Here are five things that I've chosen not to spend money on:
1. Curtain Rod Hardware
We used to have slat blinds in our apartment. They weren't surviving our children well, and I had noticed some of our neighbors had curtains. When my mother's neighbor offered up some of her old ones, I happily took them, along with the curtain rod. After asking our landlord if he was okay with the switch, we got to installing.
There was only one problem: we had no hardware to hang the rod from. I know that my interior design doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, so I flipped the hardware for the blinds, cut off the end of a hanger, and secured them together thoroughly. It might be rigged, but it's hardware we didn't have to spend a cent on.
For a few years, I cut my own hair. I'm no professional, so eventually I inevitably botched a job. It was traumatic, and I decided never to cut my own hair again. In subsequent years, I visited the dresser about once a year. I was able to get away with it with my long style, and wasn't overly concerned with having a trendy cut. After a few years of this, I decided to try a cheaper, walk-in salon. The hair dressers knew what they were doing there, too. I've stuck with them. Now I'm able to get cuts more frequently, and they only run me $15/cut as opposed to the $30-$60 I was paying before. I have found no difference in quality despite the disparity in price.
I do like to look presentable, but if I can do so without going to the salon every month, I can allocate that money to more important goals.
I have young kids, so furniture is not high on my priority list. Any furniture I have will surely be destroyed in a few years thanks to spilled sippy cups, unauthorized jumping, and art projects gone awry. Instead of going out to buy matching pieces, I accept every hand-me-down that comes my way. I've avoided spending thousands, and still provided my family with couches, a table where we all eat together, and all the other trappings a typical home has.
4. Gift Bags
I hate spending money on overpriced wrapping paper. I do, about twice a year, but mostly I use gift bags my own children have received at birthdays and Christmases past. I also save the tissue paper. They get a lot of wear, and I don't have to go out and buy every time someone gets invited to a birthday party.
5. Family Time
Hear me out on this one. Family time does matter to me. Very much. But I've realized over the years that it doesn't matter so much what we're doing, as long as we're doing it together. Instead of spending a ton of money every time we go out, we seek out free events, discounted or free days at our local attractions, and utilize the parks and numerous green spaces in our city. By doing things together that are low-cost, we're able to splurge on the occasional kids' concert, and do whatever we want when we go on vacation. We save that money every time we go out so that we'll be able to enjoy a few extravagant things together. Another part of the savings allows us to propel ourselves to our family goals, like home ownership, at a faster clip.
What things don't matter to you? Do you spend money on them anyways? Or find ways to save?