Frugal Habits: The No Spend List

Years and years ago (in 2009) I came across the idea of listing out all the things I didn’t want to spend money on, as opposed to the one I did. I thought this was a great idea and wrote my own list. Doing so helped me to identify what were my spending and financial priorities and what were not, which helped me be better with my money. It also really helped me to realize just how much I already have and how grateful I was for the richness of my life.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and I found this old list from 2009 on my computer. It’s been really interesting to read through this (very detailed) list I wrote 8 years ago. Lots has changed in my life, but it’s amazing to me how many things on that list remain constant. In 2009, I wrote about not spending money on using the dryer, cable, new books, pop, junk food, and expensive restaurant meals. These things all still ring true today, although I will admit to treating myself to nice restaurant meals and junk food on occasion.

There are definitely some things on my list that I would disagree with or even find funny today. For example, I wrote in 2009 about how I didn’t want to get a smartphone!  That’s clearly changed and anyone who knows me today knows I use my iPhone a lot. I also wrote about how I didn’t need to pay for a gym membership because I wouldn’t use it enough! That has clearly changed, as now I love lifting weights several times a week.  I think this really shows how it’s important to keep coming back to and re-evaluating your financial situation, as your priorities will change.

After finding this list, I thought I would like to take some time to reflect and write an updated 2017 version of the list. So here’s what I’ve come up with as things I won’t spend money on, 2017 edition:

  • Using the dryer.
  • “Upgrading” things I own that work just fine, but aren’t the nicest or newest versions.
  • Jewelry. I have more than enough.
  • Coffee and food out. I can avoid this spending my planning ahead. (i.e. packing my lunch and meal planning)
  • A big, fancy house.
  • Duplicates of personal care products I already have. I really only need 1 bottle of lotion at a time.
  • Brand name groceries. The name brand ones feed and nourish J. and I just fine.
  • Eating meat at every meal.
  • New kitchen gadgets. We already have so many that we’re having trouble fitting them into the kitchen.
  • Cable and a landline.
  • Books. The library is free!


What about you? What things are on your no spend list? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


2 thoughts on “Frugal Habits: The No Spend List

  1. Been thinking about this. I don’t spend money on pens, because I get them through work. I try to buy used books whenever possible, but I do buy books because I want to support authors friends, or I require specific books for projects. I try not to spend more money on organic food, because conventional food is fine. I don’t cook meat (only generally eat it when other people give it to me) and I’ve started pinning more recipes rather than buying cookbooks. I’m trying to eat out less and to cook more. I’ve also reduced duplicates of personal care spending, and clothes. We don’t have cable.

    I’m trying to think about this more. But so far- pens, and organic food are at the top of my list.


    1. Well it sounds like meat is also on your list! I also really love using the library for cookbooks, and then photocopying the recipes I want to keep out of their cookbooks.


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