Home Money 7 Things I DON’T Do To Save Money

7 Things I DON’T Do To Save Money

by Diane

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I’m pretty focused on being frugal and saving money wherever (and whenever) I can, then I read 11 Outrageous Things People Did To Save Money and I decided I’m not THAT frugal after all!

While I can understand putting your pee on the compost (it’s high in nitrogen), and I can understand buying your meat on the hoof because it’s not only cheaper but you also know it’s provenance, I  just don’t get washing and reusing paper towels or foraging in bins at the cinema so you can get free refills to save money. Seriously, if you don’t want to pay cinema prices for snacks, go to the grocery store beforehand or bring something from home.

This list of extreme ways to save money got me thinking about the things I don’t do to save money. You can safely add basically everything that was on that list above. I haven’t seen the Extreme Cheapskates show but I’m guessing, you can probably add everything on the show, too.

7 things I wont do to save money

7 Things I don’t do to save money

Here’s my list of relatively reasonable things that I don’t do to save money:

1. DIY Laundry Detergent – Making your own laundry detergent is possibly worth it if you have a large family and are putting a load of washing (or two) on every day. Maybe. I have made my own laundry detergent before and found the ingredients for making the washing powder weren’t that much cheaper (if at all) than buying my favorite laundry detergent when it’s on special and using a little less than is recommended so it lasts longer. My clothes are never thoroughly filthy and just need a freshen up so half the recommended scoop does the trick nicely.

2. Make My Own Tortillas – This is about valuing time more than saving money. I have made my own tortillas and they are fabulous. I love using them to dip into hummus but… they are time consuming to roll and fry. Given that fajitas and baked burritos are favorites in my house, if I made the tortillas from scratch every time we ate them, that’s all I’d be doing. Instead, I buy them from Aldi for $1.99 for a pack of 8. And, reserve cooking them from scratch for special occasions.

3. Wash Out and Reuse Ziploc Bags – I’m not sure too much needs to be said about this. If you’ve had wet food in the bag you can never guarantee that you’ve washed it all out successfully and returned the bag to pristine condition. Additionally, how do you make sure they are completely dry? Bacteria doesn’t walk, it swims… Damp plastic bags are a recipe for disaster.

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4. Not Using Shampoo (No Poo Method) – I get the theory behind it and it’s definitely a good thing staying away from all the nasty chemicals in commercial shampoo not to mention the tonnes of packaging that wont end up in landfill but, I don’t think I could get through the adjustment period without going nuts. I have long, thick, curly hair… I’m guessing the adjustment phase would be long and arduous.

5. Reusable Toilet Wipes– Apart from this one being decidedly on the gross side, I’m not sure where the real benefit is. Any advantage to the budget and environment in not buying toilet paper (after the initial investment in suitable material for the ‘reusable toilet wipes’) would surely be negated by the additional costs of washing and sanitising these cloths, wouldn’t it?

6. Save Onion and Orange Bags to Use as Pot Scourers – I read this one in The Complete Tightwad Gazette and figured the person who sent in that suggestion must eat a LOT of onions…

7. Cut Coupons – This one is dead easy. We don’t have access to coupons as such and those that do exist, I’d never buy the product in the first place. So, there’s no chance of me ever having 1000 bottles of free mouth wash cluttering up my garage.

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There are people who regularly do all these things to save money. Yes, that includes the reusable toilet wipes. They just don’t add up for me. I think there lots of shades of grey when it comes to what is really a money saving idea as well as what it means to be frugal. I don’t think I’ll be too disappointed that Extreme Cheapskates wont be knocking on my door anytime soon.

How about you? Where do you draw the line when it comes to saving money?

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Diana - 12:44 am

This list was so surprising. I thought I would be reading things like ” I don’t spend money on the movies, or We never eat out during the weekdays.” I blog about living a frugal lifestyle as well so I’d really like to make my own version of this blog post and have it link back to your post! I actually save my family a lot of money by couponing. I spend $3 on the newspaper to save at least 20% of our weekly grocery bill.

Diane - 11:03 am

Ha ha ha… The movies are my favourite splurge!

Couponing can be an awesome way to save money if done right. I’m just not sure anyone needs dozens of bottles of mouthwash! So, it can be a spending trap, too.

Amanda - 5:53 am

I do not use shampoo! It’s been about a month since I’ve used shampoo. Wasn’t to save money but for overall healthier hair. And it freaken works! Boy does it work. I was so skeptical. I am in my late 20s with super super thick, wild, unmanageable, crazy, fuzzy, out-of-control CURLY hair. That reaches to my lower but hovering above my butt.. So I can honestly say it made a HUGE difference. I believe anyone with CURLY hair (especially like mine) should NEVER use shampoo. Natural oils, baking soda, Apple cider vinegar etc. And THATS it. CURLY hair requires more love. And that’s the love I give my hair – by NOT using chemicals.
Sorry just had to voice my opinion

Diane - 6:31 am

Wow! It sounds like we have similar hair – I usually describe mine as ‘crazy cat lady’ hair. 🙂

Thanks for sharing, Amanda. I’m still not sure… I don’t think I could live through the ‘gunky’ phase…

Haley - 6:05 am

I agree with all of these! And I have read a lot of anecdotal evidence that both homemade laundry detergent and “no-poo” hair washing actually are detrimental in the long run- from ruining washing machines to clothes no longer getting clean to castile soap leaving oil stains on clothes (which, duh, it’s made of oils!) to gorgeous hair becoming dry and brittle (after all, it is baking soda!) It’s just not worth it to me.

I use to coupon heavily, but I found that once I learned the sales cycles and price points for my most used items, I have a pantry full of food I will actually feel good about feeding my family for about the same price (although I do keep a few “o-crap!” quick items in my pantry like spaghetti sauce).

Some things I do to save money: shop sales cycles and know my price points, dilute my dish soap, use vinegar and baking soda for most cleaning, use a steam mop to clean my floors, meal plan and STICK TO IT!, use CVS and/or Amazon Prime for baby items and toilet paper, cut up old t-shirts for rags (demarcating them for bathroom, kitchen, and toilet), keep the thermostat at 65 (in the winter), and look for free or cheap events in my area. But my number one is STAY OUT OF THE STORES! I used to go to Target or the thrift store just for “me” time, and I would never spend a lot, but it would surely add up!

Diane - 6:23 am

Thanks Haley. Yes, sometimes saving money in the short term costs you more in the long term.

Stay out of the stores is the BEST way to save money!

Jill B - 8:58 pm

Oh my…reusable toilet wipes! No way! and I agree, any washing of them would surely negate any money saving. And, well… it’s …just a…no!

Diane - 6:28 am

I know… I still wonder how that could ever be a money saver. 🙂

Melanie - 12:30 am

Great article! We don’t reuse plastic baggies either. I have large plastic containers that I use for pre-made meals/bread/etc but I only use ziploc for meat that butcher when we get home from the grocery store and reusing a plastic bag that had raw meat in it gives me the heebie-jeebies, ick. Another thing I don’t do- my son and my husband are fine with using handkerchiefs, but it just isn’t something I can do, especially if I have a cold and a lot of nose blowing – tissues thankyouverymuch. Glad to know there are other frugal sisters out there who draw a line at being too extreme! Have a good day!

Gael - 4:46 am

About reusing zip locks, which is SO much better for the environment than tossing them after 1 use, simply turn inside out to wash and dry. Also a bleach water rinse sanitizes those as well as other dishes. Simply air dry, then turn right side out and let that air dry or towel off. You can stand them up. I really object to the high volume of plastic being tossed in the trash, and reuse to reduce. Eventually the ziplock will be removed, and the bag will be recycled with bread bags.

Here’s a cheapskate thing I do that wasn’t on the list. My family doesn’t like heels or usually 2 or 3 other pieces in the loaf, so I put those on a cookie sheet in the oven and let them dry out. I always have bread crumbs and dried bread for stuffing. (The bread bags which are accepted for recycling at places that take grocery bags)

Coupons are printable online, so every area has access to manufacturer’s coupons.

I’m not sure making laundry detergent saved me anything either, but making Bisquick and taco seasoning saves money and keeps mystery chemicals out.

Diane - 7:50 am

Can you share your taco seasoning recipe, Gael? I’ve tried a few different ones and haven’t quite found the right mix. Always seems like something is missing.

Admittedly, I do my best to avoid bringing plastic into the house. I bake so we don’t have bread bags and other plastics are used sparingly.

Coupons are not big here (Australia) so they just don’t factor into our grocery budget at all. Maybe one day…

Jo B. - 4:03 pm

Not everyone lives in America, lol. There are no coupons in NZ either. We do have mailers that tell you the specials on that week, but two large corporations own all the supermarkets between them-so no way to dodge the high grocery prices here.

Diane - 12:07 pm

Ha ha ha… No, they don’t! 🙂

It’s a similar situation here but at least we now have Aldi making life difficult for the Big Two.

Heather @ Simply Save - 9:26 am

I won’t stop using shampoo entirely, but I’ve found that using it only every other day is SO much better for my hair. It doesn’t strip it of the oils it needs and it’s not so dry and frizzy anymore. Plus it saves money and time, so there’s that. I still shower and rinse it daily of course.

Diane - 1:19 pm

Yes! Better for your hair, the environment and your budget. 🙂

Alexa - 10:23 pm

I don’t do any of those either! I like to save money but I also value my time. If saving money means I’m going to have to spend two hours to save $5 I’m not gonna do it 🙂 Extreme Cheapskates is pretty entertaining to watch though!

Diane - 11:09 am

Yes. Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay off. I’m a big believer in determining the return on investment. There are, of course, times when money is the only consideration but thankfully those times are few and far between nowadays.

J - 1:43 pm

Hi Diane, happy Friday! I have a similar post on schedule to publish in my blog as well, although we have different things listed. 🙂 I don’t do a lot of things from scratch, apart from making our own food, but I’m always on the lookout for discounts. I’ve never heard of “Reusable Toilet Wipes” until now but I’m not keen on finding out more about it. Haha!

Stockbeard - 4:54 am

Hey Diane,
my wife is overly frugal, here are two things she does that I find weird, but I ended up accepting:

– she washes ziploc bags… We use those for everything, take some to picnics, other go in the freezer, etc…. I’m actually not sure how much those cost, but the life expectancy of a ziploc bag in our house is about 1 year.
We’ve never had a single health related problem doing that, we basically consider these as any other food container in the house. Do you throw away your tupperware containers after the first use?

– she does couponing. No later than this week, her grocery bill at Safeway showed she saved 50%, by adding coupons + the safeway card. How much time would you be willing to spend every month to cut your grocery bill in half? She feels it’s worth the time, and given the results I tend to agree.

Diane - 7:13 am

We don’t have coupons here so that’s an easy one for me. Not enough competition in our grocery industry for it to ever happen…

The real challenge with ziploc bags is getting them dry which really isn’t an issue with reusable plastic containers. I’d be interested to know how your wife manages to dry them. I admit, I tried this in the past but never succeeded.

Nysia - 10:35 am

Just turn them inside out. not really rocket science.

Saving Sanely - 8:21 pm

My goal has always been to save without making myself crazy or resentful in the process so that we can continue to live this way long term. We live well below our means but we keep a little out for “fun money” so that we have things to look forward to throughout the month and year!

Diane - 7:15 am

Yes, I have my fun money, too. Plus, I’m guessing we’d do whatever was necessary if money was extremely tight.


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