40 Things I Do Not Buy Since Simplifying My Life

Since I began simplifying my life, I’ve discovered that I do not buy many of the things I once thought were essential. A welcome side-effect of simplifying my life has been that I have also been able to simplify my shopping list! Here’s a list of 40 things I no longer buy (and I can’t believe I ever did).


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40 Things I Do Not Buy Since Simplifying My Life

Some Things I Do Not Buy

  • Cable/Satellite TV-Let’s just get this one out of the way. I mean, really, does anyone still pay for cable anymore? {grin} In our house, we use Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for all of our television viewing.
  • Product Protection & Extended Warranties- I try to take good care of the (few) things I own and I really don’t have stuff that is worth a lot of money anyways.
  • Magazine Subscriptions- Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased magazine subscriptions. Even before I simplified my life.
  • Upgrades- I am keenly aware of the tactics advertisers and retailers use in order to try and squeeze every last cent out of unwary consumers. When I go shopping, I know what I’m looking for. I’ve done my research ahead of time so I am not swayed into purchasing a product I do not need and will never use.
  • Extra Features- I’m a simple gal, therefore, I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles on the items I own. I just need the product to do the job it’s advertised to do. And do it well.

Don’t buy what you can do yourself

  • Services (I Can do Myself)- I can (so I do) groom both of my dogs, cut my husband’s (and sons’) hair, (I use these awesome clippers) wash and vacuum our vehicles, mow our lawn, do basic household repairs, etc.
  • Body Wash/Sprays/Lotions- I use bar soap in the shower, one bottle of perfume, (that I received for Christmas), and unscented lotion (which is used by everyone in our household). 
  • Jewelry- I do not buy jewelry because I rarely wear it. The few pieces I do own were given to me as gifts.
  • Books (Including Cookbooks)- I prefer to rent our homeschool books and borrow everything else.
  • Impulse Purchases- On the rare occasion I slip up and buy something I was not planning on purchasing, I usually come to my senses once I arrive home. Then, I promptly return the item.

 What’s a radio?

  • Coffee From Cafes- Ok, you caught me. I have been known to purchase a coffee (or two) from Starbucks. But only on special occasions like when I am on vacation or on my birthday.
  • Single-Use Kitchen Gadgets- Everything in my small kitchen performs more than one duty. I do not own an ice cream maker, bread machine, rice cooker, or specialty slicers.
  • Specialty Cleaning Products- I do not buy fabric softener, dryer sheets, plugins, Febreze, floor cleaners, carpet deodorizers, toilet bowl clip-ons, etc. etc.
  • DVDs/CDs- Years ago I burned all of my CDs to iTunes. I uploaded digital copies of my favorite movies and sold all of our hard copies with the exception of a few educational DVDs for my kids.
  • Digital Music- You’d think because I do not buy CDs that I fill up my devices with digital music instead. You would be wrong. I don’t buy digital music. I choose to listen to music on YouTube, Pandora, and the good old-fashioned radio. I also listen to music on Amazon Music Unlimited. Click here to Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.

  More things I do not buy

  • K-Cups & Coffee Filters- I love coffee. I really do. I do not love how expensive K-cups are or the mess of coffee filters. Instead, I own a one cup coffee maker with a washable filter.
  • Anything “As Seen on TV”- Need I say more?
  • Lottery Tickets- I may as well take my money and throw it away.
  • Alcohol From Restaurants- I just cannot justify paying $9 or more for a glass of wine when I can get a whole bottle at the liquor store for the same price.
  • Landline Phone Service- My kids do not even know what the term “landline” means.
  • Bottled Water (Flavored or not)- I bring a refillable water bottle with me wherever I go. If I want flavored water, I add a little cranberry juice.
  • Apps & Ring Tones- I can’t remember the last time I purchased an app or a ring tone.

40 Things I Do Not Buy Since Simplifying My Life

I {heart} cheap dogs

  • Pre-Cut Fruit & Veggies- While they look yummy in their cute little containers, I will not buy them. Unless I am on vacation and do not have access to a kitchen or a knife.
  • Toys- Outside of Birthdays and Christmas, I do not buy toys or games for my kids. However, if they have money they are free to buy whatever they want (within reason).
  • Pure Bred Dogs- For the record, I have nothing against pure-bred dogs. I’ve simply found I can (and do) love the mutts that come to us off the street whether they have papers or not.
  • Blank DVD’s/CD’s Flash Drives- With the exception of some home movies and photos which I have backed up on discs, I store everything digitally.
  • Greeting Cards- Call me a Scrooge if you want, but I don’t see the point in spending $4 or more on a card which the recipient will most likely throw away. I send homemade cards, ecards, or letters instead.
  • Knick Knacks- It’s no secret that I do not like to clean. As such, the less I have to wipe down the better.

 Not gonna buy it

  • Party Favors/Decorations- Thankfully, my kids have never really been into themed birthday parties. I also don’t want to add to other people’s clutter by sending their kiddos home with a bag full of dollar store toys.
  • Newspapers- I read the paper online.
  • Exercise Equipment- Again, my house is simply too small. I couldn’t fit any exercise equipment in it if I wanted to.
  • A Large House- At the same time, I am not going to buy a larger house just so I can have more stuff.
  • Impractical Shoes- I have a hard enough time walking as it is. I am constantly tripping over my own feet! I couldn’t imagine having to spend my day in uncomfortable shoes. No matter how pretty they are.
  • Dry Clean Only Clothes- If an article of clothing is not wash-and-wear, I do not buy it.
  • In-App Purchases- Since I don’t buy apps, I also don’t spend money on in-app purchases.
  • Gym Memberships- While I (really) do need to work out, I don’t need a gym to do it. I can utilize (free) exercise videos on YouTube, or go for a walk.
  • Craft Supplies- I’m not a “crafty” person, so I don’t buy craft supplies.
  • Equipment for Hobbies- I don’t have any expensive hobbies. I write (free). I read (also free). And I like to fish, which technically is not a hobby because it has the potential to feed my family.

Most importantly, I do not buy…

  • Stuff I Do Not Need

  • Stuff I Cannot Afford

Check out this hilarious SNL video on buying stuff you cannot afford:

(If you cannot see the video, click here to watch.)

How about you? What are some of the things which you no longer purchase? Let me know in the comments below!

40 Things I Do Not Buy Since Simplifying My Life. I totally need to stop buying at least half of these things! I would be able to save a lot of money if I didn't buy so much stuff I don't need.


40 Things I Do Not Buy And I Can't Believe I Ever Did! I would save so much money if I could stop buying just half of these things. I am so addicted to more than a few of them!


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About Cheryl Lemily

A wife, mom of 3 boys & 2 dogs. A minimalist raising a minimalist(ish) family. Living a small, slow, simple life. Helping others declutter & simplify.

45 comments on “40 Things I Do Not Buy Since Simplifying My Life

  1. Hi, you stated that you store your movies digitally.. where do you save them? I would like to do that too.

    • Tiffany,
      Any movie which my family has purchased within the last few years has been purchased in digital form. Additionally, for several years now, when you buy a DVD, there is usually a “digital code” included. You can use the code to upload the movie directly to iTunes, then sell or donate the hard copy. I’m sure there are programs available that will transfer DVD’s to your hard drive, but I am not technical enough to know of any. Hope this helps. 🙂

  2. For someone who writes about simplicity and decluttering you should take a closer look how your post looks on the mobile device…
    I had to close 3 pop ups and scroll through loads of ads to read that.

    • Bashia,
      Thank you for your feedback. My site is currently in the middle of a complete redo, so I apologize for any annoyances. You were right about the pop-ups, I disabled them. As far as the ads go, they are in proportion to what most blogs have, and are out of my control. If I were to remove them completely, I couldn’t afford to operate my website. I value your readership and hope you will check out some of my other content. 🙂

  3. omg people are spendig thousands of dollars on infertility and here i am spending (not thousands though)on not being fertile….( i dont want kids) //though i love all kids ….i think adoption is wayyy better option..but each to his/her own ..i guess

    • We are minimalists and I know several other couples (over 40) who like us, chose to be child free. We chose permanent sterilization. We help group homes and donate. We feel kids create more clutter with more furniture, clothes, toys etc. and most women have to work full time anyway, and daycare is expensive. Wives all worked or now retired.

  4. Don’t t know if you have this grocery store where you live, but I try to buy all my groceries at Aldi’s. Much cheaper than chain grocery stores. I also order fabulous new, like new and gently worn clothes online from Thredup.com. you can sell or consign your clothes back to them. They also sell shoes, purses, kids clothes.

  5. I have a hard plastic cover that I use when I microwave foods. I think i got it at the bargain section in the drugstore. I actually save bacon grease in an old glass jar, awesome for eggs! What little is left I clean with napkins from when we eat takeout. They always give you too many. At home we stick to cloth napkins. Other greasy foods where we don’t save the grease, I wait for it to congeal, then scrape off the grease and just clean what’s left with one or two napkins or paper towels. I think we get one or two packs of napkins for the year and only two or three paper towel packs. If only I could teach hubby to use more re-usable stuff…

    • Margarita,
      AHH! I can totally relate. I cringe every time my husband uses paper towels to dry his hands when the dish towel is right beside him! I guess the only way to solve the problem would be to just do away with paper towels.

  6. There are certain things I do annually to save money or every six months. Example dental check ups(easier to fix small problems and cheaper). Don’twait until the problems are bigger and more expensive. I brush all my children’s teeth until they are 8 years old. This prevents problems from starting young. I purchase major clothing needs the year prior to when they are needed at the end of season sales and have even repaired a coat that wrong chewed of mine by using colour blocking to disguise the hole and was asked where did I get such a beautiful coat. I breast fed all of my kids until they were right months old because I refuse to buy formula.This week one of my twins is moving out on his own(19 yrs old),the other in Sept for school(the last of 5 kids).They all fix their own cars and know how to cook from scratch,do woodworking,plumbing and electrical etc. I believe in the Renaissance child – educate yourself with many skills and share your knowledge with others. Thank you ladies for sharing what you have learned.I volunteered at a food bank( Canada) and soon came to understand that poverty was often a lack of skills rather than a lack of money.

    • Karen,
      I am completely onboard with the whole dental thing! I brushed my first two boys’ teeth until they were about 8 as well and I take all of my kids in for regular cleanings. I slacked a little with my third son. Guess what? He’s the only one who’s ever had a cavity!

  7. I’m pretty good on being frugal. We just got roku and are seeing if we still even need our cable. I bought (off Groupon So savings) a uv lamp and do my nails at home. We haven’t been to or rented a movie in forever… we both drive OLD well maintained (15 year old Corolla with 215,000 miles for me 32 mpg) cars! I barter my gym membership and hair styling. I read books on a hand me down iPad (I don’t get how I got a handmedown but whatever) from my nephew… and I don’t drink. Fancy nights out are often picnics at the park with the hubs and the poodle. And we vacation at a beach house that my husband trades storytelling for (he’s a professional storyteller)

  8. Wow! I did not realize how simplified my life was. I on rare occasion impulse buy something, but pretty much don’t do anything else on the list. I grow my own food, can, and freeze my food. Have chickens, and recycle or “upcycle” clothing into other usable items such as quilts.

    • Diane,
      We live in such a disposable society. It warms my heart when I hear of people growing their food, recycling, and reusing what they have. Keep up the good work!

  9. One way I save money is walking to the store or riding my bike. Either way I go with a backpack to carry my purchases back. This has two benefits, extra exercise and keeps me limited to what I can fit easily into my backpack. Hence, I think “do I really need this”?

  10. I have cable. I cut back on channels recently. I wash in mainly cold water. I use the library. I buy my meat and repackage to accommodate my family size. I have no land line now either and use the clothes line as much as possible. Love to hear areas that I could be saving in and do better. Teresa

    • Teresa, thanks so much for stopping by! I say, if you enjoy having cable and watch it, you should keep it. Saving money shouldn’t be too painful, or we are likely to throw in the towel. 🙂

  11. I have 3 boys I do cut their own hair. I don’t buy memberships to places we live far enough into the country that it seams more special to make the zoo a annual thing instead of a weekly. That is the same with the gym I was spending more on gas to get to the gym than the membership,
    Fancy storage systems. Really I feel that we are at a point where less stuff makes more since than more storage.
    I guess there can also be a whole other list of things that I buy 2nd hand. Really big on shopping the 2nd hand market for kids stuff and selling it on the 2nd hand market. The co-sleeper that we used for 6 months bought for $70 sold for $60 It makes it seam more like a rental for the things that are temporary in our lives.
    Toys I am super picky on what toys I want to come into our home. They need to be something that adds to the toys we already have and not something that needs a whole new home. Quality over quantity on the toys.

    • Kimberly,
      I prefer to purchase things used whenever possible as well. It goes so well with having boys. (I have 3 boys too). I don’t like to spend a lot on their clothes because they grow so fast!
      I’m with you on the toy thing, too. My boys have a few “categories” of toys and on holidays we add a few things to them.

  12. Wow! Such nice tips…n 2 think that this may hav been the norm only some decades/half a century back…n now people might brand us as cheapskates! This is sooo gud on a spriritual level 2….u r using less resources which others can use. 1 cud also giv more for charity from the savings.

  13. Great post. I love that SNL skit – priceless!! (no pun intended.)
    Two items on your list caught my eye:
    Books. Haven’t bought one in years and I am horrified by what my 20 something self spent on hardback books on a weekly basis!
    Extra Features. I am the only coffee drinker in my house and have 2 cups in the morning – that’s it. I have a no frills drip machine. The few times a year we have a house full of overnight guests I make a trip to Dunkin Donuts in the morning for their coffee because I want them to have the flavor / size they want (I am up early and have mine before 6am.). My BIL gives me a hard time about the machine (“why don’t you have a clock and a timer and a better machine or maybe a Keurig ….”) and he can’t / won’t grasp the idea that I just need the effing hot coffee and nothing else. I seriously dread the day he shows up at my house with a ‘better’ coffee pot as a ‘gift.’

    • Amanda,
      I know how you feel on both accounts. I used to spend so much money on books. I used to have a Keurig and, when it broke, I reassessed what I really “needed” in a coffee maker. It’s simple, I need it to provide me with two (strong) cups of coffee per day. I don’t need a timer, clock, or remote control!

  14. I lost my job 4 years ago, we’ve spent $30,000 on infertility treatment & now we are saving for IVF on one budget so our buying has changed a lot! I buy name brand everything now with coupons & other rebates. It’s cheaper than buying generic. I don’t buy without a coupon. I bearly pay for anything. I have paper towels but we only use maybe 3-4 rolls a year. I cut my own hair & my husband’s, don’t buy clothes (except a few pieces from yard sales), keep our heat down at 66 day & night & sleep under electric blanket at night. We don’t go anywhere or do anything. The most I spend is on good brand couponed tennis shoes as my shoes wear out. We do most all home, car, yard work & any fixes that come up. Sometimes we have to watch YouTube videos to walk us through how to fix things.

    • Melody,
      Sounds like you have clear goals for saving money. I pray your IVF goes well! I love YouTube, it has taught me so much! I’m too scared to cut my own hair so I go to the cosmetology school for haircuts a few times per year. I agree with buying name brand over generic in many cases. As long as you can get them for less. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. I also don’t buy most of this I love reading these sorts of posts because one day i may find something I can do better. I do like to buy the kiddos Party Favors, only because those little favor bags used to make my day when i went to a friend’s party. I know a lot of people aren’t doing them anymore but I’d rather save on the decorations or the food and send the kids home with a little favor baggie. “Outside of Birthdays and Christmas” me neither, and let me tell you my son still has plenty of toys. Our house is small also and we have too many toys! At holidays I always clear out old ones and donate to make room for new ones.
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  16. yay for me! I’ve been doing most of these for years! I am still trying to find ways to cut down as I want to save more, but I guess I’ve got a good start!

  17. These are great tips, thank you! I follow all of your tips but need to cut back on the coffe from coffee shops. I wanted to add to what you had said about paper towel use…you can get a reusable microwave cover and a specific plate for cooking bacon in the microwave. Most of the ones I have seen have grooves in the plate that direct the grease away from the bacon 🙂 These items are usually available at dollar stores or Walmart.

    • Joanne, I will look into the reusable cover. The plate, however, won’t do me any good because my family prefers pan-fried bacon. Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂

  18. I don’t buy paper towels or napkins. I prefer to just use a cloth or hand towel. I also do not buy trash bags because I just reuse the bags I get from the grocery store. We have a dumpster so it’s a short walk to just take out the trash a couple of times a day. I also do not buy shaving cream to shave my legs because soap works just fine…and the list goes on..

    • Bren,
      We use paper towels sparingly (we don’t buy napkins either). I only use paper towels to absorb bacon grease and to wrap microwavable items in. Do you cook bacon/fried foods? If so, what do you use in place of paper towels? I’d stop buying them if I had an alternative.

      • I stopped using paper towels years ago. I cut up an old bath towel into equal squares and zig zagged the edges. I usually wash them with the regular laundry. Sometimes I just toss them. I still use paper towels for bacon or super yucky stuff. The are folded neatly by the sink. This must save us $400 a year.

        • Annette,
          We use wash cloths for our napkins and paper towels for the same things you do. Although, sometimes my husband grabs a paper towel to dry his hands. Which is why I think I may need to hide the paper towels 🙂

  19. Related topic. We don’t buy as much propane as the last owner of our house. About $3500 less a year. We keep the heat at 57 deg in the winter, last owner kept it at 75. Your body will acclimate and I’m able to be comfortable in a long sleeved tshirt and jeans. At night we bundle up more.

    • Mary,
      Brrrr. You do better than me in the heat department! We keep ours at 68 during the day and 66 at night. According to our energy report, we use less electric/gas than our neighbors, so that’s good enough for me. 🙂

  20. Thanks so much, I have been wanting to simplify my life and save money and be more frugal like. Starting a new frugal life and enjoyed the tips. Thanks !

  21. I do not pay someone to color my hair. I buy a kit, usually with a coupon and do myself. It’s easy and turns out great.

    I also do not pay someone for a manicure and pedicure. I have no problem cutting and polishing my own nails. A big savings!

    I borrow as much as possible for myself and family at the library. I haven’t had any magazine subscriptions in ages. I can read all manner of magazines for free at the library. I let them store the books, magazines movies, etc!

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