Save Money – Do Without.

save money


So you want to save money? Well, I have a really radical idea for you today.  One you may not be too familiar with.


Go without.  You heard me, survive for periods without things that are luxuries but not necessities.


Two things that we go without are Cable/Satellite and home phones.  Boom.  That’s a good chunk of money saved each month.  Another thing you can do is pair down on subscriptions.  Our daughter had a membership to one of her favorite sites, Animal Jam, last year and when the subscription recently ended, we had to break the news to her that we couldn’t pay for it this year. Thankfully, she took it well.


This is going to sound silly, but one of my recent sacrifices is half and half.  I have long been a coffee creamer snob – only half and half would do. But I had to slash it from the spending recently when I realized it was just one more thing that I didn’t need in my shopping cart.  I am now (sob) suffering with milk in my coffee. Oh the horror.


The Shopping Day Challenge


Another way to do without is to pick a grocery shopping day of the week and do not waiver from it. Listen carefully, people, do not run to the store for “just one thing”.  That “one thing” will cost you $50 bucks every. time.  I’ve gone back and forth with this rule in the past but have been much more strict about it now that saving money is imperative. Also, I usually cross the border for my dairy and produce, so that’s not something I can simply run out and do any day of the week.


The result is, sometimes we run out of milk.  So we do without it.  For days, if need be.  Sometimes the kids eat up the two bags of apples in two  days and they have to wait a week to get more. Sometimes we run out of cheese or oatmeal, or eggs – and so we eat other things.


The Pantry Challenge


Also, at least once a year I think everyone should take the pantry challenge.  Don’t buy a single dry good until that puppy is cleaned out.  Get creative here – find uses for that can of beans or box of spaghetti noodles that have been lurking in the dark recesses of your pantry for ages.  You can probably cut your grocery bill in half or more for one glorious month.


No, it’s not always convenient or comfortable.  Particularly for those of us who are tried and true North Americans who aren’t necessarily used to having to do without staples in the kitchen. Fishing out that old can of tuna for dinner instead of pouring another lazy bowl of cereal may not be what you wanted, but one thing you can’t deny – it definitely saves money.


ways to save money

Have you ever tried these two methods for saving money?  Do tell.







  1. Yes! About every other month I try to do a pantry/freezer cleanout. I shop the fridge, freezer and pantry before I make a grocery list, and try to build meals from what we have on hand and only buy what we’re missing for those recipes. It helps keep the food rotation going and nothing has a chance to go out of date.

    • I find that my hang up is still buying fresh foods without a plan and then letting them go bad. Sigh.

      • I am so bad for that one. I’m working on it, though! I like your Shopping Day challenge. We have a market day in a neighbouring town for a few hours a week and get food REALLY cheap, but then I am running to No Frills for the odd extra thing. It’s no god. I am going to try this and wait for next Saturday before I buy anything else! Thanks

  2. Real women take their coffee black. Hee hee.

    I do the pantry thing every so often. And I am very strict about only grocery shopping one day a week, in part to save money and also to save my sanity. And *most* weeks (when I make it to the bank) we do cash-only. That is very hard for me at the grocery, but I do it. I will clip a few coupons for toiletries, but I just don’t have the time or the desire to spend hours pouring over coupon books and whatnot.

    • I’ve never been brave enough to do the cash thing with groceries. What can I say, I’m a wuss. Ergo the non-black coffee.

      • If you zap your milk in the microwave for like 30 seconds and then whip it a little it’s more tolerable in the coffee. I do drink my morning coffee black, but I will make a cheap-girl misto every now and then. :)

  3. You can make your own half and half at home. :-) google it! I think it’s one tablespoon melted butter to one cup of milk. Whip it together.

    We have phone service at home, because our kids need it if we are not here and because when I checked, it was more expensive to go without it. We have it bundled with Internet, and dropping it raises the price of our Internet. Crazy!

    No cable or satellite here. We do have Amazon Prime and Netflix, which is a meeting in the middle for us.

    And yes, on the shopping day! One day a week! I can go t the store for one thing, as long as its not Target! since Chad is unemployed though, I have learned there is a lot I can do without!

  4. I love the shop your pantry idea. I was forced to do that January of this year because we quite literally had no money. Not only did I find great ways to use what we had but over the course of that month we were blessed with military friends moving and giving us the contents of their pantries, our neighbors chickens over produced so we ended up with with fresh eggs every day, and a friend of ours gave us half a deer so we never had to do without meat. That month changed the way I grocery shop and our finances have been much better off for it.

    • We’ve had similar circumstances of being gifted with food this month as people who are moving away after the summer semester give us their leftovers. :)

  5. We “shop our pantry” towards the end of every month since we only do our grocery shopping once a month. We generally don’t have to run out for anything after the big day, but the big day usually involves several trips around town to every to get everything I need. We used to be week to week shoppers, but I’m kinda digging just doing the monthly thing now. It forces me to make better meal planning decisions. And to plan in general, which I’m not very good at. But still, no matter how good I plan there are always at least a few days towards the end where we are “out of food” so I have to get creative. Of course, since we got one of our meat markets “family specials” this last time with a crap ton of meat, I can’t imagine using up all that in a month. About the only thing I ever have to replenish during the month is milk. Because I don’t have freezer space to buy a months worth of milk at the time.

    We also don’t have cable. We tried it when we first moved to this town but we’d never had it before and after a couple of months, it was dumb and not worth the cost. We would turn it on, but end up doing something else any way (like talking).

    And we don’t have any fancy unlimited internet phone plans. We used to be those people, but we aren’t any more. I have internet at home. Why do I need it on my phone? We realize there is absolutely no reason to “stay connected” all the time. The world doesn’t implode if we don’t text or browse the net from our phones while we are out. We have actually downgraded from a mostly unlimited prepaid plan to the bare minimum 200 mins a month prepaid plan because we don’t really text any more since we got the internet at home. Email is way better in my opinion. Of course, our other friends have had a hard time adjusting to our non-texting way of life. I can’t even hardly use my phone now…even though its not a smart phone, its got a stupid touch screen. I would give any thing for a phone with real buttons! I guess touch screens are a “use it or lose it” skill because I have definitely lost it.

    • I could never get away with once a month shopping with this crowd. The dairy and produce just go toooooo fast.

      • Oh yeah. Hubs only really eats the produce when I sneak it in to his food. Lol. He does eat fruits on occasion but not enough for me to worry about him eating it all up from me. I’m the produce eater. And if we do happen to get something and I see its turning bad before I can get to it, I’ll throw it in the freezer. Or dehydrate it.

        I think its finally stopped raining *knocks on wood* so maybe I can get to hooping in the yard this evening. I’m just too paranoid to attempt inside hooping. I know I will break things.

  6. This is a great series! I have tried the pantry clean-out and came up with some delicious meals!! I NEED to do the “one day grocery stop” idea because we’re really struggling with that one.

  7. We live on a super tight budget. I’m very vocal about it, even posting my budget on my blog, in hopes of inspiring others who feel trapped. This is always my first advice…Do without. But our capitalistic society isn’t built on “do without,” or “make do” or “resourceful.” It makes me so sad, because at one time, it was.

    Now, our society is built on getting what we WANT and when we want it, regardless of the means. There is no respect for limits. It’s so frustrating because I have been accused of depriving my children because we live within our means. (and my children aren’t deprived. We are blessed with all of our needs, and plenty of wants on top…just not as many wants as our society deems necessary. So sad.