25 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money Now
If you are working on your budget and trying to find ways to save there are lots of ways you can cut back and not even notice the difference. Some of these will hurt more than others, and they won’t all apply to everyone, but hopefully there is something for everyone.
1. Paper Towels – This isn’t something you have to cut out completely if you don’t want, but cloth rags work better in lots of instances, and you can just throw them in the wash you are already doing for free.
2. Coffee – You can make your own for 10 to 20 cents or you can pay $5+ to Starbucks. Again, I’m not saying don’t ever treat yourself to a nice Starbucks, but if you are getting it every day that is a ton of potential savings.
3. Cigarettes – This one is hard to do if you are hooked, but they are obviously terrible for your health and your wallet. Try to quit if can, and if you don’t do it now, please don’t start. Your lungs and your wallet will thank you.
4. Alcohol – As with everything, moderation is key. You don’t have to give it up completely (though that would be the cheapest thing). Drinks out on the town a couple of nights a week is going to be extremely detrimental to your savings. Invite friends over to your place for some of those events and it will be a lot cheaper.
5. Lunch – I’m not recommending you stop eating lunch, just that you stop going out to eat quite so much. I used to literally eat out for lunch every single day at work spending $10-15 each time. That adds up incredibly fast. I now try to pack AT LEAST 3 times a week and sometimes 4 or even all 5 days.
6. Greeting Cards – Seriously the prices on these are absurd. Just make one by hand or print something off the internet.
7. Packaged/Processed Food – Individually packaged things are always more expensive than buying in bulk. Example: Yogurt. The individual serving size yogurt cups are a lot more expensive than buying 1 larger tub. It’s not very hard to get a couple of spoonfuls out into a bowl. You needed the spoon to eat it anyways.
8. Soap Dispensers – These are way too expensive. Buy them once, and then refill them buying soap in bulk. Also, depending on the type of soap you get you might be able to dilute it with water and make it last even longer.
9. Bottled Water – Get a filter. Water is nearly free, bottled water is not.
10. Paper Plates – They are certainly convenient, but so very expensive. Using your own plates and washing them is nearly free. We still use them occasionally because we have 2 young kids and sometimes there doesn’t seem to be time for dishes, but you can save money by using real plates as often as possible.
11. Name Brand Cell Phone Service (i.e. Verizon or AT&T) – We switched to Total Wireless from Verizon and went from $150 a month to $65 a month. It’s the same service. They use Verizon towers. Seriously, same exact service and now I’m saving $85 a month. (Use referral code NFLJ-3027 and we both get a free month).
12. Bread – Homemade bread is one of the best things in the world. It turns out, it’s not hard to make with a breadmaker, and it costs us on the order of 50 cents a loaf.
13. Jewelry – Such a waste of money most of the time. It’s really expensive, and for what?
14. Delivery Pizza – I don’t mind splurging occasionally, especially for REALLY good local pizza, but most delivery is only a little bit better than frozen. We get frozen pizza’s from Aldi for less than $3. It’s a great way to save money when you have a busy day and need a quick dinner. $3 is much better than the $15 (or more) we usually end up spending at Papa Johns or Dominoes.
15. Brand new Cell Phone – They are getting pretty expensive, and really good. That also means that last year’s iPhone is really good too. Just get that one for a few hundred less.
16. Body Wash – If you can find a bar soap that agrees with your skin they are much much cheaper than body wash.
17. Magazines – You can find information on pretty much anything online for free. Magazines are not nearly as relevant now with the internet.
18. Newspapers – See above. That being said, there are few notable exceptions that some people might be interested in that you can’t get anywhere else, such as the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Still, you can probably get most of the information in them from other sources.
19. Dryer Sheets – Dryer balls can last up to 1000 loads. Significantly cheaper than dryer sheets.
20. Napkins – Switch to cloth napkins and throw them in the normal wash.
21. Name Brand Stuff – Most things have a generic version that is just as good and half the price. No need to pay for the marketing dollars they spent to convince it’s better.
22. Cable – Netflix is good enough.
23. Cosmetics – I try to argue that I think my wife looks just as good without makeup but she doesn’t believe me. At the very least you can probably lay off the name brand stuff and use generic. For me, this is all about being comfortable in your own skin. Don’t take my word for it, Liz from Frugalwoods has a great post on ditching makeup almost entirely.
24. Books – Libraries are a great resource that I don’t make as good of use as I should. They can get you pretty much any book for free. How many books do you actually read more than once anyway? Probably only a select few.
25. Fast Food – Obviously sometimes it’s the only option, but there are so many times when it isn’t. You might say you’re starving, but, you probably aren’t. How much longer will it take to drive home and pop in a frozen pizza? Might not be the healthiest thing, but neither is fast food. We buy frozen pizza’s at Aldi for less than $3 and it feeds the whole family. Even at McDonald’s we’d be likely to spend $20 for that same meal.
I’m sure I’ll add more to this list over time, but don’t think of it as a comprehensive list of things to stop buying. Use it as a springboard to think of things in your life that are unnecessary, or that have much cheaper alternatives.