The thought of not buying things in order to save money seems pretty obvious, right? But there are so many things we buy on the regular without thinking twice about it. And while these items might only be a small amount of your budget, over time they can really add up!
When you’re trying to save money, every little bit counts. Even if you’re not in a situation where you have to be super frugal, being smart with your money is still a good idea and eliminating these things from your regular purchases can help you achieve your financial goals even sooner!
If you want to see just how much those little purchases add up over a year, check out the Latte Factor Calculator – it will quickly show you how much extra those little purchases could put back into your bank account.
Here are some things you should stop buying to save money (and have other benefits too!)
1 – Take Away Coffee
I know, I know… put down your torches and pitchforks people. I’m not saying you can’t ever buy a coffee while you’re out. That kind of extreme living is way too hardcore for me! But… you could forego your daily double shot from the cafe on your way to work in exchange for a home-brewed caffeine hit.
We brew our own coffee at home in our french press (like this huge one) and then take it with us in our favourite travel mugs. I also brew an extra pot, let it cool and then keep it in the fridge in this glass water bottle so I can drink my iced black coffee whenever I want too! Winning.
2 – Women’s Razors
It’s not only buying women’s razors that are costing you more, but a whole heap of women’s products cost far more than men’s, even though they are the same product. Switch out to looking at all the products individually, rather than if they are for men or women, and choose what suits you best.
3 – Extended Warranty’s On Electrical Products
When we purchased our television a few years ago, we were offered to extend the warranty on it by a few extra years. The TV itself was $1000, the existing warranty was 5 years, and it was going to be an extra $250 for 3 years warranty.
We were tempted, but then we thought about the previous televisions we had owned. I’d only ever had one that we had kept for more than 5 years, and at the rate technology changes, the newer televisions coming out are far less energy draining and don’t consume so much electricity to run.
The warranty you purchase is only useful if the product itself is faulty, and a lot of those warranties don’t cover the usual ways a television breaks (like a toddler pushing it over, or a storm frying it). These are usually covered by your house and contents insurance, so what are you actually getting for your extra $250?
While this isn’t a regular purchase, over the span of a year you may find that you’re offered this warranty a few times and you should ask yourself, what are you actually getting for the extra dollars you’re handing over.
4 – Groceries, Every Day
How many times have you been to the grocery store just to grab that one thing, and have walked out an hour later with half of aisle 5 and without that one thing? Uh, yeah, all the time.
Buying groceries every day is a surefire way to spend way more than you budget for food. It also indicates that you haven’t been able to plan ahead and you’re more of a last minute kind of person. I get it… me too. But when you’re trying to save money, it’s not going to work this way.
Do yourself a favour and meal plan. It takes about 10 minutes a week, saves you hours, and it means you don’t have to dash to the grocery store every dang day and wander the aisles contemplating what you’re going to eat for dinner that night.
5 – Hardcopy Books
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a new book. But… between my husband and I, we had so many books, and to be honest, I loathed storing them. While the idea of having an entire library in my home to sit and read gives me excited shivers, the reality is, we don’t have space right now. And the clutter of books makes me anxious.
We switched over to a Kindle and haven’t looked back since. The digital versions of books are often significantly cheaper and you can even get copies for free regularly. If you’re an avid reader, you can save loads by opting for the Amazon Unlimited account, my husband reads a ton of books and swears by this.
6 – Stop Buying Online Without Cash Back
There are so many referral sites out there that offer points for spending with them or through their links, but none compare to Ebates. Instead of getting gift cards, you get cash back, and it’s for buying things you’d normally be buying anyway!
You can install the browser extension so you don’t have to worry about remembering to check to see if the site you’re shopping on has cashback or not. We use it for everything!
We book our holidays through Expedia so we get our Ebates cash back, as well as our Expedia points (double winner) and I buy things on Etsy all the time which offers Ebates cash back too! You can even get cash back when you purchase gift cards!
Did I mention you get cash back at Amazon too? Uh, yeah. So good.
If you sign up to Ebates through my link (here) you’ll get a bonus $10 when you spend your first $25. That’s money for jam right there!
7 – Cute Clutter Items
Some people call them knickknacks, others say they are decor, but I call them cute clutter items. Well, most of them anyway.
These are the smelly candles, the cute plaques with inspirational quotes, and the oddly shaped sculptures that you’re not quite sure what it’s meant to be but it was 70% off so you got it anyway.
Stop. Buying. Clutter.
These items do nothing that adds everyday value to your life. While they might make you feel better when you purchase them (woohoo, saved 70%) you’re still handing over your money for something that’s going to sit on a shelf and do nothing for you.
If you see a cute clutter item that you want to buy, stop yourself, and transfer that money you would have spent into your savings account instead. Savings supercharged!
8 – Netflix, Cable, Hulu etc
Again, before you start yelling at me saying you cannot possibly live without (insert streaming service of choice here), I’m not telling you to quit ALL of them. I’m just saying you need to look at what you’re paying for and if it reflects how much you use it.
For example, say you watch Netflix all the time, but you watch cable occasionally because there are one or two shows that you love but aren’t on Netflix, have a look at how much your cable bill is each month, and then compare how much it would cost to buy those shows from Apple or Google Play and see if you’re better off. You might even find when you stop watching them you don’t even notice they’re gone anymore.
And do you know how many services you’re signed up to and the total cost? It can be A LOT! While $10 a month for a service might not seem much, add a few of them in the mix and you’re quickly up over $50a month.
Time for a cull!
9 – Haircuts
If you’re in the thick of trying to save, you may consider forgoing your 6 weekly hair service, or at the very least extending it out. It doesn’t mean you can’t get your hair cut again, or you have to live with major regrowth, it just means you make a few little sacrifices now for long term gains.
I actually went without a haircut or colour for 18 months. Each trip to the salon was costing me around $120, and I was going every two months. That means I saved over $1000 in that time!
If you really cannot forgo your salon trips, perhaps going to an apprentice or trainee. They still work under qualified hairdressers, and their rates are much, much cheaper.
10 – Gym Membership
Again, you don’t have to give up your gym membership if you are the kind of person who goes to the gym 3 times a week and actually uses their membership. But, if you’re like many people, and sign up to the gym in January, go frequently for a month or so, and then slowly taper off, perhaps you want to re-evaluate your membership.
Even if you love working out, check and see if there are other cheaper alternatives that might be better for you.
I love my daily workouts, but I realised I was avoiding the gym because I didn’t like working out in front of others. So I signed up to an online class that I can do at home, in my undies, and not have to worry about the weird noises I make when I workout.
11 – Prepackaged Food
Not only is all of that packaging bad for the environment, but prepackaged food is often far more expensive than the fresh versions. Things like bags of salad, pre-cut vegetables and fruit salads are all examples of things that you can put together yourself for a fraction of the price.
I saw precut carrots at the supermarket the other day and they were $2 for a small bag. Seems harmless enough, just $2. But that was for 150 grams which means those carrots were $13/kg!! A 1kg bag of carrots was only $1.20. That’s a huge difference. (And if you don’t use the metric system, I’m looking at you America, I’m sure you can still appreciate the difference).
12 – Bank Fees
If you’re still paying monthly account keeping fees at your Bank then you need to switch, now. There are so many options out there for accounts with no fees that also have great rates and no transaction fees, there’s really no reason why you should be paying for them.
If you love your bank, and you’re paying fees, give them a call before switching and see if they can waive your fees. If they won’t, switch banks. It’s not a difficult process and once it’s done, you’ll be saving money every month without having to even think about it.
13 – Paper Towels, Napkins and Disposable Dish Cloths
Are you still throwing out your dishcloth everytime it starts to get smelly and gross? Cut that out and opt for washable dishcloths instead. Again, less waste, better for the environment, saves you money.
And if you’re washing your dishcloths instead of just throwing them out, you can use them in replacement of paper towels in a lot of situations.
As for paper napkins, switch them out for cloth ones (oooh fancy) and wash them rather than throwing them away.
14 – Items When They’re On Sale
I know this sounds a little counterproductive, but hear me out.
For a long time, I was proud of the fact that I would never buy anything unless it was at least 50% off. All of the clothes, shoes and homewares I purchased had to be on sale otherwise I wouldn’t buy them.
Not only was it incredibly bad for my money mindset (that’s a totally different post) but it actually led to me spending more money.
Rather than just buying what I needed, when I needed it, I was buying items because they were on sale, even if I didn’t really need them. The bigger the bargain, the better. I was spending more money, cluttering my home and still not getting what I needed.
Now I just buy what I need, when I need it. Of course, I search around for the best price if I can, but I don’t get hung up if it’s not on sale.
15 – Bottled Water
Not only are bottles of water bad for the environment (so much waste) they are an unnecessary expense that can easily add up over the course of a year! Instead, grab yourself a pretty and durable water bottle that you can refill and carry around with you.
I didn’t like the taste the metal water bottles left in my mouth, so I found a tough glass one (this one) and I carry it everywhere.
You don’t have to do all of these to save money, and some will give you more savings than others, but these are just some of the things you should stop buying to save money. If the list is too daunting for you, pick a few things, work on those, and see how you go. Every bit of extra savings counts when you’re working towards your financial goals.