When you’re trying to save money, every little bit counts. I don’t consider myself to be super frugal. I like having nice things, but I’ve learned over the years how to stop buying stuff and spend wisely.
After overcoming my shopping addiction, I realized that there were many things I bought on a regular basis without thinking twice. And if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to let unnecessary expenses pile up.
By learning about minimalism, I discovered ways I could cut back or eliminate these things from my regular spending. Living on less and putting that extra money into savings or investing it has been a game changer for me.
Here’s 20 things I quit buying to save money!
Please note that some items in this post may not apply to you. Use this post as a starting point to help you determine things you can stop buying to save money.
- 10 fast ways to save money without even trying
- How I save 50% of my income (and how you can too)
- How to stop spending money you don’t have
1. Stop buying online without using cash back
Whenever I need to purchase something online, I always make sure to earn cash back. My favorite cash back website to use is Rakuten. With Rakuten, you can earn up to 20% cash back when shopping online. I’ve been using this site for years to save money.
It’s free to join and you’ll even get a free $10 welcome bonus when you sign up!
How to claim your free $10:
- Start here to sign up for Rakuten. (It’s free to join)
- Find your store on Rakuten next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to over 2,000 stores, including Amazon, Target, and Walmart. You’ll need to spend at least $25 on your first purchase within 90 days.
- Your Rakuten account will be credited with reward points. Get this cash sent to a PayPal account or choose to receive a Big Fat Check from Rakuten. It’s up to you!
For Canadian shoppers, you can click here to sign up for Rakuten (free $5 welcome bonus).
2. Bottled water
Let’s say you spent $1 per day on bottled water. This can add up to $365 per year. And if you prefer fancier water brands, which can cost up to $4 per bottle, this can add up to $1,4260 per year. (Calculation is based on an average of 315 bottles per person, per year).
Water is free and safe to drink in most U.S. cities. But many people choose to pay for bottled water based on taste and convenience. According to Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans spend $16 billion a year on it.
I can appreciate that not all water tastes the same. This is why I love using my Brita Filter for drinking water. I fill my reusable bottle whenever I’m going out or traveling. This is one of the easiest items to stop buying if you want to save money.
3. Going to the grocery store everyday
I live within walking distance to a grocery store. In the past, I would go to the grocery store multiple times per week, just because it was close to home. Buying groceries everyday was a quick way to spend more money than I budgeted for each month on food.
It also meant that I wasn’t planning ahead, which left me scrambling every night trying to figure out what to make for dinner.
To help me save money and time, I started creating a weekly meal plan. Putting together a meal plan takes only 10 minutes per week and it saves me hours by not having to make multiple trips to the grocery store or stressing about what to make for dinner every night.
Using a meal plan template has been a game-changer for me. You can grab the one I use here:
If you’re new to meal planning, I recommend trying the $5 Meal Plan. Many of my readers have told me great things about how this service makes planning meals each week simple and easy.
For just $5 per month, you will receive a delicious meal plan, where every meal will cost about $2 per person (or less). It’s a great way to save time and money, plus they offer specialty plans, including gluten-free and vegetarian meals. Click here to try it free for 14 days.
4. Gym membership
If you have a gym membership that you use on a regular basis, then that’s great. However, if you’re like most people who sign up for a gym membership in January and slowly stop going after a few months, then you may want to re-evaluate your membership.
My condo has a gym which is included in our condo fees. However, it’s been closed for the past couple of months because of social distancing measures. Due to this, I’ve been finding ways to do at-home workouts which has been a lot of fun.
There are many online classes available that you can do from the comfort of your own home. My favorite is Yoga Download. They offer over 1,500 online yoga classes for all levels.
Yoga Download currently has a TrustScore of 4.7/5 on Trust Pilot, making them one of the highest rated online yoga programs. With new classes being added each week, now is the perfect time to give yoga a try. You can learn more about Yoga Download here.
5. Dryer sheets
I’ve stopped using dryer sheets years ago when I found out they contain artificial fragrances and other ingredients that are known to cause health problems. Since then, I’ve switched to dryer balls and love them!
Dryer balls can replace both dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener, which can save you a lot of money (and storage space). They help prevent laundry from clumping in the dryer and can boost the drying process. This helps your laundry dry more efficiently and faster – which is another way to save money.
The most common dryer balls are made from wool or plastic. Both options cost anywhere from $7-$20, depending on which kind you get. Dryer balls can last for 2-5 years, depending on how much laundry you do. This is one of the easiest items to stop buying if you want to save money.
6. Cleaning products
According to the Nest, American families spend around $40-$50 per month on cleaning supplies. This can add up to $600+ per year. Most of these cleaning supplies are not reusable.
Cleaning is essential to protecting our health in our homes, but many of the popular store-bought cleaners include harmful chemicals.
Homemade cleaners are easy to make and you can probably use ingredients you already have in your pantry, such as vinegar and baking soda.
I’ve been making my own homemade cleaners for the past year and love it. It’s saved me so much money and I have peace of mind knowing which products are being used to clean my home. This is simple item to stop buying if you want to save money.
Here is the recipe I use for my favorite DIY all-purpose cleaner:
- 2 tablespoons Castile soap
- 2 cup distilled water
- 10-15 drops of tea tree oil (You can use lemon oil or lavender oil instead)
Put all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle. Gently shake it up. And it’s ready to be used to clean your home.
7. Unnecessary subscription services
Subscriptions services can be a huge budget killer because they are automatically taken out of your bank account each month.
No matter how closely you pay attention to your monthly bills, I’m sure if you take another look, you’d find at least one subscription that you’re not using. You may even discover a late fee you’ve forgotten about. Oops!
To help you get organized and pay less on your monthly bills, consider using this free tool by Trim.
Trim is a digital personal assistant that makes it easy to save money on your monthly bills. All you have to do is sign up here and Trim will do the heavy lifting for you. Trim will also negotiate your monthly bills, such as your cable, cell phone, and internet bill. Trim works behind the scenes and automates ways to save you money.
Now you can have more money in your pocket to help grow your savings and pay off debt faster.
8. Occasion clothes
Just a few years ago, I used to be a shopaholic. I was always buying new clothes and wouldn’t think twice before buying something to wear on just one occasion.
After learning how to get better mileage from my wardrobe, I realized that it was wasteful to buy clothes that I was only going to wear once. Instead, I started to buy clothes that I love and could wear over and over again.
Here are some ways you can wear a new outfit for special occasions without spending money:
- Borrow clothes from a friend or family member.
I borrowed a dress from a friend to wear to a wedding. This helped me save money from buying a dress that I would only wear once.
- Host a clothing swap with friends.
This can be a great way to get rid of clothes you no longer wear and get new clothes for free.
- Shop your closet.
This is a great way to get creative by putting together new outfit combinations with clothing you already have.
My boyfriend and I used to love going out for cocktails on the weekend. But we realized that going out for drinks was costing us a lot of money. Depending on which restaurant you go to, cocktails can cost up to $20 per drink!
Since we’ve started spending more time at home, we’ve been enjoying making our own cocktail creations. We bought this cool cocktail shaker which we love! Now when we go out, we choose to skip the overpriced cocktails and just have drinks at home.
10. Expensive cell phone plans
I know many of us are attached to our phones today, but chances are we don’t need to be paying for an expensive cell phone plan.
Because I work from home and live in a big city that has good WiFi connections at most places, I decided not to get a data plan. This saves me A LOT of money each month and I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not having a data plan.
Instead, I pay $25 per month for unlimited nation-wide talk and text. I can appreciate that this phone plan is not for everyone, but it works for me.
I recommend calling your phone provider to negotiate a better rate. You may find that you’re not using all the extras you’re paying for and can switch to a cheaper plan.
11. Bank fees
If you’re paying a monthly fee for your bank account, then I recommend switching to a free bank account. There’s really no reason to pay for the bank to store your money.
12. Cable TV
It’s been over two years since we got rid of Cable TV and haven’t missed it at all. We find that it’s easy to stream our favorite stores online, so there’s really no need to still pay for Cable TV.
13. Items that create clutter
I used to be guilty of buying cute knickknacks, home décor, and a variety of scented candles. While they seemed like a good purchase at the time, especially when they were on sale, many of these items didn’t add value to my life. And now they are just collecting dust or taking up space in my home.
Now when I’m out shopping and see a cute item that I want to buy (but will just add clutter to my home), I put the money that I would’ve spent into my savings account instead. It feels good to say no to things I don’t need and save money.
14. Hard copy books
I used to love buying and collecting books, especially old books. But after switching to a more minimalist lifestyle, I realized that having a room full of books was just taking up valuable space. And to be honest, I wasn’t re-reading the books as often as I thought I would.
Due to this, I decided to sell my books to a used bookstore and bought a Kindle instead. Digital books are usually cheaper than hard copies and you can even access free books through the Kindle too. This is one of the easiest items to stop buying if you want to save money.
15. Take away coffee
Just a few years ago, I used to go to the local coffee shop every morning before work. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but soon realized that my $3 a day coffee habit was costing me $60 per month.
This may not seem like a lot of money to some people, but it was an expense that I certainly cut back on. You don’t have to completely stop buying coffee at your local cafe, but you can reduce the expense.
I started making my own coffee and tea at home, which I think tastes just as good (if not better) than my local coffee shop. Our favorite way to make coffee at home is with our pour over coffee maker. It’s easy to use and we love it! We even like to grind our own coffee beans, which makes a huge difference in taste.
I’ve only had one professional haircut in the last 12 years. It might sound a bit extreme, but I had a lot of bad experiences at the salon in the past, so I taught myself how to cut my own hair at home. I’ve been very happy with my at-home haircuts and it’s saved me a TON of money over the years.
If you need to go to the salon for a haircut, I recommend getting something that you can easily grow out so you don’t have to go to the salon too often. Or consider going to a salon school, which is usually cheaper than a regular salon.
17. Prepackaged food
Prepackaged food is usually more expensive than the non-prepackaged versions. This includes premade meals, salad kits, precut fruits and vegetables, premade sandwiches, and so on.
Sometimes when you’re in a pinch, this can be a huge time saver. But if you set a little time aside, you can easily put together your own salad for a fraction of the price.
Plus, it tastes so much better when you put together these fresh ingredients yourself. This is one of the easiest items to stop buying if you want to save money.
18. Items just because they are on sale
In the past, the sale section used to be my weakness. I would buy items just because they were on sale. I thought the deals were too good to pass up. Even if I didn’t really need the item, I convinced myself to buy it by saying “I might use/wear this someday”.
Now when I think about my previous spending habits, that logic seems kind of silly. Today I stopped buying items just because they are on sale. Instead, I only buy items if I need them or I have the money available in my budget to purchase them.
For more tips on how to stop buying impulse purchases, check out this post here: 10 Ways To Kick Your Shopping Habit
19. Impulse purchases
As a former shopaholic, I know ALL about making impulse purchases. That rush of excitement when something catches your eye and the instant feeling of gratification when you’re about to make a purchase.
But after the purchase has been made, those happy feelings seem to disappear as quickly as they came. Soon they’re replaced by feelings of guilt or frustration regarding the impulse buy.
One of the ways I’ve been able to improve my spending habits is by asking myself the following questions before making a purchase:
- Why am I here?
Am I here because I’m bored? Is it because I’m sad or feeling lonely? Did I have a bad day?
- How will I pay for it?
Can I afford to pay for this using cash today? Do I need to put it on credit?
- What if I wait?
Do I really need this? Will I still want this a month from now? Does this purchase align with my spending goals and values?
- What else can I do with this money?
Is this the best way to spend this money? Can I use it for something else? Can I put it into my savings or towards paying off debt?
20. Tech upgrades
This is one area that people spend a lot of money. There’s really no reason to purchase a new iPhone every year if the current one you have works fine.
We have one TV in our home right now and it’s 8 years old. It’s not even a Smart TV, but it works just fine for us. To help us stream movies, we bought a Chromecast, which was a lot cheaper than purchasing a new TV.
Sometimes when we see new technology in the stores, we feel like we’re missing out. But once we get home, we forget all about those tech upgrades and make the most of what we have. That’s why we chose to stop buying tech upgrades every year.
So if your computer, smartphone, fitness watch, TV, or tablet is still working, then skip the upgrade this year and save your money!