20 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money

What are the things to stop buying to save money? There are many, many of them. Check out this list and find out what purchases you need to avoid in the future. Your wallet will be grateful!

The mere words saving money are seen as a utopia by many people who think that, with their income and monthly expenses, there is nothing left to save. But there’s always some extra money that can be put away in the savings box, either for emergencies or special occasions, and that is currently being spent on things you don’t really need or didn’t even know you were paying for. 

Here you’ll find 20 things to stop buying to save money.

1. Take Out Coffee

I know! You don’t start your day well without your cup of coffee, you don’t spend that much money on it and you need it on your drive to work. But hear me out, I’m not cutting off your caffeine daily dose, nor saying you can’t buy a cup of your favorite coffee now and then. You can save money and still drink your morning serum by investing in your own coffee maker (or taking it out of the shelf!) and brewing your coffee at home

According to Business Insider, buying coffee from a cafe costs between $1 and $5 (unless you’re buying from Starbucks or always choose the fancy option on the menu) whereas making your own coffee only costs 16 to 18 cents a cup

If you’re faithful to a certain brand, most sell their coffee to make at home nowadays, so you can still have your regular cup while saving some bucks. If you don’t have time for breakfast in the morning you can always grab your travel mug and take the coffee with you. Same caffeine kick, less money spent: one of thee things to stop spending money on TODAY.  

2. Restaurant meals & take out food

Eating out is great if you do it on special occasions and share the bill, but it’s not good for your wallet if you go out or buy take-out food on a regular basis. So stop eating out to save money: cooking more at home will not only save your budget, but you’ll be ensuring the quality of the products you use, ending up with a healthier meal, so it’s a win-win.

If you don’t want to cut back your restaurant meals entirely, try going out for lunch instead of dinner, as it’s usually cheaper and will help you save some extra dollars. 

Another way of saving money when you eat at a restaurant is skipping the cocktails and overpriced drinks; they won’t last more than a few minutes and could easily cost you your weekly food budget. 

3. Checkout Line Items

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and ended up with a bunch of extra stuff in your shopping cart without even knowing how they got there? Stuff happens when you go shopping and items you have absolutely no need for seem indispensable when you see them in the supermarket, making you spend way more than you intended. And then there’s the Checkout Line items, placed there on purpose to tempt you while you wait for your turn. This kind of impulsive buying is one of the worst things you can do to your savings plan, but there’s hope for your wallet, and here are some ways you can avoid these unnecessary expenses: 

  • Buy Online: Most grocery store chains offer online shopping, and since you have to search for the items you need you won’t come across tempting but inessential things. You can then pick up your bags at the store or get them delivered, so you’ll save time as well as money. 
  • Make a list: If you prefer going to the store, make sure you do so with a thorough list of what you need to buy and stick to it.  
  • Meal Prep: Buying more than you need is also a waste of money and food; if you plan your weekly meals ahead you’ll know exactly what needs to be bought and how much, and it will make a great difference on your food expenses. Meal Prepping also helps you to be organized and to avoid last-minute fast food orders (bad for the health and pocket)   so there are numerous reasons to implement it in your life.  
  • Avoid Pre-Packaged Food: Pre-Packaged food, especially vegetables, are extremely expensive compared to their fresh version. They are practical because they’re usually already washed and cutted or grated, but if you do it at home it’ll only take you a few minutes, and you’ll be saving quite a lot of money. Also consider the plastic waste, if that’s something you care about. 

4. Bottled Water

Drinking water is really important, so if you’re spending a lot of money on your hydration it’s (partly) good news. But there are many excellent reasons to stop buying bottled water, and great alternatives to maintain your habit and save money at the same time.

If you aim to drink your daily dose of water and can’t carry a 2-liter bottle around, you’re probably buying several bottles throughout the day, therefore spending tons of money you could be saving. Another bonus of avoiding bottled water is the reduction of plastic use, so you’ll be caring for the environment as a (great!) side-effect. 

A perfect alternative is to get a reusable water bottle – they come in various sizes and materials, so you can choose whichever suits you best – and refill it during the day. Most offices and buildings have a water dispenser available, so you won’t have to spend another penny on your drinking

If there’s no water dispenser near you you can buy a 1L bottle and refill your own, but try not to make this a habit. The less you spend on single-use plastic, the more you save and the less your plastic waste is. 

5. Gym Membership

Yes, exercise is very important, and if you hit the gym three times a week and actually make use of your membership, then skip this point. But how many of us pay for a membership in the hopes that it will motivate us to work out…and then never show up? 

If you still like to exercise from time to time you should consider searching for other options, like finding a gym with a more accessible membership, buying a class online, or even browsing youtube: there are tons of classes and tutorials for free that you can enjoy

If you go to the gym for the treadmill you could instead go for a run at a nearby park or join a running group

6. Streaming Services

Having a subscription to a streaming service is great…but having subscriptions to all of them, when you only really use one? Not so great

Maybe you had a Netflix account, but then subscribed to Hulu to check it out, or got Disney + for your kids (or inner child) and then your friend recommended a new one…The list can go on. Check what streaming services you really use, or couldn’t live without, and let the rest go. Your credit card will very much appreciate it, and so will your savings account. 

While you’re at it, take the time to check all the subscriptions you currently have. You may have subscribed for a free month of Amazon Prime or Spotify and then forgot to cancel before it renewed. You could be paying for a few of these without knowing, so make sure you cancel anything you don’t use and set reminders for future free subscriptions that work with auto-renewal.  

7. Cable

This point goes hand in hand with the previous one. You mostly watch Netflix, but like to keep the cable for that one or two shows that run now and again and you really enjoy? Try looking for that show on a platform like Google Play where you can buy it, and compare the price with your monthly cable expenses. Most likely buying the show will be cheaper, and the best part is that you’ll get to keep it and watch it whenever you want. 

This also goes the other way around: if you only use cable but once in a while you like to browse Netflix, cancel the subscription. You can always crash at a friend’s house to watch that new show on the platform and get the best of both worlds. 

8. Stop Paying Bank Fees

There are many options of banks with no fees that have very good rates and no transaction fees, so paying a monthly fee for your bank account should not be one of your expenses

You can check out different banks to find the option that best suits you, and then switch banks. The process is fairly simple and will leave you with some extra money every month you didn’t know you were spending.  

If you really like your bank and the facilities it gives you, consider giving them a call and explaining your situation: there’s a good chance they will waive your fees in order to keep you

9. Stop buying without Cashback

You can actually get a percentage of your money back when you spend using cashback. There are several free apps that allow you to use the feature when you buy online, like Rakuten or Ibotta. This way you’ll spend less than intended and save a few extra dollars. 

10. Things that are on sale

Buying things because they’re on sale is not the smart decision you thought it was. Getting the item you need at a discounted price is, but it’s not if you’re scanning the sales section at the mall to take advantage of it, and end up taking home things you don’t have a use for just because they were cheap

If you love a good bargain and you know you can’t help buying everything on sale, avoid the sales section or store. Your wallet will be thankful, and so will you when you see your savings of the month. 

11. Buying the Female Version of Products

Studies have shown that the female version of certain products, such as deodorant or razors, is way more expensive than the male version. This is known as ‘Pink Tax’ and it’s a real thing, so you should consider choosing the gender-neutral or male version of some articles to save some money. 

Of course, women won’t start wearing men’s clothes or perfume, but items like socks, shampoo, lotion, or those mentioned above are exactly the same product in different packages, and the price difference can be huge.

12. Paper Towels

The only paper thing you should be buying is toilet paper. Ditch the paper towels in favor of washcloth; it’s one of the best things to give up to save money and, as a bonus, reduce the amount of waste you put out there. Washable cloth towels and napkins are a one-time purchase that will last for a very long time.  

13. Dryer Sheets

Buying Dryer Sheets is a thing of the past that is costing you serious money. Get the Dryer Balls instead; they’re reusable and they save drying time, which reduces the energy you use, saving you money on all ends.  

Dryer Balls can last from 2 to 5 years, depending on how much laundry you use. Calculate how much you’d spend on Dryer Sheets in that time and make sure you get those Dryer Balls ASAP. 

14. Expensive Cell Phone Plan 

Nowadays there’s a WIFI spot literally everywhere, so you don’t need unlimited monthly credit because, let’s be real, you’re on your phone mainly using the internet, either for checking your emails, browsing the web, or social media.    

Even if you make calls regularly, with so many plans out there there’s a good chance you can get the facilities you need with a much cheaper plan than the one you’re paying for. Most offer the same services, so you don’t need to be faithful to a certain company: if you can get the same benefits for less, make the change now.  

This also applies to Tech Upgrades: there’s always going to be a new phone, computer, or tech device coming out, and it’s unreal (and bad for your pocket) to try to keep up. 

If your phone works fine and does everything you need it to, then you’re good with it

15. Books

Books are great, and who doesn’t love a good library in their living room with their favorite titles? 

But let’s be honest, books aren’t cheap, especially if they’re new releases or hard copy books. Here are some alternatives to keep reading for less: 

  • Check out your local library. They’re usually updated and have the latest books, and the library card will be much cheaper than buying new ones, allowing you to read as much as you want for a modic price. It’s also a nice way of supporting their business.  
  • Consider buying used books. You can find several bookshops that sell them or buy them online, and get a really good book for a better price. If you buy online the condition of the book is generally indicated in the description, so you shouldn’t have to worry about any surprises. 
  • If you enjoy a good book no matter its format, Audible could be a good alternative for you, offering audiobooks at really good prices. Another option is investing in a Kindle as e-books tend to be cheaper than hard-copies. If you enjoy classic books, there are tons of websites where you can download them for free, like Gutenberg Project or Internet Archive.
  • If you really like buying new books, consider getting the pocket edition as it usually costs less. Hardcover editions are one of the things I stopped buying to save money, and you should too: what matters is the content, not the cover!

16. Cigarettes

You should quit cigarettes for your health, first and foremost. Saving the money you spend on them is a plus, and a really big one.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a pack of cigarettes costs an average of $6.28, so one pack a day translates into $188 a month, and $2292 a year. The cost could be higher depending on where you live. 

If you consider the amount of money you spend on cigarettes, and how harmful they are for your life expectancy and overall health, you’ll see that it’s probably the best thing to stop buying, ever

17. Apps

A new app gets released for every topic you can think of these days, and most of them are free, so there really is no need to pay for one. You can find free versions of the one you currently have and save in the process, or if you don’t have one but are considering getting a subscription to a certain app, check first if you can’t find a similar app for free and choose that one instead. Apps that charge you fees are certainly one of the things you can live without to save money, and you don’t even have to, since there are countless for free! Make the switch now, and get that money into the piggy bank.  

18. Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies are expensive, whatever the brand you choose, and most of them (especially the cheapest ones) include harmful and toxic chemicals. You can instead make your own cleaning products that are non-toxic, natural, and environmentally friendly with ingredients you probably already have, like vinegar, lemon, baking soda, or oil. If you like your house to smell good after cleaning, you can always add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Cleaning supplies are one of the easiest things to make at home to save money, so get started! 

19. Lottery Tickets 

Lottery tickets are one of the things you should stop buying ASAP. Getting a ticket when you have a hunch or want to try your luck is fine, but buying lottery tickets on a regular basis ends up costing so much, and let’s be real: the chances of you winning the lotto are slim. If you stop spending money on lottery tickets, those savings could probably get you whatever you wish to buy with the prize money in the long run, so you’re actually winning if you save it instead of throwing it away.  

20. New Items 

We all need to make purchases now and again, and that’s perfectly fine. But you can still save while buying if you consider second-hand products instead of buying everything brand new

Of course, there are certain items you’ll want to buy new, like underwear or beauty products, but if you’re looking to upgrade your car don’t limit your options to brand new cars and check out used ones: the price difference can be huge, and there are many gently used cars in perfect condition that will get you more for your money.   

Other examples are furniture, books, electronics, and even clothing if you like visiting second-hand stores. 

Places like Facebook Marketplace or eBay offer tons of used stuff that can be exactly what you were looking for, for less. 

You should also stop buying occasion clothes that you’ll wear that one time and never again. If you have a special event coming up consider borrowing clothes from a friend or family member, organizing a clothing swap with your friends (this way you’ll get rid of things you don’t use and get new ones for free!) or shopping your closet for new combinations. If those options don’t solve your dilemma, you can rent an outfit for the night, but try to make it the last option. 

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