What I No Longer Pay For: A Short List. Making this list was quite fun! Ya’ll know I love saving $$ so this was fun to think about. Some things I’ve done without, or found ways to DIY what I need, I’ve learned to use and re-use things rather than toss or donate, find free options, and so on. I bet you have items you used to buy that you don’t anymore. And hey, if you want a few other ideas, check out my list below!
Amazon Prime – Wait, we cancelled our amazon prime, what?! Amazon is awesome and we are all for online shopping, don’t get me wrong. But, March 2020 came and we were at the start of the pandemic without income for the foreseeable future – so we cancelled our membership. And what’s crazy, is it really hasn’t affected us that much! We still shop on Amazon just like usual, well, almost like usual. There are two habits we have changed – 1) We make sure to buy items that qualify for free shipping when over $25. So if we need something that’s $8, we wait until we have something else to pair it with to get our purchase price above $25. If we need that $8 item urgently, we will pad the order with other items we might not need as much, but will still use like diapers/wipes or other consumables. 2) We realize our order will take more time to arrive. Which really hasn’t been a problem – because of the said pandemic where everything took longer anyway. We’ve learned to just plan ahead better. For birthdays and Christmas we ordered at least 2-3 weeks ahead, which has really helped us be more organized. Really the only pain is sending any gifts to family – we have to make sure it’s above $25, or be charged shipping fees.
Cell Phones – Maybe this one is misleading. We do buy and pay for our cell phones, through our carrier, until they are paid off. Once paid off though, we don’t upgrade them until we have to. So we use them for years sometimes. We just finished paying off our iPhone 10R phones and I hope we can keep them around another 2 years at least. We use cases, screen protectors, and if the battery goes bad – I’ll replace it instead of having to pay for a new phone. It is so nice to have the phones paid off and have that monthly expense gone for awhile, yay!
Foaming Hand Soap
Foaming Hand Soap – I love the foaming soap from Bath & Body Works, especially the holiday smells – they’re a bright spot to my day. Plus, I don’t know about you but my kids really don’t waste foaming hand soap as much as regular soap. The gobs and gobs of soap aren’t around with foaming. We still buy the holiday soap, but for regular days, or for the kids bathroom… I have made my own! Just take a foaming hand soap dispenser, add in a few tablespoons of regular hand soap (maybe like 1/5 of the soap jar full). Fill the rest up with water. Add the pump lid and give a good shake. It’s foaming soap! I was amazed, and then I realized how much less foaming soap should cost, and now I can buy regular hand soap, use just a little and save on that expense too! We can’t tell a difference, and so I only buy the special smells on occasion. Money saved and kids hands are clean 🙂
Baby / Kids Items
Baby Clothes / Gadgets – For our first baby, we needed all the things – clothes, rattles, toys, etc etc. I knew we wanted more than one, so I took care with the baby clothes, the blankets, the gadgets and toys. When he grew out of them we’d box them up for baby number two. With each baby I haven’t had to buy many gadgets at all – we have a rocker, a bouncer, a crib, a carseat (if it’s not expired), socks, jackets, onesies, and so on. Instead of selling or donating I have kept them knowing and hoping we’d use again. It has made baby expenses go down dramatically as we add more kids. Really all we’ve had to budget for are mostly consumables like diapers, wipes, formula and if clothes were ruined we’d grab an outfit or two and just make it work. Also when babies are born or have their first couple birthday’s we ask the grandparents to help with clothes for different seasons or things we might be missing. It’s been super helpful to basically be ready each time for a new baby. I have friends who like to declutter all their baby stuff, which is totally fine and each person’s preference – but for us, it made the most sense to save and re-use.
A Gym Membership or Program – I used to go to the gym every week night. It was nice to get out and have all sorts of variety to try classes and equipment. Then enter babies… life gets busier and fitting in a drive to a gym really wasn’t what I wanted to spend extra time doing. We decided to invest in a few essential exercise equipment pieces and make a place for them. They’ve been in our bedroom, in an extra room, in a basement – really anywhere we could. There’s now no monthly gym fee, now we just have to make sure and be motivated to use the equipment. It’s easy to let it collect dust – so know if you invest in a home gym, plan ways to use and not let it just sit. As for classes or programs – there are so many free videos out there on YouTube etc, there’s no reason for me to have to pay for something for now. Want yoga, try Yoga with Adriene, that’s one of my faves! My main goal is to move my body and be active for self care and this works for me.
Books – Instead of buying and keeping a book on my bookshelf, I have tried to limit that clutter and do the free route here too. I check out books from the library, I listen to free podcasts, I use the library audio book app to checkout books there. I think I have only bought one book in the last five years for myself. For our kids, we try to do the same. We check out a ton at the library, and only if we continue to check it out over and over do we add to a birthday wish list or something like that. We have found ways to earn free kids books through summer reading programs, Kelloggs’ had a free book program for the 2020 Summer were we got several. We also have neighbors who have given some away and it doesn’t hurt to ask around to borrow or swap books with friends etc.
Haircuts for the Boys
Boys Haircuts – This is one I actually haven’t ever had to pay for, lucky me! One of my friends taught me how to cut my husband’s hair back when we were first married, and we’ve been doing it that way since we were married. (Side note – Thank you Shayla, we owe you forever! Way to teach a girl to fish huh?!) So I took my limited skills and have been using them on my boys and it has worked out just fine for now. We will see when they are teens and maybe care more about their hair haha. I’m betting you are thinking – I wish I had a friend who could teach me that! Well, maybe you don’t know someone that does hair, but maybe they sew, or they fix cars or there’s another skill you could use and save $$ on. Or I can totally bet if you watched several YouTube videos you could really learn pretty easy at least how to cut little boy hair. Luckily it grows back fast and if you make a mistake you can just cut it short.