These "things" I speak of, are called "luxentials", things that people consider to be essentials, but should really fall anywhere along the spectrum between "not necessary" and "luxury".
Here's my list of "luxentials". They're in no particular order, and they're not all necessarily things that I've ever spent money on. (It's interesting to note how many of them are beauty-product or related expenses) :
- Cigarettes - an obvious one. Why spend money to kill yourself?
- Alcohol - I'd like to be reckless and question the "you have to have alcohol to have a good time" concept. How often do you go out to dinner or to a bar and have a glass or two of wine, and, although you may have enjoyed the drink, you can barely keep your eyes open? F and I have experimented with ordering no drink, and just having water on a number of occasions. Most of the time, no one notices, we save ourselves $14 each, and can stay awake until we're ready to leave. There's also no need to waste a further $20 on a taxi.
- Make-up - I buy the cheapest possible foundation, mascara and blush from Priceline. The brand is called "Savvy by DB", it's not tested on animals, and doesn't appear to be any worse than any other make-up out there. I don't bother using any eyeshadow, powder, eyeliner or anything else.
- Skincare products - I buy Redwins sorbolene cream (I bought 1kg of it for a few dollars in March 2007 when I moved out of home, and I still haven't used it all up) and use it as a moisturiser, and I buy suncream, but that's it. My skin is fine.
- Perfume - Do you shower every day? If so, why do you need perfume. Other people can't smell it, so how would they find out you weren't wearing it?
- Manicure/Pedicure- Nail polish chips easily. If you don't put it on in the first place, you don't have this problem. I put nail polish on my toes in the summer, but that's it.
- Hair colouring - I will put chemicals in my hair when I am middle-aged and going grey. No need to do this now when my hair colour is perfectly fine.
- Branded supermarket items - My policy at the supermarket is "innocent until proven guilty". I will try the cheapest of every product and only buy anything more expensive if the cheapest one turns out not to be any good. This means I buy as much as I can from Aldi.
- Birthday cards - Nice ones cost $6 or more. Horribly cheap looking ones cost $1, and you can't buy them because every knows you've only spent $1. For this reason, I've started making my own. I bought a pack of 50 blank cards and envelopes for $15, and 100 sheets of coloured paper for $5. Excluding the cost of glue, it should cost me around $0.35 - $0.40 for each card, and depending on my talent, they should look better than the $1 ones. I'm trying to find a way to make wrapping paper as well, but that's proving a bit more difficult.
- Shopping as an activity - Don't do it. If you do, use some willpower and don't buy anything, just look.
- DVD's - Oh, I liked that movie so much, I'd better own it. How often will you watch it? Won't you just be able to download them instantly and watch them whenever you like so time in the not too distant future? Or now? I'm not really up on technology.
- CD's - Why do people who have iPods also buy CD's? I don't get that.
- Magazines - Particularly fashion magazines. Why pay $8 (? I think, I haven't bought one in years) for 300+ pages of advertising telling you to buy most of the stuff on this list?
- Coffee - Caffeine may be the new nicotine. I buy coffee only on the days that I feel like I am really not going to be able to stay awake. Having it every day is just a waste. I am thinking I might save on coffee purchases by investing in one of those thermos cups from Starbucks or wherever you get them so I can make coffee at home and drink it on the tram on the way to work.
- Lunch - Another obvious one we've all heard before. Bring your lunch from home.
- A nice lunch - I have a Vegemite sandwich, an apple and a banana. It's not that nice, but it's very cheap and relatively healthy.
- Tanning - Solariums? Again, why pay to kill yourself. Spray tans? Why pay to look orange?
- Rival bank ATM fees - It's extremely easy to avoid rival bank ATM fees, which can be $2 or more. It's not that hard to walk a little bit further to go to your own bank ATM. Failing that, you can go into a 7-Eleven or wherever and buy something using EFTPOS and take money out at the same time for free. If there's nothing you need in the shop, you can always buy phone credit or something that you will use later.