Top 10 Things NOT Worth Paying For

Last week, I decided to come up with a random list of things I think are worth paying for. Not that I wouldn’t actually pay for something. It’s simply that I would pay more, out of pocket, for those ten things.

And then you added your favorites and I realized I missed a lot. Like a good cup of tea or organic strawberries. And apparently, a lot of you place value on a good cup of coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker but I feel the same way about tea so I salute you.

But when I came up with the list, I originally started thinking about the things I wouldn’t pay for. That’s a much easier list and certainly more subjective. It’s why I’ll tell you why I feel that way.

1. Single process hair color

Now, I know I need to clarify this. I don’t do radical color changes to my hair. At least, not these days anyway. I once got to the point of adding highlights and lowlights and ended up with multi-colored hair. So I’ve simplified. I do one color on my hair every 4 to 6 weeks or whenever the mood strikes. And to pay at least $50 each time would take all the joy out of it.

I use Natural Instincts temporary hair color. It naturally washes out in about 28 shampoos. It makes my hair shiny, smooth, and soft and it’s sooooo easy to do. Squirt it on, wait 10 minutes, get in the shower and rinse it off. All for about $8.99. You should try it sometime. It’s fun.

Side note: I don’t use store bought permanent hair color because I don’t think the color looks as good and it dries the crap out of my hair. And if you want highlights? Yes, please pay a professional for that.

(The time I tried on red)

2. A mani-pedi

Since we’re talking about fancy beauty stuff, I’ll go straight for the one that will wound quite a few ladies. Yes, a manicure is nice. Yes, a pedicure is lovely. But it’s a rarity and a treat because I can do all of that stuff at home for about $5. I have the fancy files and scrubbers and a lovely selection of nail polish.

And truth be told? My nail color lasts so much longer when I do it myself. When I go to a nail salon, I swear one of my nails chips before the day is over. Besides, I’m pretty sure the fumes are much less toxic at home and I don’t have to worry about how sanitary their instruments are.

manicure(My free manicure from BlogHer10)

3. A purebred dog

I would love to pick out a purebred Lhasa Apso puppy for my husband. In fact, I know he wants one and at this point, he’s willing to pay. I guess he’s kind of had it with geriatric dogs with anxiety problems. He wants a fun-loving carefree puppy with no emotional baggage. I don’t blame him. We’ve had a tough few years with pets.

But there are so many unwanted cats and dogs in the world that are mostly here because of a lack of responsible human caretakers. So as long as I’m picking out the pets, I’ll go for secondhand pets every time. And believe it or not, you can get purebred dogs. Lots of rescue groups cater to certain breeds. My dog Holden was actually a $5000 showdog that was cast aside because his owner wsa going into a nursing home. We got him through a rescue and he was the best. dog. ever.


4. Full price fashion

You’ll never see me with a Coach bag. Or a Louis Vuitton bag. Or crazy expensive shoes. And if you did? I guarantee it would be from TJMaxx. For me, it is not worth paying full price for fashion… ever. That includes purses, shoes, clothes, etc. It’s not that I don’t like that stuff. It’s just that I refuse to pay full price when I can get it from an outlet store or discount store like TJMaxx. Will it be the exact item I want that’s in the correct season? Probably not. But I don’t live in NYC so who will notice? And one more thing, I really don’t care.

louis vuitton

5. House painting

Yes, it requires a little bit of skill and knowledge to paint a room. But not that much. I secretly scoff at people who pay a ton of money to have the inside of their house painted. And then I always offer to have done it for HALF the price. It’s so simple and easy and inexpensive. A can of paint, a good roller, some blue tape, and a quality paint brush and you, too, can transform your room over night.

Exterior house painting? Different story. You should totally pay someone to do that. Trust me.


6. Lawn care

You know those lawn services that come around and offer to do four seasons of treatment? It’s not worth it. Lawn care is so much easier than people think if they would just do a little research. I’ve seen so many people in my neighborhood put out a sprinkler and hope their lawn magically sprouts emerald green grass. In essence, they are actually just watering the weeds.

Ask my husband. He can tell you. But it’s really a matter of lime, fertilizer, and perhaps a little weedkiller mixed in with some water. And mowing the lawn? Get out there and do it. You could use the exercise anyway, couldn’t you?


7. Car washes

Are you starting to sense that I am either a) cheap or b) a do-it-yourself gal? The answer is: I’m both. And while I will take my car up to the Autobell up the street for the sake of time, I feel guilty coughing up $20 even though they do a knockout job in 15 minutes that would take me two hours.

It doesn’t hurt that my husband practically had a auto detailing shop in our garage. So with the right buckets, brushes, soaps, and solutions, I can deliver a car that looks and smells like it just rolled out of the dealership. And I get a little exercise in during the process.


8. A bowl of spaghetti

I love Italian as much as the next carb-indulging girl. But if I’m going to an Italian restaurant, I’m going to get some incredibly complex pasta or something with an incredibly fattening sauce, or ideally, both. I would never consider ordering spaghetti. Because I think it’s about the easiest thing on the planet to make and frankly, I like my spaghetti the best of all. I just refuse to pay for a bowl of spaghetti. The end.


9. An oil change

While I am a do-it-yourselfer, I don’t change my own oil. That’s what my husband is for. Actually, he prefers it that way. I get that not everyone has the luxury of being married to a handyman but here’s why I prefer to NOT pay a auto shop to do it.

  1. It’s expensive.
  2. They charge a fortune if you want oil out of the ordinary (like synthetic).
  3. I’ve heard too many stories of technicians forgetting to put the oil cap back on.
  4. They sell you things you probably don’t need for prices you shouldn’t have to pay. (Windshield wiper blades, anyone?)
  5. Most cars can go about 7500 miles, especially with synthetic oil, before that need an oil change instead of every 3000 miles. But they’ll never tell you that.


10. A drink at the movie theater

We all know concessions are ridiculous at the movie theater. And I get it. It’s how they make their money. Theaters make a very small percentage of the tickets prices when a movie is first released. The percentage goes up the longer the movie plays in the theater. So they rely on all the candy and popcorn and soda sales to help fill the gap.

Some of you make think this is wrong, but I strongly believe in taking a big purse into the theater full of… drinks. I will pay through the nose for movie theater popcorn. You just can’t make that extremely unhealthy but deliciously buttery snack at home the way they do. So I’ll butter it up and pour on the salt and eat every last bite. But I just refuse to pay $4.00 for a soda or bottle of water to wash it all down.


And there you have it. As usual, I’ve missed probably some big items. But mainly, I want to hear what you wouldn’t pay for (or pay a lot for).

  • shellthings

    I often do the high priced soda- but only b/c all 5 of us share and we go get the free refills. We also do the refillable popcorn bucket that lasts all year and costs $3.50 to refill when you bring it back with you- I figure with that, it all balances out. :) 

  • momma23monkeys

    on the rare occasions that I fork out the money for kids and I to go to cheap movies we ALWAYS stop at dollar store to pick out candy and drinks. I have a GIGANTIC purse. W/o a hubs around & house on the market I have no choice but to pay for lawn care…huge yard, riding mower, bad allergies and no child care means I can’t do it. 

  • Jenny, Crash Test Mommy

    Totally agree with you on 9 out of 10 (she says, drinking her homemade iced coffee, waiting for the timer on her hair color to go off — 100% true!).

    If you ever come to Tulsa, I’ll take you to our local Italian place (Zio’s) and see what you think of their $8.99 spaghetti marinara. If I knew how to duplicate the flavor of their sauce, I’d have it for dinner every night!Great post, Fadra. Shared on Facebook and G+.

  • Laural Kay

    I totally agree with you on all of these points, except I’m getting lazy in my older years (or so it feels, I’m only 35) and just don’t want to have to bend down to touch my toes if I don’t have to. Plus, the pedicurist will scrubb off all of my dead skin and I don’t have to look! Dead skin floating in the tub grosses me out. The laziness extends to car washes and house painting, which I’ve done quite a bit of and am now happy to blow hard-earned money so I can relax with a drink and watch it all go down in front of me. I did almost have a heart attack when my husband bought a $4 bottle of strawberry milk at the theater the other day, so at least I’m still sane when it comes to buying crap at the movie theater!

  • Kathy Kramer

    I use the John Frieda foam hair color.  I found that it covers the best and it doesn’t fade. I’ve also discovered that Suave Professionals works really well and doesn’t fade my hair color, either. And that says a lot because I have red hair and red fades the easiest. So I save quite a bit on my hair color and shampoo. I feel the same way about pasta. If I go out for Italian, I usually go for something I don’t normally make at home.

  • Susi K

    Other than the lawn care I’m with you every step of the way. I/we do a lot of things ourselves and I actually love to paint. I basically painted our whole house (inside)… Unfortunately, when it comes to lawn care my husband and I are hopeless, so we do pay for that.

  • Rose’s Daughter

    The only thing that I really REALLY have to disagree with you on is the matter of the purses. Yes, I have issues. I must buy Coach bags..and Dooney and Burke….and one day I will pay an astronomical fee to own this bag  So sad …..but I don’t smoke or drink that much so…….

  • Grace Biskie

    I’d pay for someone to clean my house…in a hot second… in fact, I’m day-dreaming about right now…. sigh….

  • Stephanie Bernaba

    You’re right. And I pay for some of that stuff just for convenience (or to get me out of the house). I do pay for Coach, though. But Macy’s sells it and they do put it on sale at certain points during the year, and there’s a Coach Outlet store near me. Also, eBay. I used to buy them, use them, put them on eBay, then use that money to get a new one. 
    And I will go out and buy pasta (again, to get out of the house), but not from Olive Garden. Way overpriced and marginally authentic. And salty. 

  • Maria Morley

    I loved reading this post and getting to know a little bit more about you!  I love the movie drinks part — that made me laugh.  I am the same way — definitely guilty of taking the biggest bag I have and filling it with whatever my husband and I want.  😉  He thinks it’s weird; I think I would rather spend that $8 for two drinks on something else!

  • Jessica

    I love this list! And, all are so true. I used to pay full priced for mostly everything before I had kids and had a full-time job. Now, I survive on half priced, discount everything. And it’s awesome!

  • Jayla

    Everything I wouldn’t pay for is already on your list. Cheap and do-it-yourself is the way to go!

  • Rachee

    LOL at number 10!
    My family ALWAYS took their own snacks into the theater, a tradition I continue now.
    Sorry theaters but I’ll be darned if I am paying for nasty greasy popcorn or watery sodas.

  • Melissa_FillingOurBucket

    I agree with you on most of these points. The funny thing is that I totally agree with you on the lawn care thing, I’m ashamed to say that we DO pay for lawn and yard care because both my husband and I loathe yard work. Plus we are both away from our son for so much time M – F, that we don’t want to spend our weekends doing work in the yard. At least not right now when he can’t help!

    We pay for anything car related because neither of us have any interest in car stuff, cleaning it, changing the oil, etc. Not a fan. So let someone else do it. That’s worth it to us.

    100% agree with the Italian food thing. I love going to a great Italian restaurant, we have so many around here, but I always get something I would never make at home. Or something full of seafood. Yum!

  • Erin

    A mechanic at Precision Tune surprised me one day when I went to drop my car off for an oil change. As usual I was running behind schedule and took my car to be serviced the morning before a road trip during a holiday weekend. (Some people never learn!) Well, after he told me there was a 3 hour wait he told me I could go at least 6000 miles for an oil change. Two months later I took my car back…I don’t have a handy husband to change the oil. :(

  • Tabitha

    What’s funny is that I can relate to almost every single item on your list. I used to dye my hair all the time, and I personally think it’s more fun to use the naturals that wash out so you can switch up the color after a while. Also–we just bought a house last year, and have been slowly going throughout the whole house to paint, sand, etc. While it surely does take a lot longer than hiring a company to come in and finish everything within the span of a day, it is SO MUCH CHEAPER. We also handle our own lawn care, which is something that has proven to be one of my son’s favorite things to do with his dad. Every Sunday, they go out and “mow” together. I put this in quotations because my son is only 2. He “helps” with things all the time, as I’m sure you’re familiar with. :) Good list, in my opinion!