Things other people spend lots of money on but you don't

Reading the birthday party thread made me think about things that lots of people I’ve known or met or read about think are worth spending a ton of money on but I don’t. One of those things? Parties. I just don’t get it.

Other things I don’t understand spending a lot of money on include weddings, jewelry, and hotel rooms.

I’m not spartan. I’m sure I spend money on things that would baffle others, but these things have always perplexed me.

What are you “cheap” about compared to your peers?

Purses. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a purse that cost more than $19. I have friends who go gaga for “designer” bags and have a purse for every outfit. I just don’t get it.

Clothes & shoes. I hate to pay full price for either, and have no interest in designer labels or the trendiest new fashions.

I am with you on parties. I never splurge on hotel rooms myself either. If I have to pay for it, look out Motel 6. I can’t justify $300 a night for a pillow and running water. I never spend time there anyway. Ditto on sporting events or anything like that.

The thing is that I do all of these things and some of them more often than most people. I just wait for other people to offer it as a gift or favor. That happens often enough. My wife has to travel the world for work. When I feel like traveling, I just tell them to throw a plane ticket on for me and my daughter as well. I don’t even pay for meals. We know people with available houses all over the world too. They offer them all the time so we go when we want.

I would never pony up for a cruise or resort expense. I guess I am a weird kind of cheap. Not my style.

Cars are another thing. I like nice cars and we have them. It is just that I wait for them to be given as a bonus or buy them used. I drive down the street and I see driveways with $70,000 worth of mediocre cars probably with payments to make. There is no way I would ever do that. I just find good used outlets, do my research, and get vehicles for a fraction of their original price even though they are still in great shape.

Let’s see…

  1. Purses. As mentioned above, I don’t think I have ever had one that cost more than 20ish dollars. If I did, it would have been a gift from my aunt or grandmother who are “designer bag” types.

  2. Shoes. I have never spent more than $75 for a pair. I know to some that will even sound like a lot, but I know chick who thinks nothing of dropping $200 or more for that perfect pair.

  3. Hair and Nails. I can’t fathom spending as much as some of my coworkers do on their hair and nails. These ladies are at the manicurist once every two weeks, and at the hairdresser once a month. We’re not talking Fantastic Sam’s, either.

I’m not knocking these people. I’m just not into those things. I’m sure they’d look at me cross-eyed from spending 12 bucks a yard for 10 yards of 100% hand dyed indigo linen, or that time I spent almost $100 on the purchase and outfitting of a lovely sewing basket.

To each their own.

Car mats-they’re designed to get dirty. They wear through. I would get away with cardboard if I could.
underwear–I don’t buy it at the dollar store, but who needs $30 “panties”? No-one is going to see my undies. Really. I don’t wear undies to turn myself or anyone else on–god made white cotton for a reason and all that.
pajamas-same as above. I just don’t see the point of sexy pajamas (aka lingerie)–it doesn’t do anything for me. In the immortal words of my husband: it’s just coming off anyway, why bother? I feel the same way.
Coffee–it’s become a fetish for some; a costly fetish, in terms of money and calories.

purses–as above.
socks-not from the dollar bin, but there socks out there for $20+

sandwich bags, garbage bags etc.
It’s not that I am critical of those who indulge in all of the above–I just don’t see it working for me.

Hm, well I am rather penurious … I have had ups and downs making my annual income range from absolutely nada to 50k$US, so I tend not to spend money even when I have it.

Hotels - I agree, I can’t understand spending $300 for someplace I am going to sleep, although I will frequently check to see if the motel we are checking into when traveling has a room with a hot tub that isn’t too much more expensive. I have back and joint pain, and after a long day of driving, or walking around working/touristing I find it very nice to be able to soak out the aches and pains - it makes me sleep better. I also love the trend for microwaves, cube fridges and coffee makers in the room. I will carry breakfast stuff, my own coffee and filters, and cream/splenda.

Resteraunts - I like gourmet foods, but tend to prefer cooking them at home. I am perfectly happy with a good quality steak nicely grilled with a basic salad, properly made baked potato and some veggies that havent been cooked to death is a decent reasonably costing meal if we are away from home and have to eat out. I am not fond of the chinese all you can snarf buffets - i dont like heavy sauces on foods, and frequently the sauces have either oyster sauce [violently allergic to it] or lots of sugar [diabetic] so they just arent the best choice for me to eat. I do like japanese cooking, and sashimi.

Cars - I like my jetta. It is old, and getting a bit worn, but is still running well and has a couple of years left but when / if we get a chance to get a new car we will probably get a new vw golf tdi. I like manual trannys, I dont mind diesel, and for a vehicle that is just under 20K$US new, it is hard to beat. I think even if I had a million dollars, I would still probably get a vw - though maybe a jetta or passat. I have had sports cars [ i will admit to really liking the tvr vixen i had … the ferrarri that a BF had was just too much maintenance for what it was] and as far as I am concerned, unless I plan on driving the autobahn the vw is just as much as i really need.

Travel - I like to travel, but would rather go visit friends and stay with them, or a few of us meeting somewhere and staying together. I dont mind traveling alone, but it is nice to play tourist with other people for the company=) and the fun of traveling to a foreign country and staying with someone is having a kitchen to trade favorite meals. I love eating other peoples comfort foods, and having them try some of mine - I got a german friend hooked on basic bread pudding=)

I would much rather have a small party of a few friends than a huge party with lots of people I really dont know well. I like to have pot lucks, and see what other people like to eat. I prefer staying home and watching a dvd instead of going out.


  • clothes and shoes (I buy heavily at Old Navy … unless it’s for work. Then I buy at Gap.)

  • movies (I have some friends that go to 2-3 movies a week–in Manhattan!–and then rent DVDs the other nights; my wife and I probably go to the movies 3 times a year and rent DVDs maybe 6 times)

  • CDs (again, have friends who buy several every week … I buy 2-3 a year)

  • digital/premium cable (we finally got basic cable for the first time ever last year … we had lived in NYC for years with just plain old broadcast TV, and then, when we moved out, got “antenna cable”–basically, the broadcast channels we should have been able to receive for free, were it not for the mountains that made reception so lousy)
    But will:

  • wine (we feel nervous if we have fewer than a dozen cases in our cellar … but my wife is a winemaker, so it’s an industrial hazard)

  • food (at home, not going out … do far less of that than other people; we buy local, grass-fed, organic, natural, so it costs more)

  • satellite radio (I got it for Howard Stern, but now my wife is addicted to the music channels … and I’m going to have to buy a second unit for her car)

  • cable internet

Clothes. I wear clothes until they’re almost worn out. I have a pair of off-brand deck shoes I bought 20+ years ago. The soles are almost transluscent and the seams are splitting. The back is now flapping off the sole. I still keep them for stuff like taking out the trash or going to a drive-through or any place where I don’t have to get out and walk.

I cringe when guys tell me they spent $50 for a shirt. ONE FREAKIN’ shirt for $50? Insane. Unless you are in a job where you have to outdress someone, I just don’t get it.

Clothes. I work graveyard shift in a basement and have no life otherwise, why spend money on clothes?

Cars. Every car I’ve owned has been paid for in cash, usually with an income tax refund. Right now I’ve got a 90 Pontiac i paid $1000 for. Needs brakes but is in great shape otherwise.

Dinnerware. One of my older relatives was shocked at my stacks of dollar store plastic plates. Do I really need to slop my Hamburger Helper onto fine china?

The one thing I will spend money on, and people probably think I’m nuts for it, is hairtoys. Right now I’ve got my eye on one of these little babies. Ooh, and some of these…and these

I really need to hit the lottery.

“Fancy” brand name household products (laundry detergent etc). The generic brands are fine by me.

Sandshoes. I buy mine for $20 a pair and they’re just as comfortable and last just as long as the more expensive sort.


Most personal stuff I won’t drop much money on. I doubt I’ve ever spent more than $25 for a piar of (non-work) shoes. And most of my day-to-day clothes come from Sears or Wal-Mart or something.

Cars, too. I buy used if at all possible.

Hotel rooms if I’m travelling on business. I just got back from a three day trip to DC and my hotel was $65/night in Alexandria, VA. It was clean, small, and had a comfortable bed. That’s all I needed it for.

Parties, on the other hand…I tend to drop serious dimes on my guests. We’ve had as many as 100 people at parties we’ve hosted and with catering, band or entertainment and other things it can get into the mid-1000s.

I’m in suit and tie 5 days per week, and I used to take my shirts to the dry cleaner’s shirt laundry. But by paying $50 for wrinkle-free shirts, we can wash them at home, saving $1.35 per shirt per week. So I buy $50 shirts because I’m cheap.

Children’s clothes: my wife buys most of them at consignment shops because the kids will outgrow them before they wear them out.

Wedding stuff: my wife bought a nice dress at JC Penney’s for $110 in 1994 and never regretted it for a second.

OTOH, we love travel and spent a lot of bux on the honeymoon: Sydney (Hi, Cunctator), Great Barrier Reef, Tasmania, and New Zealand.

We also are putting our kids through private Montessori school. So we’re cheap in some ways and certainly not in others.

Just curious, how long does the shirt last?


You obviously haven’t read the Diarrhea in the Jacuzzi thread yet. Get ready to save more money in the future.

Fortunately I despise coffee, so I save TONS of money that others spend on that. Same for cigarettes and various illegal intoxicants.

Big fake nails. I am a clotheshorse to the nth degree, have my eyebrows done every 30 days & would run an old lady down to get to a shoe sale, but I do not see the sense in paying good money for porn star fingernails.

We don’t throw parties. And we don’t drink alcohol or coffee. We don’t wear designer clothes. We don’t travel for work, and we haven’t stayed anywhere but a Motel 6 when we’ve been out of town. We just need a bed and a shower. My brother, on the other hand, pitched a fit about the color of the paint on the walls in a $$$$ vacation resort room they booked, and got moved to another one. (Hey, don’t ask me!)

It doesn’t seem likely we’ll ever go on a cruise. Not into that kind of touristy scene. Only my wife drives and owns a car. I won’t ever be buying or driving one. We also will never likely have a state-of-the-art entertainment center with the plasma TV and surround sound. We don’t watch enough TV to make it worthwhile, or have the kind of room one of those setups requires - the house wasn’t built that way. We have “extended basic” cable service and cable modem, but we don’t need digital broadband cable or satellite radio.

On the other hand, I have 13,000 records and CDs, and a decent system to play them on, including a $2500 turntable (get the proper tools for the job, right?). Both my wife and I are ultra-low maintenance people. We don’t need much to be happy. And the things we do have didn’t set us back a shocking sum of money, which gives us something else to be happy about.

As mentioned, clothing, shoes and purses. Clothing because I’m just a basic type of person anyway; jeans and a shirt will do just fine, thank you.

Shoes because I have very wide feet. I can’t just pop into a sale at Macy’s and expect to find something dressy in my size. If I wanted some, I’d have to have them custom made or go to a store that specializes in wide shoes and shell out a whole bunch of bucks in the process. I’ll stick with men’s running shoes from Big 5, the home of the permanent cheap shoe sale.

Purses because I can’t see shelling out big bucks for something that would probably just get stolen. No one wants to steal a $20 purse because they figure it isn’t worth the bother. It works for me!

I don’t see why people have to have the latest big screen/plasma tv with HDTV, multi-CD changer and a million cable stations. My 15" tv with built-in VCR player is just fine and I never even use the VCR player! I wouldn’t even have a tv if my Dad hadn’t bought it for me a few years ago.

I’ve never owned a cell phone and if I did, it would be the most basic model there is.

Ditto for a car. Never owned one but if I did, it would be very basic and probably used as well.

Last time I bought bath towels was at Big Lots. Got 'em for 6 or 7 bucks each. They soak up water just as well as towels that cost four or five times more. My sheets are from Fred Meyer. The cheapest ones I could find. Sure, there aren’t many patterns to choose from but no one is going to sleep between them but me and I just don’t care as long as they’re comfy.