrad).
I’m sure you could have guessed this one. I get giddy over libraries. I’m fortunate to live in Chicago where there are tons and tons of libraries and a decent Interlibrary Loan system. In college, my love of libraries also helped me save tons of cash on text books. I rarely, if ever buy books. If I can’t get it from the library, I will wait until I have a gift card to Amazon or can borrow it. I adore books, but unless it’s a keepsake I will refer to often, I do not let it clutter up my house.
Estimated Savings: $2,800 (in undergrad & grad school). $240 a year today.
4. Fancy Glassware
“This is why we cannot have nice things!” is a common phrase in our house. I seriously doubt I will ever own fancy glassware, especially wine glasses because they get broken all. the. time. Most of our glassware was free, given to us or thrifted (a caveat, I have spent 50 cents on wine glasses before… but considering that was cash I found under the car seats, I’m going to say I don’t spend “much money at all” on glassware.)
Thrift stores and garage sales are crawling with fancy glassware. I recently picked up some Lenox Pinot Noir wineglasses for under a buck a piece. I break them too often to spend greenbacks on ’em!
Estimated Savings: $? Who The Hell Knows
5. Credit Card Debt
Again, I am totally debt-averse. I hate debt. We’re planning our wedding and I refuse to go into debt over it, so this year we’re saving $20,000 towards the wedding budget. Currently, we have about $14,000 saved (and I have worked hard for it!) and are paying off any credit card debt we’re accruing to get airline miles with (for the honeymoon) each month before we get dinged with interest and fees.
I hate, hate, hate debt. There was a time in graduate school when I really wished I’d picked a fancier apartment, or I wouldn’t have to work odd shifts to help pay for school but honestly, it helped me graduate with minimal student loan debt and no credit card debt.
Estimated Savings: $1,546 a year (based on average interest rates on average debt of $15,325 with 18% interest & a 12 month payoff rate)
6. Shipping Fees
I cringe at paying shipping fees. Yes, I get that some businesses crank up prices on their wares so they can offer “free shipping,” but I think they’ve tapped into a solid psychological response…folks hate paying shipping. I often use online coupons, batch my order or shop with sites that offer free shipping specials to get business. With some strategic planning, I get free shipping.
The only time I ever flinch on compromising on my hatred of shipping fees is when I shop Etsy or a small business that literally has to pass on that cost to consumers. That, I can stand behind.
Estimated Savings: $56 a year (based on $7 average shipping)
7. Movie Theaters
I can’t even remember the last time I went to a movie theater. Literally. I watch a ton of movies, but always on Netflix or I borrow DVDs. In Chicago, we have a few discount movie theaters where you can see a film that’s about to be retired from theaters for about $3 with a student discount, but even then, I think the last movie I saw was Inception and it was on my birthday 3 years ago as a gift from a friend.
I love to see free movies in the park during the summers or rent movies at home in winter. I have never had the need to go see a movie in a theater unless it was super special like the Simpsons Movie (which I’ve been a Simpsons fan since I was 4 years old) and that is an uber rare occasion. I’d rather rent, and if I really need a thrill I’ll fake-sneak in snacks to my own house just so I can feel cool.
Estimated Savings: $32 a year (but anything is better than spending money at a theater for me!)
8. Purebred Dogs
I’m going to get a bit preachy here- but there is no reason folks should spend money on a “purebred,” unless you’re looking for a showdog or have a really, compelling reason for it. As y’all know, I’m a pug momma and my last three dogs have been rescues…purebred (sans papers) rescues. You can find any breed you want, not just “mutts” if you go through a breed-specific rescue. Here in Illinois, I’ve seen cocker spaniel and french bulldog rescues that have had dogs of all ages. You just have to be patient…(but like all things, you either spend money or time to get what you want)
Estimated Savings: Priceless. Giving a rescue dog a home is a win-win and worth every penny!