Budget Living: Learning to Do Without

Over the last year as we’ve trimmed our budget, we’ve found that there are a lot of things that we can do without. Previously, I would run to the store at the drop of a hat if we didn’t have a certain condiment to go with dinner. Now, I just say, “Sorry, we don’t have any.”

I also once thought it was necessary to stock every size of Ziploc bags at all times. In reality, plastic wrap (the best is found at Costco!) works just fine for wrapping leftovers.

And I did not think I could function without Diaper Genie refill bags. Au contraire! Plain old, plastic grocery bags handle the diaper issues — no problem.

I’m saving $5-10/month just in plastic!

But, the list doesn’t end there. Other things I’m not buying unless they are free or close to:

sodas (I’ve kicked my Vanilla Coke habit!)
snack foods (we actually have these in abundance due to coupons and sales)
baking nuts
microwave popcorn
chips
bread (trying to bake more myself)

What have you found that you can live without for the sake of a few pennies?

For more frugal tips, visit Crystal’s blog every Friday.

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Comments

  1. Thrifty and chic mom says:

    WE WENT DOWN TO ONE CELL PHONE RECENTLY IT WAS HARD AT FIRST, BUT NOW WE DON’T MISS IT MOST OF THE TIME AND THE MONEY SAVED IS WORTH IT. ALSO I DON’T BUY SNACK FOODS UNLESS FREE OR SO CHEAP IT IS RIDICULOUS, I BAKE FROM SCRATCH HEALTHIER OPTIONS.

  2. JessieLeigh says:

    We have given up:
    soda
    bottled water
    pre-made taco sauce, pizza sauce, and salsa
    bread, bagels, eng. muffins, tortillas
    gourmet cheeses
    steak (boo hoo!)
    out-of-season produce
    purchased cleaners
    premium diapers

    oh, the list could go on…

    In some ways, it makes me feel a little sick and queasy to think of the way I used to spend without regard. Isn’t the odd?

  3. Briana Almengor says:

    I recently got into popped corn from kernels rather than the microwave kind…cheaper and healthier.

    I use diluted pinesol for most of my cleaning/disenfecting. I have to admit, I’m still stuck on Lysol wipes, however.

    I have switched to whole carrots rather than baby carrots and just take a little time to peel and cut them up into sticks for us to eat with lunch.

    And, now that we’re beginning TMM in earnest, we’re seeking to give up fast food/eating out as much as possible.

  4. Great tips. I am cutting back on my cleaning product due to my daughtes asthma problems. But I finding it is much cheaper. What I buy costs more but I am buying less of it. I really don’t need all those different cleaners. I really did not realize how much I was spending on them.

  5. amysfinerthings says:

    I second some other comments… we have only one PREPAID cell phone (costs $8.34 per month). No cable. Switched to whole carrots (they taste better anyway.) Just made my first batch of baby wipes a few days ago — love them! Really want to switch to cloth napkins soon…

  6. We still have a root beer on date night. But I can live without most paper products. I recently blogged about that very thing.

  7. we’re going to try to live without cable in the new house. not sure how long it will last though

  8. Garden Gal says:

    DirecTV – we now have "basic" cable, $10 a mth. Doing just fine…

    Name-brand soda – I've cut it out of my diet for the most part, but hubbs likes a soda when he comes home from work. Coke is up to $6 a pack – no way. I won't pay more than $3 for a 24-pack these days.

    As for the carrot thing, I use the Earth Bound Organic baby carrots at Costco. They come in 24 individual packs for $5.00. They are delicious tasting, perfect for stews, but used mostly for a grab & go snack or chopped up for use in salads. A lot easier than chopping carrots, bagging & hoping they'll last through the week…

    And I totally agree about plastic wrap – I rarely use sandwich bags anymore. Thx for the Costco tip!

  9. Mrs. Querido says:

    Cleaning supplies! I now use vinegar, rubbing alcohol and bleach. Much cheaper and safer for the kiddos too!

  10. When we got married, we didn’t get cable because we couldn’t afford it on our one-income and grad school costs. In our area, even basic cable costs $50/month. So, we have a “rabbit-ear” antennae and get 2 channels over the air. In the seven years that we’ve been married, it has saved us over $4,000! Even though we can afford it now, we find that we watch more than enough TV with our two free channels. Plus, now we can watch lots of shows at our convenience over the Internet anyway. Now, I’m not sure that I could do without the DSL though….

  11. We are cutting back a lot. I make most things homemade except for pasta. I make all of our desserts, bread, from scratch including making our own cream of whatever soup. I make my own cleaning products and also started using cloth napkins and rags instead of paper towels/napkins. :D I can’t get dh to cut cable though.

  12. We use cloth napkins. I hardly ever buy paper towels and paper napkins.

    We cut out most drinks but water. I keep powdered milk on hand to cook with.

    No cable and try to get most movies from the library.

  13. In the past I have done without a tv (and I know if it were’t for children I probably could again), and cable/satelite tv. I had a cell phone for a year-long enough to get used to it, now we don’t have it. My most recent thing is laundry detergent. I am making my own and I might not ever buy anymore commercially produced detergent- much cheaper to make it yourself.

  14. To Honey…
    I am curious if you could share how you make your own laundry detergent?
    Thanks

  15. In general, we aren’t doing without, but we have implemented some changes to help us conserve money.

    We are following the drive to your furthest destination first and then work your way to home. It is supposed to be the most fuel efficient way to drive. We have really tried hard to reduce random driving and combine as many trips as possible into one.

    I have found a lot of restaurant knock off recipes, both on-line and in books, or invented my own, so we can have restaurant style meals at home. The result is a cheaper and healthier meal.

    We have switched from buying bottled water to buying jugs of water. My husband uses a reusable water bottle to drink the water with the same convenience that the individual bottles used to provide.

    We abuse our library. We always have an extensive hold list. We don’t get to choose what movie we watch on what weekend, but we have a near constant cue of free movie and music to enjoy.

  16. I am living without my Sam’s Club membership which has probably saved me a lot. I just assumed I was getting the best deals by shopping at a wholesale club. Nope, I definitely wasn’t!

    Thanks to coupon-ing and helpful blogs like yours, I am saving LOTS.

  17. What a great list of things we can all (probably) live without! Thanks for sharing your ideas, ladies.

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