45 Things I Spend Money On (And 32 I Don’t)

If you ever thought I was frugal, this will change your mind ;) I do like saving money where I can, but I also like saving sanity and *time* just as much. As evidence of this first list below…

This all came about after reading two articles:

  1. The first on Blonde and Balanced where Em wrote about 45 things she does NOT spend money on (I was curious to see how many I DO spend on :))
  2. And the second from Julia at Bargain Babe where she, too, listed a bunch of things she doesn’t spend on. 44 items, to be exact. And which spurred Em up there to try and beat her!

I was pretty sure I’d agree with most of the stuff on their lists being a money blogger and all, but it turns out they’re MUCH more budget conscious than I. And as a result, smarter ;)

But you know what? I’m okay with that. I save like crazy, invest even more, and have pretty much dwindled as many of my expenses down as I’m physically comfortable with. With the only exception of my mortgages (gets me every time!). So if I spend a hundred or so more a month to enjoy my laziness, that’s perfectly fine with me. You can always tweak your habits shall your circumstances change, right? (And for those who DO save a ton by doing things yourself/etc – KEEP IT UP! I’m just not as patient nor focused as you are :))

Anywho, back to the lists… I copied and pasted every single one the two of them have mentioned, then merged them and divided ’em into two lists. One that I DO pay money for, and the other which I do not. As to compare how I align up with them more (and probably the most of you reading this too).

Here were all 45 things I DO pay for from their lists :)

  1. Soda — Not frequently, but I do like to have my fridge stocked just in case.
  2. MagazinesI’m an addict!! Don’t judge!
  3. Paid apps — If they save me time, I’m all over them.
  4. Pre-chopped fruit — For parties and what have you.
  5. Veggie platters — Same. You’re always in a rush before a get together!
  6. Fruit platters — Same. (Why are these all separated out?? Haha…)
  7. Frozen pizza — Yum!
  8. Baby food products  — Yup! And an awesome byproduct are those cute little plastic containers they come in – I repurpose them for all kinds of mini storages around the house!
  9. Fast food — Perfect on road trips!
  10. Single serving cheese slices, yogurt, and milk – Sure, when I don’t need a ton.
  11. Single serving smoothie drinks – Sometimes, but very rarely.
  12. Disposable napkins — Every now and then.
  13. CDs or MP3s — Of course!! iTunes is the greatest.
  14. Books — YUP!! You can’t have a library without them :) Unless you used a library to keep restocking and then swapping out every 6 weeks, haha… a rotational library!
  15. Movie tickets — Love movies!
  16. Frozen dinners — For when I’m left to cook for myself,  yes. Not gonna lie.
  17. Lunch kits — Snackables!! I crave them as an adult since I was rarely allowed to have as a kid :) Too expensive, apparently.
  18. Daily coffee — I can’t function without. I’ll brew a pot every morning or go out and grab Starbucks if I’m on the road or at a 9-5 that doesn’t provide… They can charge $10 and I’d still buy it!
  19. Boxed rice — Haha, how else would you get rice? Farm it?
  20. Candles or any type of “home scents” —  Yup, I use Air Wick as the litter box is dangerously close to my office. For candles I just wait for the wife to get them as gifts during the holidays :)
  21. Perfume (Cologne) — Of course!! Can you even make your own??
  22. Cookies — YUM!
  23. Cable TV — DOUBLE YUM! It’s good to escape reality sometimes. Or every day.
  24. Disposable diapers — Expensive, yes, but it does make life easier.
  25. Hair products — This ‘hawk isn’t going to stand up on its own!
  26. Regular hair cuts — It’s also not going to cut itself!
  27. Salad dressing — Definitely  needed
  28. Car washes — In Summer we wash them ourselves, but in winter we drive-through.
  29. Lottery tickets — Every now and then, which is a FAR cry from my days of buying a couple *every day!* Remember our $100 lottery experiment? Or our “pick my numbers for me” experiment? Haha… those helped to get a lot of it out of my system :)
  30. Condoms — (nods head and then blushes)
  31. Candy — Not very often, but I do grab them.
  32. Bottled water — I’m a TON better than I was two years ago, but I still use them when not drinking at home. Like for walks or when out and about shopping. But at work every day I now use filtered tap water!! I’m learning! :)
  33. Oil changes — For sure – no time to change myself, nor any desire.
  34. Body wash or hand/body lotion — Yup! Gotta keep this physique clean.
  35. Wrapping paper — How else do you wrap presents? We use bags and tissue paper sometimes, but we can’t do that for everything, haha… (And it’s more expensive anyways)
  36. Trash bags — YES! How can you not??
  37. Name brand anything I can find a store brand for instead — I’ll go store brand 90% of the time, but some things like peanut butter and soda I just can’t do :(
  38. Professional tax prep — YES!! Especially with my billion and one projects/businesses I have.
  39. Gourmet ice cream — Mmmmmm….
  40. Disposable cleaning wipes — Yes, we do have a baby!
  41. Minor household repairs — If I can’t do it myself (which is 99% of the time) I will hire someone to do for me… Or if it’s something I can do but would take 3 hours. I prefer to spend that building my business which will make much more than the 1 time cost of a handyman.
  42. Dry cleaning — Only for my dress shirts and pants
  43. Prescription antibiotics — Umm… if it  makes me feel better, yes!
  44. Brown bags for lunches — I don’t, but my wife does.
  45. Batteries — Yup! And we need a lot for all the baby toys too.

And here were the remaining 32 that I *don’t* pay for:

  1. Valet parking — I don’t mind parking far away and walking.
  2. Personal trainers — I don’t go to the gym, so not applicable, haha…
  3. Seasonal fashion items (like brightly colored skinny jeans that are in vogue) — I just buy what I like whether it’s in fashion or not. Including skinny jeans if I’m feeling all rock star’ish ;)
  4. ATM Fees — NEVER!!! Which  I owe all to USAA!
  5. Clothes at retail prices — NEVER! It’s on sale or it’s no sale.
  6. DVDs — I don’t usually prefer watching movies a second time.
  7. Fancy toilet paper — Haha… if it does the job, it’s a-okay for me ;)
  8. New cars — NOPE! Used all the way – even if just by 1 month (major savings!)
  9. Candy at the movies — Just like Julia, we sneak it all in ;) Also cheeseburgers.
  10. Gardeners — I’ve got my mom for that!
  11. Pre-mixed marinades — I don’t even know what that means.
  12. Hair treatments — Not since I stopped coloring my hair blue, green, and all other colors of the rainbow. Just need the spray to keep up the ‘hawk!
  13. Manicures — I’m not  *that* metro ;)
  14. Pedicures — Same.
  15. Eyebrow waxing/threading — Can you a tell a girl wrote these?
  16. Gym membership — Don’t go to a gym, but do need to try that 100 day push-up challenge again!
  17. Cigarettes — Girls say it turns them off.
  18. Powdered drinks — Remember Tang?? That stuff was awesome!
  19. Car paymentsNOOOOOOOOOO!!! But in the future, MAYBE?????
  20. TiVo, RoKu, Apple TV — Nope, what is that?, and nope.
  21. Any makeup beyond foundation and a little mascara — Haha… only during Halloween ;)
  22. Crack cocaine — Someone once told me crack is whack.
  23. Disposable dishes, cups, silverware — Rarely.
  24. Checking and savings account fees — NEVER!! Again, thanks to USAA.
  25. Credit card annual fees — NEVER! Unless it gave me a free world-wide ticket and/or meant I was using the Black Card because I was a millionaire :)
  26. Dog grooming — Don’t  have a dog, but wouldn’t even so. Nor grooming for our cat.
  27. Extended warranties — They almost always suck.
  28. Tanning — I’m not a Jersey Shore cast member ;) Though I’d love to be!
  29. Photo printing — Nah, I just use our trusty ol’ computer printer…
  30. Return address labels — Does *anyone* pay for this?? I use those lame free labels the charities send to woo us into donating more money… We’ve got over 500, no joke.
  31. The local newspaper — I read everything online unless a paper’s sitting at a friend’s house or something. I do *enjoy* (and miss) reading newspapers though!
  32. Grocery bags — I’m finally used to bringing our own to the grocery stores!!! Those 5 cent bag fees finally got us to change our habits!

So more expenditures than not. Though this is also only from two lists – of which I’ve contributed absolutely nothing to. I’m sure if I thought long and hard I’d fill up the “no spend” column a looooooooot higher in the end than the stuff I do spend on – but for now I leave as-is… Maybe when the baby’s 18 I’ll come back and update this when I have more time on my hands ;)

Anyone want to compare their own habits with this? Anyone want to blog about ’em too? Again, remember that it’s not so much *what* you spend your money on in life, as it is *how* you spend your money. It’s all about prioritizing and consciously choosing where your money’s best served. As long as you’re doing that, the haters can hate all day long and it’ll be our little secret that we’re killin’ it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to grab my single-sized yogurt and a napkin while I watch me some cable TV… and perhaps a few condoms and candy along the way too just in case!

{Photo by Polycart}

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  1. Josh March 18, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    Hey J,

    This is an enjoyable article and it’s often interesting to see the differences in people. That being said, there’s one thing about your list that stood out to me, and hopefully as a PF blogger, you’ll appreciate this comment. I noticed your rather strong reaction to c/c annual fees. To nix them based solely on the fact of simply paying an annual fee could sometimes be a mistake. The c/c I’m referring to is the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred. Sure it has an annual fee of $75, but by spending a mere $25 a week on groceries alone and getting 6% of that back, a person easily makes up for it. Anything over that, and it’s money in the pocket. Since a lot of people were finding hacks for the card, AmEx recently capped the 6% rewards at $6,000 of grocery spending, but that’s still a potential $360 back (or $285 after the annual fee). And the other cash back categories – dept. stores & gas stations – get 3% cash back and are uncapped. And of course you still get 1% on all other purchases.

    1. @pfinMario March 18, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      This sounds great. Certainly, there should be no absolute rules when it comes to saving money :)

      1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        GOOD POINT! I’ll actually have to agree with you 100% there – I rarely think about credit card fees being good out of human nature I guess, but just like with the cards themselves if you can take advantage of them responsibly like that, then more power to you. Excellent comment indeed – thank you! :)

    2. nic March 18, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      I second that, I put EVERYTHING on my AMEX perferred and make way more paying the $75 annual fee than I would with any other card.

  2. Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank March 18, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    Frozen pizza.. Really?
    There is nothing better than making your own pizza from scratch. It doesn’t take long, it is better for you and it is really very cheap to make.

      1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        Haha yup! 100% about time (which includes finding everything in grocery store too). It’s why our country is obsessed about fast food joints!

  3. Lance @ Money Life and More March 18, 2013 at 7:20 AM


    In terms of rice, I buy rice in 5 lb bags rather than in the small quick cook rice boxes like Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco Treat!). Maybe that is what they meant? It is the only thing I can think of.

    1. Lacey March 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      I’ve been working on a 20 lb bag since August :P
      They probably meant the “boil a bag of rice” kind (not necessarily the flavored ones). Comparatively they’re more expensive, but I think how much that matters depends on how much you eat rice.

  4. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle March 18, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    I do buy frozen pizza when it is on sale because it is fast and easy. I wouldn’t use the word “yum” when referring to it.

    Condoms are essential for health (disease protection) and are a real cost saving (child support) and should never be on a wants list. If more people used them it would be a real cost saver for our health care system and welfare system.

    The jumbo pack at Costco is the best value.

    1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Hahaha… I forgot for a second we had condoms on that list!

  5. John S @ Frugal Rules March 18, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    I am with you on the Cable TV, I know its taboo in the PF world but we run a pretty tight ship otherwise. Besides, how could I watch Bill Maher or Boardwalk Empire otherwise.?! ;) I hate paying ATM fees as well and will use USAA any time that I can.

    1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      There are tons of things that are taboo in the PF world – and 80% of them I do cuz I’m a normal human being ;) Like eating out lunch, buying $5 coffees, etc. I admire those who can cut out all things like that, but I’d imagine I’m saving in other areas that they’re not because of where it falls in priorities. And as long as you’re doing that, I think it’s fine.

      1. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle March 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM

        I have cable and I am flipping channels right now. I like to watch city council meetings and local news and all the cable news channels (not Fox, not ever, ever Fox) and reruns of Law And Order (the original not one of the spin offs) and I have basic cable and I won’t give it up.

        I have cut so much I have to have something.

        1. J. Money March 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM

          I agree – going hardcore into any area is usually not a good thing. And funny about Fox ;)

  6. @pfinMario March 18, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    Some of these are shocking given the rest I’ve read here. Just a couple thoughts…

    For example, it isn’t that magazines and books are expensive, it’s that there are free (internet) and inexpensive (ebooks) alternatives

    And as a lifelong eater of rice, I cringe when I see people pick up boxed rice at the grocery store for a couple bucks per serving. Even the fanciest stuff won’t even approach a quarter per serving if bought in bulk locally (and rice keeps as well as anything out there)

    1. @pfinMario March 18, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      While earning my degree, I got an ebook reader (a Nook Color) refurbished for $100. The very first textbook I bought cost $250 in print and $50 in ebook form. I felt very clever that day :)

      1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        I pay for magazines/books so I can hold real paper in my hands – I refuse to let everything go digital just to save some money. Also I feel like our eyes are going to turn to crap one day in the future and we’ll all be screwed, haha…

  7. @pfinMario March 18, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Oh, and undercovercondoms :/

  8. Michelle March 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Love this! I will probably make a post similar :)

    PS crack is whack haha

  9. Samantha March 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    I tallied up these two lists into my own and I’m proud to only spend on 11 of the items! They all come down to personal choice. We went the permanent route, rather than condoms. We have a very large, shaggy dog that we pay to get groomed about 3/year for $70. Expensive? Yes. But we all hate the experience of doing it ourselves, including the dog, so its worth it.

    I’m with you on some of the things… I do buy lotion, ranch dressing, trash bags, and the occasional hair spray or blush. I don’t know of alternatives to those? I guess I could use oil & vinegar for salad dressing, and reuse grocery bags for trash? I don’t consider myself a spendthrift, haha.

    1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      11 ain’t bad at all! Good for you!

  10. Johnny Moneyseed March 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I’d have to disagree with the toilet paper. I hate using public restrooms because of their crappy TP, so I don’t want to deal with it at my own house as well.

    And Roku isn’t a paid service it’s a one time thing. And it’s ahh-mazing.

    1. Kevin @ RewardBoost March 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      I’m with you. There are a few things I spend premium money on, and toilet paper is one of them. There’s nothing worse than cheap TP on your bum!

      1. @pfinMario March 18, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        Toilet paper will be the last thing I downgrade for, despite all this debt. I get mine cheap buying bulk either using Amazon subscribe-and-save or by waiting until the office supply stores have a big “break room” sale and then using a $10 off $50 coupon.

        Unrelated, but I’ve never understood why toilet paper is in the break room section in these stores… eeeuw

        1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

          I think I just don’t really pay attention much as to what kind of toilet paper we have in our house. It could be fancier than restroom paper for all I know, but I def. don’t care enough to consciously choose nicer ones if they cost more.

  11. Alan@escapingmydebt March 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Hi J. Money,
    Not a bad list. We need to break you of that magazine habit though. Some things you purchase we try to avoid for costs and health reasons. We try to avoid the individual packaged items, pre-made platters and frozen dinners. We do not have any children which eliminates some baby items as well. Regarding the 32 things you do not buy, I think we are on the same pager there.

    1. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      I don’t want to be broken from my magazines!! THEY GIVE ME SO MUCH PLEASURE FOR SO LITTLE MONEY! :) And I want to support them so they don’t disappear either, ugh…

  12. Sarah March 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Re: Wrapping paper, the alternative is not gift bags and tissue paper. Possible alternatives to buying wrapping paper are saving and reusing gift wrap from previous years, wrapping gifts in newspaper or brown paper bags, etc.

    Re: Boxed rice, I imagine they’re referring to things like Rice-a-Roni which are rice mixes as opposed to plain white rice (which usually comes in a bag).

  13. Michelle's Finance Journal March 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    This is a fun post. Everyone’s habits and preferences are different, but some of the little things that you don’t really care about might still be on your “spend” list. By looking at this, you may be able to realize that you don’t need it there and just get rid of it. It’s a good self check and see how other’s are doing.

  14. Leah March 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    What a strange world we live in where we brag about the stuff we DON’T buy–and then compare it to other people.

    What if we did this with our other habits?

    “You don’t read before bed? Me neither. Crazy suckers who spend their time reading before bed. You should just go to sleep!”

    “You don’t go hiking on the weekend? Me neither. Stupid people who drive to the mountains and get sweaty. Why not just sit at home and watch movies!”

    You went to the store and didn’t buy an iPad? RIGHT ON!”

    Like…what does it matter what you DON’T do????

  15. J. Money March 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    I look at it more for reasons to *learn* what’s possible over comparing just to say you’re better than someone or something. Though of course many people do. My perfect world is that everyone shares and compares with other people but are civil and we learn from each other :) I also live in a bubble.

  16. Grayson @ Debt RoundUp March 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I enjoyed this list. I eat frozen pizza and need to have them condoms. Just had a baby and don’t need another one right now. I don’t have cable tv, but that is because I never really watched a lot of it, so I decided to stick it to Time Warner.

  17. Poor to Rich a Day at a Time March 18, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    I pay for 7 items on your lists :) I did a post a long time ago on this, but perhaps it is time for a spring fling think again and post ! I always enjoy seeing these types of lists for comparison!

    1. J. Money March 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM


  18. Poor to Rich a Day at a Time March 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Oh I should mention I am one of those people who do NOT buy trach bags LOL. We compost, feed kitchen scraps to the chickens, take metal to the scrap yards for money and burn our garbage (paper products) For a kitchen garbage liner we use and reuse chicken feed bags.

  19. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce March 18, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Great ideas! Thanks for the breakdown.

  20. Slackerjo March 18, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I like frozen pizza. Really. I do. Maybe it’s the type I buy. $5 gets me 2 meals worth.
    I will not buy paper towels as I use cleaning rags.

  21. Erinn March 18, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Thanks for this post…very cool. I am a fairly new fan of your blog. I completely agree with you — I love learning about other people’s budgets by comparing my own. And I appreciate your honestly as we all have our guilty pleasures.

    I would encourage you to look into the Roku device. It has saved us SO much money since we cancelled our cable service – and haven’t looked back. It has been one of the smartest money moves I made in the last couple years. And I am with you on the magazines! We can’t let them go under too!

    1. J. Money March 19, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      Cool! So glad you like the site – thank you so much for saying so :)

      And roger that – I shall look into Roku!

  22. Shafi March 18, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    The things you mentioned you would buy, I don’t buy many of them. Everyone’s lifestyle is different as far as shopping.

  23. My Financial Independence Journey March 18, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    One thing that is almost universally reviled in the personal finance universe that I will happily spend money on is my gym membership.

    One thing that I wont spend money on is bank or credit card fees.

  24. Elmwood March 18, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    I’m totally with you on the frozen pizza, single yogurt cups, daily coffee… and many other things!

    This list definitely would’ve been different for me if I’d done it 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago. Wonder how it’ll be different several years from now!

    1. J. Money March 19, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      And the nice thing about having a blog is you can easily go back and find out :)

  25. stephanie March 18, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Really people, how do you do it without books? The heft of the book, the smell, the anxious turning of pages, YES the READING IN BED before I sleep (do you know there are studies showing those who watch tv or surf the web have brains that don’t shut down til 3 hours later????). I’m all with you J, keep those books on my spending list. (Never mind that I’ve developed the very bad habit of taking mags from my doc’s office. *UGH*)

    I liked this blog because I get to look at how others save, while comparing their ideas with mine. I haven’t had frozen pizza in months, not that I don’t like it, but I’m seriously on Weight Watchers and it’s working. Pizza is too much temptation for me right now!. But rice in a box???? That’s something I cannot understand-so inexpensive to buy it and make it. And so versatile. I’m never without a 10-lb bag, and I live alone!

    And yes, like others, I got a good laugh about the condoms. Whoever pointed out that they are a socially-responsible cost is right on; thanks!

    Excellent post.

  26. J. Money March 19, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Haha… we need to print out your thoughts on books up there and plaster them around computer rooms ;) They DO smell so freakin’ good!

  27. Vincci March 20, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Cool idea! My list came out to 32 as well : )

  28. Shopaholic Savers March 30, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Thought I would leave a comment and say that your article reminded me of a similar one that I had written a long time ago and never posted. I ended up revising it and then posting it here http://shopaholicsavers.com/?p=4137 . I love seeing what other people don’t pay for and what they do!

  29. J. Money April 1, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Awesome! Glad it helped get yours out the door – it needed to see the light of day :)

  30. Ariel August 18, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Great blog (and comments)! This is the first online one I’ve read that is realistic and on track. By the way, I buy sushi grade rice by the 25 pound sack. I live by myself, am female, petite sized, and save a ton of dough on it. Also Chinese, if you haven’t guessed. Buy the good stuff, get a rice cooker, so 1.5 parts water to 1 part rice, press the start button, and enjoy deliciousness. :-)

    1. J. Money August 20, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      Glad you enjoy the site :) Stop by again, my new friend!