To buy or not to buy, that is the question.
However, when you have financial goals such as getting out of debt, the question becomes the answer – stop buying to save money.
I am not talking about extreme ways to stop buying because I enjoy having nice things. However, I have learned to stop buying unnecessary stuff and be mindful of my spending over the years.
In the meantime, I always try to find ways to make more money to contribute to my savings account.
I am surprised by how much money I had saved when I started cutting out on unnecessary purchases (things I actually don’t need and add no value to my life) in the past few years.
If you are not mindful of your spending, small expenses (such as bottled water, food delivery, and paper towels) could easily add up and eat up your savings. Or even worse, overspending could lead to being broke or in debt.
Depending on your spending habits, a few minor tweaks could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.
If small changes can affect your financial life dramatically, it is worth trying. I have to admit that it is not easy to change your spending habits, but it’s doable.
When you spend less and have more money in your pocket, you are one step closer to financial freedom.
You can pay off your debt, set up an emergency fund, or get early retirement.
Here are the 25 things I stopped buying, and I have saved thousands of dollars every year ever since.
25 Things I Stopped Buying to Save Money
#1 Beauty Products
I am a classic shopaholic when it comes to beauty products. Whenever I do beauty shopping, I feel like a little kid who just walked into a candy store.
I never lack an occasion to buy beauty products. If there is no occasion, it is easy to create one in my mind.
- fresh fragrance for different moods
- new skin-care products for the coming summer
- mini-sized beauty products for traveling
- irresistible eyeshadow palettes for fashion
The list can go on and go in my head. But I know if I keep THINKING and SPENDING like this, I wouldn’t be able to save much or any.
So I have decided to make a few simple tweaks to see how it goes.
- Don’t store beauty products (such as makeup items) more than I need.
- Finish the already-bought things before buying new ones.
- Use money-saving resources to get cashback whenever possible.
- Know the products’ ingredients and seek alternatives (such as drugstore brands) if possible.
I said goodbye to some products and found better alternatives. And I no longer buy extras (such as lipsticks and eyeshadows), so they don’t expire before I have a chance to use them.
BUT I am still loyal to a few expensive ones as they work perfectly for me, and I LOVE them.
I have saved a couple of thousand dollars in this section each year, and the alternatives have worked pretty well on me, so I am happy with the choice.
The money I have saved goes to my emergency fund and savings account.
#2 Beauty Treatments
I used to be a regular at beauty salons, which cost me thousands of dollars each year. Now I do my beauty treatments at home and have become a PRO at beauty care.
Home Beauty Treatment = More Savings + New Skills
For example, basic manicures and pedicures together can cost $70 (prices vary depending on the location, materials, and style); And if you want advanced ones, just a manicure treatment could cost you over $100 per time.
Say you go there once a month for basic treatments; these will cost you at least: 12 months * $70 per time = $840 a year.
However, the bills could mount up quickly if you also want other services, such as waxing.
You can learn how to do all of these at home by checking out FREE YouTube tutorials. Trust me. It’s not as complicated as you think.
#3 New Clothes
My favorite clothing stores have new arrivals every week. It’s hard to keep up with this production speed when I am on the road to financial freedom.
So this is a section I have to let it go.
You might also find the following questions helpful before making a purchase.
- What are the materials, style, and color?
- Do I have the same color and style in my wardrobe?
- Does the item match other outfits?
- Am I going to wear this often?
- Can I return it if I don’t like it?
Don’t contribute most of your weekly wage or annual salary to the clothing stores.
As for occasional clothes, you can rent the clothes online or borrow from families if possible.
#4 Tech Upgrades and Gadgets
I love high-tech but have to admit that tech-related items, such as the latest branded phones, are costly.
If your current phone, laptop, and gadgets are working fine, keep using them to save thousands of dollars each year.
The same rule applies to all electronic devices.
#5 Paid Apps & In-App Purchases
My life isn’t affected at all after stopping paying for apps.
Don’t pay for apps if you only use them once or twice, although some are super tempting.
Even as little as $0.99 for paid apps could add up if you are unaware. Always look for FREE ones first before downloading.
If you really want to buy some apps, try to see if some free alternatives are available out there. You will always find something, speaking from experience.
Being charged for something you rarely use is not healthy for your budget.
I used to buy books ($20+ per book, $100+ per month) each month.
However, given my long-term financial goals and current frugal living lifestyle, it is not economical to buy hardcopy books each time as many books are sleeping there in the dust without a second read.
Instead of buying books, I now borrow books from my local library to save money. I usually take the borrowed books home to read. To reduce the trips to the library, I borrow the maximum number of books every time I go.
Apart from using the library, I am also a big fan of e-reading.
If you are anything like me, you could take advantage of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-day FREE trial here.
You can access over 1 million books, the current popular magazines, and more…
Read anytime, anywhere on any device.
If you happen to be an audible learner, you can also check out Amazon Audible 🎧 and grab your FREE 30-day trial here.
It is convenient if you are a time-strapped mom or a busy college student.
You can also buy new or used books on Amazon, saving more money buying them online than in physical bookstores.
Want to save more money when shopping on Amazon? Here you go.
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Taking the survey in your spare time can help you save money on books or shopping every month.
#7 I Quit Buying New Stationery
Stationery doesn’t seem to cost much, and it is nice to have new ones for a fresh start.
BUT do I really need new pens, notepads, or paper to be more organized and productive at study/work?
Probably not, especially if the old ones work perfectly fine.
If I run out of some items, I usually purchase them in bulk online for a lower price.
It’s better to go through all your stationery essentials before buying. You might find another pen under your couch.
#8 Unused Memberships
When I went through my credit card statements, I noticed that I had a few memberships that I hadn’t used for a long time, and they are still charging me.
I canceled them right away to cut the loss. And I saved over $500.
You can go through your monthly bills to see if you have some forgotten memberships. Get rid of these unnecessary expenses before losing more money.
I stopped using cable a long time ago, and I have never missed it ever since.
Instead of binge-watching my favorite TV shows, I use the time to start this blog and make money blogging. Save more, make more 💸 and live more.
If you spend hundreds of dollars on cable each year and only pay for the basic channels or occasional use, then it is time to consider canceling it and choosing the alternatives to save money.
Compared to the expensive cable bill (such as $100+ per month = $1200+ per year), many cheaper options are available like Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video that cost only a tiny fraction of your money.
If you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, you don’t need to pay a cent for watching thousands of popular TV shows from Prime Video. It is completely FREE.
They also offer a 30-day free trial here.
#10 Expensive Cell Phone Plan
You can easily spend a lot of money on an inappropriate phone plan.
When I started to work from home, I canceled all the extra services included in my phone plan. Now I only pay for the basics and limited data. That works for me.
You can check the currently available phone plans and make a phone call with your phone provider to get the best deal for your needs.
There is a possibility to save you hundreds of dollars each year. Why not?
#11 Bank Fees
I switched to a bank without additional fees, and it is not a complicated process.
If your bank charges you a monthly account service fee or other fees, you can consider changing a bank without
For example, if you pay a $5 service fee every month to your bank (I used to pay for that), that is $60 a year that you could have saved if switching.
It doesn’t seem much, but still, that’s your hard-earned money.
However, if your bank provides other services you need, try to cut out expenses elsewhere instead.
#12Products on Sale – How to Save Money from Shopping
Do you buy things or stock items simply because they are on sale?
I used to fall into that trap, and I ended up with a bunch of unnecessary stuff. What was I thinking? 🤦🏻♀️
Many people think buying things on sale is a good deal (including me), but ACTUALLY, they are NOT. 😱
Some items are dirt cheap but don’t add value to your life if they don’t last long (low quality) or are of no use.
You will need to find space to store the stuff, throw them away, or resell them online. Anyways, you are wasting your MONEY and TIME in the long run.
Discounts (such as 50% off) are nothing new in the business world. Some sales are all year round, and the same sales repeat the following year. This is a ubiquitous marketing strategy.
Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean we need to buy it.
💡 Pro Tip: Shop for the value, NOT for the price.Quality items are the things that could save you money in the long run.
– How To Save Money For Christmas Shopping
– Smart Wedding Shopping Tips to Save Money on Your Big Day
#13 Checkout Line Items
Items on the checkout aisle are evils trying to entice you to spend more money.
Next time, when you are waiting for the checkout in the markets, ignore the items next to you and stick to what you have in the trolley/basket.
#14 Items from Convenience Stores
Do you know items at convenience stores are more expensive than supermarkets and online stores?
Indeed, they are convenient for your life, but they are not sweet for your money – a giant budget killer.
I don’t know you, but I used to go there a lot just for the sake of convenience. Now I buy things online or in the market beforehand.
Save a couple of dollars each time and hundreds of dollars each year.
Don’t throw your money away on the trips to the convenience stores – unnecessary expenditure.
Related article: Best Frugal Living Tips To Help You Quit Buying To Save Money
#15 Plastic Bags
This is one of the easiest things I stopped buying to help my budget and the environment.
If you go shopping, don’t forget to bring your reusable bags instead of wasting 7 cents or more (depending on the country and store policies) on plastic bags.
Sometimes, you might need more than one plastic baggie for a bigger size of items, which will cost you more.
On top of that, some stores might just roll the price of the disposable bags into the total cost at the counter, and you wouldn’t even know the price unless you check the receipt.
#16 Food Delivery & Eating Out – How to Save Money from Food
It is convenient and time-saving to order delivery or eat out, especially for full-time working moms.
However, it is much more expensive (food, drinks, and tips) and might not be as healthy as you think compared to home cooking.
When I started to take care of my food expenses, I saved a large sum of money.
Cook At Home = Save More + Eat Clean + Have Yummy Food + Control Weight + Avoid Waste
If you are not a huge fan of meal preparation, the $5 meal plan could be your BFF.
You can receive a weekly meal plan (includes meals that cost less than $2 per person) and a complete shopping list via email, which could save your TIME and MONEY.
For only $5 a month, you can easily CUT OUT all the unnecessary food expenses and have tasty and healthy meals.
🌟 Don’t forget to grab your 14-day FREE trial here to start saving money on food expenses. If you don’t think the meal plan is for you, simply cancel it with no questions asked.
Instead of cooking every day, you can prepare your meal for the whole week in advance and arrange them into meal prep containers.
Think about the thousands of dollars each year that you could have saved from food expenses.
With that said, you don’t have to cut out of eating out or food delivery completely. You can do it within your budget when you are on the road to financial freedom.
#17 Extra Food
Are your eyes bigger than your stomach? It makes two of us.
How did I quit buying extra food? Here are my tips.
1. Never go to stores when you are hungry.
2. Take your shopping list with you and stick to it. So you can limit the amount of food you purchase and avoid food waste.
3. This also applies to eating out. Don’t order more food than you can finish. It is just a complete waste, and you are paying for that.
#18 Prepackaged Food
The prepackaged food is convenient, but it’s not a good value for the money and environment.
For example, a tiny cup of fresh fruit costs you $5.5, whereas the whole fruit might cost you the same amount of money or less in a much BIGGER size.
If you want to save more money, this is the section you can easily stop buying.
I quit buying those at the same time when I started to prepare my meals.
#19 Bottled Water
Bottled water is convenient yet comes at a price (such as $2.50 for a bottle). Expensive water brands could cost you $4-$5 or more.
Oppositely, reusable water bottle is more economical and environmentally friendly.
We are talking about hundreds/thousands of dollars a year in savings anda ton of plastic waste reduction.
You only need to invest in a reusable water bottle and a water filter. You can fill the water into your fancy reusable water bottle when you are out.
Little investment upfront could save you BIG BUCKS in the long run.
#20 Coffee Consumption
Having a cup of coffee on the way to work is like a ritual for coffee lovers.
🌟 Good News: You don’t have to give up on coffee to save BIG. You can still drink the same amount of coffee or even more for much less money.
Let’s say, on average, a cup of coffee in a coffee shop could cost you around $3-$5. If you drink a cup every day, that is at least $3*365=$1095. For high-end coffee beans and coffee shops, you pay way more.
On top of that, many coffee drinkers don’t just take one cup a day.
If you want to save thousands of dollars a year like what I did, invest in a quality coffee maker to brew your own coffee at home. And you can take it with you in your favorite travel mug anywhere you go.
A couple of dollars a day is thousands of dollars saved in a year. That is a LOT.
Also read: How To Get Free Starbucks
#21 Disposable Utensils
Are you still using those disposable paper cups or plastic utensils for convenience? Did you know how much you have spent on those?
I quit buying those a long time ago to save money.
Consider using ceramic plates and glasses if you want to save more money and stop restocking all your disposable supplies. They are washable, reusable, and inexpensive.
#22 Cleaning Products
When you start saving money, every cent counts.
Instead of buying the cleaning essentials that contain chemical substances, I learned to make them at home.
Feel free to check out the DIY recipes for cleaning items on YouTube or Pinterest. You will be amazed by how easy and fast to make these things.
#23 Paper Towels and Napkins
I used to buy rolls of disposable paper towels and paper napkins (unnecessary spending) for convenience and versatility, but they are so quick to be used up.
After looking for alternatives, I quickly switched to reusable towels (Microfiber cleaning cloths) and linen napkins.
They are reusable, washable, and flexible (different situations).
#24 Name Brand Items
Branded products are prohibitively expensive because of the brand effect, professional service, and high quality.
However, some non-branded items with lower prices are also of good quality.
It just takes some time to explore the no-name brand products to find the best value.
#25 I stopped Buying Knick-Knacks
Is your room filled with these cute tiny objects such as household ornaments, gadgets, and toys?
I had had the same picture before I decided to clear these things out and lead a minimalist lifestyle.
A couple of dollars here and there can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars.
And most importantly, my life didn’t get better with these small, worthless objects.
In retrospect, I could use the money for a lovely vacation that I am longing for or keep it to my savings for a profitable investment later.
Keep reading: Easy Ways To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck
Quit Buying and Make More Money
Quitting buying to save money could be challenging yet possible. However, it is limited as you can’t save more than you have.
When it comes to making money, the sky is the limit.
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Final Thoughts on Things I Stopped buying
These are the 25 things I stopped buying because I genuinely believe they
- don’t add any value to my life.
- don’t fit into my long-term goals in all aspects (emotionally, financially, socially…).
- are bad for my wallet and the environment.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list of things you can quit buying to save money, and some points might not apply to you. BUT you can use the items to reevaluate your spending habits and inspire you to quit buying things you don’t actually need.
Keep reading: The Importance Of Saving Money
Making simple changes to your spending habits could help you save more, earn more, and live more.
I hope this post could inspire you to stop buying things that don’t matter to you and enjoy things that truly add value to your life.
My readers: What things have you quit buying to save money? What is your favorite item on the list? I would love to hear from you!
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