10 Things We DO Buy

by Kristen on April 18, 2012 · 73 comments

in Frugal Basics

Note: Sorry about the late post-I always schedule my posts the night before, but because I’m apparently brain-dead, I scheduled this for tomorrow instead of today. ;)

Since I wrote about 10 Things We Don’t Buy last week, I though it’d be fun to do an opposite post this week.

Some of the things on this list aren’t things at all, so this would be more appropriate titled, “10 things we DO spend money on”.

But that ends with a preposition and it’s not as catchy.

;)

1. Cameras

As you know, I dearly love to take pictures, so cameras are an area where I don’t mind spending money. I do save and pay for my equipment without incurring debt, though.

2. Vacations

Even in our leanest years, Mr. FG and I have always managed to squirrel away enough money for a little vacation. The first year we were married, all we could swing was a staycation with a bunch of day trips, but ever since then, we’ve gone away for a week.

Our vacations aren’t fancy (we generally go off-season, we eat a lot of meals in our condo, and we enjoy as many free activities as possible), but they are fun and they provide us with time together.

3. Take-Out Date Nights

This is our way of getting a weekly date night without having to spend a whole lot of money. $20 and we’re done!

4. Local Shopping

Though we can’t afford to buy 100% local, we do often spend a little bit more to buy things from locally owned stores.

5. Toilet Paper

A number of people who responded to MoneySavingMom’s 7 Things We Don’t Buy post mentioned that they don’t buy toilet paper. So, I thought this was worth bringing up.

I will have to be in VERY desperate straits before I give up toilet paper.

‘Nuff said.

6. Haircuts (for some of us)

I don’t cut Mr. FG’s hair(I can but I’m super slow at it!) or my own, and Lisey and Zoe’s hair has gotten so thick, I’m just not up for wading through it all. So, I still cut Sonia’s and Joshua’s but everyone else gets a haircut somewhere else.

Fortunately, Lisey, Zoe, and I don’t need haircuts very often, so this isn’t as expensive as it sounds.

7. Laundry Detergent

I tried making my own back in 2008, but it didn’t work well at all. My clothes all smelled like stinky feet after a few weeks, and I haven’t been brave enough to try again.

8. Some new kid clothes

My kids have spent most of their lives in hand-me-downs and consignment/thrift-store clothes, but sometimes, I just can’t find what we need that way. So, I don’t mind buying new when necessary, though of course I do try to find sales and shop clearances.

9. Diapers (the disposable sort)

I’m cheating here because this was in the past, obviously. I’d always thought I’d cloth diaper, but then when Joshua was born, we were living in a home without regular access to a washer and dryer. And then one thing led to another and somehow I ended up going my whole parenting career without cloth diapering.

If I had it to go back and do over, I’m pretty sure I’d have started cloth diapering once we got access to a washer and dryer, but it’s kind of done now. ;)

10. Hmm…I’m kind of running out of ideas. Oh, I know! A dryer bill.

When I first started my blog, I was drying about 100% of our laundry on the line. But as life has gotten busier, this is one thing I’ve let slide to the side quite a bit. I still air dry a lot of things because I don’t want them to fade or shrink. But towels and sheets and hardy clothes (jeans, I’m looking at you!) go straight into the dryer these days.

I do still wash almost exclusively in cold water, so our laundry bill isn’t crazy high. ;)

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How about you? Are there some things you choose to spend money on, even though they’re not particularly frugal?

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Today’s 365 post: Safety First!

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elsa April 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I do make my own detergent and cloth diaper my kids…. and I’m not giving up TP. lol I spend money on good kitchen equipment, camera lenses that I need, and clothes because I rarely buy used clothing (actually, I rarely buy clothing… I try to make what we have last a long time).

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2 Walnut April 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I’m with Elsa on the good kitchen equipment. If I’m going to cook 95% of my meals at home, I’m not using a cheap-o pan to do it. I thoroughly love and use my dutch oven, stand mixer, nice knives, extensive Pyrex collection, Oxo gadgets, etc.

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3 Cortney April 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I don’t understand how washing in cold water saves any money. If you have a water heater, the heater will heat the water in the tank several times a day whether you use it or not. One of the best ways to save money on hot water heaters is to insulate them with a insulating blanket. Once the water in the tank drops to a certain degree the heater is going to heat the water in the tank. If you use the water to shower or do laundry it is getting used. I know several people who mention this and I just don’t believe it is all that accurate in terms of real monetary savings. Aside from that I would not think it would be especially sanitary to wash EVERYTHING in cold water.

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4 Heather April 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I think washing in cold actually does save money. Water heaters obviously have to “work less” to keep the water that is already heated in the tank at a constant temperature than to have the water supply in the tank used and then have to get new, cold water heated up. I’m not an expert by any means on this, so to me this is just how it would be a logical savings :)

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5 Reese April 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I wash everything in cold water and find it does a good job! I don’t rely on hot water to kill bacteria as I am using detergent. And really, I think underwear is the only thing in question. What else would get dirty that would make you worry?

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6 lisa April 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I also use cold water. The hot water used in the washer is only as high as the heater temp is set. At 120 degrees, the water is still not hot enough to be sanitary.

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7 Megg April 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I think the idea is that you’re not making the water heater work harder, because you’ve using less of its hot water.
I wash all my clothes in cold water and have never had a problem. We don’t get particularly dirty though, so maybe it would be different if I had kids and muddy clothes. The only exception is when my husband does laundry because he thinks everything needs to be hot, hot, hot!

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8 Kailey April 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I try to wash most of my laundry in cold water and have found that it does save money. The only catch…I have to throw it in the drier right away or it does get a mouldy smell much quicker than if I had washed it in hot water. I also wash my bedding and towels in hot water…again, I find that if I do these “bigger ” loads in cold they don’t come out smelling as clean. I’ve tried cheaper detergents or ones I can get free with coupons, but always return to TIDE and DOWNY. My family with asthma and skin issues just can’t handle anything else!

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9 Erika April 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I usually wash with cold water, but I’m with you on washing sheets in hot water. I have no idea if it makes a difference, but I did read somewhere that using hot water kills those gross little skin mites that live in your sheets. I’m willing to waste a little bit of hot water for my own peace of mind :)

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10 Dawn April 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I’ve heard that drying your sheets in the dryer is the best way to do away with skin mites, but I’m not sure if that is true or not.

11 Inga April 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Generally, my splurges are for my almost 3yo son.

1) Good Shoes – I buy my son 2 pairs of new sturdy everyday shoes per year (so far his feet are slow growing). They cost about $35 a pair, which is more than I’d like to spend, but so far he’s not worn them out before the year’s over. For sandals, swim shoes or boots I go cheapie or second-hand since they aren’t worn very often.

2) Allergy-Safe Foods – I typically bake and cook as much from scratch as I can, but some foods I just can’t figure out with all my son’s food restrictions. We splurge on his special bread, cookies, pretzels, bars, coconut yogurt and very occasionally his coconut ice cream. I do this so he can have a wider variety of foods to choose from and so I can have something on hand when I don’t have time to grind rice flour to whip up his muffins and pancakes.

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12 Michelle April 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I’m definitely with Inga regarding good shoes! I buy them for myself and my husband. We try to take good care of what we have and only replace when something is broken and not able to be fixed. This includes going to a cobbler to get shoes re-soled and heels fixed. The last time we went it only cost $10 to restore two pairs of shoes to like-new condition– so I’d say that’s a good bargain!

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13 Heather April 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I’m curious (and not because I want to try it!!) about what people do who “give up” toilet paper….any ideas??

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14 Reese April 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm

They use reusable toilet paper. They’re alot like homemade wet wipes. You just toss them into a bin (like you would reusable diapears), and then wash them. Replace when done :)

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15 Maya April 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

ew……

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16 Cindy@Rhinebeck April 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

gross.

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17 Katfish April 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I wash and reuse my kids’ poopy diapers. Is it that different?

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18 Rebecca April 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Nope, I don’t know why many people think cloth diapering is just fine, but using “family cloth” or something similar is gross. We use a combo of both TP and cloth wipes, even now that all of my kids are potty trained. My kids all still prefer the wipes, esp if I wet them first. They get cleaner, so less rashes, and I like them too.

19 AUDREY OWENS April 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Pre soak all poopy articles in a diaper pail with water that you add 1 cup white viniger (it kills the bacteria and also mold) Wash in cold water and add 1 cup of white viniger to the rinse water.
To the person who said her clothes got a moldy smell, again 1 cup white viniger to the rinse water will prevent that.
Also the presoaking and rinse will work on your smelly athletic clothes.

20 Michelle April 19, 2012 at 6:14 am

As someone who doesn’t buy toilet paper, I’d like to add a missing piece here. There is no ew factor. I rinse with a bidet sprayer and then use the cloth. There is usually nothing on the cloth after I rinse. No ew at all :-)

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21 Kristen April 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

Oh, a bidet changes the whole picture. I wish those were more common.

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22 Michelle April 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Just for clarification…I don’t have a bidet. Just a bidet sprayer – $40 on Amazon :)

23 Maureen April 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I won’t buy store brands when it comes to a few items like Heinz ketchup, Helmann’s mayonaise and a particular brand of toilet paper. I can get away with a few other store brands, but those are 3 items I will not skimp on.

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24 Reese April 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I’ve always found Heinz Ketchup to be my favorite too ;) Except the funky colors. Like purple and green. Remember when they made those? *shudder*

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25 Megg April 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I tried Hunts once, because it was a little cheaper…ew. Heinz it is for me, too!

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26 Walnut April 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Give Hunts another try. The recipe has changed in the past year and the taste is equivalent to Heinz – plus the price is better!

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27 Paula in the UP April 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I prefer Hunt’s!! And it goes on sale quite often around here so it’s a win, win!!

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28 Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify April 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I can’t think of anything because I’m still stuck on the no toilet paper thing. Do I want to know what they use instead?

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29 WilliamB April 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Rags, I think, making it similar to cloth diapers. For comfort’s sake I hope they’re not reverting to newspaper, or worse.

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30 Megg April 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

They’re probably not. The idea is to reuse it.

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31 Ada April 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Ugh, do I have to be the one who mentions it? ….corn cob…..

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32 Katfish April 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Haha, I’d love to see someone explaining to the plumber why there were corn cobs clogging the sewer pipe…

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33 Rebecca B.A.R. April 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I make my own laundry detergent, which is super easy and frugal to make: 2 parts grated soap, 1 part borax, 1 part washing soda–I try to dry out the grated soap on a piece of parchment paper (which I use over and over for this project) for a while first before mixing everything together–then you just use 1 heaping tablespoon per load–that’s it! I like it b/c you can make as little or as much as you want at anytime. It has been keeping our clothes clean and smelling great for a long time now, and other than towels/linens, I was everything in cold water. If I have any really tough stains, the best thing I’ve found for that is Resolve spray for laundry stains. I’ve tried cheaper brands, but nothing works as well as Resolve, so I try to get it on sale with a coupon. I don’t use fabric softener, but if I did, I’d just use vinegar, and I use store brand, no-scent laundry sheets to get out static. I used to use a ball of aluminum foil, but my husbands work uniforms were all polyester and it didn’t get all the static out of them. An aluminum foil ball (make a huge one at first–and it will beat itself down in the dryer to a smooth ball–don’t worry it doesn’t snag clothing before it become smooth) works great if you have mostly cotton or cotton-blended clothing. I usually line dry our jeans, though, since they are a thicker material and take longer to dry than other clothes. Kristen, I encourage you to try the homemade laundry detergent again, especially since it costs so little to make. It also makes a great gift at Christmas, wedding showers, or teacher gifts, if you can find a pretty thrift store container and tablespoon to go with it–I just attach the recipe on the top of an already made container of it, so if they want to make more they can.

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34 Sophie van Wijnen April 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I love your list Kirsten! It is a lovely reminder of what we are skimping for. Our list is pretty much identical, though we have one extra rule we live by. My family were uprooted in WWII, and my grandfather told his children that all he could give them was an education. So the education of our children is something we spend money on, and vacations. Both are experiences that no one can take away from you; they travel with you through life.
Cameras are also high on our list, it is just that they do not travel so well.

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35 Reese April 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I think I’d add underwear to this list. I’m pretty particular about what goes on my bum. So I trek to VS and get their cotton ones. Nice thing about this? I often get free coupons, so I haven’t had to buy underwear in AGES. But they’re my favorite. Some of the elastic waistbands either hit me at the wrong place and sort of pinch, or I have a reaction to the elastic, or they just don’t breathe well (Hanes or Fruit of the Loom for example).

I just realized “Breathability” when talking about underwear is kind of…awkward. ;p

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36 Candice April 19, 2012 at 9:37 am

I second the use of VS coupons to get all my panties for free!

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37 Kelli April 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

We DO purchase private cello lessons for our daughter. It’s something she loves, it keeps her in a good “positive” activity which I feel is important for a teenager, and she meets other like-minded teenagers through her music activities. That said, we have funded it through selling unwanted items on eBay and Craigslist and grandparents have gifted her money for lessons instead of buying “things” for her.

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38 atsquared April 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

We spend money on cell phone plans (my hubby and I each have an iPhone, and *love* them)… totally not frugal, but it makes me happy. We spend money on a CSA share, free range eggs and annual purchases of pastured beef, pork and chicken from a local organic farm, plus organic milk and butter from the grocery store. Overall, we tend to buy higher-quality items so they will last a long time… I’d rather buy one shirt that I love and can wear for a long time than 10 that are going to fall apart after a few washes. It’s what frugality is all about, right? Saving money where you can so you can spend it where it really matters to you.

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39 Stephanie April 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I spend money on beautiful yarn! Knitting is my one big hobby and I like to hand knit things that are really special – more unique than what you could buy in a store – and I think beautiful, high quality yarn is part of this. I think it is worthwhile to spend money on hobbies that allow you to be creative/productive in some way. It could be photography, knitting, homebrewing beer, gardening, whatever! I also make a point of buying about half my yarn at a local shop instead of online, which is a bit pricier, but I want that store to stay in business!

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40 Emily April 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Usually when I hear people say they “don’t buy” toilet paper, they mean they get it free with coupons. I hope that’s what they meant.

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41 Condo Blues April 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I’m in the minority but I pay for cable TV. It’s bundled with our Internet connection which we both need for work. The few shows we like to watch we like to in real time and we use on Demand feature a lot for movie nights. Shoes – I buy a lot of stuff 2nd hand but I can’t do shoes, undies, or bathing suits. I think it has to do with the fact that when I’m done with all three items they are toast. I expect the same thing from finding those things second hand.

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42 Linda H. April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Toilet paper is definitely on my list of things not to cut back on.

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43 Dawn April 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I had the same problem with the homemade laundry detergent the first time I tried it. My laundry just didn’t smell good. I really liked the idea of the savings though and still had the ingredients sitting around, so I tried it again but in a higher detergent to water ratio. Instead of making 5 gallons, I made 3. I haven’t had stinky clothes since.

And since the post is really about what we do spend money on….One place I try to strike a good balance is in the food department. Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t best. But then I can’t always afford to buy what is the very best, either. This past year I switched from canola oil to safflower oil after reading more about genetically modified foods and the potential health risks involved with them. It costs more, but I know I’m making a better decision for my family. I chime in too with the higher-quality item theme. Oftentimes we would rather spend a bit more to purchae an item that will last longer and be a better deal in the long haul. Example–my LL Bean slippers were pricy up front, but after 7 years of practically living in them, I think I’ve got my money’s worth. They are comfortable, good for my feet, and have lasted long. What more can you ask?

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44 Megg April 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I DO buy toilet paper, but I also use reusable cloth wipes. Before you are completely disgusted, let me explain. I only use them for pee, because I feel like it’s a waste to use TP when you’re peeing a lot (and I do, when I’m home!) I do draw the line at using them for #2. I put them in a little, inconspicuous bag, and wash with my underwear and socks. No big deal.
My husband doesn’t use them, and like I said, I don’t use them for #2. I do plan on using them (probably wet) on my kids to reduce the number of wipes I go through, but probably not for #2 either.

We buy a good phone plan with a data plan. My husband and I both have iPhones and while I know I could live without them, we do love them, so we’ve chosen that route.
I also buy dishwasher tablets, even though I know they’re more expensive. I like the non-hassle of them, and we buy them at Costco so they’re relatively cheaper, comparatively. When we run out I would like to try to make my own detergent though, as I already do it with laundry soap.
We both buy hair-cuts and my husband actually spends twice what I do on his! But he loves where he goes. It’s a barber shop for men, and they shave his neck, and give him a warm towel…it’s a splurge for him, and he has so few that I don’t mind :) Plus, I don’t cut my hair often, and he only goes every 2 months or so.

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45 lindsey April 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm

We lived in bush Alaska for a number of years, where water was 21 cents a gallon and delivered to a tank only once a week (If you ran out, you could special order, but it was a lot extra for the special trip). We soon learned the savings involved in “If it’s yellow, be mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” When we moved to an urban area, we just kept doing it, as the savings was HUGE not to flush every time.

A lot of people are beginning to use urine (diluted 1 to 10) as a high nitrogen fertilizer for non-edibles. (Some even use it for edibles that are not being consumed right away.) There are several books written about it and some universities are trying to figure out how to use it as a commerical fertilizer since petroleum products are getting so high in price. During the summer, my husband pees in a gallon container that is emptied once a day and used either in the garden or on the compost heap. Once of the large public gardens in the UK has their evening shift males urinate on straw bound for compost, and it has reduced their yearly water bill over $30,000. Worth considering.

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46 Jennifer G. April 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I buy toilet paper. I have an iPhone. My husband and I both get our hair cut outside of the home. I go out for at least 2 meals a week, and my husband usually goes out once a week. I treat myself to a weekly specialty coffee drink. I buy mostly new clothes because shopping for them at thrift stores frustrates me.

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47 Tina B. April 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I pay for Netflix. I have also been buying vintage pyrex bowls and storage containers to replace my plastic ones. I figure the leftovers will look more appetizing if they are in pretty bowls :D. I also will pay for high quality kitchen appliances, like a Kitchen Aid mixer and food processor. I cook almost exclusively from scratch, so good equipment makes that a lot easier. I will also spend a little more for food items made without HFCC. It’s cheaper to eat healthier, than pay for medical bills. I will also pay to have my hair highlighted. I guess I’m still vain. I do have a good friend do it for me, and she gives me a discount (so I guess that makes it frugal).

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48 Brandon April 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Busy or not, I love the smell of lined dried sheets on my bed………………

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49 Kristen April 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I have a suggestion for the kids’ clothes. I noticed on your other post you said you never pay credit card interest. We don’t either, but we use our cards for EVERYTHING (but we pay it off every month…my husband is a CPA and very organized about our spending). However, we sign up for 5% cashback on our cards and always get at least 1% on our purchases (sometimes we get as much as 10%). From this, we use our cashback to buy giftcards (usually we can cash in $20 of cashback money for a $25 gift card). I usually cash them in for Gap or Old Navy or Land’s End gift cards and buy my kid’s clothes with it when the store is offering 40% off. It was worked great and really cut our clothing expense.

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50 Linda Sand April 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I’m currently spending money on the Weight Watcher’s program. I need to lose a LOT of weight and nothing I’ve tried before has worked for me. This is working. And my medications are being reduced as a side benefit which helps offset some of the cost. Health is priceless.

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51 Natalie April 19, 2012 at 7:34 am

I did WW a couple years ago and found that the money I saved on not buying so much ice cream and candy more than paid for the program. Having the accountability really helped me. Good luck!

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52 Kiki April 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I just posted my 10 things on my blog: http://chriskiki.blogspot.com/2012/04/10-things-we-spend-extra-money.html
Two things we bought and loving it are: comfortable bed (to save our back) and amazon prime membership.

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53 Cindy@Rhinebeck April 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I still buy/spend money on the following:

basic satellite TV
basic landline & internet service
basic cell phone for hubby and myself
Tassimo cappuccino coffee disks (simple THEE best home made, easy, fast, delish cappuccino ever. IMHO.
Four haircuts a year for me. I do my own touch-ups. Hubby 100% cuts his own hair via buzz.
New shoes for hubby each & every year. At a size 11, he goes through them like crazy regardless of price.
New underwear & socks for both of us. Period.
Good basic food. Can’t scrimp on that. Barilla pasta, Italian olive oil, Bryer’s ice cream. Non-negotiable. Everything else @Aldi.
Good quality, brand name, decent shampoo for me. Such as John Fieda’s Sheer Blonde and matching creme rinse.
Good quality face wash & moisturizer (Wal Mart has a good Oil of Olay comparable=Equate), good quality moisturizing soap like Dove, good quality make-up (even though I wear it less than 5 times per year) I like Revlon or Cover Girl.
Flannel material. I make everyone in our family a new pair of pajamas every two years or so. Crafts. DIY materials.

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54 Megan April 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

TP will stay, however I use cloth wipes for my son and I love them! We cloth diaper him, so it’s not a big deal. The wipes go in with the diapers, and come out nice and clean and ready for re-use.

I also love my camera stuff- but as always Pay in Full.

Kitchen stuff- I’m kinda weird- I really like my hand me downs. Most of the gadgets (pastry blender, pie tins, bread pans, etc) are super durable. I wouldn’t do well without my kitchen aid mixer, nice pans, and heavy duty spatulas though. I also love my fiesta ware, but I have actually bought very few pieces (thanks Mom!).

I think I may use your 10 things I don’t buy post at my blog if that’s ok. I gotta think about it a bit…

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55 OHEllen April 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

We spend money on dance lessons (tap, jazz,and modern) for my daughter. She is very good, to brag…she knows her routine before anyone else. It’s wonderful exercise. The teacher goes out of her way to make costumes affordable four out of her 6 costumes are usually stuff from the discount stores. The classes are also low stress.. not about being perfect but about feeling good and having fun. We are very blessed to have found such a special place. Our son is a bowler, we spend money on lane time and equipment. One of my splurges around the house is Dial foaming hand wash. I know I can get liquid much cheaper or try to make it myself but I spend the extra because I like it that much :)

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56 Molly April 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I buy coke zero. The name brand. For reals.

For SHAAAAME, I know.

Whatev. I like it. I but it on sale. :)

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57 Molly April 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Wow, I but it. Please excuse the ipad typo.

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58 Madeline April 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I splurge on groceries sometimes to avoid that feeling of deprivation.. and this saves me from going out to restaurants too often.Tonight I am making cioppino from trade joe, a frozen bag each with homemade bread for dipping.. it was $5.50 a bag.But no restaurant tip, we can drink our TJ wine and hang out on our own patio, no gas to drive to and from restaurant.. it feels like a “date!” Sometimes you have to spend a little to save a lot.

Toilet paper will stay on my grocery list!

I also spend on a good eyebrow pencil–the cheapies make me look very strange and I have no eyebrows anymore since meno-p.!

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59 Carrie April 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Bummer on the homemade laundry detergent! I’ve been making it for years and love it. But I wouldn’t put up with stanky laundry either. ;)

I think everyone’s water is different. It really is kind of an art finding the right combo that works. Same for dishwasher detergent. Homemade recipes have NEVER worked for me.

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60 Lisa April 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

I tried homemade dishwasher detergent once last year. It gave all of my dishes a white chalky coating. I had to hand wash every dish to get rid of it. Defeated the purpose. I buy the store brand now.

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61 Melinda April 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Great post! I definitely buy toilet paper and not the cheap sand paper stuff! I pay for salon haircuts but color my own hair to save money.

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62 Kris April 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I’m with you on the laundry detergent. I tried making my own and it didn’t work out. Someday maybe I’ll try a different recipe, but for now, I’m buying it.

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63 Cheapchick April 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Heinz Ketchup, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and a professional haircut and dye (I go light not dark)

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64 Hilary (Mod Apron) April 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Hmmm this no toilet paper thing. I’m intrigued. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I’m intrigued.

I splurge on good quality paper product replacements. Good quality chamois in place of paper towels, fancy cloth napkins (I’m actually kind of addicted to cute napkins), super adorable cloth diapers with all the bells and whistles, etc. It’s possible I go a bit overboard here but I really do think getting high quality cloth stuff ends up paying for itself in the long run.

Oh, and we also buy quite a few movies and TV shows off of iTunes.

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65 Diane April 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm

I tried the homemade laundry detergent about the same time you published instructions for yogurt. I had the laundry ingredients on hand, so it was basically *free*. I eventually got tired of the gel/liquid laundry detergent. I thought my whites got dingy over time. I recently made my first batch of powdered laundry soap and I’m very happy with the results. As for the yogurt, I use your version in the summer and the crock-pot method in the winter. I’ve become adept at both, thanks to your encouragement. Other than that, I spend money on travel. I am also lucky enough to have a great 99 Cents Only Store in my area. When they have branded, organic produce, I let myself splurge with abandon. Earthbound Farms Organic Heirloom lettuce for 99.99 cents? Oh, yes, please! Some for me and some for my neighbor. Happily, I can easily afford to treat her.

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66 Stacey April 19, 2012 at 12:37 am

If you ever want to try homemade laundry detergent again, this recipe is a great one: http://asonomagarden.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/how-to-make-homemade-laundry-detergent/

I’ve made it numerous times (although not recently, because I’ve been lazy!), and if you add some kind of essential oil at the end (I like orange) it smells really nice without being overpowering. I found it was just as effective as the stuff I buy at the store.

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67 Money Pincher April 19, 2012 at 1:44 am

I agree with you in buying take outs :) The BF and I rather buy takeouts than going to a restaurant (save the tip..hehe) or we will cook dinner together as our date night :)

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68 Amy April 19, 2012 at 2:54 am

Well I do use cloth nappies (diapers) but didn’t start till my second child as we had a shared washer with the first so it wasn’t practical (or hygienic) but I do spring for (eco) disposables now when we travel. I do buy toilet paper, I don’t find reusing rags disgusting – I use cloth wipes on my daughter but always spring for the recycled toilet paper which is biodegradable for the older people. We have never washed in hot water just always dry in the sun and never use a dryer either. Our biggest splurge is probably eating out usually once a week – lunch on a weekend or occasionally a dinner meal but we definitely stick to a budget on those.

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69 SarahD April 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

Hi Kristen,

Our list is pretty similar. I would add:

-Disinfecting wipes for each bathroom. We have 3 boys in our house, need I say more.

-Really fancy, nothing-held-back dinner out twice a year for our anniversary and my birthday.

-We too spare no expense when it comes to the kids’ education. I work hard to save and re-use materials (we homeschool) as much as possible, but if I can’t find something discounted or used, I don’t hesitate to buy it at full price. I think the time will soon come that we will be spending some money on online classes as well.

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70 Candice April 19, 2012 at 9:43 am

We spend money on:
- Cable, which keeps up home more and spending less money on entertainment and shopping
- Golf. This is something that we really enjoy doing together, so it’s worth it to us. But we both have used clubs and used bags for our clubs.
- Quality Food. We are vegan, so we avoid a lot of costs with meat and dairy products. But we do splurge on mostly organic and local food options when we can.
- Travel. We take a splurge vacation about once every two years and we travel to see family at least 4 to 5 times per year. It’s worth it to see our loved ones.
- House Decorations. I try to buy used or sale, but I like it when I come home to a house that makes me feel happy with its design.

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71 Jackie April 19, 2012 at 10:57 am

I only spend about $30-35 on laundry detergent, I have a front load and use Norwex detergent, I go through about a bag a year, I do plenty of laundry with 1 kid left at home.
I buy TP?
I like to local shop but it is hard living in rural Manitoba (think rural North Dakota :-)) so we only get stuff in summer for the most part but we do get a CSA in the summer

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72 Skirnir Hamilton April 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Our Splurges/What we value pay for
1. Education for our son
2. Music Lessons for each of us actually
3. Quality Tea
4. Good Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
5. Good spices

Yes, we both love to cook, my husband and I. So I coupon so I don’t feel guilty about the other splurges and so I can try new products without spending much, as if I don’t like them I would get upset if I spent much.

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73 Tammy kilgo April 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Hi I found your site when looking for sights on painting furniture. I decided to browse through your blog because deep down I would so love very much to be frugal. I have shopping issues pretty bad that I’m trying to control. If I have it I think I should spend it basically. I am trying to improve this and it’s hard but I will say I’m getting there. I did notice on this one article on things you do spend money on. I wanted to let you know though for hair cuts. At JcPenney EVERY Sunday they do free hair cuts for kids. That saves big time!!!!!

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