Top Seven Things You Should Never Buy/Pay For

by David Bakke

firewoodFor those of you who are just getting into the “frugal living” game or whatever neat name you want to give to it, it can be overwhelming at first.  Very overwhelming.  As a matter of fact, the first few times I set out to do it, it seemed so overwhelming to me that I just gave up!

Well, here ya go.  If you want to start living a better financial life but don’t know where to start-I say start simple.  Real simple.  Listed below are seven things that you virtually NEVER need to buy.  And this is only the “top” seven.  There are bound to be several follow up posts to this one because the more I think about it, there are tons of things that I think most people waste their money on as part of their everyday lives that you simply don’t need to spend money on.


1. Little garbage bags

If you’re like most households, you probably have at least one or two of those smaller sized garbage cans somewhere in your house. Personally, we have one in each bathroom, one in the kitchen and one in the computer room.  Well, hopefully you are not spending money on lining these with little garbage bags.  Just begin to save the plastic bags that you get from the grocery store after your weekly trip there.  They fit perfectly into those little garbage cans.

2. Refuse bags for outdoors

This is a good example of so many things that are out there today.  The first time I saw these things, my first reaction was “Who would ever buy these?”  Well, not too long after I started seeing them everywhere, so apparently there are lots of people out there who would.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it is a larger sized paper garbage bag that usually has the store’s logo on it that sold it to you.  I guess it is made out of stronger material than a regular garbage bag, but c’mon, were talking about leaves and sticks and branches.  Throw all that stuff in your regular plastic garbage bag and be done with it.

3. Any kind of download tool to improve your computer

Another very wide-ranging topic.  I am no computer expert, but as far as I can tell, there are no software tools out there that will speed up your computer by doing anything differently to it that you yourself cannot do.  You just need to know how to do it.  The short lesson—eliminate programs on your computer that you don’t use, do not have multiple antivirus software programs on your computer (one is enough), and clean and defragment your computer regularly (both of these can be found by going to Start Menu, Accessories, System, System Tools, and then Disk Clean Up and/or Disk Defragment).  If you’re a computer idiot, just find someone in your life who isn’t.  Trust me, they are there somewhere in your life, you just need to find them.

4.  Shampoo

Once again, this topic is actually very wide-ranging.  If you take about ten minutes out of your day to figure out exactly how the Walgreens and/or the CVS rewards program works, you will find that you can get a lot of toiletry type items for free.  Yep-absolutely free.  Of course, this only applies if you could care less what kind of shampoo that you use, like me.  However, for the free stuff, I could really care less.  This can also apply to mouthwash, deodorants, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.

5. Stamps (mostly)

OK,  so maybe you can’t completely eliminate these from your life, but I bet you can come close.  If this was 20 years ago when stamps were what, about 5 cents, I wouldn’t mention this, but considering that mailing two letters these days almost costs a buck, I think it bears mentioning.  If you are not paying your bills online, you should really consider doing so.  It is a money-saver; it is a time-saver.  No need to stamp all those bills, and if you eliminate getting paper bills from your bill companies, you’re saving trees as well.

For local bills that you don’t pay very often, consider hand delivering them.  I used to send my payment to my doctor’s office thru the mail, until I realized that I could actually drop it off for cheaper.  It’s only like ten minutes from my house and right on my way to work.

6. Extended Warranties

A huge no-no here.  Any kind of research at all will tell you that these things for the most part are the biggest waste of money in the history of Earth (OK, well, they’re close).  Nine times out of ten, if something is going to go wrong with WHATEVER you are buying, it will happen within the time frame of the included warranty, or it will happen so late in the products’ life that it would probably be time to buy another one anyway.

 I had heard recently that there might be some merit in buying these on some laptops and some flat screen TVs, so step carefully.  I personally would still never buy one, but you be the judge.  For anything else, besides these two products, forget about it.

7.  Firewood

I am currently kicking myself in the behind right now.  My house has a fireplace and I live in an area where these is some firewood available.  I am kicking myself because over the summer and even during the fall, I must have driven past 5-10 signs that said “Free Firewood.”  I didn’t think I’d be burning any fires this year because of my young son at home, but we decided it would be OK.  I’ve already made my fourth trip to the grocery store for packs of wood.  Four bucks a pop-I have already wasted $16, and were only a few weeks into winter.


Like I said, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  You’ll be seeing more of these lists from me in the future.  Happy saving!


1 LeanLifeCoach December 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm

I was surprised by the refuse bags as well. But in our market if you don’t put the leaves and such in paper bags our garbage company won’t pick it up. They are making us do their sorting for them. If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Before you suggest it, we cannot burn in our city either.
.-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..A Frugal Vacation =-.

2 David Bakke December 20, 2009 at 12:47 am

Hey there.

Wow, that must be one picky garbage company. What did they do before such bags were on the market?

I guess in that instance, you’ll have to suck it up and pay the money.

Wish I had a better answer.

Thanks for the comment!

3 Lana - DreamFollowers Blog December 20, 2009 at 4:56 am

Good list:)

4 David/Yourfinances101 December 20, 2009 at 10:33 am

Thank you very much for your continued support.

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