There are things you should never pay for. Ever. Find out what made the list and how you can do so too!
I grew up in a household where money was tight. I mean really tight. My mom did a great job of getting the most out of every penny she made. That meant we had to be frugal. We had no choice.
Being a child, I never appreciated what she was teaching me. I was rather annoyed. However, now that I’m older and have my own family and financial concerns, I realize what a gift she gave me. She taught me that no matter your income, you need to be smart with your money and stretch every dollar as far as you can.
My husband and I are financially stable, but even to this day, I still live a frugal life. My hope is that my own children will learn and carry these ideas with them as they grow and have families of their own. Being frugal doesn’t mean you are cheap, it means you know how to manage your money and not waste it.
THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER PAY FOR
Which of these are you already doing and which do you need to start?
This is an easy one that many fall victim too. Why pay to buy a water in a bottle, when you can fill one at home? OK, OK, so it you do pay for tap water, but less than you would if you buy a bottle at the store.
If you must buy water for any reason, save the bottle and re-use it. Fill it up and toss it into the freezer for an instant ice pack or take with you on a run and have chilled water as the ice melts.
Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
When you visit your dentist (every six months), he or she provides you with a toothbrush. Since you should replace your brush every six months, you can wait and just get the free one he or she provides. You can keep yours clean by tossing into the dishwasher every week. That will remove build up and the heat will sanitize it as it dries.
In addition to the toothbrush, most dentists toss in a free tube of travel size toothpaste. No need to save that for travel only – use it every day! Once your travel sized tubes are used up, learn how to watch the sales and use coupons at CVS or Walgreens and you’ll be able to score free toothpaste (or pretty close to it).
Small Plastic Trash Bags
We all need trash bags in our kitchen cans, but do you need them in your bathroom? You can either not use a bag at all (wash the cans out once a month) or recycle the bags you get from the grocery store. Small store bags are the perfect size to fit into small trash cans.
My husband loves his morning cup of coffee. But, K-cups can be expensive, which it is on our list of things you should never pay for!
Instead of buying individual cups you use once and toss, invest in a refillable K-Cup instead. Then, buy a bag of your favorite blend and refill your cup each day. You’ll pay much less for each cup of coffee, but still get all of the flavor you love!
Add in some syrup and creamer and you’ll give your coffee and upgrade!
If you love to read, buying books can get pretty expensive! Whether you love to read traditional paperbacks or digital formats, there is never any reason to pay for books.
For those of you who love to turn the pages of a book, just head to your library. If there is a title you are dying to read, get added to a notification list when it is available. You’ll get a call or text alerting you that it is ready to be checked out.
Read More: 11 Ways to Get Free (or almost free) Books
A couple of years ago, my I noticed that the seal on our washing machine needed replacing. Rather than call a repairman and pay for not only the part, but also labor, we decided to try it ourselves. We located the part we needed on-line. Then, we searched videos on YouTube and found someone that showed us what we needed to do. It took us a couple of hours, but we repaired our machine with zero labor costs.
If you need to do any type of a repair, consider researching a How To on-line and tackle it yourself. Most replacement items for repairs can be found online (consult your owner’s manual to ensure you get the one you need for your model).
Of course, if you are not handy at all or it is a something you can’t do, always hire it out. Otherwise, you could pay more in the long run (initial repairs + paying to fix your mistakes).
I remember the day I purchased a small stereo for my son. It cost no more than $25. At checkout, the clerk asked me if I wanted to purchase an extended warranty. A warranty on a $25 product? No way!
Extended warranties are very enticing as it seems they will cover you in the event that something happens. In most cases, you will pay for something you’ll never use.
When it comes to big ticket items, such as electronics and appliances, review the warranty that comes with the item. Most of the time, it covers what you need without paying for an upgrade.
Dinner Out for Kids
There are literally hundreds of restaurants that offer free kids meals. These offers provide a free kids meal (or two) with each paying adult. Our database of Kids Eat Free Restaurants can help you find one close to you.
Food During Your Birthday Month
During the month of your birthday, including your birthdate, you can get free food! There are hundreds of restaurants and retailers who offer freebies to you on your birthday. While some are available only on your actual birthdate, others provide additional time to redeem them. Check out our Ultimate List of Birthday Freebies to learn more.
If your bank charges you to have an account with them, it may be time to leave. There are banks from coast to coast that offer free checking accounts. There are also hundreds of on-line banks you can look into as well.
One example is Chime. Not only do they not have fees, they help you save money. Literally. With every purchase you make, they round it up to the next dollar and transfer the difference into your savings account. Spend $10.19? They will deduct $11 from your account and put $0.81 in your savings account.
If you really don’t want to leave your bank, stop in and visit with them about the fees. They may be willing to drop or reduce them if you talk with them about it.
Credit Score and Report
Fortunately, several years ago, a law was passed that allows every person to check their credit report for free. The only stipulation is that it can only be free one time each year. Visit Annual Credit Report to request your free report. This is the only site where your report is free, so don’t fall for imitation sites.
It is also important to know your credit score. The credit agencies offer to provide this to you — for a fee. However, you can get your score for free from sites such as Credit Sesame or Credit Karma. Keep in mind that these are not your FICO score, but they give you a good idea as to your current score.
Credit Card Interest
Using credit cards can be a great way to get rewards or even save more money on every purchase. However, they should be paid in full each and every month. That means, never charging more on them than you have in cash in the bank.
You should never charge today based upon income coming your way. Why? Because if something happens to your employer, your paycheck may not arrive on time.
Use your cards for those savings and perks, but always pay off the entire balance at the end of the month.
Late fees on rentals, bills or library books may seem small when you look at them individually. However, those small fees can all add up over time resulting in wasted money.
Invest in a good bill organizing system so you never have to worry about making late payments ever again.
Your Amazon Prime membership provides you access to hundreds of movies and programs that you can stream for free. In addition, you can find movies for free at your local library. These may not be the newest releases, but are a great way to watch movies at little to no cost at all.
If you want to find a way to see the newest flicks, sign up for a RedBox account/alerts. They often release codes for free movies or discounts. If you don’t already receive their e-mails, you can sign up and get a free code sent to you.
Don’t buy subscriptions to magazines. Visit your local library and read the articles you want. In addition, there are sites such as ValueMags, which offer free magazines with no strings attached.
Memberships (that you don’t use)
A gym membership sounds great in theory. After all, if will get you up and working out every day. That is, until it doesn’t. If you are paying for a membership you are not using every day, cancel it. Cancel it now.
In fact, there is not need to pay for a membership. You can walk or run outside. There are countless videos on YouTube with workouts you can follow right in your living room.
Read More: 6 Ways You Can Workout For Free
This goes along with those pesky bank fees. Stick to ATMs where your bank charges no fees, or use one that will pay you back any fees you get charged.
This is another reason why I love using a cash budget….never a need for an ATM!
WiFi Away From Home
Another on our list of things you should never pay for is WiFi.
When you step away from home, you may still need WiFi access. But, don’t pay for it! Use the free WiFi at locations, such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc.
If your visit away from home takes you to the sky, download everything you need to your device before you leave. You can get your favorite books, movies and music on your tablet or phone. Then, you can stream them mid-flight without paying expensive WiFi fees.
If you are in the brown bag crew for lunch, baggies are often a must. But, don’t buy and throw them out. Invest in reusable baggies instead.
This is a one time investment. Wash them out each evening and by morning they will be dried. Or, even better, have two sets and rotate between them to allow for adequate drying time.
When someone mentions spreadsheet software, most people think that means Excel. While Microsoft’s programs are wonderful, they also come with a price tag. If you use Google, you can get spreadsheets, forms, documents and more — all of which are completely free to use!
If you aren’t sure how to use any of their systems, you can do a quick search to find a video that will explain exactly what you want to learn how to do.