Being a frugalist doesn’t mean you have to go without all the modern conveniences of every day life. We consider ourselves pretty extreme cheapskates (minus the toilet paper free households — not our thing) but that doesn’t mean we don’t use lights, or hot water, or coffee makers. We have all of those things. And one of the things we appreciate most in this world — hot showers. So, sorry. But we aren’t going to turn our water heater down just to save a couple dollars every month (though we are possibly thinking of going tankless because our water heater has been on the fritz since we moved in and I’m an eco-friendly-tree-huggin-kind-of-gal).
And if you’re like us and you’re trying to find ways to cut down your monthly expenses, I have created a list of items you shouldn’t even think about buying or possibly removing from your home— even though they seem like second nature to most people. If you don’t buy it, you won’t be responsible for recurrent costs, upkeep, and replacement expenses. Remember The Great Depression motto: ‘Use it up, wear it out, or do without.’
Now, these aren’t a foolproof way to saving money. Nor do you need to follow all of these suggestions. I’m just asking you pick one or maybe even add an item or service to the comments section that you feel we could totally go without.
Yes, modern appliances and gadgets can make our lives easier and sometimes a little prettier but they can also make us dependent upon them and our paychecks. So, let’s see how we can fix that.
Things you should NEVER buy
Okay, people! I grew up with a dishwasher. I was spoon-fed from that gleaming water jet packed utensil cleanser. Just kidding! I hate those things but I did have them when I was growing up. Dishwashers never get it all off. No matter how hard commercials try to sell you with the right brand or the ultimate dishwasher detergant, it won’t get burnt cheese or crusted lasagna off the pan. Definitely not the first time thru. And the second time, I think it just burns the food in deeper. No one likes finding that dirty knife in the drawer. We’ve all been there.
When we had a dishwasher, I had to prewash every single soup spoon and specialty cocktail glass there was. I act like I’m classy or something — but really I just thought our water drinking glasses needed a classy name. 🙂 Pots and pans required overnight soaking before the prewash even began. Yes, I used to be a terrible cook. And I fully own that shit but this dishwasher situation wasn’t helping.
Why waste more water, more time, and more money on an appliance that isn’t gonna get the job done? Stick to grandma’s old fashioned wash tub style. Buy a cute drying rack if it makes you feel better about doing the dishes. Trust me — I do them at least 2-3 times a day. When every meal is made from scratch, well, it takes a lot of dishes. you’ll survive, stone age style.
And if you don’t like doing the dishes and think this is an excuse for buying paper plates or heaven for bid Styrofoam plates, I am here to virtually smack you and say ‘Man up! Do the dishes!’
This one has been a topic of discussion in our house several times with winter around the corner. I’m awfully terrible at doing the laundry. It’s a lot of work, whether I have the dryer or not. I get lazy when I don’t want to walk down to the basement to do the wash or when I run back upstairs because I see the laundry is done and I don’t want to hang it up. However, I am determined to convince The Beard that we don’t need a dryer, even in -20 degree windchill weather.
I will make that shit dry — somehow, some way. Dryers are unnecessary energy suckers. Not only that, but they are so cheaply made that they break super easy. And you know what that means — back to China for a new one. Hurting the planet and increasing child labor one dryer at a time. I’m sorry that was harsh. Dammit. Just learn to use a clothesline. The fresh air is FREE. It’s been working for centuries. It’s not like it’s gonna stop working, unless it snaps. Then you’re out like $5 instead of a couple hundred or thousand.
But, even after all my bitching — if you’re going to buy one, don’t buy a front loader. They are notorious for breaking quickly, are super heavy to move, and cost a lot more. Stick with the old fashioned top loaders. Just trust me on their less pretty counterparts.
We broke this rule once for 3 months, recently. It was a terrible decision, pissing money down the drain. And we were traveling for 4 weeks during that time. And cable ain’t cheap. There are so many other cheaper alternatives.
However, I would suggest not even turning to those alternatives like Hulu and Netflix. Not only will all those programs cost you the initial upfront fee, but they are costing you way more than you think. Especially if you are on a homestead. Think of all the hours you spent in front of the florescent light, if those hours could be put to use building a homestead business. You would be the Donald Trump of Homesteaders.
And if you aren’t a homesteader, think of all the hours you already spend sitting at work only to come home to more hours of buttocks time. Got back issues? They are costing you. Doctors, infomercials, therapies. They add up. TV watching isn’t just the initial monthly bill.
Just do me a favor and get outside. Go run. Go play with your kids. Garden. Something other than more hours of conscious detachment from the world. If only we could budget our TV time as fiercely as we do our money.
A New Car
Take my word for it. The Beard used to sell cars and I can’t tell you how much value gets chopped right off your vehicle when you drive it off the lot brand spankin new. Just think of it like you bought a very nice 2 year old car and you wrapped it around a telephone pole. That’s how much money you just lost.
Hand towels will be just fine. And if you think its uber gross using a towel to dry your hands off with as the same towel you cleaned up dog puke with, then save yourself the ick factor and buy two colors of hand towels. Buy white towels for dirty cleanup (or use old white t-shirts) — they can be bleached. And for those interior designers out there, buy or make some super bad ass hand towels for hand drying and eating. Because everyone likes a craft day. Then you won’t be questioning if you used the blue ones or the black ones to clean diarrhea off your baby’s legs.
We honestly use paper towels way too much and for no good reason. We are burning money. Someone should be jailed for that. Not a healthy planet! Just use some towels. But make sure you have a lot on hand. Otherwise, you will get more frustrated and go back to using those forbidden white squares.
New home decor
Okay, I’m an advocate of secondhand treasures for two reasons — 1) because it helps the planet. And you already know I have a hippie heart with daisies floating around in my head. AND 2) because buying new costs me stupid amounts of money and I have a shopping problem.
I recently watched a documentary on waste consumption in the United States and I was completely appalled. It was some crazy statistic about how only 1% of what we buy is still used in the home after 1 year. And we are spending BILLIONS on products that are just ending up in the landfills months later.
There are so many ‘current’ trends right now that will inevitably go out of style in the next 6 months. Save yourself and your wallet the heartache and buy secondhand gems that are timeless. We love our earthy boho style because it will always be in style because WE love it! I am not decorating my house for my guests. I want my house to feel like OUR home so I’m gonna make it that way. And let me tell you, I am a little too good at finding some really nice stuff for pennies on the dollar.
Moment of truth
I’m not perfect. I break these rules sometimes. I buy things I shouldn’t. I buy things I could live without. I eat way too much chocolate. And sometimes I even binge watch movies while simultaneously scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram.
I am guilty of all of these things. I have to give myself constant reminders of what I want out of life. And it can be hard and sometimes I act like a 4 year old throwing a temper tantrum in the Resale shop because The Beard so kindly reminds me of our goals or instructs me that we are only there for one thing. When out of the corner of my eye…
I swear those peacock rattan chairs have a beam of sunshine coming down on them. I’m screaming at this point that I have to have them.
And then I walk out with my arms over my chest and my bitch face on because again The Beard has to tell me ‘No.’
Guys — it’s not his fault. It’s mine. I have a shopping obsession and fully own it. But there are times I need to remind myself about our dream homestead and times that The Beard has to lovingly hold me back from buying the entire store.
I’m sharing this in hopes that some of you can relate. And frugality isn’t always amazing but it sure can get you to where you want to be. Sometimes, it’s about changing your mindset and the way you view money.
But I’m also here to tell you that the more you do it and the longer you do it, the easier it is to make the right decisions and see your long term goals down that tunnel. You can do this!
I know there are so many more items I could just keep adding but I want to hear from you.
Tell me what items you frugalistas would never even think about buying or your biggest guilty pleasure items in your home.