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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Five things you wont find in a finance bloggers budget

There are a lot of things in the world worth paying for. Good food, warm blankets, a roof over your head and comfy bed to snooze in every night. There are also a lot of things that you should never waste money on. Some are ridiculously overpriced, some are unfair, and some have free alternatives lying around.

It's important to keep in mind that just because we don't pay for these things, doesn't mean we're missing out. There are so many free alternatives in the world that it's foolish not to take advantage of them. In this world of entrepreneurs every single transaction has been monetized. From grocery shopping, to house chores, to paying for a puppy party, if you want to spend money on an experience, someone has devised a way to handle it.

Instead of paying, here's a list of five things you'll never see on a finance bloggers budget.

#1 Finance bloggers don't pay for music

I am listening to Spotify as I write this post. I listen to Spotify as I ride to work. When my friends and I wanted a dance party but couldn't afford a DJ we just spun up a great Spotify playlist.

You don't have to pay for Spotify. With the free version you have to listed to an advert every six or seven songs. It won't kill you, but you will reach a point where you can quote each advert word for word.

The only problem with free Spotify is that the bands don't make any money from you. If you want to give a band some money, find a way to do it directly. Buying albums or paying for subscriptions services gets a little bit of money to the band eventually, but most of it is eaten up by paying record labels and the platform.

#2 Finance bloggers don't pay for bottled water

The most ridiculous expensive first world luxury - bottled water. Seriously, it's just water! It comes out the tap! A litre of petrol is around $1.50 right now and everyone is constantly outraged at the expense of this processed, imported liquid that runs our cars, and yet we don't bat an eye at paying $3 a litre for water.

The water that comes out my kitchen tap costs $2.27 for a kilolitres. That's 1,000 litres, or 0.2 cents per litre.

While I'm complaining about water, be careful ordering water in a restaurant. I once asked for water for the table. The waitress asked if I wanted still or sparkling and (not being used to high class dining) I said still. When we checked the bill at the end of the night we were charged eight dollars for water.

#3 Finance bloggers don't pay bank fees

How much do you hate seeing this screen? "You will be charged $3.00 for this transaction". I love seeing that screen because I don't pay those fees. ING Direct pays those fees for me. The fee is charged by whichever banks ATM I am using, but ING simply covers the cost for me.

I guess it works out for ING as a cost of business. They could be paying to install and maintain ATMs, or they could just cover the cost of their customers using everyone else's ATM network. It's a great deal for me, and a great deal for them.

I also don't pay any ridiculous month to month 'maintenance' fees. In fact ING pays me one of the greatest interest rates on the market right now. Oh, and their customer service is pretty amazing.

Want to join the best bank out there? Sign up with my referral code EBB062. Deposit $1,000 in the first month, and ING will shout us both $75.

#4 Finance bloggers don't pay for garbage bags

This one baffles me. When you buy garbage bags you are buying something just so you can throw it in the bin. I wrote a post about throwing your money in the bin, but this is next level ridiculous!

A roll of garbage bags typically costs about $5 - just to wrap up your garbage. For some reason you can even get scented garbage bags.

Skip the absolutely ridiculous cost of garbage bags. You don't need it. Instead buy more fruit and vegetables, and hoard the small plastic bags that you bought them in. Congratulations - you now have an endless supply of garbage bags.

And no, your trash won't smell. With small bags you'll be taking it out from under the sink to the wheelie bin before it starts to smell bad.

Bonus - start a compost bin or get some chickens! Instead of an overflowing garbage bin, you'll have an abundance of compost and rich soil so you can grow veggies and slash your food bill.

#5 Finance bloggers don't pay for exercise

Look at all these fit gorgeous people running on treadmills. You want to be like them to, so you should pay for a gym membership right? Wrong! It's a trap and you should run (literally) the other way. Go outside. Find a park and run under some trees. Run at dawn if you're a morning person because it is gorgeous outside. Or if you're a night person download the free Zombies. Run! training app and run after dark - it's creepy and amazing.

Not into jogging? Prefer weight lifting? Keep on eye on Gumtree or Craigslist for weights, and let your friends know you're looking. Mr FIRE and I picked up a full weight lifting kit for a measly $50. Including a weight bench and close to 100kgs of weights. We're just looking for a squat rack if anyone has one going ;)

Prefer cardio - use youtube. Looking for some yoga? Try the Down Dog app. I've had three different yoga instructors and I can honestly say the Down Dog is better than all of them.

Bonus: Finance bloggers don't pay for ... date night accessories

As a bonus, many finance bloggers report every item of their spending. They meticulously list the cost of toilet paper, a dozen eggs, happy hour beers and their new-to-them shoes. But I have never ever seen a finance blogger report the costs of, ahem, 'date night accessories'.

Are we really boring? Or perhaps we're hiding our costs under and overblown grocery spend. Either way, you'll definitely never see these in a a finance bloggers budget report.


  1. Whoops, I actually pay for Spotify. The ads drive me insane and being a musician myself I do have a bit of an obligation to pay for my music. Hahaha.

    I don't understand paying for bottled water here in Australia definitely. But when I was travelling around Europe, it was definitely bottled water there!

    When a waitress ask still or sparkling, I say tap. I've found it to be the most direct way of asking for the free water.

    1. I don't even hear the ads anymore :)

      Tap water is now my safe go to option - at the time I was like "Water, I want water, why is there more to the conversation after this?"

  2. Haha, this is awesome! I may pay for garbage bags (my shopping bags won't keep up with our son's dirty diaper production!) but I'm with you on the others :)

    1. Oh man - I never think about parents! The frugal bone in me wants to suggest cloth diapers, but I'm not responsible enough to have a kid (I struggle with a cat) so I'll just applaud you for your bravery!

  3. Hey, I pay for garbage bags and for a gym! I joined a gym when my company introduced a gym policy, so they pay half of my $10/mo membership fee, which has really helped out my health.

    But I definitely agree with the top 3 (small exception for bottled water, I keep a couple cases around in case of a hurricane.)

    1. So you only pay $5 a month?! Wow! When I was looking into gyms for my rehab the cheapest I could find was $12 a week - and that was just access, no classes, no complimentary PT. For that I can source my own equipment and work out at home.

    2. Yep! Youfit down here in Florida. It's just machines and weights, no fancy classes or pools or saunas or basketball, but its a gym. And since I'm paying $5/mo for it I go to make sure I get my moneys worth.

  4. Down here in Arizona, the water is awful, so if you forget your water bottle while out & about, you occasionally buy bottled water. But that's rare, and we finally installed a reverse osmosis system in our kitchen (Brita barely does anything against the chemical-y taste) which is more feasible than 2 chronically ill people lugging 40-lb water jugs for a cooler and far, far cheaper than delivered water.

    But nope, sticking with garbage bags. Of course, we don't have individualized trash bins on our street. There's just one big bin in the back alley. On the other hand, we never have to remember trash day or pay an overage if we have more than one normal bin's worth in a given week.

    1. I never thought about how much of a first world privilege good tap water is. Our water is very hard down here, but totally drinkable.

      We have individual trash bins (we call them Wheelie Bins!) but we could easily go 2-3 months without filling ours. We just chuck it out for collection when we remember.

      Unfortunately it's a flat cost, so we don't save any money with our minimal trash

  5. Haha - I'm a bad blogger too and pay for half of those things :)

    1. Based on these comment everyone is! So many people with gym memberships and trash bags

  6. Now that I don't have multiples in disposable diapers (the guilt was initially overwhelming but I had Triplets so I figured I got a pass), I create less than one "milk bag" worth of garbage a week (measures ~12"x14"). In case I'm not making sense, in Canada, our milk is sold in plastic bags (of 1.33L, 3 bags to a bag and then they put all the bags in another bag, sigh). We can buy milks in returnable jugs (you have to pay a deposit) but it costs $1 more. I'm working my way up to paying it as it's better for the environment. When I do, not sure what I'll do for garbage bags. In the meantime, no buying plastic to throw away for this girl.

    1. Milk bags sound about he size of our fruit and veg bags. We go through one every couple of weeks, but I've just found out that we can recycle soft plastics like chip packets. So the only things we actually trash are non-recyclables that we don't want to hold onto for ages - basically any plastics that wrapped around meat. Everything else is recycle, compost or feed to the hens.

    2. Dear LadyFire,

      We can't recycle soft plastics in my municipality (perhaps in the bigger Canadian cities!?).

      Have you watched the "War on Waste" Show/Documentary? I've watched the first three episodes and really enjoy it. Hope that they continue to produce it -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCUdU6zRyZc&list=PLUaTQYFkj9_GxJ4BfQX9n-RJNDDLpOQLh

      Besos Sarah.

  7. Haha clearly I'm a bad person too. I buy garbage bags...what will you do when the big supermarkets go plastic free? There is talk of that lately.
    I pay for exercise too, soccer and netball are the only way I get regular exercise. Doesn't roller derby count too?

    1. The big supermarkets will never go plastic free. They'll go 'less plastic' but I doubt plastic free. I shop at a market too, where they provide plastic bags.

      Paying for Roller Derby is paying for a venue hire, insurance, pizza at after parties, two or three annual fun get togethers and the whole community thing. Paying for sports is totally acceptable in my eyes.

      Paying to run on a treadmill when you could run outside? Or paying for weights when you could buy your own for less than a years membership? Nah, not for me

  8. When I was single I was completely with you on the garbage bags, but now with kids and pets, we need the bigger bags- but I love the message! Focus on what is important and cut out what you can!
    Bottled water drives me positively crazy. How this is a thing, I’ll never understand!


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