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Getting Things for Free is Like Putting Money in the Bank!

10 Things I Never Pay For

Getting Things for Free is Like Putting Money in the Bank!

Today I’m sharing 10 of the things I never pay for here in the Frugal Farmer household.  Adding all of these items up, I’m certain that we save thousands of dollars per year, all of which can go toward more value-based spending purchases, like paying off debt.  Check out our list and see if there’s anything here that you currently pay for and can start finding ways to get for free.

1. Address Labels.  Too many businesses (our awesome insurance guy, for one) and charities looking for cash send out address labels to us in the mail on a regular basis.  I just can’t see paying for them.

2. Pens.  Our credit union has large piles of pens on each counter for customers.  Free advertising for them, free pens for us.  And as a homeschooling family, we go through LOTS of pens.

3. Car detailing.  There’s no way we’re paying several hundred dollars to have a company detail our vehicles.  Rick keeps our vehicles clean and shiny inside by detailing them himself with a bucket of soapy water, a wet/dry vac and our frugal homemade window cleaning solution.

4.  Haircuts for Rick and the kids.  Back in the day, I got my cosmetologist’s license at the local technical college. As such, I’ve always done Rick’s hair and the kids’ hair here at home.  My haircuts, which I get about once a year, cost $7.99 plus tip when the local Great Clips has their Friday special running.

5.  Gym memberships.  We avoid the germ sauna gym like the plague at our house.  We’ve traded in our membership for workouts at home: Pilates, stretching exercises, body weight exercises such as push-ups, lunges, etc, and cardio in the form of walking, running, hiking and biking.  It works well, and it’s free. 🙂

6. Checkbook registers.  Every bank I’ve ever belonged to gives these out free to customers.

7. Calendars.  Too many businesses offer these free to customers, so there’s no sense in buying them.

8.  Repairs and other services that can be learned viaYouTube.  Many a home repair has been done by Rick via a YouTube education. My own personal biggest YouTube win?  Teaching our son how to properly say his “R’s” via a YouTube speech therapy video.  That one video (and our willingness to do the legwork with our son) likely saved us hundreds of dollars in speech therapy lessons, which at the time weren’t covered by our insurance.

9.   House-cleaning services.  I might just shell out for this someday, but for now, the kids and I work together as a time to work to keep things spic and span around here.

10.  Eyebrow waxes, manicures and pedicures.  On a tight budget like ours, we like to find ways to do beauty on the cheap.  I started learning to tweeze my own brows by doing the in between touch ups from professional brow waxes.  Now I’ve got the technique down pretty well.  Same with manis and pedis: I learned the basics of these in cosmetology school (you can learn via YouTube or various other Internet sites) and as such, all 4 of the girls in the Frugal Farmer household do our own manis and pedis from the comfort of our own home.

There are many ways to challenge everything you spend and see where costs can be cut.  Then, take that extra money and save it or spend it towards something that holds more value to you.  Better yet, use it to pay off debt.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly financial goals can be achieved by challenging every expense.

What are some of the things you’ll never pay for?  What’s your favorite money-saving tip?





    • Laurie says:

      Yes, indeed – some day. 🙂 I hear you on the hair color too. Someday I’m going back to the salon for some highlights. But for now, frugal is king. 🙂

  1. Kathy says:

    When we lived in the country we had a well and never paid for our delicious tasting water (we had tapped into a underground aquifer). When we moved into town it was quite a shock to pay $30 for water each month. When I was working in a medical office, the pharmaceutical representatives always left fistful of pens and note pads for free. To the extent that the doctor and staff would never in a hundred years use them all. So we would all take home pens and note pads. Ten years into retirement, I still am using from that stash!

    • Laurie says:

      That’s awesome about the pens and notepads!!! I love having free water too. We usually paid about $50 a month for water in the city – no more of that! 🙂

  2. If I could cut my own hair that would be awesome! My hair is short and complicated and one misstep and it’s a horrible disaster. 🙂 I mostly do my own pedi’s and color my own hair though. Every once in awhile if it’s a special occasion like a wedding, I’ll get a pedi, but never a mani. I hand wash the dishes so it’s a mess very quickly. One thing I avoid paying for is parking. Either valet or metered if I can totally avoid it. Unless I’m really dressed up and wearing uncomfortable shoes, I’ll park where it’s free no matter how far I have to walk to get to the place I wanted to go. I hate valet the most!

    • Laurie says:

      I love that you won’t pay for parking!!! Rick tried that once at a hockey game only his choice of parking – illegal didn’t work out so well. The $5 parking fee he hoped to avoid turned into a $35 ticket. Boys! 🙂

  3. Kalie says:

    We don’t pay for television in any form–cable, netflix, etc. We just use an antenna, free Hulu shows, and DVDs from the library. I also spend almost nothing on clothes and shoes for our children because we’ve received so many hand-me-downs.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s terrific, Kalie! We avoid pay tv with the exception of Netflix, and buy very little clothing as well. The money that both our families save compared to “normal” people is astronomical, I’m sure. 🙂

  4. I unfortunately don’t have anybody that can cut my hair. I’ve thought about cutting my own hair, but my haircuts are not that expensive and I go every two months.

    I keep telling Kate to cut it for me but she’s afraid she’s going to leave me bald.

  5. I need to get better about learning from YouTube. There are so many things I want to learn and I’ve almost signed up for classes! That could get spendy! My mom gave me a sewing machine and I want to get better at using it and learn the ins and outs of that machine. I’ve got a date next week for My Momma to teach me a few things with it. Momma time + saving $50 by not taking a class. What a deal!

    • Laurie says:

      My mom is a great seamstress too! There is huge money to be saved by repairing clothes instead of having them repaired or replacing them.

  6. Chonce says:

    I tried detailing my car a few weeks ago and it actually wasn’t that bad. It’s great that you were able to make your own window cleaning solution! Cleaning products generally have similar ingredients so they are usually very simple to make and more people should take advantage of doing that. I never pay for calendars, magazines, late fees, or credit reports.

  7. We always try and DIY with repairs at home and autos before even considering paying someone. The one I heard a lot about recently is the haircut. I might consider giving my boys a buzz cut during the summer, but other then that we are paying for them. 🙂

  8. Love this! I never pay for Swiffer refills ever since I realized that I could just buy a pair of fuzzy ankle socks and slip that on the Swiffer head. It actually works a lot better and is washable and reusable!

  9. Amy says:

    I’m with you in all of these, except hair cuts. 🙂

    Yardwork is a big one for me. My husband does most of the lawn mowing, but I take a few turns, too. We do our own weeding, mulching, etc., too. I actually think of this stuff as a double-win, since we get some exercise doing it, too!

  10. I’m with you on most of these. We do enjoy going to the gym! It’s actually a pretty fun place and you get to know some cool people! There probably are plenty of germs too though;0)
    We have return address stickers that various organizations send to us. Thing is, we rarely send mail. The same stickers have been sitting there for years.
    I’m getting ready to save some money by doing our own taxes! Woot Woot! I gotta get on that.

    • Laurie says:

      You go, girl!!! I used to do our taxes myself, but our guy is pretty cheap, and gets it done in about a quarter of the time it would take me. 🙂

  11. Mrs. Maroon says:

    We don’t spend money on any of these items either. Though just this morning I told Mr. Maroon how nice it would be to have someone clean the house on occasion. The minis are still too young to help out too much. Though it was fun last weekend to watch Mini Maroon #1 climb all the way on the table to wipe it down. He tries so hard!

    • Laurie says:

      Oh, that’s SO cute!!!! Hope you got that on video. 🙂 Don’t worry, dear; another couple of years and they’ll hook you up big time on the housework help. 😉

  12. Tony says:

    Could you send a link to the speech therapy youtube video you used? My daughter also has trouble with her “r’s”. Thanks.

  13. lyle @ the Joy of Simple says:

    Nice list Laurie!!

    It’s funny how it’s the little things that add up to big savings over a year.

    I used to be a magazine junkie and would spend about 40 bucks a week on magazines. That of course was back in the day. These days I just hop over to the web version of the magazine and get my fill from there.

    I also do not pay for newspapers. Rather I just listen to my local radio station for weather updates and local news issues. There really is no reason to subscribe or pay a newspaper anymore!

    As for pens and such…I haven’t had to buy a pen in years yet I seem to own a whole bunch of them somehow!

    And while I do pay for haircuts…my ex-gf cuts my hair and i save more than half of what I would pay normally…plus it gives her extra cash when needed.

    While many might think we are cheap, I prefer to remark that we are fiscally frugal 🙂

    Take care and my best to all.


    • Laurie says:

      Hey, friend!!!! SO glad you broke the magazine habit 40 bucks a week – ouch! 🙂 Always good to have a friend who cuts hair too. Much cheaper than salons usually.

  14. Hey Laurie, I don’t think I’ll ever pay for any of those either. Pens are everywhere lol! I don’t think I could ever pay for a limo ride. I happen to love my car; and if my fiance and I don’t want to drive for some special occasion, I can give a friend 20 bucks to drive us around for the night!

    • Laurie says:

      That’s a great idea, Joshua! Rick and I should do that: we could watch us some awesome kids movies on the DVD in the back of the Suburban. That’s livin’ large, my friend. 🙂

  15. Kay ~ LifeStyleVoices says:

    I save on all of the above too! I’m always surprised at the mani/pedi craze. I’ve never had one because I’ve heard too many horror stories, but also because that just wasn’t a “thing” when I was growing up. You did that stuff yourself. And no one waxed back then. Especially men. Hairy was IN!

  16. Brittney says:

    Books! When everyone jumped on the Kindle trend, I stuck to my library card. With how many I go through in a year, paying for each book to have in electronic form was going to cost me an arm and a leg. Plus, sometimes you just like the feel of paper in between your fingers 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Love that, Brittney! I’m a big real book fan too. There is indeed something about that feel of paper in between your fingers. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  17. Kim says:

    We watched a YouTube last night about cleaning out dishwasher to make it work better. Fun family project, not! But I bet we saved at least $200 on a service call and we’ll see if that was the problem of if the dishwasher is shot. I do pay to go to the rec center and for a haircut every once in a while, but that’s about it on your list.

  18. I love this list! I’m a little iffy with the haircut. I did ask my wife if she wanted to try cutting my hair but she was a bit nervous about it. I watched some youtube videos, but it’s probably a little harder than it seems…I don’t know. I also wish I was better with making repairs…I’m not a handy guy, but youtube is pretty helpful.

    • Laurie says:

      Asian hair can be difficult to cut. Because it’s SO straight, errors tend to show up more. I’d encourage her to give it a try though. You can always go get it fixed if it turns out really bad, LOL. 🙂

  19. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says:

    I can’t imagine paying for gym membership so I am so stressed out about retiring from the Navy, because I don’t ever want to pay gym membership.

  20. Last year we actually cut the gym membership and now I can’t imagine why I would get one again. I have found so many great at home workouts through Pinterest and take advantage of time outside (even in the winter as long as there is no snow) that I wouldn’t want to go back to the gym. Our biggest money saving tip from last year was to cut cable. We are saving about $100 a month now and don’t miss it at all.

  21. Awesome list Laurie! We do quite a few of these here, though I always threaten Nicole that I’m going to make her buy us pens as she likes to steal and “misplace” them too often. 😉 Of course, that has nothing to do with my slight OCD tendencies. 😉 We’ve never seen ourselves hiring out to clean the house, but it does become a tempting thought some days.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, you crack me up, John. 🙂 I hear you about hiring out to clean the house. It gets tough to look at when you work from home and don’t have the time to clean it up. 🙂

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  23. Iforonwy says:

    We never pay for lightweight plastic gloves to do the one-off grotty jobs that sometimes come along. We pick them up from alongside the pump at the petrol station. They are not very strong but are OK for one-off jobs.

    We make great use of our library card and library. All the books you want and I have recently realised that if you order a book on line it is free but if you request whilst in the library there is a charge.

    I very, very rarely buy a magazine. The major supermarkets over here publish their own monthly glossies and they have all the recipes, craft ideas etc that I need. They are free and have the added bonus of coupons.

    Also as a senior I have a bus pass. This means that I can travel on public transport after 9.30am and before 5.30pm for free. We live in a tourist area and my friend and I often jump on a bus a pretend that we are on holiday!

    • Laurie says:

      Smart move on the gloves! Love the idea of the senior bus pass too! What a hoot! Living in the country, that’s not an option for us, but I can see my mom doing it. 🙂

  24. brookst says:

    When I was selling my house the Agent said I needed to get the wood floors refinished. My boyfriend rented a sander and watched a youtube video. The end result was amazing and the house sold in 13 days.

  25. Karik says:

    I never buy books. There’s a recycle shed a few miles down the road and they give away every type of book that people bring in. There’s a FREE book box by the post office or I trade them. I volunteered in a thrift store for years and in return got FREE clothes. I still get invited into that store to pick a few items when they have my size, but I donate a bit of money to them since they’re church based. My late husband worked for over a month for a beautiful Persian rug. I love that to this day. I don’t buy a cup of coffee, instead buy that brand in a pound bag and brew at home. I got coffee cards for Xmas and I still bought the pound bag of coffee and only paid $2 cash for it. I wait for 2 for one sales for groceries, discount buggies and 50% sales. I went from abject poverty to an early retirement and no debt. I don’t use credit cards. I think you have to spend money and pay the interest to get the points and so called FREE stuff, just me, I’m not judging anyone.

    • Laurie says:

      Awesome tip, Karik!!! Thank you so much for sharing. “I went from abject poverty to an early retirement and no debt.” Obviously, your techniques work. Thanks for reading, my friend!

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    • Laurie says:

      I agree!! It can get ridiculously expensive after awhile. Tell her to think of the cushy retirement she’ll have because of your frugal haircuts. 🙂

  27. We don’t pay for the gym either. Since we have a 3-car garage, I converted the 1-car garage into a home gym.

    I am hooked on any of the Beachbody workouts like: P90X, Insanity, Asylum, etc.

    The whole set-up probably cost me about $1,200. And that thing will keep paying dividends for years to come.

    I find that I don’t miss workouts. I have extra time because I don’t have to drive to and from the gym. I never have to wait to use anything, especially since I workout early in the morning before anyone is up in my house.

    I am saving money on both the membership itself and gas to and from. A typical membership can run you $40/month for a run of the mill gym. But then you have the cross-fit and specialty gyms that can cost $130 to $250 a month (I know because I have been there).

    This is probably one of the things I am most proud of that I don’t pay for.


    • Laurie says:

      Smart move!! Not to mention there’s not tons of people competing for machines with you. Our goal it to have a similar type of home gym one day. Thanks for the comment!

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