Not buying it: Fifteen things I don’t spend my cash on

I’m frugal, not a cheapskate, but there are some things I just won’t spend my money on any more. They may be cleverly marketed as essential, but  I’m not buying it (or them)! I don’t miss them! Perhaps I will relax and shell out for some of the goods and services on this list in the future, but at the moment I am happy to do without and I don’t have any sense of deprivation.

Not buying it: Plug in air fresheners

Yuck! Indoor air pollution. Just open a window.

Not buying it: A tumble dryer

not buying itI don’t have a tumble dryer! I line dry everything outside in the summer. Winter in the UK can prove trickier for drying laundry, so I use a dehumidifier or a heated airer if I need to. Both are much cheaper to run than a dryer.

Not buying it: A cleaner

When I got married years ago and had more money than sense, I employed a cleaner for a few hours each week. I wish I had done my own cleaning and put the money in a high interest savings account!

Not buying it: A gardener

I love doing the garden. Fresh air and exercise – you can’t beat it for stress relief. Mr Shoestring is my head gardener and he doesn’t charge :).

Not buying it: A car wash

It really only takes 15 minutes to wash my little car so I save myself a tenner.

Not buying it: Hair colouring

I always do it myself. I invested in a little pot and brush and mix up half a pack of dye at a time. It costs about £2.50 tops. I even cut my own hair on occasion. This may be a bit extreme for some, but when I need to be super frugal that is what I will do.

Not buying it: Newspapers and magazines

You can get them online. I beg old ones from work colleagues to line the cat litter trays, though.

Not buying it: Branded goods (unless they are second hand)

I can’t afford to pay for a marketing campaign. Designer clothes really don’t appear to be better quality much of the time. I frequently pick them up second-hand and sometimes the quality seems quite shoddy.

Not buying it: Salon beauty treatments

I go for a DIY approach. For example, I don’t pay to get my nails done; I am a gardener so what would be the point? VERY occasionally I will go and get my eyebrows waxed at the local beauty college at just a few pounds, but generally I am a low maintenance kind of gal.

Not buying it: Gym membership

I have paid for expensive gym memberships in the past but now I just walk, do yoga and dig the veggie patch. I am pretty fit for a woman of a certain age…

not buying itNot buying it: Painting and decorating

We have learned some skills over the years and Mr S is particularly handy. However, if I had lots of extra cash….Doing your own DIY, as we did here, saves hundreds of pounds.

Not buying it: New furniture

I have purchased used items almost exclusively for many years. You can get quality items this way at a fraction of their purchase price new. We have also done a bit of up cycling on occasion, such as refurbishing this old garden bench. It was free!

Not buying it: Expensive moisturisers

I always use one as I have dry skin, but I haven’t found any difference between my £2 pot from Aldi and the expensive stuff they sell in department stores.

Not buying it: Furniture polish and cleaners

I use a mix of white vinegar and water, which does the job very effectively without nasty chemicals. For a lot of general cleaning I use this home made cleaner.

Not buying it: Pricy greetings cards

I am often stunned at the price of birthday cards, for example. £4 for a card that will end up in the recycling in a few days?? I have been known to make my own Moonpig type affair using print outs of photos, but when I don’t have time I pick them up in bulk from stores such as Home Bargains for 29p to 99p a card or at the boot sale even cheaper.

Are you not buying it? What do you refuse to buy as you think it is a total waste of money?

11 thoughts on “Not buying it: Fifteen things I don’t spend my cash on

  1. 1-5 – Agree totally!
    6 – Can’t dye my hair due to eczema.
    7 – Have recently cancelled my subscription to Prima – I never used the sewing patterns and feel it is now aimed at a much younger demographic than me!
    8-10 Ditto – except have never done yoga.
    11 – No good at decorating so do have to pay someone for this
    12 – Have a combination of both old and new and make things last! (married 43 years and only on our 3rd sofa)
    13 – Have found a cheap one that doesn’t irritate my skin and stick with that.
    14 – Don’t often polish!
    15 – This is my current bugbear. I make as many as possible by reworking ones I have been given but only give to those who won’t be offended! Best offer I have come across recently is at the Card Factory – 7 for a £1. Variable quality but children wouldn’t care! Also have bought quite a few from Pink and Greene when they were doing an offer on National Trust cards, as each pack included a voucher for cups of tea – unfortunately this offer has now ended and all vouchers have to be used up before the end of the year. I also bought a subscription to Jacquie Lawson for ecards just before last Christmas – I think it was about £7 for 12 months. I sent 25 then and a few thank you cards too and will send next Christmas’s cards before the subscription runs out. I made a donation to charity in lieu of the cost of cards and stamps. Useful if you need to send a belated card too.
    Sorry – gone on a bit!

  2. I certainly don’t have a cleaner though when we both worked full time I did use an ironing service. sadly I now do my own! magazine purchases are very rare (holidays only) but both my husband and I would hate to go without the daily newspaper.
    I make my own greeting cards which probably average out at 50p each.

    Most of my ‘never buy’ items relate to my aversion to unnecessary chemicals which I avoid where it is reasonable to do so – that includes skincare/hair products with parabens or SLSs. I understand that a couple of the Aldi moisturisers are paraben-free but confess to never having used them. I know you ahve mentioned before how good they are though. I mainly Weleda rose facial oil. A bottle lasts about nine months so it is good value. I’m definitely with you on the plug-in air fresheners. My daughter has occasionally given me organic room fresheners but my favourite method is to use strongly scented flowers. When that’s not possible, I place lavender or half a lemon in the microwave for a few moments and then put it in a pretty pot. It is quite strong when I open up a room that has been closed for a while. I also like to burn chemical free perfumed candles (ones which avoid toxic paraffin wax and use pure beeswax) but they tend to be rather expensive so I only use them when I get them for presents. Fortunately my children know me well and took on board my request some years ago that they only ever buy me consumables and not “things”. This way I get to have the things I like but can’t always afford.

  3. I would add that if you have to buy anything, buy the very best you can afford, for it pays in the end. When we moved into our present home in 1985 (32 years ago this year, to save you the maths), we bought a gorgeous Collins & Hayes sofa. We still have it. It was reupholstered in 2002, 15 years ago, and it still beautiful. Similarly we bought a Multiyork sofa to complement the original one in 2006 and had new covers made for it last year. These are two lovely pieces of furniture and although they weren’t cheap, they have stood the test of time. Similarly, we had curtains made in 1985, they were expensive at the time but they are still as good as new (had them dry cleaned last year – that came to what a cheap pair of curtains would’ve cost but it was worth it as it will prolong their life). The materials we chose weren’t patterns that would ‘date’. If they had been bought for a stately home, curtains that were ‘only’ 32 years old would be considered fairly new!
    While I partially agree with Vickiey above, and appreciate that Jackie Lawson e-cards are inexpensive, I still prefer to send real cards, and also to receive real cards. Indeed, I love to have cards on my birthday and leave them standing on the windowsill for at least 10 days. I enjoy receiving them so much, so if they give me pleasure, perhaps they give others pleasure, too, and are therefore worth the expense and postage.
    I save money on not buying expensive cosmetics; I don’t have salon manicures or pedicures; I’ve never had a spa treatment (whatever that is) in my life and don’t intend to start now.
    I buy cut-glass tumblers in an antiques centre where I can usually give 5 or 6 glasses for £15 – better than lumpen chain store glass, totally exquisite.
    We have never used a car wash and don’t intend to start now.
    I’ve never had a cleaner – I’d be frightened they’d damage things, especially ceramics and glass, if they were a bit heavy-handed. Not all ‘cleaners’ are trained in how to clean the wide variety of things houses have, from books to porcelain. But we do have a window cleaner now and that isn’t too costly, £14 every 2 months (for the outside of the windows, I mean.) Husband does all the gardening, I’m a very good foreman!
    I do use the hairdresser to have my hair cut/highlighted because it’s now grey and I can’t do highlights myself. I justify this expense as I cut back on other things (or like to think I do!)
    I do buy magazines because I write for them so must keep them going!
    But as well as those vile plug-in smellies, I don’t like scented candles. Surely they are literally burning money as well as being a fire risk?
    Margaret P

  4. My “don’t buy” items are mainly for environmental reasons & include paper tissues, foil, cling wrap, plastic kitchen bin liners and most cleaning products (I make my own). A walk down the cleaning aisles in the supermarket is really alarming- who buys all this stuff? My green lifestyle saves the planet & my budget.

  5. *I don’t buy candles…or burn them…the ones I’ve saved from past gifts and purchases are all saved in case of emergency..
    *I don’t buy paper towels or napkins
    *I don’t buy most of the things on your list but couldn’t do without my tumble dryer! I hang most things to dry overnight and give them a tumble to get wrinkles out…no ironing for me…
    *I do pay to have someone mow the lawn and trim…foot and ankle problems prevent me from doing it myself
    *I unplugged my microwave 3 weeks ago and haven’t missed it once, so it’s going to the donation box
    *I don’t buy anything I can make myself (aside from food)

  6. Being in a wheelchair, I can clean a lot, but not everything, so I do have a cleaner once per month and keep things picked up in the meantime. Don’t do hair salons, coloring, room fresheners, make-up, cleaners are kept to a minimum as I prefer vinegar and water, don’t have many creams though I did find the one you recommended from Aldi, don’t use a gym membership as I can get outside, do make and send cards and only buy from our version of Pound Land for that. Regret that I must use tumble dryer as I have no line but limit this to once weekly. No magazines subscriptions as I read online or get from the library, don’t have a car, don’t need a gardener, not replacing any furniture, don’t buy new unless no other choice and PS…my friend found me a hoody from her local thrift shop in Michigan when I could not find one here and is sending it. I will re-imburse her but still cheaper than new, I am sure. Nice list.

    • I don’t because the odds are against me, but I started paying £1 a week to the work syndicate and now I can’t leave. What if they win millions?

    • I use the Post Code Lottery, have only started this this year, but already won £10 twice … and my dentist’s receptionist won £5,000 … I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It’s good to think that it’s for charity, too.
      Margaret P

  7. A dishwasher. I’m in a process of the flat renovation (more like a reconstruction), so I’m trying to either get it as cheap as possible in the long run, or as durable as possible in the long run. Tumble dryers are not popular here at all, so, it’s out of the question. And I’m not installing the air-con because the one that my parents have proved to be unnecessary (they used it like 3 times in 5 years) and a simple fan can do the same job better. There’s just a lot of unnecessary devices that we are used to buying.

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