Things I don't buy store

So, I often get asked about my spending habits. In all honesty, whilst they seem perfectly normal in the personal finance blogging world, they seem crazy strange to people in the real world. My high savings rate doesn’t come from a consumerist lifestyle. So here are some of my habits. I have not even spent one individual pound on these items in the last year. I simply do not buy the following.

1 Television

Yeah, I’m one of those weirdos that does not have a single television in their house. And hasn’t for years. I do not miss TV at all. I feel the content is  low quality and produced for the mass market. TV news is so heavily curated it’s practically spin. And that’s before mentioning the adverts. If you haven’t read before, I hate adverts. Hence I do not buy any TV packages on cable or sky. Or a TV itself (along with necessary upgrades over the years). Nor do I have to buy a TV licence.

2 Books

How many books can you read at once? How many do you really refer back to again and again? Given I read the majority of books once, I just don’t buy books anymore. Instead I’m library obsessed. I love the library. They let me read all these books, for free. And I can take them out again and again if I want to. They keep them all for me, easily accessible in a neat filing system. And usually once a week, I go for a lovely lunchtime walk to the library. I can cope with some colleagues mocking slightly. I lent two books to someone at work today. He asked me, do you actually own books? I did have to admit I bought one in my less frugal days, and the other came from a previous employer.

3 Gym

I run marathons, but you won’t find me in a gym. It’s not that I haven’t tried a gym or two. It’s more that is just doesn’t work for me. I love running outdoors, but put me on a treadmill and I’m bored within 5 minutes. I’ve tried music, and still got bored. Watching video, still got bored. And when I tried reading I nearly fell off. That was embarrassing. So, it’s just not for me. I’m grateful that the UK is temperate enough to run outdoors most of the year. Therefore that’s what I do. Lace up my shoes and go out from my front door to explore the world for free.

4 Restaurants

They don’t do it for me. I’ve never realised or truly understood what foodies see in them. But then it’s probably because my tastes are simple. And my cooking is getting better and better with practice. So I never eat out.

5 Latest Mobile

I don’t have an iphone or a fancy smartphone. I’ve got a distinctly uncool Chinese smartphone. It does what I need it to do, without any fuss. Or glamour realistically. But as you may have gathered by now, glamour is not really top of my priority list. Which leads us nicely to…

6 Make Up

Over the years I’ve been getting more radical about the beauty tax, on both time and money grounds. Why do women have to paint themselves before going out but men don’t. Why are natural men acceptable, but natural women not? It’s a tax on women, that I am no longer willing to pay. I very rarely wear makeup, and have not spent any money on it in years. I work in a senior tech role, and this is acceptable nowadays. Some interesting reading on the beauty tax, or hair and makeup tax here:

7 Taxis

I live in London. I usually walk or take public transport in the city, and occasionally drive out of the city. Taxis are just not something I ever foresee the need to use. We have night tubes and night buses, and London is safe. On this note, I’m really against the rhetoric that women are delicate and need to be protected. Women are allowed out, and should go out if they wish to. Even late at night. So, I never spend money on taxis.

8 Take Away

I actively avoid takeaway food, and never buy it. There are two main reasons for this. Health wise they can be terrible. The salt levels are horrendous, portions sizes usually far too large and they are never healthy choices. Moreover than the assumed unhealthiness, there is also just the unknown. You don’t really know what’s in a portion, so how many calories and what combination of protein / fat / carbs you are getting each time.

And then consider the financials, most take away food has a good margin, and hence would be much cheaper to make yourself. The only foods I’d consider takeaway foods that I eat are pizza and curry. And I can make both of these at home, exactly to my personal quirky tastes. I do admit it takes practise and lots of trial and error to get a good result, but that good becomes great quickly, then you’ve got another skill to add to your repertoire.

9 Meat

As a die hard veggie of over 20 years, I never buy meat. Ever. Guests at mine get served veggie food, and rarely complain. Even my hard core eat everything brother enjoys my veggie chilli and curry, and manages to forget that there is no meat in them. Yet when I see more normal people’s grocery budgets and bills, meat seems to feature high in both quantity and cost.

10 Things I can get for free

So yes, if you offer me a paid version, and a free version, I can guarantee I will take the free. And put up with the  limitation. For example I never pay to park, and will happily park further way and walk with a complaint. I’d take the fee ad filled app, rather than pay for the premium ad-free version. As I was pondering in my last post, I am now more conscious of what the cost of free is.


Over to you

  • Anything on my list you also don’t buy?
  • Are there other things you do not buy?

21 comments on “10 things I do not buy

  1. you’re crazy! I struck out on all except for gyms and make-up. Make up because aside from being a guy, I’m also against the make-up tax. And gyms because we have a free gym at work (which I use less than 10 times per year). I’m also a marathon runner so I totally get running outside as treadmills are ~not~ fun.

    Your savings rate is awesome and yet crazy. Ours is roughly 50%. We love our restaurants, Apple products, and Netflix. Plus we watch sports which requires cable tv. We’re slowly trying to ween ourselves off some of these things though. Maybe we can get to 65%… One day, just not today 🙂

    1. Hi Max, thanks for visiting and commenting. Indeed, it could be seen as crazy. But I bet there is another list of things I do spend on, that you think it’ mad to spend on! 50% is an awesome savings rate, which will get you to FI soon enough. I think it’s really important to make sure you do what works for you, at a time that suits you. Then you get the zen like contentment, rather than feeling deprived.

  2. I love this post!
    Who new that such frugality could be so endearing, I am inspired.
    I am with you except for meat, taxis and restaurants.
    Meat, just because I love it. I am a shameless carnivore.
    Taxis because I use them for business travel when abroad, otherwise my 10 year old car is my mode of transport of choice.
    Restaurants because I like trying new foods and don’t always want to cook.

    The others can be put into Room 101, for all I care.

  3. No make up/cosmetic means huge savings . I rarely buy that stuff but my daughters do and whenever I see the price of it, I am always shocked! What? Some people buy that stuff on a regular basis??? I also no longer buy books, after I emptied my last house and gave away boxes of them! The public library is great:)

    1. Hi Caroline, great to see we have similar tastes. And I know, the price of some beauty items is shocking!

      And libraries do deserve more credit than they get. I should start a Library appreciation club!

  4. Nice. We depend on our library too. It’s such a great system. I voted for the bond to support the library so I’m getting my money worth. No restaurants? We don’t go out often, but we enjoy eating good food. We’re heading out this evening to try a new French restaurant. Date night. 🙂

    1. Welcome fellow library fan. You get to vote on libraries, that’s awesome.

      Yeah, I think my lack of interest in restaurants comes from my simple eating habits, and the fact I’m veggie. Enjoy your date night!

  5. Just accidentally ran into your blog after reading financial independence bloggers. It is pretty amazing what you are doing right now. You seems like a very interesting and down to earth person. I am very glad to run into this blog.

  6. This is the first time I’ve visited/heard of your blog. I am with you on everything except for meat. Ranchers and farmers do the hardest job there is (except perhaps for teachers), and I like to know who is raising my food. It is one of the few things we choose to put our money towards. I’m not going to grow my own food, so I like to be generous with those who are doing that hard work so I can provide the most value to the world with my skills. I’m also a hunter in an area where the deer’s natural predators have been pushed out or eradicated, and I’d rather them not starve or end up as roadkill. I sincerely respect and honor your decision to forgo eating animals. Vegetables are SOOOO delicious!

    I do spend a fair amount of money on sunscreen…does that fall into the make-up category? I haven’t purchased make-up in over 5 years…even when we got married, my wife and I had our make-up done by a friend as their gift to us; so while we used it, we didn’t purchase any (technicality, I know!)

    Happy to have found your blog and look forward to more posts!

    1. Hey Stefani, thank for reading and commenting. I love how both you and your wife also don’t buy make up, you are both awesome.

      And no, sunscreen is not make up =it’s a functional health product, not a beauty product designed for aesthetic purposes only.

      Whilst I am personally a hardcore veggie, it’s my choice and I have no problems with others eating meat. That’s cool that you support the farmers and ranchers, it is good to know where your food comes from.

  7. Hi Ms ZiYou

    Of your list, I could only agree with you on 2, namely books and latest mobile (my friends laugh at my Blackberry – remember them?).

    Of the others, I spend very little/moderately on them all apart from my expensive gym membership, which is more of a social club than just a gym. I do mostly classes, eg Body Attack, Body Balance and punchbag/weight training – I’m not a runner so only go on the treadmill for short periods to do interval training therefore no chance to get bored! If I don’t feel like a work out, then there’s jacuzzi, steam room and sauna to relax in. I go there to catch up with friends and to watch the football, so I’ve never had to subscribe to Sky.

    My diet is predominantly vegetarian during the week as such meals tend to be quicker to cook after work, but will always have meat at weekends and when I eat out.

    I probably have between 4-5 takeaways a year just to get my ‘fix’.

    Restaurants – probably eat out once or twice a month, but that’s cos it’s important for me to maintain my friendships and social circles and it’s best to eat when you’re out drinking! 🙂

    1. Hi Weenie, your gym sounds awesome, with all those facilities that you use. I’d never thought of a gym as a social club before.

      I think I have the problem of going for a few drinks rather than eating, as it’s much more informal and flexible.

  8. Love your post! I reckon you could extend Makeup Tax to other professional female-related expenses, clothing, accessories, shoes, handbags etc. While they are all optional, it’s frowned upon when you don’t conform, making it more difficult to bond and build rapport at work.

  9. Hi I love this post! I agree with almost everything in this list – except the gym part. Have you tried listening to podcasts while at the gym? It makes the experience more enjoyable/productive 🙂

    Also, interested how you got into being into a veggie in the first place (I try to eat less meat too due to environmental reasons)!

    1. Hi Shin – thanks for reading and commenting. I indeed have tried the podcast thing, but the gym still doesn’t work for me!

      I’ve been veggie for around 25 years – mainly as the idea of eating animals appals me.

What do you think?