I’ve been part of the frugal game for nearly two years now, and it has paid dividends time and time again. Most of my teen years, and early twenties I considered frugality lame, cheap, and slightly dirty. Today I embrace it wholeheartedly. The simple logic of frugality is to save as much money on a given purchase, while getting the most value out of the purchase. Frugality is not buying the cheapest, and in most scenarios it involves buying quality rather than the most affordable. We know most of the time in order to purchase quality we need to spend a little more. Just as the saying goes – you spend a little more to get a little more.
At the time when I started the frugal turnaround I was smart shopping, planning ahead, following sales, couponing, and not shopping for 127 days in order to eliminate my debt as fast as possible. After a while my frugal ways became exhausting, and I gave up my frugality for sometime. After some rethinking, I regrouped, and got back into it with a new mindset – Keep It Simple Stupid or as referred to by most as the KISS method.
I realized that I don’t need to be frugal in every situation, and that trying to squeeze pennies out of every purchase is exhausting. More importantly I realized things that I didn’t need to buy which were simple money wasters in my budget.
If you want to start living a better financial life but don’t know where to start, I say start with the KISS method.
Listed below are eleven things that you will virtually NEVER need to buy. There are obviously many more items, but this list is a good starting point.
1. Activation or Initiation Fees
I don’t remember the last time I paid one of these fees, but if my memory serves me correctly I recall that I paying an initiation fee was when I joined a local gym about ten years ago. This was a time when gym’s were popping up everywhere, fitness was becoming cool, and everyone was getting a membership. Ten years ago I think I paid $250 initiation fee, plus $55 per month for the next twelve months. Talk about a dumb ass (me) who agreed to something likes this.
Since becoming more financially mature, I avoid initiation fees at all costs. There were even times when I walked away from deals, simply because I didn’t want to become part of someone’s cash grab. Cell phone companies are notorious for charging activation and re-activation fees. The simplest way to get around it is to tell whatever type of business you’re dealing with (internet, cell phone, cable TV provider or fitness center) that you’ll take their “deal” or service if they waive this fee. It’s worked for me like a charm, and it can work for you.
2. Automatic Car Wash
This is a car wash that gets offered to you every-time you pay for your gas fill-up at the gas station. For example, at a popular local gas station it costs $11.99 for an automatic car-wash without gas, and if you purchase gas, your price goes down to $9.99. WOW! A whole two dollars saved.
Don’t be lazy, and do the DIY method. I take advantage of my parents driveway, hose, and vacuum to clean my car typically bi-weekly. In winter time, due to all the snow and nasty weather I wash my car at a local car-wash, where you pay per use. If I remember correctly it’s 50 cents per minute, and in less than 7 minutes I can wash and vacuum the car.
3. Bottled Water
Bottled water used to be cool at one point of time. Everyone was hauling one around, because every celebrity that had its picture taken was holding a bottle of water. Bottled water is no more or less healthier for you than any kind of filtered tap water (which offer some essential vitamins that bottled water doesn’t), and the amount of plastic trash generated by this industry is amazing. If you simply can’t drink tap water, invest in a water purifier. If you need water on the go, put it in some sort of reusable container.
Why pay for something that already exists for free? It doesn’t make much sense, yet people continue to buy software, and the expensive updates every year. Most predominantly purchased is antivirus software. On average it costs $19.99 on the low end, and goes up to $69.99 for the more expensive stuff. There are quite a few free versions of anti-virus software that should suit your computer just fine. Software developers and computer geeks make you believe that you you need the latest software with the latest updates to get maximum protection. Personally, I have been using Avast Anti-Virus Software for many years, with no hiccups or anti-virus threats. If you’re paying for antivirus software, please stop now! Here are a few links to download FREE antivirus software:
There is tons of FREE and legal software floating around the internet. Whether you need photo software, registry cleaners, hard drive scrubbers, CD and DVD creation-type software, and other type of software, it’s all available online for free.
5. Pre-Cut Fruits and Veggies
I know it’s simple and convenient (especially when you’re entertaining) to just stop off at the grocery store and pick up a platter. Pre-cut fruties and veggies are a huge luxury, and there’s no reason why you can’t cut them yourself. The mark-up for pre-cut fruit is unbelievable, so you’ll save a lot of money on your grocery store bill by avoiding them. My favorite example is of the pineapple – $3.99 for a whole pineapple (unsliced) and $7.49 for half of the same pineapple pre-sliced.
6. Garbage Bags
I don’t purchase garbage bags, and instead re-use the shopping bags from grocery stores for my garbage and compost. I’m also huge on recycling, so all the plastic bottles, cans, boxes or paper materials gets recycled. I realize this may not work for everyone, especially those with larger homes or larger families. Being a singleton and living in a condo, I don’t produce as much garbage, and don’t need to haul my garbage in bags to the curb.
7. Foil and Plastic Wraps
Before my frugal days any leftovers that I had went straight into the nearest container that I could find and were topped with plastic wrap. Then, I got smart, and started using plastic containers with lids to store my leftovers. Not only does this save me money (not having to buy the foil and plastic), but its also very green as well.
8. Cleaning Rags
You don’t need to purchase rags for clean up. Instead I improvise by cutting up old T shirts and bath towels. They are perfect for cleaning around the house, dusting, and even cleaning your car. Most are reusable by putting them through a hot-water wash, and the rest I just throw out.
9. Home Phone
How many phones do you actually need? Cell phones have made home phones virtually obsolete. I been on my own for nearly four years now, and have never had a home phone. My cell phone is my home phone, mobile phone, and business phone. On average the cost of a home phone service is roughly $29.99 per month or $360 per year that I don’t need to spend.
I don’t know about you, but paying 5 bucks for a shot of coffee is not worth it to me. Just think about the markup. It’s no wonder that the sales of single-serving home brewing machines are soaring.
11. Plastic Cutlery
Total waste of money. Anytime I host a dinner party or BBQ, I just use my metal cutlery, and after the party ends they go straight to the dishwasher. No clean up, it’s green, and didn’t have to spend unnecessarily.
There is money out there just waiting to be saved. Most of you who read Finance Fox have already a good money saving mindset. I’m also most certain that a majority of you also save on some if not all of the items above, however this post is simply a pure reminder for us that saving money doesn’t have to be hard.
Do you have something you want to add to this list? Share it with us below!
May the saving force be with you!