What do you NOT care about spending money on?

140 Comments

Lots of people talk about spending on things you value. But what about the things we don’t care about?

Baby doesn't like this
 

This baby knows something most people don’t: What he doesn’t like
When I wrote An Ode to Jim Blomo, I talked about my friend who’s honed his conscious spending and spends thousands on the things he loves:

Jim has told me over and over that he doesn’t care much about living in a fancy place, so he saves money on that. He cooks at home when he can instead of eating out every day. But he loves outdoor stuff–biking, camping, travel. And so he splurges on those things. He has a top-of-the-line bike. He just got back from a week-long trip to New York, just for fun.

Jim also cuts costs mercilessly on his housing, choosing to live in a place far smaller than he can afford. To him, it’s not important, and he’d rather spend his money elsewhere.

This decision — of what’s important as well as not important — is at the heart of the Conscious Spending Plan I describe in chapter 4 of my personal finance book.

Previously, I’ve written about friends who spend $21,000/year going out and $5,000 on shoes.

But we haven’t focused on what you choose not to spend on.

When I asked friends this, they were quick to answer what they valued — “organic food” or “travel” or “nice clothes” — but almost uniformly found it difficult to answer what they didn’t value. When I asked one friend, “What do you not care about? What would you be willing to buy a lower quality of (or not at all)?” he looked at me blankly. I considered violence.

It’s critically important to be explicit about what you don’t value as much as what you do. By writing it down — on a blog or a notepad or an Excel doc — you can prioritize your purchases and avoid being sucked into spending on things you really don’t care about. As Jeff Solomon writes:

“When I come to work tomorrow I’ve got to figure out what NOT to do first and focus on the single most important item first. No matter how hard it is, I’ve just got to get through it. It’s just too easy to get sucked into the unimportant. There are too many things on my lists that just don’t move the needle or don’t make a difference. At work and at home, some things have more impact than others. And when the lists get long, I’ve got to know what NOT to do before I can figure out what to do.”

What do you not care about spending money on? I’ll start. When it comes to spending, I don’t care about…

  • A fancy sports car. I’d rather have a Honda Accord and drive it for 10+ years (more on how I bought a car)
  • The type of cheese I eat — Kraft singles are just fine
  • Shampoo, etc. They’re all the same to me
  • Super-fancy restaurants. I’d rather eat out a lot with friends at a bowling alley than eat at the fanciest places. (Note: This specifically fits into my Conscious Spending Plan by letting me see more people at less-expensive restaurants. If I cared about expensive restaurants, I would eat fewer meals at higher-end places.)

As part of your conscious spending plan, what do you NOT care about spending money on?

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140 Comments

 
  1. I’d say that people can’t immediately name what they don’t care about for that exact reason: they hardly think about it at all. It’s not an active part of their lives. But I agree that knowing is important.

    I don’t care about eating out, going to bars, expensive clothing and shoes, expensive sports, cars, jewelry, living in a big place. There are probably more things that I can’t remember now.

  2. It is always like that – finding negatives are more difficult that positive ones. Like what you don’t want to be is more difficult to identify than what you want to be. Other way of thinking is identifying what you value the most (say, 3 things) and everything else is undervalued and rather don’t spend good money on that. You can ask yourself before you spend money on anything – does this fall in those three things? If not, I will hold back.

  3. Great question Ramit. You are so right about people thinking about what they value, but not what they can do with out.

    For me, a fancy car is not that important. Like you, I drive a Honda Accord. Another area where I cut back on are expensive restaurants. I would rather be able to eat out more often by going to less expensive restaurants.

  4. For me things that aren’t important right now include:
    - music / gigs / clubs – does nothing for me :-)
    - expensive restaurants generally (though I’d like to experience a 3-star Michelin restaurant at some point)
    - running a car – no need given that public transport in London is excellent

    It’s a good question, will be interested to see what others say.

  5. I do not care about smart phones and expensive data plans. If I do not have my laptop with me it is probably in my car and I will get to my desktop soon enough.
    I do not care about cable TV. The few shows I watch I order as complete seasons from Netflix or Itunes. Political blogs have made CNN/MSNBC superflous.
    I do not care about having the latest ipod but will splurge on quality headphones. Superior sound is more important to me than having the shiniest ipod when all I care about is listening to music.

  6. I DON’T spend money on going out drinking or to expensive restaurants, but I do love to go out with friends somewhere casual, so I spend money there. I don’t spend a lot on entertainment (DVDs, Netflix, lots of iTunes downloads) because I love spending time outdoors and would rather save up for a hiking trip or a weekend rafting excursion.

  7. I’m a car nut and enjoy photography – so I will skimp on other things purposely so I can drive something that I enjoy and be able to upgrade my photography equipment.

  8. I’ve always thought about my spending like this – in terms of what I won’t spend my money on.

    I’ve bought maybe 2 CD’s in the last 10 years, only a half dozen books (thank you library), never bought a dvd and I don’t buy magazines at all. I spend maybe £25 on make up in a year despite wearing some everyday.

    But I do love clothes shopping (not designer stuff, don’t believe in it) and shop regularly for clothes, shoes, handbags and inexpensive jewellery. I also love good food and we cook amazing food at home every night.

    Alcohol – just not a big thing for me, hardly drink anymore and especially when out with friends (I’d rather, if I’m going to have a drink, have it be with a meal). I prefer eating my money to drinking it.

    Holidays and travel are my other main category I’m happy to spend money on. Accommodation isn’t important, but destination, the meals and shopping out there are. I love in London because it’s such a great centrepoint for travel.

  9. I don’t spend money on alcohol, a fancy house, a car, expensive shoes, jewelry, expensive kitchen utensils, books or eating out.

  10. Name brands and designer labels, whether it be in clothes, cars, food, or household items I find you can almost always get a lot more bang for the peso by keeping away from paying for high priced advertising campaigns.

  11. We can increase our income by 2 ways ..

    1. Increase our salary
    2. Decrease our spendings

    I think everyone have more control over 2nd thing more than 1st . Once we optimize 2nd thing well .. we can look at the 1st thing , which is totally a seperate thing :)

    Nice article Ramit .

    Manish

  12. I can define what I don’t spend on, but yes, definitely agree it’s worth thinking about and rarely focused on in moneyblogs! Anyway, for me:

    Clothes, hair and nails, etc. Have never cared.
    Cars at all, never mind sports cars – I’m 32 and have never owned a vehicle.
    Fancy gyms – my $300/year gym has the same equipment as the swishier $60/month one down the road.
    Books – Toronto has an excellent library system, so why buy them?
    Clubs – hate them; I go home when my friends move on from the pub.
    And the big one, Housing – a quick poll suggests we spent $100,000 less on our place than some of my colleagues here.

    I choose to spend instead on the usual yuppie stuff – quality groceries, travel, concert tickets and general urban exploration.

  13. Sorry but Kraft singles – blah, buy real cheese :)

    I don’t spend money on…
    Manicures/pedicures, or spa treatments, massages – things my friends all spend on
    Books – free from the library
    I only buy milk and coffee from the grocery store, no sodas or juice
    Music – not my thing, Pandora is fine with me

  14. It’s much easier to focus on the things I do care about spending money on given there’s an infinite number of things available for purchase. Basically, if I’m not spending money on it, it’s not important. I don’t have cable, a luxurious apartment, a fancy car, a “modern” television, or video game console. Thought these were worth noting since many of the people I know have these things, and I don’t.

  15. I’ve been doing this since I read your book. At first, it was hard for me, because my instinct is that I want the best of EVERYTHING, and I love designer clothes and eating out all the time (isn’t that what they always tell you to get rid of?)

    But it turns out, there are plenty of things I don’t value much. Cars, for one. Subscriptions – I canceled what I have. I’m not extremely interested in having the latest technology, so I decided to pass on a phone upgrade and ignore that my iPod is a little beat up. And it really does help to think about it consciously, because I WAS going to go for the expensive new phone, until I realized I don’t really need it yet and would be happier with some new shoes.

  16. I’m 48 and this question made me really think. In retrospect, the things I don’t care about spending on have changed over the years. They are currently: food( I seldom eat out and buy a lot of cheap.generic brand foods I cook myself) Clothes, I’m over trying to impress people. Junk: I have few toys now but I used to buy useless junk simply because it amused me. Education: I realize you can really speed up the process by paying for knowledge ( I DID buy your book! lol) but since I’ve realized you can find information on almost every subject on the net and in the library, I no longer care to pay for it. Up until recently, I didn’t care about where I lived or what I drove, but as I get older, I want a dependable car and a home of my own. My point is this: We may need to do a personal inventory on occasion so we can spot the changes and alter our actions accordingly.

  17. i’m not a big drinker, but being a young person in nyc pretty much means you have to if you want to see your friends at any point- i figured out the cheap version though, to just order a soda at the bar- dollar to free (tip always of course!), then most people assume it’s a mixed drink and aren’t asking why you’re drinking water all night (and you save 5-10$ a drink!).
    don’t need a fancy car, already paid for my motorcycle, got the subways. don’t buy music, listen to what I have & internet radio, don’t buy books or movies, rent them all from the library. man that makes me sound cheap! just don’t have the cash to spend on anything that’s not food or rent right now :)

  18. I hate spending money on electronics. I have a tv that isn’t flat and a generic DVD player. My cell phone is included. Sure an iphone looks awesome and has the internet, but at about 100 dollars a month, it is just not worth it to me.

    Also, I don’t care about having a luxury car. I plan on driving the my VW until it is dead.

    Hair care and toiletries. I buy generic brands for high end products, they work just as well, but are less than half the price.

    Also, hotels or accommodations when I travel. I rather find a cheap apartment to stay in, than some big fancy touristy hotel. I think it helps me get to know the city and people better and it costs about half the price!

  19. I don’t care about having a big fancy wedding. My motto in planning has been “fun not classy”. We’re going to have a 100+ person wedding for under $5k and I feel like a frugal rock star. A year ago I would have thought it could be done for much less but reality and spreadsheets have shown me that $5k is a very low-budget wedding.

    Other things I don’t spend money on: jewelry, clothes, meat (whatever’s cheap that week), flashy/new cars (gotta love that ’98 Corolla – still going strong), movies, entertainment (live in DC – most everything is free), our rent is very low for our area (we share a one-bedroom), TV (no cable here), gifts (make at home, shop at thrift stores, etc.).

  20. It’s a difficult question because if it’s something I don’t really care about it’s quality/quantity, it’s not really that important.

    Here’s a shot:

    Since I’ve started using Pandora at work and at home, I haven’t updated my iPod in nearly 2 years. I hadn’t even thought about this until I read your post.

    The differences in the cable packages here make it so that it’s a lot cheaper for basic cable and Netflix than for the next package up. I now live in the South, so I wouldn’t get to watch my Red Sox anyway…

    Clubs and bars around here aren’t smoke free…..Reason enough to skip them

    Barber shop…I save $20 a cut ($10 from $30) I prefer the hot lather and straight blade to clean up my neck than the “style” anyway…and it’s even cheaper than SuperCuts around here

  21. I’m not going to lie about my love of shopping- especially nice shoes. Who can pass up a beautiful pair of 4 inch heels? But, I only buy a nice pair of shoes about twice a year.

    I don’t have cable or internet in my apartment. I cook at home every night. I don’t drive a fancy car or have an iphone, but I do spend a lot of money on my living situation. I love my apartment, and wouldn’t move out even if I found somewhere cheaper. I also love spending money on my apartment, like revamping antique furniture which can get pricey.

    Not a single person has said they rushed out to get the new 3G iphone. Don’t you think it’s because we’re the ones reading this personal finance blog? In my person opinion, unless you’re a gadget geek or your parents are paying no one would spend that much money on a cellphone.

  22. For us the most biggest expense in our life or anyone for that matter who owns a house is housing and we hate spending a big chunk of our salary on mortgage, we value everything else our travels, cars, clothing, shoes etc., because all else is way too less than my yearly mortgage expense. oh by the way we kept our mortgage less than 1% of our salary so we can enjoy all other luxuries guilt free!

  23. So, the point here is what? By thinking about what I don’t feel is important to spend on, how am I saving money? I’m already not spending it on those things. I’m confused.

  24. -Television (When I live on my own, no way will I have one, let alone pay for cable.)
    -Restaurants (Prefer to eat in.)
    -New books (I just want to read them. I don’t need to OWN them.)
    -DVDs (Why would I want to own these? Rent them, sure, but buy??)
    -Fancy cars (I drive a Corolla and love it.)
    -Nail care (Manicures are weird.)
    -Having my own place. (Someday, sure, but I’m fine with sharing to save money at this point. It’s allowing me to make a lot of decisions that matter a lot more to me.)

    Some of this has to do with family culture. For example, my family isn’t that into TV and we never have it on as background noise. We’ve never collected DVDs. My parents love to cook, so I’m not even used to thinking of restaurants as an option. A lot of the things on my list are foreign things to me.

  25. Things I DON’T care about:
    Latest electronic toys (a cell phone that works is enough for me, same for mp3 player and its innumerable upgrades)
    Latest fashion (I buy nice clothes that will last me yrs, classic pieces and always on sale)
    Big house – (over-rated American idea of a large home doesn’t work for me. When I need more space for kids or other dependents I will consider a home purchase.)
    Drinking out every wkend – (We seriously make better cocktails at home, and in PA drink tax in bars in unfairly high)
    Expensive travel – (Enjoying a vacation has more to do with what activities we choose…they don’t all take a ton of $$. I prefer low key accommodation, cheap breakfast/lunch but a decent local place for dinner and checking out the natural beauties around instead of club hopping/shopping. Shopping for junk while traveling is a waste of money)

    Great post, Ramit! It made me think about my priorities.

  26. I don’t care about Brands! Whether it’s food or clothing. If I prefer it, I’ll buy that one but brands don’t mean anything to me. If I can buy a cheaper brand that I like just as much, I have more to spend on something else.
    I’m with Andy, I have the most basic cable package and I use Netflix. Much cheaper.
    I do go to a bar just to be out with people. I limit how often I go and how much I drink.

  27. Things I do care about: a cute place, hair cuts/color/products, books, eating out, drinking in, cable, my pets

    Things I do NOT care about: a big place, owning a place, mani/pedis, jewelry, cars, electronics

  28. [...] 29, 2009 at 12:34 PM (Pets, Saving Money, Simplifying Life) Today’s post on I Will Teach You To Be Rich got me thinking about things that Ben and I don’t splurge on [...]

  29. It changes over time. I recently had an unexpected windfall, and had budgeted a percentage of it for spending on something fun. In previous years, that might have been the latest iPod or a new computer — some piece of electronics. Also, as a big reader, new books would have likely made the list.

    Within the past year, however, I purchased my first house, which was built in 1939. I’ve discovered how much I love being a homeowner and taking care of both the house and yard. It just provides a deep and lasting satisfaction, and the reward is that I can enjoy the results of my work every day.

    I didn’t buy a new laptop. Instead, the money went to a small renovation project that will result in a new custom built-in bookshelf in my living room. I’ve enjoyed the process of working with the carpenter, I’ll enjoy having another space in which to stash my books and I’ll have actually added value to my house. It’s a three-way win, and one I couldn’t have imagined even a year ago.

  30. We don’t care about getting brand new furniture. Most of our furniture is either a gift or from yard sales.

  31. Landscaping: I have the only house on my block with nothing but grass.
    Decorative pillows: Never have understood their purpose.

  32. This is easy for me:
    alcohol
    smokes
    drugs
    cable
    hookers
    strip shows
    gambling
    cell phones (fancy things like iPhones and such…just don’t care)
    fancy clothes (I work out a lot so I shred everything eventually)
    jewelry/watches
    sports tickets/theatre tickets
    movies at theatres
    for biking in chicago…just need a bike that is “good enough”. They are stolen all the time (even if you have u-Lock, etc.)
    nice cars (again, destroyed in Chicago. Who cares. You’d have to get a secured parking spot which is asking for 25,000$)
    Eating out (once you do it enough, it gets old, and you get sick/fat. It sucks feeling sick from all the grease)

    I’d rather live frugally for a long time then go on a big bang spree (i.e. month long trip to foreign country, LASIK, etc.)

    I’ll always spend money on my sports of preference though. Dropping $50/month for training is easy. So much value to it.

    My hospital bills tend to be high. Thank goodness for insurance :)

  33. The list of what I don’t spend money on is fairly extensive.

    Music, books, cable, fancy cars (although some would argue my minivan is fancy-LOL), a too big house, furniture, eating out, alcohol (I only drink once a month, my husband not at all), cigarettes (neither of us ever smoked), clothes (we do shopping once a year or so), new toys for the kids (they get an allowance), gym memberships, subscriptions, etc.

    My list could go on and on!

    I think it’s important to think about what you don’t care about, but realize it WILL change as your life changes, and try to re-evaluate it when you have a major life change (kids, new home, new city, new job, etc.).

  34. I don’t care about manicures and pedicures. I rather do it myself.

    The latest trend, I really don’t keep up. I just like something that looks good on me regardless of the name.

    I will spend money on Books, training and anything that involves self development. I love learning.

    My library is bigger than the collection of clothes in my closet

  35. Cable. I don’t want cable. I have a TV that I still haven’t plugged in after moving a month and a half ago. I should get rid of it, because I rarely watch it.

    I don’t care about expensive clothes. I like fancy clothes that are used and fairly cheap. Except jeans–I will spend around $150 on jeans.

    Frequent hair cuts. I usually get 2-3 a year and bangs trims in between. The haircuts are expensive-ish, but the fact that I don’t get them very often saves money. And they’re nice.

    Hair color. I’m going to wait until I go gray to start doing this.

    Manicures/Pedicures. Like them, don’t need fancy ones. But like the 30 dollar combos.

    Books: Never buy them. I read the internets instead and borrow books from friends when I need to.

    Fancy condo: I need to live in the city, but opted for the older, more charming building that was $100,000 cheaper than the new ones. The new ones are ugly anyway.

  36. I don’t care about:

    cars; I don’t drive
    alcohol; can’t keep it down
    tv+cable; don’t care, not addicted
    gyms; i’d rather walk and too lazy to get there
    gadgets other than my computer and ipod; i’m not as kool, i guess.
    toys and stuffed animals; the ones from childhood are sentimental
    fancy phones; the one i have still works, i only use it when necessary, and anyway, there’s skype

  37. I, like many of the above, do not care for brand name items. I choose based on utility, longevity, etc, not what the label says. This applies for clothes, electronics, even food. I have no problem buying the Fred Meyer brand of most groceries, since they are just as good, but half the price.
    My husband and I also have tons of movies, but usually rent from Blockbuster online, since the monthly cost is FAR less than if we purchased or rented all of the films we watch.
    We spend money on going out, but try to make sure it’s always happy hour, so that we can get more bang for our buck.
    Finally: I do my own nails at home, don’t wear much makeup, and use Kirkland toiletries. I think this is a huge expense for us ladies, and something that’s easy to conquer.

  38. Groceries. If you’re spending 80% more at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s than at a Wal-Mart Supercenter, you’re a lunatic.

    There’s obviously a difference between haute couture and cheap clothes, or between a killer home entertainment system and a Radio Shack one. But eggs and milk are eggs and milk.

  39. For me, there aren’t many things I buy cheap. Vacation accomodation is the only thing that comes to mind. When I do buy something tangible, though, I always go for quality, even if I don’t care about it. Which is rather expensive in the short run. Like, for example, I don’t drink tea much. Once a month, perhaps. But when I needed a teapot, I bought the most durable one I could find.
    There are, though, a lot of things I don’t spend on at all. Like cable TV, movies, CDs, eating out, and other entertainment of that sort.

  40. I’d never really though about it this way. I came up with a list of obvious stuff (for me) pretty quickly:
    Vehicle – Just get me from A to B safely & reliably and I’m happy. I don’t care if it has a spoiler.
    Alcohol – It more or less lost its appeal when I became old enough to buy it legally. :)
    Concerts – Radio & CDs are fine for me.

    As I thought through it, one that I didn’t expect popped into my mind. I enjoy eating out, but only if it’s REALLY GREAT food that I couldn’t cook myself. I don’t care much about going out for a $20-$30 meal, but I love going out with my wife for a really nice meal. Lesson learned: Eat out at a great restaurants once a month or so. Don’t bother with middle-of-the-road restaurants.

    Thanks Ramit!

  41. - Gyms. I pay 17€/month, probably the ceapest one
    - Food. Wether it’s eating out (seriously, like one time in a year, going to a fancy restaurant is cool, but usually I stick to the cheapest restaurants) or buying groceries.
    - Housing. We live in an average-sized house with a nice garden, and seriously, the benefits a very rare..compared to the ammount of money you save and the required extra work.
    - TV: I rarely watch TV, DVB-T [free] on my computer is enough for me.
    - Shampoo,..
    - Music and Films: never buy, never would

  42. When it comes to spending, I DON’T care about…
    -Cable: Don’t watch too much
    -Movies: My friends by too many DVDs they don’t watch. So I borrow
    -CDs: Let’s just say I love the internet
    -Gyms: Although I stay fit, there’s infinity ways to exercise for free outside.
    -Underwear: Don’t get me wrong, my underwear isn’t grossly old anything like that, but freakin $30 for CK boxers? No thanks. Michael Jordan wears Hanes as well!
    -Place of living: I’m single and don’t need a big place => Lots of $$$ saved from really low rent
    -Furniture: I’m not gonna have my furniture more expensive than my apt.
    -Food @ home: Because I care about what I eat @ restaurants, I have simple meals @ home to try and balance the costs.
    -House clothes: no one really sees my house clothes. So what’s the point of splurging on them.

  43. When it comes to travel, I really don’t care about dates or how comfortable the trip is. This lets me save money on plane tickets.

    In general, when I want to buy something I don’t care much about getting it immediately. Similarly with something like a printer, I don’t worry too much about it printing quickly-the only real exception is my computer.

    I don’t care much about cars-as long as it works that’s good enough for me.

    I don’t care much about space-I live in the smallest apartment I can get with my wife.

    Non-work clothes-I don’t worry too much about what I wear here. However, work clothes are an entirely different story =P.

  44. My husband and I don’t drink, so we don’t pay for alcohol and usually get water when we go out to eat.

    We don’t spend money on fancy clothes, shoes, jewelery, makeup or massages, pedicures or manicures. We might get something nice every now and then but for the majority of the time, it’s not important.

    We don’t spend money on buying DVDs or CDs because we can rent with Netflix and get songs for free or just 99 cents.

    When our last computers went, we didn’t bother to get a new one because we’re at work 8 hours a day with good computers and can do whatever Web-surfing and other necessary things during that time. I put our photos on Picasa at work and also back them up on a portable hard-drive so we don’t really need a home computer right now.

    Fancy furniture isn’t necessary. Pottery Barn is sooo expensive, but I find I can get similar styles elsewhere for much cheaper with a little digging.

    There are certain things that we DO feel we need to not be cheap about, like groceries. We aren’t lunatics like Greg McFarlane suggests, but we do shop at Whole Foods because we’re vegan at home and like the selection. Also, their fruit just tastes better, and a lot of it is local so we support local growers that way. I’m sure we could save shopping at Wal-mart, but prefer not to spend money at that dreadful place.

  45. I don’t care as much about living in a nice place, but since recently my place has slipped below what is reasonably tolerable, I want to move but can’t make myself do it!
    The reason I’ve stayed so long is because of how cheap my apt. is (but in this case you get what you pay for). I can’t seem to reconcile paying an additional $300/month on top of what I currently pay for something equal or worse than what I currently live in.

  46. Things I don’t care about spending money on are:
    1) Clothes – I can buy great stuff I like at Target or other places.
    2) Going out – I would rather have people over and drink a few beers or some wine than go out to a loud, crowded place. To me it’s about the time with friends and that’s all that matters.
    3) Car – I drive a Honda Civic. As long as it gets good gas mileage and it isn’t going to break down on me, I’m happy.

    For the critics, this exercise kind of helps you think of some of the things that you are currently spending money on that you really don’t care about so perhaps you can go ahead and cut those.

  47. I don’t care about …

    - Clothes, shoes, manicures, massages. I don’t need the latest fashions, or even last year’s fashions. I buy new clothes only when the old ones wear out.

    - A fancy car. I’m happy with my Toyota Corolla, and I will drive it until it becomes unsafe to do so, or until (and if!) I have a large family. To be fair I was concerned with safety and reliability when I bought it new two years ago.

    - Cable, satellite, TiVo, seeing shows the moment they air. I watch most of my TV online, for free. I usually get the same quality, and I just have to wait for the next day.

    - Texting, data plans. Why do I need the Internet on my phone when I’m at the computer all the time? Why would I text someone when I can call them up and talk to them?

    - Transportation. Sure I could pay a hundred dollars a month in gas, and several hundred dollars PER QUARTER for parking at my university … but I’d much rather take the bus.

    There’s a lot more that I don’t care about, but it isn’t really on my radar as I’m a poor graduate student! Organic food, a plasma TV, clubbing/drinking/going out …

    Everyone should know the one, two, or three things that are most important to them. When I want to spend on something, I think about how that money could go to a plane ticket to visit my boyfriend. Then the choice is easy.

  48. Don’t care about….

    1. Car – I currently drive an 89′ Buick LeSabre and I plan on selling it this next year to have no car at all.

    2. Housing – I’m paying $200 a month for all housing expenses in a not so nice apartment and sharing a room with a person.

    3. Haircuts – I don’t need perms, dyes, or whatever, and my friend have clippers.

  49. Generally there’s a lot of things I don’t care a whole lot about, as I’ve found that the quality of a product usually doesn’t matter that much to me, except in a few key areas like my computer, clothing that looks nice or a car that doesn’t break down. I do love $150+ jeans, but using ebay I’ve never spent more than $60 on a pair. I’d rather save up my money for traveling.

    Some of the main things that come to mind:

    - Brand name foods. I hate buying them. I can’t even think of one thing in my kitchen that is brand name. In most cases I actually think store brand tastes better, with the only exception being macaroni and cheese, but I don’t mind it. In business school we learned that a lot of stores make the brand name in the same factory as the off brand, which I find totally believable.
    - Cable. Most of the shows I watch are online, why pay $30+ a month?
    - Eating at restaurants. I love going to restaurants with friends, but for years I’ve either bought the cheapest thing on the menu (I’m not picky, it makes it easy to choose) or just gotten a drink.
    - Beverages that aren’t water. I absolutely love water and it’s free!
    - Going to movies. I like to be social, so sitting in a dark room for a couple hours just doesn’t cut it for me, unless it’s something I really want to see.
    - Books and Magazines. Unless I’m going to read it over and over, I don’t see the point. The library works for me. I read at least 40 fiction books last year, so that would have been a lot of money.
    - Concerts. I love shows and festivals, but about 50% of what I love about them is working or volunteering at them. By working to gain more career experience, I get to go to enough to satisfy.

    Really I could go on. I think I’m the opposite here, my list of things I would spend a lot of money on is pretty short. Even then, I’m willing to take the time to make sure I got the best deal possible.

  50. Things I don’t care about:
    -my car. I drive a ’96 Accord with 215K miles. Every time I drive it I think of how my ING account is growing.
    -cleaning supplies for my place. whatever’s cheap.
    -sleeping arrangements while traveling. I will shell out thousands for plane tickets and events/activities, but I’ll also sleep in my car 1-2 nights if driving somewhere, or stay in a dumpy motel with 5 people rather than get a marriot hotel room.
    -water. I order water all the time, drink tap water at home.
    -internet. I don’t have it at home (that’s what work is for right??)
    -haircuts. I cut my own hair. it looks fine.
    -gym memberships – bought some dumbells and pullup bar and i work out in my apartment every day for free
    -also those middle-of-the-road restaurants, either give me a real splurge or give me taco bell

    • Wow. I am turned on.

      Maybe it’s the fact that you mentioned spending extravagantly on travel but cutting costs mercilessly on where you stay, or that you mentioned TACO BELL (my favorite)…but JoeK: If you were a woman, I would try to hit on you. HARD.

      However, note that you would have to be really hot. And have a blog with over 100,000 readers/month. I have standards, you know.

  51. I don’t care to spend money on institutional education. I don’t care to buy brand-name clothing. I don’t care to spend tons of money on beauty products… then again, I don’t have alot of money to begin with.

  52. HA ha you got Ramit Randy…. anyway, I dont’ care about spending big bucks on cars or dining out but I refuse to skimp on my beer or my family.

  53. Clothes: I wear a uniform to work, and my leisure attire consists of shorts and flip flops

  54. [...] See the rest here:  What do you NOT care about spending money on? | I Will Teach You … [...]

  55. AMEN Brother! all to often bloggers (and many commentators here) focus on cutting costs and doing things cheaply as if that is an end in it’s self.

    My sister in law summed it up when she said she make a lot of sacrifices to be able to visit us each year.

    We know what’s NOT importnat to you but what are you willing to spending money on.

  56. I learned a lesson a few years ago. I bought a new car, which I still like, but I will NEVER buy new again. And I will drive the new car into the ground before I buy a new (old) one.

  57. kraff singles?? – seriously Remit?

  58. What don’t I care about…
    - A flashy car: I would have still been driving my 94 Accord that I’ve had for the last 10 years if my boyfriend hadn’t totaled his car (I sold him the 94 Accord and got a used but barely driven 07 Accord in cash earlier this year. I fully intend it to last me another 10 years at least)
    - Manicures/Pedicures/Tanning/Massages/Spas
    - Matching purses to go with every outfit
    - Types of flights: I’ll grab the lowest price even if there are several stops etc
    - Expensive restaurants: I like the convenience of eating out occasionally, but I’m just as happy (if not more so) with cheap sushi or Panera Bread as I would be with a fancy restaurant where entrees are $30 or up
    -The newest gadget: I refuse to buy an iPhone or a Kindle until I know they’ll actually improve my quality of life measurably.
    -Brand name clothing: I like nice clothes, but I can always find them at NY&C on sale with coupons.
    -Expensive weddings: I haven’t gotten married or engaged yet, but when I do I refuse to spend a fortune on one day of my life. The wedding industry is a racket and I love DIY stuff. And for that matter, I don’t care about expensive rings either. If my to-be-fiance spends more than $300 on a ring I will be chastising him. (Maybe. I might be too busy being happy.)
    -Expensive Furniture: everything I own was IKEA’d or given to me, except for a small wood/glass coffee table I got for $5 at a garage sale. My dining room table is an old medium-sized pool table (used to be my parents’) with a piece of decorated plywood on top, and I’m perfectly happy with it.
    -HBO/Showtime/Cable: I have Netflix and there’s Hulu, I can wait.

    Of course, the problem with this list is that the list of things I DO care about is at least as long and pretty darn expensive:
    - Travel
    - Education (or at least finishing my grad degree, quality is irrelevant at this point)
    - Music/Concerts
    - Movies/TV (theater AND DVDs/nice TV/sound etc)
    - Books
    - Computers and computer equipment
    - Photography/cameras/photo books
    - Video games
    - Planning awesome parties (especially for Halloween, I have a fund in ING dedicated to Halloween only)
    - Shoes. I am trying VERY HARD to stop caring about this, since it only started recently and can get so very expensive…

  59. There’s always the issue of what may not be important to you may be important to your spouse or significant other.
    I’ve just gotten engaged this past month, and I was just fine with a fake such as CZ, or something simple, but it was important to him for it to be real… so the compromise (even though all a surprise to me) was a hand me down diamond from his parents, but a new setting.
    Other items: Even though I enjoy wine, my frugal side quite enjoys the $2.99 Oak Leaf from Walmart. I did taste quite a few cheapies before this one made the cut to be a regular.
    No cable, only an antenna. (which did require a little investment at the time of the switch of $20)
    Just the radio for my tunes.
    I frequent the library for pleasure books or investment books. They seem to get them quickly after release even if you do have to go on a hold (waiting) list.
    I paid $6500 cash for my car and still have it 7 years later.
    If I eat out… the dollar menu goes far. Most of the time its leftovers.
    I do tend to spend more on dinner parties and such to get together with all my friends. If we take turns, I think it ends up being a wash, so to speak in the end. If not, we do carry in and have had some quite tasty meals.

  60. Hair/nails/etc – Went natural so I wouldn’t have to maintain a dye job

    Kids clothes – They grow out of everything within a year, and I can buy 4 (name brand) outfits at the thrift store for the price of one pair of jeans

    Bags- I’ll buy a $10 or $15 bag once a year, maybe

    Upgrades- I’d love to buy a newer car or upgrade my old phone and computer, but I’m not replacing anything until it is run into the ground, on fire.

  61. Things that don’t matter to me are: expensive haircuts/hair products (I have a relative that cuts my hair, and I keep it short so I don’t need gel or wax), clubbing or barhopping (if I wanted to drink, I’d just drink at a friend’s house – less risk of stumbling around in the street or getting a DUI), crazy new gadgets/cellphones (my phone is used for calling people and texting, I don’t need it to toast bread), $5 cups of coffee (just because it comes from some remote island in the Pacific doesn’t mean it’s worth $5 a cup), and satellite/cable TV (I haven’t really watched TV in years. Anything worth watching I could rent via Netflix if I were so inclined.)

    It’s interesting to note exactly what we don’t care about spending money on. I’ve never really thought about it until your article, but it makes sense to be aware of that stuff.

  62. I agree with Brian, hair cuts- I do it myself. Beer- I like them all :-) electronics-all I need is my crackberry. Thanks for the question, it has made me think about everything I have purchased today. Oh wait, I didn’t spend any money today, must not NEED anything.

    Thanks

  63. I never / seldom spend money on….

    .“organic” food. studies have shown time and again, that “organic” food is just a clever and highly lucrative marketing scheme for food producers.
    .iPhone and other overpriced gadgets. The average iPhone bill runs about 80 to 100 $ a month. That is a wastage of about 400 $ over the year !
    .Online Subscriptions. Best things on the internet are free, including Ramit’s awesome blog. So Why pay ? I have deleted WSJ from my favorites ;)
    .Office Supplies. Guess where I get my stationary for free from ;)
    .getting laid. I get enough p@ssy for free, so why bother forking money for it ? ‘Nuf said.

  64. Hi, I’m 30 and a DINK! This is how I spend my money. You can have all the good things in life and don’t have to cut back by not caring what other people think.

    Clothes- You can always find designer clothing on SALE. It’s as cheap as Target for regular price. I can find Seven jeans and True Religions for $50.

    Cars- Buy quality with all the bells and whistles so you love driving it everywhere. I have a 97′ BMW 5 series purchased used for 15k in 2002. It still runs like a champ with 170k miles and it’s been paid off.

    CPU- Work gives me one and why would you spend so much money to search the internet and go on twitter or facebook. I’m typing this up at work.

    Phones- Work gives me one, but it is nice to have an IPHONE so you won’t be bored all the time ie headlines, traffic updates, google maps, etc, but is it worth it to you to be jammed with information. When I go out I just use others to get my IPHONE fix.

    House- I rent…Still saving for a home under 2,000 sqft to fill upto 3 kids. No need to buy a big home so that you have to furnished.

    Dining- Get real! You need to experience life. We cook at home Su-Th and dine out F and Sat. Drink water instead of liquor and you’ll save more money.

    Bars/Club- pre-party at the crib before you go out and bring a flask. Happy Hour is fun, but doing it for years is gay.

    Hotels- Use points if you can.

    In summary: Pretty much I can spend money on things but they either be on a super sale other than that you work to buy things. They are just things that judge people on who you are. If you can get by this, then you can have a fantastic life.

  65. I don’t care about:
    fancy car (reliability is important tho!)
    designer labels and this season’s fashionable clothes (I focus on only getting clothes that fit well and will last)
    owning DVDs
    cable TV
    concerts / live bands
    non-alocholic drinks (think soda, coffee)
    new furniture (we got an amazing deal on a beautiful couch set on craigslist and my night stand set was a steal at a consignment shop)
    expensive wine ($8 Riesling is good for me)
    beauty products (except for hair cuts and basic makeup just for going out… being healthy and slim is cheaper AND sexier)

    My must haves:
    quality groceries / my garden
    semi-fast internet (no dial up)
    travel (cheap hotels / hostels are ok but I’ll pay more to avoid a layover)
    outdoor equipment (not worth going if you’re going to be miserable due to poor planning or poor equipment)

  66. I don’t spend money on:
    -digital cable
    -gym membership
    -new cars (I always buy used)
    -expensive trips (stay-cations work for me)
    -High end resturants (we often eat in)
    -name brand clothes

    Generally speaking I think we are pretty conserative for most things, however we are working to tighten the belt even more. During your save $1000 challenge, I saved over 700 in a month by not eating out for lunch or breakfast. I’ve also decided these small expenses are not important.

  67. Although not quite there yet, I aspire to spend:

    - When the majority of things become necessary (ie: new car, new blog layout, new business marketing, etc.).

    - On a few select things that I enjoy.

    - On investing long term in businesses I have an information advantage in.

    - My education and learning in life.

    None of us can ever have everything we want, but by wanting less we can get closer to the goal.

    Great comments everyone, interesting reading your thoughts!

    :)

  68. Gr8 post, unfortunately I can’t buy your book, coz’ the shipping isn’t available in Macedonia.

  69. I spend as little as possible on:
    1. Housing
    2. Car
    3. Clothing
    4. Furniture
    5. Food (eat out a lot but try to do it cheaply)
    6. Avoid subscriptions like the plague

    I do spend on:
    1. Traveling
    2. Electronics
    3. Gifts
    4. Trying to better myself (ie reading, learning, training)

  70. Few of my big savings come from wise choices:
    - Stay nearby public transport (preferrably trains). Although rent will be higher, you will save on transportation / car.
    - Don’t own car, rent it as needed
    - For long tours, use cheaper options like gotobus.com
    - Buy electronics items from ebay.
    You may not get latest model, but atleast upgrade to one before latest. Also, one can return item or get partial refund in case of any issue with item via paypal.
    - Cook at home mostly.
    - Use CFL lights at home. Keep heat at low temperatures in winter and avoid/low AC in summer.
    - Cut landline, use only mobile.
    - I use T-mobile and wi-fi on iPhone without data plan.
    - Stay away from bad habits.As such, life is so sweet and short to reduce it with bad habits.

  71. I think what I get from this post is that I should have a financial garage sale in my mind. I need to evaluate the things that I do have in my life that I am willing to either part with or downgrade (cable, magazines, XM, Netflix, etc.).
    Also, I should decide what is at the core of what I do value and ways to achieve those values a bit more cost effectively (movies, family, socializing, world/environmental peace, traveling, beauty, etc.).
    Right Ramit?

  72. This is actually pretty easy for me:

    1) Electronics. I’ve never bought an iPod, I’ve used the same simple cell phone for ages, and I get hand-me-down laptops from my computer-obsessed brother and father. I don’t have a TV.

    2) Entertainment. I live in NYC, where fun is free—or at least cheap. I’ll pay for drinks now and again, but overall I spend little in this area.

    3) Everything else: books, jewelry, clothes, appliances, whatever—if I do spend money on it, it’s in moderation.

    So what DO I use my money for? Travel! I spent $5K on a trip to Africa last year that I couldn’t have afforded if I spent my money on those small, meaningless things. I’m also trying to spend more on food, because I’m willing to pay for local, organic and healthy foods.

  73. I feel like I’ve been living frugally for a really long time now (I was saving up for the townhouse I just bought). However, the few things that I tend to go without that seems to make me stand apart from my friends are:

    1. Cable television. It’s amazing how much stuff is available on the twelve channels my rabbit ears tune in to.

    2. New clothes (when I do shop, I love thrift stores and consignment shops…but I generally always buy really good brands because they last).

    3. Gadgets…I still don’t own an iPod and my cell phone is 3 years old. Hey, it still works and I like its simplicity.

    4. Books/magazines. That’s what the library is for. I only buy what I know I’ll read repeatedly. It’s a matter of both money and space.

  74. As Ramit has said many times part of figuring out your personal finances is deciding what is important to you. If spending tons on going out or shoes is important to you, then do that. If you don’t feel spending on organic food is important, then don’t. On this flip side of that don’t think that what isn’t important to you shouldn’t be important to anyone.

    A note on the study referenced by Chad about the nutrient content of organic foods vs conventionally grown foods. The study is bogus due to it’s 50 year time frame. That kind of time frame is ridiculous because foods grown 25+ years ago had significantly higher nutritional content than foods grown today and organics did not exist as a formal certification until recently. The theory as to why organic foods have higher nutritional content is that they grow slower in soil with a greater array of micro nutrients. Conventional growing methods utilize many ways to make crops grow faster. The advantage to shorter growing time and quicker turnaround is cheaper food, but unfortunately this results in fewer nutrients.

  75. 1. Having or paying for pets and their care.
    2. Having a new car every few years.
    3. Buying nice or superfluous kitchen goods.
    4. Makeup/hair care/spa visits.

    I could live without all of the above, though I enjoy splurging on #4 when I really feel flush.

  76. - fancy car
    - designer anything
    - cell phones
    - eating out a lot
    - organic food
    - whole foods, bristol farms, ralphs
    - housing
    - gambling
    - movies
    - satellite radio
    - furniture
    - apple products
    - subscriptions
    - drinks
    - my hair (i cut it myself.. i don’t use product)
    - upgrades

  77. Some good suggestions from other posters, thanks for the thought-provoking ideas. Trying not to repeat previous posters, here are a few additional areas I don’t care about spending on:

    - kitchen unitaskers: part of being a New Yorker, I don’t have space for things like a margarita maker that only do one thing; an object has to earn its keep in my kitchen

    - space fillers: buying some crap item just because you can’t take the bare space? talk about a false economy. My floor went bare for a while until I found a rug that met all my needs; my books were piled up in neat stacks until I found the right bookcases; and my bed currently has no headboard as I haven’t found the “perfect” one yet

    - tchotchkes/”collections” of dubious value: some blogger posted her “collection” of purses that she had found for under $30 each…there must have been nearly 40 or more of them, and believe me, they looked like they were worth exactly what she had paid. What a waste! But you see this so often where people “collect” things that have zero market value and end up reading as clutter (“collectible” plates, costume jewelry). If you’re going to collect stuff, make it Serious and Important. Or at least monetize-able (like gold jewelry). Which leads me to…

    - Quantity. Give me one well-made item over 10 crap ones. Friends who know me well remark “where are the rest of your clothes?!” when they see how little is in my closet (even though I’m on record as a fashion nut). I buy fabulous-quality stuff that lasts forever; some pricey, some not – I assess ruthlessly and add sparingly. Of course, I donate when something is still useful but is out of fashion, so it becomes a tax deduction, too!

    - Face products. I splurge on bath stuff, and probably would for my face as well but my My line for pushy salespeople is always “I need to run any products by my dermatologist.” No derm has ever recommended anything other than Cetaphil cleanser, available at your local drugstore for about $10.

    - Gifts. My family is just as happy with a $50 gift as something more expensive. For hostess gifts, a $15 bottle of wine tied with a nice ribbon is just as good as a $45 one. Maybe I’m the reincarnation of scrooge, but I never got the rationale for going into debt over gift/holiday shopping.

  78. I’ve been cognizant of things I dont care about. I live in a shitty apt. bc I work a lot and really dont care if its a bad neighborhood or looks ugly from the outside. I dont spend money on clothes and am fine buying everything at Marshals.

    I do love to party and spend all my money at bars. I

  79. 1. Car — You know how they say what car you drive says something about who you are? I want mine to say “pragmatic”.

    2. TV/Cable — Why on earth would I pay for television when I can watch virtually any program for free on the internet, including even shows that aired decades ago or shows that aren’t produced in this country?

    3. Clothes — I don’t see much value in buying things I already own.

  80. The overarching theme is that I don’t value things that are flashy/name brand/impractical. Basically, I will not pay more for things meant to enhance my status (flashy condo, clothes, car, and so on). Also, since I value my freedom highly I sacrafic on items that would add to fixed costs.

    But I do pay more for things that save me time and hassel, provide value for the long term, etc (a Mac vs. a PC, a Japanese car over an America car, an appartment located close to my office, crazy expensive exercise clothes from Lululemon).

  81. most things i don’t care about, i ask for as christmas gifts…that way, i can still have them as “splurges” but not have paid for them. :P

    well…with the exception of the fancy car. i’m a honda girl myself.

    i also don’t care about eating out that often (or really going out that often). i’d brown-bag lunch as often as i can in order to save up for a splurgy trip anywhere! :)

  82. oh wait…i should add that i don’t care about 4 star hotels but after trying to save money at the last 2 star hotel i stayed at…i might have to reconsider the 4 star ones again…-shudder-

  83. Interesting way of doing it, yes I agree it is easier to think of the things I will spend my money on but not so easy to think of the things I want to avoid spending my money. I like spending my money on holidays and nice things – I work hard to make money from home and would prefer to go without if I could not have what I wanted so I suppose that is my answer really.

  84. I, don’t care about eating out, I would rather go to grandmom’s for a home cookmeal; but if there is a need to socialize TGI Friday’s is ok for me. as far as my car, I just got me a newer USED car afer 11 years with my old one. I went for a Mazda 3 this time… I hope they are reliable as well as a toyota or honda.
    I would pay more for a Mac than a regular PC, well with the Mac you can have a PC too….!!! I want an Iphone but I can’t convince myself to get one yet…… I love tennis shoes Nikes, but I would never pay more than 50 bucks for a pair of pants!!!

    Used books over newones, and I tried to take my lunch to work at least 3 times a week.

  85. I can see the value of distinguishing spending in a way to spend in the areas you choose and cut back in categories that aren’t important to you, but I think it also matters what’s on your Want list.

    Apart from not spending on what’s not important to you so that you can spend on what you do want, for how many people is it a choice to not spend in certain areas in favor of a certain goal or lifestyle? Not so much sacrificing spending here so that you can spend somewhere else, but so that you can achieve a dream. The dream may require extra savings, certain investments and the acquisition of certain skills.

    If you want to be free to be a traveling writer in 10 years but your Want list includes a large house in an expensive neighborhood, it seems that Want will mostly interfere with the long term goal. If you buy the big house not only will you have the expense of paying for and maintaining it, but you’ll also need all of the toys that go into it, like high end furniture and a car befitting the zip code.

    It seems that most people have goals, but also have Want Lists that aren’t consistent with those goals. They either don’t ever accomplish their goals or they end up in debt, or both.

    Major Wants are like a giant financial tapeworm. What’s on your Want list could be more important than what you’re doing without to maintain it.

  86. buying a new car. sounds insane, but i am almost 43 and buy cars for the very very long term. i just spent $40k on a new one but my goal is to keep it for 20 years.

  87. - Wristwatches — my phone, car, computer, microwave and cable box all have a clock built in. Plus the bands invariable pull out my arm hair.

    - Camera equipment. Although I do like to take pictures, my six year old DSLR and seven year old point and shoot still have enough resolution to easily take high resolution images. And it’s much more about the skill of the photographer than the equipment, anyway.

    - Computers. I work with them every day and work provides me with one. When we needed to buy one for the house, I found one on newegg for $250 that meets our very basic needs.

    - HD TV – while I will say that the HD picture is better, there is nothing I can’t get on standard def that’s compelling enough to make me switch over anytime soon. If my TV dies, I’ll get a HD model, but I’m not running out

    - Smartphones – I am attracted to the cool gadget features, not so attracted to the contract and $50-100/month I’d be giving away for two years after the “cool factor” wore off. I have a $7/month prepaid phone that works well enough.

    - I get my haircut at a bare-bones barber shop for $9. I also have yet to get a massage in my lifetime. I also don’t “get” spa treatments. My idea of a good “spa treatment” is going for a nice run, followed by a hot shower. Loosens me up just fine.

    - Foofy coffee drinks. Regular brewed is OK with me.

  88. Things I don’t care to spend money on:
    -Upgraded cable channels.
    -Paying for alcohol at bars/restaurants
    -Owning movies.
    -Music/cds/mp3s
    -valet parking
    -owning books (but I get new stuff from the library every week)
    -gym memberships
    -wholesale stores/clubs (I never end up cooking enough to make it worthwhile buying in bulk, and it’s hard to get a good roi unless you spend a fair bit in there like a TV, but I can usually find electronics with a better deal elsewhere)
    -athletic clothing. A few 8 year old work out shorts, and some free tshirts do the trick. (Exception: running shoes every 400 miles or so! Also, I’m married, so I don’t need to look hot while working out).
    -Software applications. There’s a free opensource version of just
    about anything you want out there (mint.com is still my favorite tool, but things like Malware Bytes Super Anti-Spyware is up there too)
    -Super organic scienctific mega Gourmet cat food. They can eat dry food like me, we both like it because we don’t know any better.

    Things I DO like to spend money on:
    -video games
    -trying out different restaurants with my wife
    -Clothes for work
    -Computer Hardware (see video games
    -Well stocked liquor cabinet
    -Beer in glass bottles (contrast these with not wanting to spend money on booze while out on the town)

    Things I say I don’t care about but secretly want to impulsively waste money on even though I know it’s unwise:
    -Car. I’ve got a ’02 Maxima that is wonderful and paid for, and will probably last another 3-5 years at least. And I SAY I don’t need anything better (I don’t), but I’d secretly love to drive a beamer! I can’t stomach paying a ton for a car (or having a car payment) so I know I won’t get one. But I still want it, and I feel like I have to tell the world how much I love my current car (which I do, but I still want a beamer).
    -Electronic gadgets, do I really need a DSLR camera? (No.)
    -Audio/Video gear, I don’t watch a lot of tv or movies, or listen to music, but I still really want a sweet big screen plasma… stupid!

  89. It’s interesting that most of the comments include not spending on electronics, books, music, real estate, designer brands, etc. Others have brought up a good point that these things may change as our lives do… I agree that salary, location, age, etc. do have a significant impact on our lists.

    What I don’t care about:
    - Fancy car (will drive my cheapo car until it just about sputters out)
    - Alcohol (rarely drink)
    - Designer clothing (although starting to rethink this since my cheaper clothing has a tendency to fall apart very quickly)
    - $$ rent for a fancy apartment (would rather spend less on rent and save for a decent house)
    - Eating out often (I say often because although I rarely eat out on weekdays, I do value eating out with friends at cheap or moderately priced places on the weekends)

    What I do care about:
    - Travel (especially activities & food)
    - Books/music/DVDs/TV/cable/internet/DVR
    - Electronics (especially my camera, media-related electronics… and my iPhone, but since my company pays for my plan, I don’t have the same cost considerations as others who have commented)
    - Beauty products & the occasional spa treatment

    I am still able to save a significant portion of my income, I think mostly because I make a six-figure income but don’t spend at the same rate as some of my friends who make a similar amount. And these days, who knows how long that income will be coming in… so I definitely think it is still important to save consistently and be wary of spending on the less important things.

  90. Things I don’t care for:
    1. Exquisite food and beverages
    2. Sitting 5 rows closer to the stage at a concert/theater for double the price.
    3. Expensive hotels

    Things I do/will care about:
    1. Elite and ultra fast computer and internet connection
    2. Books to fill my personal library
    3. Comfortable shoes and clothing for all occasions.

  91. I really care about what I spend on camping gear. Having nice equipment allows me to camping in all sorts of conditions with a lightweight backpack and the things I have to be comfortable in the back country. This allows me to save lots of money when I take a vacation as I never have to pay for hotels. A park entry pass or a campground fee of 5-20$ gives me a place to stay.

  92. The things I do not care about do not occupy a large part of my thinking, but here goes
    1) Pretty much anything that can be bought at the mall. Get something durable, repairable, and sufficiently nice to never want to upgrade, and you practically never have to spend again.
    2) Transportation. The need for transportation is an indication of a poorly chosen location. If chosen well, everything need can be covered by walking or cycling.
    3) Service (including subscriptions and entertainment and particularly cooking). I prefer to do things myself. Makes me feel less dependent.
    4) Being on the forefront of the entertainment wave. I’ll never pay $15 for something that just came out.
    5) Choice. I think more choice is a negative rather than a positive.
    6) Comfort. There are two kinds of comfort. The external bandaid kind of pills and plushy seats and the internal one of tolerating and overcoming hardship. No sniveling ;)
    7) Extra bedrooms and bathrooms. Particularly the latter.
    8) Storing stuff I don’t need and will likely never look at again.

  93. It’s interesting that so many people don’t care about driving nice cars. That’s one of the few things on which I don’t mind spending the extra money, and I’m happy to sacrifice other things so I can afford my Audi.

    What doesn’t matter to me:

    1) Travel – I don’t have a burning desire to “see the world.”

    2) TV – I do have Netflix, but it’s much cheaper than cable, and any show worth watching comes out on DVD.

    3) Talking/texting on the phone – Like many others here, I don’t feel the need to buy an iPhone or Blackberry. Nor do I need to be talking to someone or typing text messages every minute of every day, and I think it’s crazy to spend $50+ per month on a cell phone plan. I pay $5/month for Virgin Mobile prepaid.

    4) Designer clothing and shoes, jewelry, and makeup. And I don’t even own a purse.

    5) Eating out/fast food – I cook at home, bring my lunch to work, and save restaurants for special occasions.

  94. Things I don’t care about:
    - Flashy Car
    - iPhone. I just don’t care…
    - Eating out. Have never really enjoyed it really. And I love bringing leftovers to work for lunch!

    Things that I value and spend money on:
    - Housing. I will spend the extra money to live in the best part of the city, and I absolutely love having my friends stay over, so once I can afford it, I will upgrade to a two bedroom apt., which, in San Francisco, will account for a large portion of my paycheck.
    - Signing up for athletic events. Training for athletic events (like triathlons or fun runs) is free, keeps you active, and is a great way to socialize with friends/enjoy the city/etc. Event entrance fees can add up though.

    Because I work in a high-salaried industry with pharmaceutical engineers, I get a lot of slack (constantly!) from my colleagues for driving a 2001 vehicle (I don’t think it’s that old!) and not having an iPhone. But then again, they don’t believe that it is possible to become a millionaire on a salary of “only” $100K/year.

  95. I’m with you on the car- I’ll up the ante and say I’m not willing to spend money on digs at all right now, as I’m currently cost cutting (read: livin with my folks). It’s sure not stylish but the savings are great. While I could afford my own place, it’s been great to instead place the money that would have been spent on food/rent and invest it in the market instead.

  96. Actually, not having an expensive car is liberating. You don’t have a payment, you can carry less insurance, ad valorem tax is very low, and you don’t have to worry where you park it.

    I’ve never understood the “must have” aspect of a nice car. Without it you have so much more money (and less to worry about) to spend on other things.

  97. [...] Drawing that distinction is certainly a good way to focus on what you want to spend money on. (Read it at I Will Teach You To Be [...]

  98. Ramit – I just discovered your fine website (via the AWeber videos) and immediately subscribed via RSS. Your site will help a lot of people get (and keep) their priorities straight. In my own blog I’m trying to show readers (especially entrepreneurs and managers in small businesses) how they can save money by doing some things themselves. Case in point: my post on writing your own brochures. Keep up the good work!

  99. Nice post Ramit! I think we do share the same niche. It was nice to be here and see a fellow personal finance blogger. As for me, what I don’t care about is the brand of clothes, shoes, and anything to wear. As long as it fits me and I look great with it, then it would be fine for me.

  100. I really like your post Ramit and agree with what you have to say. But then there are times that it’s hard for people to draw a line between what they care about spending their money and what they don’t care about spending their money on. For some people like you mentioned in your post, going to a fancy restaurant isn’t something they really care about but then there are others for whom it becomes a prestige issue.

    Keep posting , liking ‘em!!

    Karan

    financeterp.wordpress.com

  101. I’m in the somewhat unique situation of being 23 years old, out of school just over a year, and just starting out on my own. Because of this, I have bought a good amount of stuff in the last year that most of the other readers have not. I moved into my own apartment (found a nice balance between reasonable rent and decent condition, in a quiet neighborhood close to work) and needed to buy a bed, couch, kitchen table, etc. I also bought a TV and spent a little extra on an LCD model, as I enjoy movies – but I don’t feel the need to go upgrade every 3 years to the latest thing. Basic phone with limited text plan, internet connection and satellite package that provide the basics, but nothing exceptional. I don’t have much vacation time to use at work, so traveling isn’t really on the radar.

    Most of my clothing comes from salvation army or something on that level – Target when I feel like splurging. I buy store-brand food from the cheap grocery store, and don’t eat out very often. When I do, I’m fine with a mid-level place, at best.

    I do pay about $15/month for a gym membership, but staying healthy enables me to keep other costs down, and raises my quality of life. I’m saving for a nice car (or several of them!) and until then enjoy keeping my car clean and running well with quality parts.

  102. This is a great blog! I think for most people, immideate gratification is what is important. People don’t usually think before they buy things.

    Personally, I don’t smoke, drink, do drugs or party. I came to the realization that if you spend $100 a week on alcohol, smoking, partying, etc. (usually it would be a lot more than $100, but thats the example I use), then in one year you spend over $5000 on that alone. I would much rather save that money and go on a nice vacation once a year, and not go party every weekend!

  103. This is a great post. I have had this same discussion with my husband and friends. I keep stressing that everyone spends their money on something.

    I don’t care about expensive gadgets, name brand shoes, and excessive drinking tabs.

  104. I always find it funny how people single out sports cars, and tend to get on a rampage when someone counters with a great liking of them. (Not saying it’s what you meant, Ramit, but it’s a general PF consensus sort of thing. Sadly I’m hyper defensive because of it.)

    For me, sports cars are everything good in my life. And I swear some people can’t get over that… *Shrug* My Honda’s close to being ten years old, and she’s still going good. Plus she’s a fairly fuel efficient sports car. :) As are my other two, but we’ll see how they do after they’re both turbo’d.

    Things I don’t spend money on:
    -Lots of expensive meals, a few trips to awesome sushi bars a month are good for me.
    -Housing. I’ll live in a cardboard box if I could, just give me internet and a place to sleep and security for my cars and I’m good to go.
    -Clothes. Stopped spending giant amounts of money here to devote more money to the cars.
    -Groceries/other food. Organic? Please. Give me what’s cheap and decent tasting and I’m good.
    -Alcohol/tobacco/drugs. Pass for sure. One drink every once in a while over dinner or with friends is good for me. I have more fun hanging out for free in parking lots with people than spending money going places.
    -Stuff. I buy diecast cars and the occasional poster, but not a whole lot else. For the past two months, my spending like this has been cut to $35 every two weeks. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been very painful. Sure, I can find plenty of stuff to blow money on, if I let myself have more blow money. (Plan to keep it limited, though. I like how it’s been turning out.)

  105. Foxie (108)–The link below might give extra credibility to your dissing of organic food. Headline is “Organic food is no healthier, study finds”, posted by Reuters on Friday…

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090729/sc_nm/us_food_organic;_ylt=AhWzfO5bwBNVi3KmD5m5_4x1fNdF

  106. I recently decided to take some time off grad school to work on skills I really desire to have: foreign language, music (playing guitar, singing, piano, and writing and performing), fitness (yoga and cardio instructor certification) and travel. In order to accomplish this, make a living and be able to maintain a decent standard of living I’ve had to think HARD about what I want to cut down or out of my budget.

    Acquiring the skills I want:
    Music lessons – I’m bartering skills I have for those I don’t. I acquire new knowledge and save the $65/lesson fee. As I gain more skill I can barter MORE knowledge. I also joined a local choir to get practice singing and performing

    Language acquisition – joined a meetup group to learn Spanish and having a family friend’s parent teach Hindi. Free practice!

    Certification – working at local gym and getting trained and certified for free

    I’ve cut out:
    -Drinking: If i do, I’ll get a bottle of liquor or wine from the store($15-20 per bottle that will supply a lot of alochol vs $10/glass at the bar), drink with friends before we go to a bar and then just drink water or enjoy good conversation
    -Excess driving or public transportation – I walk as much as possible to get exercise and bring a change of shoes (instead of hustling in heels)
    -Clothes shopping -Without compromising style for a tight budget, I go to the trendy swanky stores and get tips on what styles are hot. Then I go to my closet and see how I can re-invent what I already own by accenting it with cheap accessories or finding similar looking low cost items at other stores.
    -There are a few high cost items I buy ( Sorry Ramit, Kraft cheese is just gross) but compared to the cost of eating out, groceries are far cheaper and gives me an excuse to entertain or show off my skills when I visit with food to a friends place.

  107. @Kevin – Thanks. ;) I’ve heard about a lot of studies like that, so I’m not really convinced it’s better. I don’t knock people who want to spend extra money on it, but I’m definitely taking my dollars elsewhere.

    I’m really not trying to be a dick about the car thing, it just irks me that people think my cars are about something other than me liking them. To be honest, most people aren’t worth impressing, my cars are just for me. :) (And they’re mostly paid off. Only a tiny loan on the 19 year old, to build my credit up.)

  108. massages. a real massage by a professional massage therapist is known to take years off your life if you get them often, like 2 times a month. I buy all my jeans, underwear and socks at places like target, i rarely eat out at fancy restaurants, but when it comes to massage, the benefits outweigh the price, every time, that is only my humble opinion, sir.

  109. Ryan, I hope you mean that a real massage is known to ADD years TO your life, not TAKE years OFF, because that would be really scary!

    Oh, and I thought of one other thing that the BF and I don’t ever plan on spending money on: kids.

    No kids for us. Or home ownership, but that’s another story.

  110. This is a great article. I’m going to bring it up to my husband, so we can talk about it, and maybe change some things.

    For me:
    Expensive electronic gadgets (cell phones, handheld game devices, iPod, etc). We have a PSP, which I play on occasionally, but I have a very basic phone, and no peripherals for it, and no MP3 player.
    Fancy meals. We eat out occassionally, but make better food at home most of the time.
    Drinking/Partying. We’ve “outgrown” that, and now would rather spend money on screen doors and ceiling fans.
    Recreation. We live near both our families, so we don’t have “hobbies” except to go to the movies on a regular basis (IF something good is playing we want to see).

    BUT, we DO spend a significant amount of money on our house payment, and the various things we need to maintain it and our land. Also, I drive a Mercedes, which I believe has a significant impact on my professional life (people respect the car, and look at me differently for having it, ESPECIALLY the men I work with)–I honestly think it has impacted my income, too.
    Also, we’ve spent a significant amount of money this year in particular on dental and medical bills, mainly maintenance stuff, which I don’t believe in shuffling to the bottom of the pile if you have money to pay for it.

  111. I don’t care about:
    -video game systems
    -blue ray DVDs
    -the best or most recent technology
    -a wifi capable laptop
    -designer clothes, furniture, food or pets
    -the biggest house on the block
    -the nicest lawn in town
    -cell phone add-ons (music player, custom ringtones, games, wallpaper, etc)
    -fancy cars
    -designer shoes, jewelry or handbags
    -new books, CDs or movies
    -going out to eat every week or the bar scene
    -high end gym membership or personal trainer

    I do care about and spend money on:
    -quality food (from local growers, not necessarily organic)
    -regular doctor appointments and preventative care
    -photography
    -maintaining my 2007 Toyota (paid for in full)
    -travel & saving up for a 2 week European vacation
    -gifts, usually simple but meaningful
    -a cell phone plan that lets me check email remotely and unlimited text messaging with the teens I mentor
    -reliable home internet
    -slowly remodeling my first home

    I’m 24 yo, female and single and most of my family still can’t figure out why I’d rather be in the driveway changing my own oil, mowing my lawn or cutting new baseboards for my office rather than out “having fun shopping” I tell them 3 months EF in the bank, 2% of my home value in savings, contributing to retirement and the joy of knowing I’m not throwing thousands of dollars at something I deem unimportant.

  112. Comic books! It’s my only guilty pleasure these days!

  113. Won’t buy:

    a TV – there are better things to do with my time
    DVDs – there are better things to do with my money
    music – Pandora

    Also, I have minimal desire to live in a big apartment. I’d rather have a tiny place in the heart of downtown. Small living quarters forces me to accumulate less stuff. I always get irritated when someone moves into a larger place and then comments that it looks empty and goes out and buys more stuff just to fill it up. That has to be the worst reason for buying furniture I’ve ever heard.

  114. I hate the process of shopping, so that really prevents spending on things I don’t care about: clothes, jewelry, shoes, beauty products, gadgets, cars. If I need a book/movie, the library works for me.

    As I moved from the 20’s to 30’s, the two things I now care about that I didn’t before are good beer in glass bottles (now that I only drink for taste, it matters) and quality solid wood furniture (a love affair I never anticipated, but I hope never to buy a particleboard and plywood piece again. Fewer pieces, but beautiful stuff).

  115. Jenn (119)–You’ve highlighted an excellent example of why we shouldn’t ever get too attached to our stuff no matter how important it may seem at the time.

    As we go through life, our goals and preferences change (hopefully), and as we let go of certain ones in favor of others, it’s best not to have too much money (DEBT!) carrying over when we’re ready to move on.

  116. I used to want a Range Rover really bad. Just the thought of getting one gave me goosebumps. But as I become more finacially mature, I realize the basic purpose of a car is transportation, not status. So I will continue to drive my 11 year old car and keep my $ in the bank.

    I see a lot of comments from minimalist guys on this post which is great, but I’m afraid more guys want the materialistic things to attract women.

  117. I don’t care about:

    TV, home entertainment systems or any of that stuff
    Designer clothing
    Luxury of any kind (I’m allergic to being too comfortable)

    I do care about:

    Long dinners and drinks with friends
    Travel with a backpack
    Fine cutlery
    Really nice flashlights
    Super durable gear and equipment

    Really good post – got me thinking. I’m a brand new subscriber today!

  118. Ramit,

    Kraft cheese is freakin nasty and processed (bad for you!) You can buy 1/2 pound of real cheese from your grocery store deli for $1.99 – $2.99 depending on the brand. Your health is worth more than the $1.00 you save buying Kraft, right? Sure hope so. Lay off the Kraft cheese so you can live to write another book.

  119. I don’t spend money on

    a car (I haven’t had one in 5 years or so – but I will rent one when I need the option)
    TV (because I don’t have one, so by extension, cable or satellite)
    fancy clothes (I like pretty basic options, and designers don’t design for plus size women anyway!)
    organic foods

    I do, however, spend money on

    iPhone – access to the world on the go
    internet service – because the 24H tech support and larger bandwidth matter
    Travel – my friends are scattered

  120. not important : super expensive restaurants ( went to one , wasnt impressed and was still hungry ) , tobacco , alcohol, name brand clothes, having the latest cell phone , having a overpriced contract on my cell , gym membership – its part of my tuition

    I will spend money on : travel , electronics ( the previous model or refurbished is fine with me ) , food , quality clothes , and leather handbags , hair and makeup- they make me happier .

  121. I don’t care about spending money on advertising or good advice, things that make me more money in the long run.

    I also don’t care about spending money on getting fries and a coke instead of just a burger and a water.

  122. What I care less about:
    - appartment (as long as it’s clean and sunny)
    - eating out (to me this is just a social activity)

    Priorities are travelling and investing (as a hobby)

  123. been thinking about this for a while and what I don’t like spending money on is gas (petrol for you Brits). We drive two small cars (one gas one diesel) as well as often as feasible I leave the car at home and take the bus train places. My goal is to strech a tank of gas to two weeks (4 in the summer when I teach less) Also the Wife is allowed to work from home several days a week which saves a ton of driving. As well I know get gas at the discounter, saving me about 8%

    What I do spend money on is good fruits and veggies, the stuff maybe cheaper at the supermarket but it’s not near as good of quality!!!

  124. This is interesting and funny, I was trying to combine it with the “big win” concept, after considerable thought it doesn’t really work. Take for instance a Car or home
    If you view a car as a-b, then sure you don’t need to spend 70k on a beamer and a 20k honda will be absolutley rock solid, but someone else might take it to extremes and say buy a clunker for 2k and then buy another one when it breaks.
    Housing-If you really just want a room instead of your own place, sure roommate up, cost savings are fantastic. Still at some point the calculation of the hassle will come back at you based on ever changing roommates, rents and whatnot
    I don’t remember who started pointing this out but all these things will stay fluid, I’m not a big electronics guy, but i have a crackberry through work, I now have decided a smart phone and the $100/mo is the way to go. So I’ve bumped phones off my electronics don’t care list into an absolute must have.
    Basically it will go back to concious spending although this is a neat way to make it look interesting.

  125. Wow Kelly you must be a genius !

    How else would someone quickly dismiss “A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years” as BOGUS ?? That too a study made by a reputed British Institute filled with educated intelligent people ?

    Notice that it says “over the last 50 years”, not “50 years ago”.

    Even Ramit has stated the following in this post in 2006

    Things I HATE spending Money On

    Organic groceries. Whole Foods. All the BS foods that are designed to make you feel better about yourself rather than actually feeding you. STOP WITH THE LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND JUST GET SOME NORMAL CARROTS.

    You sound like a Whole Foods Sales(wo)man. Please stop trying to scare people into submission.

    Organic Food Industry is 1 big money scam !

  126. I won’t spend money on online subscriptions to websites. Really, if it isn’t free, I don’t need it.

    I have no problem spending money on film. Yes, I know you can take ten bajillion shots with your digital camera. No, I don’t care. I’m keeping my film cameras and will feed them film and processing long after your $10K electronic gizmos are broken or obsolete.

  127. “Really, if it isn’t free, I don’t need it. ”

    Maybe that’s why you’re AtHomeWithTheParents? I don’t get why you would necessarily value free above quality in every situation. A “free” car that’s 27 years old and breaks down regularly is a worse value than a $5k used car that uses less oil, gas and maintenance. What about a free magazine subscription that you’ll never read and ends up as clutter? A subscription you pay for and learn from is a better value.

    All arguing about organic food and Kraft cheese aside, it’s a question of personal value. The entire POINT is that that will be different for every person.

  128. I find it interesting how people judge others by their home, car, vacations etc. I once told someone we didn’t have pay TV and he said, “I didn’t think you are that poor!” Many people feel worthy by owning all the stuff. I guess the media has trained us that way.

  129. This “value based” spending is in the heart of book: Your Money of Your Life. The simple fact is that we cannot have everything in life (and we shouldn’t anyway, as it’s just not sustainable and more doesn’t mean more happiness/satisfaction).

    In my case, I don’t care about expensive and brand name clothes (I dress nicely though – through discounters like Marshalls/TJ Maxx). However, I will not blink an eye when spending at Whole Foods or splurging on a nice hotel/resort. But that’s just me. I’m sure there are others who won’t care for what I spend for, but that’s the beauty of it. There’s not right or wrong when it comes to what you value, it’s just different from person to person.

  130. Totally right on this, Ramit. I DON’T care about clothes (as long as they are well made), make-up (ugh, I’m not a girly-girl) or flashy cars. (We have a Honda, too! 1996 model, paid for and runs fine, thanks.) I get books and DVD’s from the library. I spend money on what I enjoy- my garden (vegetables are so good from my own garden and the peace I find in growing things is worth more than I can say!), good food, my house, my husband. Saving up for retirement and travel is also important.

  131. [...] a break-it-down approach to personal finance, but everyone should check one of his recent articles, “What Do You NOT Care About Spending Money On?” I’ve talked before about prioritizing your dance expenses – or even whether dance [...]

  132. I don’t care where I get my clothes as long as they are good quality and my style. I enjoy saving money on makeup so I rarely spend big bucks on fancy makeup. I also drive a Honda, bought it a year used with a great carfax report and LOVE it. The only thing I’d change about my Honda Civic is the power – I’d rather have a V-6 engine. Things that DO matter to me are fairly cheap anyway, like getting the Heinz brand of ketchup instead of generic brand (since I love ketchup and can taste the difference). :)

  133. [...] post here really kicked this off, to be honest. I’m not saying anyone is wrong for citing sports cars [...]

  134. [...] things that we value, but that’s only half the equation. We must also identify what we don’t care about. This can be tougher, because it involves conceding that we must cut back in some ways in order to [...]