When you’re working towards certain life goals, sometimes you just need to buckle down and analyze your spending. You need to look at your budget (and look at it again and again) and decide if some things on your list are really worth spending your hard earned money on.
When I look back on some of my past unnecessary purchases, I cringe just thinking about the thousands I could have saved.
Blowing my money on birthday parties, Friday night outings with friends and having shiny object syndrome (You know… Wanting to buy every new product on the market… *sigh*) definitely set me back financially.
After getting into a financial rut, and having no other choice but to be frugal, I learned by force how to budget, plan and live a minimalist lifestyle. During this period, I started simple living to save money.
Here are some of the lessons I learned and some of the things to stop buying to save money!
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29 Things To Stop Buying to Save Money
1. Fast Food
Fast food is a waste of money and it’s super expensive when compared to the value of home-cooked meals! Seriously, if you want to cut your grocery bill by more than 50%, meal planning is the way to go.
Make a list of the meals you want to cook for the next week, make one trip to the grocery store, stick to your meal plan and VOILA! More money in your pocket! It’s like magic!
Pssst! Did you know you can save more money by meal planning? Meal Planning saves me thousands of dollars every year! Not sure how to get started? Grab a copy of my free Meal Planning e-guide below.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can choose simple, easy meal to start and work your way up from there.
Trust me, as a working mom and wife, I understand how busy and tiring life can be on week nights. The key is to do the majority of your prep on a weekend. Trust me, your family, health and wallet will thank you!
2. Extra Groceries
You can meal plan all you want, but when you go to the grocery store, you need to stick to your grocery list if you want to save money.
No, you do not NEED an extra dip for chips, and you can definitely walk past the snack aisle. Leave the extras and stick to what is necessary! Remember your new motto is Simple living to Save Money!
If you’re not sure if to pick it up, you’ll probably end up tossing it. Shop smartly.
3. Expensive Cell Phone Plan
I never realized how many cell phone minutes I was wasting, and I was never bothered by the fact that I only used 3 out of my 500 texts each month… Until I got myself in a financial mess and had to completely analyze and redo my monthly budget.
I got rid of the expensive cell phone plan that I had and instead switched to a cheap prepaid plan with no cell phone data. After much consideration, I decided that data wasn’t worth the price since I had wifi at work and at home.
I didn’t need to be paying $50 for data during my drive to and from work everyday!
Is cable a necessity in your household? It’s especially a waste for us since we have Netflix or can stream from online. I barely watch tv anyway since I spend a lot of (ALL OF) my ‘free‘ time blogging here.
So removing cable actually helped me make money! Through blogging I was able to make $200+ my first month (update for 2021 – I now make over $2K per month!) and I am working diligently on making a full time income from blogging soon!
Less time watching TV (and less money on cable) means more time towards creating a supplemental income! Win Win! This was definitely one of the best things I stopped buying to save money!
5. Unnecessary Subscriptions
Have you ever fell into the trap of starting a trial and then you forgot to cancel your subscription at the end of the week or month? Me too! Companies prey on my mom brain! Don’t get me wrong, if I love their service and it’s something I need, I will absolutely pay!
Sometimes, unnecessary subscriptions can be magazines, tv show/movie services, shopping and delivery services or educational programs. Analyze and decide if you really need each.
For example, I have decided that I no longer need to pay a membership fee to get certain products in two days. I’ve also decided that my Cosmo Magazine Subscription was not necessary! I cancelled and CHA CHING! Simple living to save money!
6. New clothing and shoes
You can’t be trying to save and clear debt, and be buying new shoes and clothing (regularly). That is absolutely counterproductive!
I make do with whatever outfits I have and I do a lot of mixing and matching to keep things fresh. For the kids, I shop sales when they outgrow old outfits and new ones are NEEDED.
If you’re open to different options, you can also try thrift shops for gently used clothing if you’re in need. New clothing is just one of the things to stop buying to save money if you’re trying to gain financial freedom and become debt free!
We were spending a fortune on water every month UNNECESSARILY. If you have clean tap water, WHY buy bottled water?!
In 2018 we stopped buying bottled water and we have saved so much money since then! This is just another example of our frugal approach to simple living to save money.
We use a water filter to ensure that our water is clean and safe, and guess what? We’re still alive! This extra money can now go towards our savings.
Related: How to Save Money Fast
8. Home Decor
Yet another thing to stop buying to save money is home decor!
I have always loved buying new table runners, and new mats, and new centerpieces and wreaths, and Christmas decor. Okay, you get the point! But since getting my life financially on track, I’ve stopped. I have more than enough and new decor is not a necessity!
There are so many DIY options and upcycling tutorials around now, it would almost be stupid to be buying new decor when you’re trying to get out of debt and gain financial freedom. Don’t worry, this was me last year; always buying new decor! Thank God I’ve learnt what to stop buying to save money!
Coffee is a must in my household so we have not completely eliminated it from our budget but we have stopped buying expensive coffee from coffeehouses. Instead, we brew our own at home and we stick to cheaper (but still yummy) brands.
This has helped us save tons! Of course if you can see yourself cutting off coffee completely from your life, by all means, go ahead!
10. Expensive Presents
I know that it feels good to give our loved ones amazing (often expensive) gifts for special occasions but this is such a waste when you’re in a financial rut.
First things first, your loved one will understand if you’re on a journey to financial freedom and will not need expensive presents to feel appreciated. My husband and I actually decided on a NO PRESENTS rule; no purchased presents for birthdays, Christmas, anniversary etc.
For our kids, we get them what they love but our relationship itself is now so beyond needing a present to feel loved. Instead, being on this journey together, and working towards our goals is enough!
11. Gym Membership
I gave up my gym membership. This is one of the things to stop buying to save money. There’s nothing quite like an intense weight training session at the gym but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
Instead, we go to the park to run with the kids on an evening, and I use free YouTube videos for my at-home sweat sesh.
I stopped buying juice! Believe it or not, I prefer to drink water anyway! If we want juice to drink, it’s both cheaper and healthier to make our own!
13. Expensive Dates
Who says that date night has to be expensive?! There was a time that we had stopped date nights altogether because the cost of dates PLUS the cost of a babysitter was way too high.
Now, we do dates when the kids go to my in laws’. Ever so often, we’d go to the movies or get some drinks but most times, we choose cheap, minimalist options such as fishing (a new fav of ours!), you know, simple living to save money.
14. Car Wash
I’ve saved a lot since I started washing and cleaning my car for myself. It might not be hundreds every time but surely every little bit adds up in the end.
15. Yard Maintenance
We stopped paying for yard maintenance. Instead my husband took this task up as his little DIY weekend project. He now does all the cleaning, maintaining and landscaping around the home.
16. Extra Curricular Activities
We stopped paying for extra curricular activities. I don’t want this to be long term since I do want dance classes and swimming classes and all the other amazing extra curricular activities there are but right now, it’s not something I have room for in our budget.
Soon, we will be debt free and we can afford these extra curricular activities. It’s a short term sacrifice for long term gain! In the meanwhile, we go to the park, we get some exercise etc. We live balanced lives but our extra curricular is free. 😀
17. Scented Candles & Air Fresheners
I have always been a person who has loved pretty scents! I spent a lot on making our home smell nice until I realized that I was just smelling away my money. UGH.
I’ve since stopped buying these pretty scents and instead I use more natural (and cheap!) scents in our home.
18. Name Brand Products
During my college years, I was probably a little more materialistic that I’d like to admit. Shoes, clothing and handbags all had to be name brand products.
As I matured, I realized how silly this was and I started saving a ton of money with my new attitude! The no-name brand products are often half the price and are if you shop around, you can find items with the same high quality!
19. Expensive self-care items
Similar to the point above, I’ve stopped buying really expensive makeup and toiletries. The cheaper alternatives get the job done just as great!
Our kids have WAY TOO MANY toys right now. As we adopted our new frugal lifestyle, we opted to stop buying toys. They can use what they already have and get creative instead.
They already have all the basics such as lego, dolls, cars, trucks and so many more! Again, a more minimalist and simple living to save money.
Bonus Tip: Have a garage sale to sell extra toys that your kids have outgrown to get even more money to save!
21. Snacks and Desserts
We stopped buying snacks and desserts like cake and ice cream. These are so expensive and unhealthy! Instead, we make our own cheaper and healthier snacks such as popcorn and granola.
I love reading and I’ve always fostered a love for reading in my kids. But books are expensive! So buying new books is on hold until we get to financial freedom.
For now, we read from free online resources, we use the books we currently have, we swap books with friends and we borrow books from the library.
I am a sucker for stationery. Seriously, I’m like a kid in a candy store when I’m in the stationery aisle! I’ve stopped visiting the stationery aisle since we have 83101037 pens and pencils in every corner of our house. I’m sure I’ll find 10 more if I look behind my couches and between my cushions.
If we need anything extra, I go to the stationery aisle, get what I NEED and leave immediately.
Why buy laundry detergent when you can make your own for quarter the price? Here’s a super simple, easy to follow DIY Laundry Detergent tutorial by Amanda from Dwelling in Happiness.
Spending money on alcohol is such a waste when you’re trying to gain financial freedom and become debt free! Again, remember, simple living to save money!
26. Dryer Sheets
I’ve stopped buying dryer sheets. I would always toss a dryer sheet in the dryer when doing laundry but I’ve since stopped and I’m never looking back. Money saved!
27. Paper Towels
I no longer use paper towels in my kitchen. Instead I use reusable kitchen towels. When making this change, you need to commit yourself to washing your reusable cloth very often. Having a few different towels to alternate can help!
28. Shaving Gel
Shaving gel is so unnecessary and expensive. You can simply use soap and something natural and soothing like coconut oil after.
29. Disposable Diapers
Have you ever attempted cloth diapering? You’ll find that you’ll save a lot of money if you make the switch. This one was a little tricky for me since I am a working mom and I had to leave my babies with a babysitter during the day and didn’t want to let her use cloth diapers.
So that’s it! These are the things that I recommend to stop buying to save money. When you stop buying these items, you will definitely start to see the dollars adding up at the end of the month. And who doesn’t like a few extra hundreds in their pocket?
What about you? Are you trying to achieve financial freedom? Are you working towards becoming debt free? Is there anything else you’d add to this list? Share with us in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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