5 things I do & don’t pay for

A little while ago, my friend Kate shared a post about the things she does or does not spend (her hard-earned) money on and I am jumping on the bandwagon, because if I have learned one thing over the years while budgeting, it is that people just prioritize their spending in different ways. And while it is interesting to see where other people spend their money, it really shouldn’t have any influence on your own priorities whatsoever.

But because comparing on the Internet is fun, I’ll share with you what things I do and don’t pay for.

What I pay for

+ Food

Both groceries and eating out. J and I like to cook and we like to cook good food. I’ve said this many times before, our grocery spending falls in the “moderate to liberal spending category” for two adults per month and I am trying to be ok with it because we value good food.

+ Cable

I know, we’re probably some of the few people who still pay for cable, but it’s worth it to us. We regularly watch news/talk shows on cable networks that we wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. I also really love all the animal and nature shows on NatGeo to zone out to (and knit).

+ Running stuff

I admit it, running is a relatively cheap sport if you want it to be, but there are also so many cool clothing items and shoes and gadgets to buy and races to pay for. I have made a bit of room in my budget for all things running related (mostly because they make me happy). On a side note, I only enter maybe a handful of races per year, so I am picky about the races I will sign up for in order to try and keep the entry fees (which sometimes can be hefty) in check.

+ Travel

It’s always something that is on my mind when I think about where I want my money to go. I try to go home once a year and then also try to see some of the beauty that I am surrounded by here in California (and the US in general). Well, I wish that travel was more of a priority right now (and that I had more time off, ha!), but I do generally like to pay for experiences > things.

+ Yarn

I’ve become a bit of a yarn snob over the years, I won’t just knit with any old yarn. If I spend the time to make something, I want it to feel good and be high quality. So, when I buy yarn, I make sure it’s quality yarn, like the gradient yarn from 100Farbspiele.

What I don’t pay for

+ Books

I know that sounds terrible. Ideally, I’d want this to be one of my “what I pay for” categories, but in all honesty, I get all my books from the library these days. My Amazon Fire + Overdrive are my bffs. It’s just easy, convenient and I only buy physical copies of the books that I really LOVE and would like to own.

+ Coffee at Coffee shops

I love coffee shops and of course, every once in a while I will walk into one and order a fancy drink, but mostly, I make my own coffee at home (or at the office).

I do likemy coffee with lots of milk, so if I feel like a latte, I can also make those at home because I own a fancy milk frother, (ok, minus the fancy foam art, I don’t have the patience for this). There is little reason for me to drop $5 on a caffeinated drink. If you want to give me budgeting advice, don’t tell me to cut out my Starbucks habit. I don’t have one.

+ Hair salon

I have (for now) given up on getting my hair done professionally at the hair salon. It’s just too frickin’ expensive. I only got it done twice a year as it was, but I easily paid $150 (incl. tip) for color and trimming my ends. I decided that for now, I am cutting down the cost even more. I color my own hair at home and get a trim at the barbershop.

+ Clothing

I am not particularly fashionable, I probably would say that I don’t even have a “style” (unless you count jeans and t-shirt as a style), although sometimes I wish I did. (How did you find your style?) I can pretty much wear whatever I want to work, so I also don’t need a closet of fancy work outfits. I sometimes invest in a few higher quality items (like my Birkenstocks), but most of my clothing was on sale and/or pretty inexpensive. It’s just not a priority.

+ Music apps

Most of the music I like to listen to, I own already, so I don’t subscribe to Spotify or Pandora. I like the idea of dedicated music channels (like the “Pearl Jam channel”), but there would be no way I’d have the time to listen enough to make the subscription worthwhile. I know some people can’t live without these apps, but since I also don’t have an unlimited data plan at this time, it would eat up my data even faster than it already does.

What do or don’t you spent money on?

  1. I agree 100% on books. I’d love to be able to buy tons of books and fill my shelves with books, but I go with the free option at the library. Besides, it keeps the library open right? I don’t pay for music either, I use the free version of Pandora at work sometimes and just put up with the ads. Nothing wrong with that!

  2. I love this post!

    I haven’t dyed my hair in 3 years and love my natural color. I do however splurge on a good haircut. To me, it’s totally worth it to spend $60 every 3 months for a professional cut.

    I also spend money on coffee—maybe too much. But it’s my only vice. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink (only the occasional glass of wine), so I’m okay with spending $150/month on coffee.

    I recently subscribed to StitchFix and absolutely love it. I’ve kept quite a few pieces already that I probably would have never picked out if I had gone shopping on my own. Plus, I don’t like clothes shopping really because most stores don’t sell tall sizes. StitchFix does a really great job with sizing and styles. I’m a big fan!

  3. Awesome post idea! I might have to steal it! I also don’t pay for coffee at coffee shops, we have a k-cup machine, so we use that every morning. It’s pretty rare that I splurge on coffee. That being said, I do splurge on clothes and getting my hair done every 7 weeks!

  4. This is a fun post idea! I don’t spend money on Cable. Instead we have an antennae for local channels and we watch a lot of things on Netflix/Prime. Right now we don’t spend money on travel because it’s not fun to travel with a baby. When he’s closer to one and napping less during the day then we will resume traveling but for now it’s not worth the hassle. I also don’t spend money on a gym membership because there aren’t any gyms super close to our house. I used to belong to the Y but it was a 20+ minute drive and it was so hard to carve out enough time for the drive there and back + the workout so I dropped my membership and bought some weights to use at home. I miss having access to cardio equipment during the cold winter months but I don’t miss it enough to deal with driving there and back!

    I do spend money on getting my hair cut and colored but I only have it done twice a year usually. I usually make coffee at home but I usually treat myself to a latte on Fridays. Our new/biggest spending category these days is daycare. It is not cheap but we are really happy with the place Paul goes and I love that he will learn Spanish.

  5. We have a lot of dissimilarities here! :) I don’t spend money on cable or running stuff, but I do spend money on haircuts and coloring, music, and books. I used to not spend money on books, but then I realized I really craved bookshelves in my home filled with books, so now I’m slowly building a collection.

  6. I too do not spend money on books. My sister in law cuts my hair and I dye it at home! :) We don’t go out to eat much unless we are on vacation. I mean, we don’t even go out weekly… I’d say maybe once a month?

  7. Such a fun post! I mostly spend money these days on food and netflix. I do not spend on coffee, books, and I spend very little on clothing. I do a lot of thrift shopping in all aspects of my life so a lot of stuff I get next to nothing. I have found a lady I really like at a discount hair salon and I trust her so I do get my hair done but for a fraction of what it could cost these days.

  8. I love using the library! We rent movies there too. I also make my coffee at home, but I do have a bit of a clothing shopping problem.

  9. Fun post! I don’t drink coffee, so I don’t spend money there…and I don’t subscribe to music channels either. When it comes to sporty things, I’ve been spending money on dance classes this past year and I love it and I think it’s worth it because it gets me moving. LOL I spend some money on books, but not a ton – I do try and use the library as much as I can. Definitely spend on travel though – that’s probably what I save up for the most, and just other “experiences” in my area. I’d rather spend money on doing something than buying a product.


  10. I used to be someone who really did not care much about clothes, but then I went to work for one of the best managers I have ever known and she was quite a fashionista. She was not into expensive fashion, no big name labels or anything like that, but finding cute pieces at reasonable prices in little not well known boutiques. There were quite a few other fashionable ladies at that workplace, and I began to try and find my “thing” to suit that situation.

    I am now usually one of the most colourful people in any room which is saying a lot, I used to wear mostly black. I have made brooches my personal thing – brooches really should be worn a lot more. One can get some awesome sparkly brooches for a reasonable price at Macys.

    I don’t do heels, I do cute ballet flats or colourful sneakers. I don’t do makeup. Life is too short for that shizzle. It does not take long for me to pick out a cute outfit, usually the jewelry takes longer.

    That manager completely changed who I was not just fashion wise but as a person and I am so grateful to her for it. :)

    I would recommend a session with a stylist at one of the department stores, if one nearby does that. But if not, just spend a day trying on different things yourself – the wrap dress is my favourite quick and easy outfit. You could try choosing some colours that you love and team them up – my favourites are teal, pink, purple and somehow thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge, navy.

    TL:DR – I use fashion to express myself in ways I cannot otherwise express myself. :) And I truly love it.

  11. Oh I love those kinda posts. A few things i already knew about you because I read along for a few years now. I also don’t buy books or if only ones I want on display. We spent a lot of money on food/take out because we don’t like to cook. Also on netflix/prime/iTunes. I don’t like spending on haircuts. Just recently I wanted to treat myself to one and twice in a row I spent a lot and they messed it up. So not worth it.
    Have a great day

  12. I don’t spend money on cable or coffee, but we do spend on a whole lot of other things. ;-)

  13. Yes to all this, except cable! We got a Roku many years ago, shortly before cutting the cord became cool, and have never looked back. Between Netflix, Amazon prime, stand-alone Showtime and HBO subscriptions, we get by just fine. We pretty much only watch cable shows (and some Netflix ones) so it’s enough for us. The other category I’d now add is outdoor recreation gear. We moved out west three months ago and have invested quite a bit in hiking gear. I’ve also started trail running and hubby got a road bike so that adds to the cost.

  14. Travel is absolutely my favorite thing to spend money on and I don’t ever regret it. That plus food, a few skincare items and some occasional updates and additions to my wardrobe and that’s it. I don’t spend much money on coffee either and now that I’m a convert of the library, I never buy books.

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