006: Value Busters | What We REFUSE To Spend Money On!

In this episode, Chrissy and Ryan chat about the things they don’t spend money on. There’ll be plenty of ranting and voicing of opinions! Listen in as they bash businesses and products that they simply do not value.

Below is a summary of the episode. (But I promise it’s way more interesting in audio format—so go subscribe via your favourite podcast player and listen to the show!)

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • Ryan says Shopper Drug Mart is where your value goes to die!
  • Chrissy says it can be worth shopping there for loss leaders such as milk and butter.
    • Ryan explains that loss leaders are items that a store advertises but can’t possible make a profit on.
    • This is to get you into the store to buy a bunch of other stuff that’s overpriced, which will help them make their money back on the loss leaders.

Luxury anything

  • Chrissy says she’s ‘allergic’ to luxury, whether it’s travel, cars, clothing, or restaurants.
  • She’s happy to enjoy luxury when other people are paying for it or if she’s using points.
  • Chrissy and her husband would rather use their money for things that they truly value.
  • Ryan shares a story about his stay at the posh King Edward Hotel in Toronto—where they had to pay for wifi!
  • Chrissy shares a story about her family’s visit to a high-end department store in Korea where they were made to feel like ‘country bumpkins’.

Whole Foods, aka ‘Whole Pay Cheque

  • Ryan thinks it’s a luxurious grocery experience that’s built on the fad of whole, natural food. It’s a pure marketing play.
  • He’s only shopped there once—he went in, then left disappointed.
  • Chrissy mostly agrees, but does shop there for some specific items.
    • The key is to know your prices and know exactly what you’re looking for.
  • The FIRE mentality allows us to do things like optimizing our grocery shopping.
    • This kind of thinking spreads to the rest of our lives as well.
    • FIRE ends up being life optimization—not just optimization of our finances.

Clothing that’s not on sale

  • Chrissy never buys clothing that isn’t on sale. She always heads straight to the sale/clearance racks first.
  • Ryan raves about Once Upon a Child—a consignment children’s clothing store.
    • Chrissy mentions there’s also a location in Coquitlam, BC.
    • Ryan buys all his daughter’s clothing there. He’s also found books and toys there.
    • It’s definitely the FI choice! (Watch for their occasional clearance sales—Ryan’s saved 90% on some of his past purchases.)
  • Ryan prefers to sell his family’s old clothes on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. (You’ll get better bang for your buck than selling through Once Upon a Child.)

Amazon Prime

  • Chrissy thinks it’s particularly not valuable for Canadians.
  • One of the main perks is the fast, free shipping (but Chrissy would rather train herself to be patient and save the money).
  • Ryan gripes that Amazon Prime Video and Music do not deliver good value or quality for your money.


  • Ryan feels that drive-thrus can become an ingrained part of your day, which inevitably lowers your hourly wage.
    • For example, if you earn $200/day, and on your way to work, always spend $7 on breakfast at the Tim Horton’s drive-thru, you’ve now lowered your wage to $193/day.
  • Chrissy is also bothered by the environmental impact of cars idling in drive-thrus.

Single-use disposable items

  • Chrissy dislikes single-use items like individually-packed snacks and toiletries.
  • She’s especially perturbed by toys and gadgets with non-replaceable batteries.
    • There’s such a huge environmental cost to these items, and they’re usually not disposed-of properly. (Batteries are full of toxins and should be recycled, not just tossed in the garbage.)
  • Fast-food paper cups are actually lined with a thin layer of plastic and non-recyclable and non-compostable. 100% plastic cups are actually better since they’re easily recycled.
  • People are too focused on their own convenience and can’t be bothered to do the right thing.
    • We all pay the price with our wallets and the health of our planet when we choose convenience over sustainability.

Alcohol and marijuana

  • Ryan doesn’t consume these substances, and doesn’t see value in spending on them.
  • These substances are addictive—which creates a money trap where you have to continually go back to buy more.
  • Ryan also considers caffeine an addiction that he tries to be mindful of himself.
  • Our co-host Money Mechanic enjoys a beer or two, and Chrissy’s husband enjoys whisky, so we can see there’s value in this kind of spending for many people.
  • Ryan suggests:
    • Adding up how much you spend on alcohol per week.
    • Multiplying it by 52 to figure out the annual cost.
    • Multiplying the annual cost by 25 to figure out how much you need to add to your FIRE number to support this alcohol spending.
    • Ryan did this with his Mike and Ike’s habit, and was shocked to find it was adding thousands of dollars to his FIRE number! (Not to mention higher dentist bills.)
  • When you work out the numbers this way, it takes it out of the emotional realm into the logical realm.
  • It then becomes a black an white decision: is this really worth it to me? If it is, great—go ahead and do it and don’t feel guilty! Just make sure you’re doing it mindfully.

Printed books

  • It pains her to say this, but Chrissy no longer spends money on printed books.
  • She realized the insanity of buying and collecting printed books when her kids’ Scholastic book collection kept growing and collecting dust.
  • There’s also the stress of having to deal with them afterwards—whether it’s to donate or sell them. It’s just more stuff to have to deal with!
  • Chrissy still loves books, but instead requests that her library purchase the books she wants to read. This is a far more sustainable option, and still gives her favourite authors some royalties.
  • Ryan feels the average Canadian doesn’t visit libraries enough.
    • His hack to use the library more often is to go in and check out something just so it forces him to have to go back.
    • When he returns it, then he’ll borrow something else, and so on.

Barber shops

  • Ryan shares a hilarious and embarrassing story about cutting his own hair!
  • He re-read Mr. Money Mustache’s Universal Men’s Grooming Device article and was motivated to cut his own hair again.
  • Chrissy cuts all her guys’ hair (even her husband’s) and saves her family a ton of money.
    • She learned how to do it with (what else) YouTube videos.
  • Ryan’s wife uses a neat trick to help him trim his neckline: she first draws a line with her eyeliner pencil.

Newspapers and magazines

  • Chrissy, like Ryan, subscribes to the Mr. Money Mustache Low Information Diet.
  • She finds a lot of the info in magazine and newspapers isn’t all that useful or is overly-biased.
    • It’s also a recurring expense she doesn’t need.
    • Additionally, it’s more paper waste to have to deal with on a daily basis. This is time-consuming and bad for the planet.
  • Ryan gets more value from regular folks talking about regular things on their blogs and podcasts.
    • He’ll occasionally open up the Financial Post to get updates on some of the companies he invests in.

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5 Replies to “006: Value Busters | What We REFUSE To Spend Money On!”

  1. Hello from Sam, your international listener! Loved listening to this – so much resonated with me, but when I go on about these things to others they just think I am a miserable old git. So great to hear others feel the same as I do – made me feel at home. Are we going to hear the rest of the points that you didn’t get around to broadcasting?

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks for listening and coming by to comment—all the way from England!

      I think it’d be a great idea to revisit this episode and reveal the rest of our lists. It was also requested that we get Money Mechanic’s Value Busters… I’ll see if I can convince my co-hosts to do a part 2!

  2. I am Chrissy’s retired MIL and really enjoy the podcasts – still learning at my age! I share the same list of Value Busters but confess to subscribing to our local newspaper to a tune of $37.80/month. When I get up at 5:30am, it has been part of my routine to have a cup of tea, a plate of fruit and peruse the newspaper before I start my workout routine. Someday, I will (may) just subscribe to online version and save almost $28/month ($336/year…. ). Here are a few things that I refuse to spend on – spa treatments, mani-pedis and exercise classes. Over the decades (yes, that dates me) I have invested in yoga DVDs, Zumba DVD – saving time and money which one has to pay for gas, appropriate clothing (to show off) and classes! Keep up the great podcasts!

    1. I’m so lucky that our immediate and extended families are so frugal-minded. We end up rubbing off on one another and become better and better at optimizing our finances!

      It’s obvious that newspapers are of value to you and bring you enjoyment. As we mentioned in the episode, go ahead and keep enjoying it! Each of us will be slightly different in what we value, and there’s nothing wrong with spending on things that are important to you. 🙂

      Thanks also for sharing your Value Busters!

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