Friday, July 20, 2012

What we BUY, What we DON'T, and the IN BETWEEN

Due to the overwhelming demand for

'What we spend our money on, what we don't and those items that we are working on not buying.'

I have decided to go ahead and write about that tonight. Actually, there was just one request, but that means a lot here at A LIFE MADE SIMPLE! This one's for you Sharon!

First, let me preface by saying that there are 3 main reasons why we do or why we don't purchase an item:

1. I can make it myself for much cheaper or much better or much healthier.
2. We have come to realize that it isn't good for us and therefore have removed it from out diets completely or have it very infrequently. Although Derek and I ate fairly well when it was just the two of us our diets are that much better since we had Cassia - after all we want the very best for her.
3. Toxins! Whether in our food or cleaning products - things like air fresheners and febreze - remember to do research before you let certain items in your home!

I also want to add that for us living frugal is somewhat similar to a diet in which you are trying to lose weight. Totally cutting yourself off from something you love isn't going to work long term. Just as a strict diet may lead to binge eating - a very frugal life could lead to binge spending. Within our frugal life there are items we consume because want to - end of story. The great news is that we don't feel too bad about that because of all the other items we don't spend money on.

Oh - and another thing! Over the last few years we have realized that the more we work to not spend foolishly and live frugally the better we get at doing it and the more rewarding it becomes. Whereas a few years ago we would buy something without thinking about it - we now carefully weigh the pros and cons and usually forgo the item all together. We can regularly be heard saying



The thing is - whether you have a little money or a lot of money - we could all use MORE money! Chipping away at items that you think you need to buy because the fancy marketing has told you so goes along way to making it so that you will have MORE money.

So - here's our list to date.

1. paper towel
2. cleaning products - see my pinterest board for recipes
3 beauty products - see my pinterest board for recipes
4. soft drinks
5. most processed or ready to eat type foods - that's a BIG one - VERY high priced - not much different then going out to eat
6. baked goods from the grocery store - we DO have a weakness for REAL bakery treats
7. restaurants or coffee houses - seldom anyway
8. cable tv
9. cell phones
10. new clothes
11. clothes are dried on the line (we don't pay for electricity here but we still dry on the line)
12. salad dressing
13. most sauces like BBQ
14. books, magazines, or movies (except for the 25¢ kind)
15. we don't 'collect' anything
16. gifts and cards - don't we all have enough stuff already!
17. babysitting
18. many vegetables and herbs in the summer - thanks to our garden
19. manicures or pedicures - never have, never will
20. nursing baby - no formula
21. canned goods - only a few - no soup etc.
22. salsa
23. chewing gum
24. dog food

(without too much thought to the price)
1. meat from a meat market
2. as much fruit and vegetables as we want to eat
3. dark chocolate
4. dark beer
5. cheese and particularly goat cheese which is more expensive
6. honey
7. diapers and wipes - Cassia wore cloth diapers for 6 months from the start until we starting traveling. When we returned 6 months later they were a no go with her. Too bad because they are definitely the way to go! We do buy the generic make though.
8. plastic zip lock bags - they are so handy but we wash and reuse several times over
9. a hair cut for me once a year at the cheapest place possible - I am TOTALLY over paying for a high priced hair cut and colour that doesn't work out anyway
10. we buy generic when it doesn't matter
11. products such as essential oils to make the homemade beauty and cleaning products

(I'm working to make my own of these products)
1. yogurt
2. laundry, dish and hand soap
3. deodorant - I'm getting there! Try a few drops of clary sage under each arm - it works pretty good!
3. cheese
4. toothpaste
5. sauces such as hot sauce and ketchup
6. bread and crackers
7. tomato sauce
8. tortillas and tortilla chips
9. cat food

There is probably much more but it has been a busy night at the park and it is now the end of the day for me at 11:30 pm. I'll add to the lists tomorrow if I think of more items.

Of course we live much different then most. We don't have any bills during the 6 months we are home in Canada other then our truck insurance and the internet. Since I pay the internet up front (and nice of our boss to pay for one month) we just have the one bill a month.

Doesn't THAT sound great!

It is - it is VERY freeing!

Of course, once we are on the road it seems like the money runs like water - mainly due to stopping for gas so much and food shopping every few days. AND sadly I can't make as much homemade on the road although I'm going to make more of an effort this year. On the other hand, in the USA and this year Mexico and Central America prices are much lower.


Today's Interesting Link: There are 100s of links out there to help you learn to save money! For us it took a real wake up call to get us straightened out - I'm sure we are not alone. These days I think to myself - boy I wish I knew all these tips 20 years ago! I wish I had been using baking soda and water for shampoo for the last 20 years! But to REALLY get you to thinking here are 100 Great Tips for Saving Money For Those Just Getting Started.


  1. Loved your lists. Thanks! I do make my own yogurt and once you get the hang of it, it's very simple. However, it is time consuming. So I supplement my homemade with Chobani plain I can get in large containers at Sam's Club. But the one thing I definitely do NOT buy any more is the flavored stuff.

    Keep updating this list as you add things to it. I'm always interested.

  2. I love lists like this too! It always inspires me to see what someone else is doing in a manner I'd like to live. So keep sharing!


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