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Saving Money = More Money For You
It's not easy to save money these days. Between student loans, car payments, and rent, it can seem like there is no way to put anything away for the future.
But if you really want to make an effort to save money one of the best places to start is by cutting back on what you buy – even things that you think you need.
We all have our weaknesses (I'm looking at you, tech upgrades).
Here are 50 items you should stop buying in order to save money.
1. Bottled Water
Stop spending money on bottled water. It’s expensive and wasteful. Not only are you paying a premium price for the bottle, but then there's all that plastic to deal with too. In 2016, only 11.8% of plastic bottles were recycled.
You can buy a reusable water bottle and refill it at home. This way you avoid overpaying on something you can easily get right from your faucet for a fraction of the cost. I have a huge beef with paying for water as it’s a 100% unnecessary expense.
My water bill was about $12 last month. You will save so much money by using your own bottle. A $30 bottle will help put more money in your bank account and you’ll stop putting cheap products in landfills. A win-win.
2. Grocery Shopping Everyday
If you're someone who goes to the grocery store every day, then it's time to make a plan.
When you only buy a few things each day it may seem like you’re not making any unnecessary purchases.
Here is the data on making impulse purchases and the huge difference it makes when you shop often grocery stores:
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- Shoppers making a ‘quick trip' to the store to pick up a few specific items usually purchase 54 percent more than they planned.
- Consumers graze at the grocery store, with impulse buys making up between 50.8 and 67.7 percent of total purchase.
This is where a weekly meal plan can be very helpful to save money. Over 50% spend money on excess food among other things.
I follow a few rules when it comes to creating a meal plan and buying groceries:
- To avoid wasting money, I only shop 2-3 times per month. This also helps to avoid wasting food
- I buy mostly generic food items besides a very select few items
- Store brand kitchen supplies work the same. Stop buying name brand window cleaners. The only exception I have here is paper towels. I always buy the name brand
- Meal plan a few days before the week begins, not at the last minute
- Stop buying anything other than food/kitchen items, there is always a markup on convenience items like new clothes
3. Expensive Gym Membership
Working out is incredibly important for your physical and mental health, but if you're paying a premium price for a gym membership it might just be getting in the way of saving money.
The reality is that there is not much difference between a budget gym compared to a premium gym. The past few years I have gone to several gyms at different prices. Every gym is relatively the same, don’t let any salesperson tell you different. There are so many free apps and videos online that will help you stay in shape if you want to workout at home.
Most upscale gyms cost at a minimum $100 per month while budget gyms are usually $10 per month.
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If you want to put more money in your savings account and opt for the budget gym you’ll be saving $90 per month.
That’s over $1,000 per year savings. Every bit counts.
4. Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are a great way to prolong the freshness of your clothes, but they also come with a hefty price tag. Instead of buying dryer sheets, buy wool dryer balls and add them in when you start drying your clothes.
Wool dryer balls work just as well at removing static cling and will help you put more money into your savings account.
5. Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning products can be expensive and often they're not environmentally friendly either. Instead of buying from the store, you can make your own cleaning supplies with vinegar and baking soda easily.
DIY formulas will help you save money and your home will be chemical-free.
6. Unused Subscriptions
I bet you have at least a few unused subscriptions that are charging your credit card every single month. Whether you're getting something you never use or paying for a service every month, these monthly fees will start adding up fast – so it's time to cut that extra cost.
Go through all your recurring charges for the month. Consider canceling unused services that you haven’t used for many months.
You can always resubscribe if you want to use them again in the future. Even if the service is only $5 per month, every bit counts when you want to save money.
7. Occasion Clothes
If you're someone who tends to buy clothes exclusively for special occasions (weddings, birthdays, and the like) you’re spending too much money on clothing.
I’d recommend looking into a capsule wardrobe whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s amazing how a little bit of planning with several staple pieces can make you appear to have a lot more clothing than you currently do.
If you do have an occasion that needs a new piece consider renting for the event. This way you’ll be looking great while prioritizing money saving.
Cocktails are expensive – especially when you're out at your favorite bar. Instead of spending $15 or more on a cocktail, consider splitting the drink with someone else instead.
The amount of money I see my contemporaries spend on alcohol boggles my mind. $50 in wine for one night out? Ouch.
9. Expensive Cell Phone Plans
I bet you’re paying a small fortune every year on an expensive cell phone plan. Over your lifetime you’ll spend over $50,000 for cell phone service. That’s a lot of money that you can save because there is a cheaper plan.
Tello Mobile offers plans as low as $14 per month for 2 GB of 4G LTE data and $39 per month for unlimited data.
I really like that Tello allows tethering so if I am on the road I can connect my laptop and iPad to lightning fast internet.
If you’re trying to save money, your cell phone plan is probably eating away at that goal.
10. Bank Fees
Bank fees are everywhere.
Whether you're being charged for withdrawing from an ATM or a monthly checking fee, you can avoid pretty much all bank fees.
There are plenty of free checking accounts that don't charge any fees whatsoever. Having a checking account that charges fees and one that doesn’t make no difference, they are the same thing.
11. Cable TV
Cable TV can be expensive and often filled with channels that you don't even like! Instead of paying for a service that you never use, consider switching over to a streaming service. Or you can crack open a book and learn something new instead of binge watching the next 15 episodes.
Sure, knickknacks are cute – but they're also a waste of money. While shopping for your home it might be tempting to buy all sorts of decorative items, this habit can really add up fast.
I always ask myself what purpose does this have to my life?
If I am unable to think of a compelling reason I will not buy it.
When there are fewer things in my life, it’s amazing how clear my thoughts are. You’ll also save money in the process.
13. Hardcover Books
A lot of people love to read, but buying hardcover books can get expensive. Instead, try checking out your local library. A library card is free and many locations allow you to access e-books.
14. Coffee Out
Instead of wasting money on a $5 coffee every morning, invest in a coffee maker and it will pay for itself in the money you save by not going out. Making your own coffee will save you thousands over your lifetime.
Haircuts might not seem expensive but they add up really quickly and can get in the way of your savings goals. Instead of going to a barbershop every month, consider cutting your own hair instead.
The amount of things you can learn from watching a YouTube video. It’s amazing.
16. Prepackaged Food
Prepackaged foods are often more expensive than cooking from bulk and can contain harmful additives as well.
This way you'll know exactly what is going into your food. You will save money in the long run while also helping to improve your overall health too.
17. Sale Items
Sales are definitely great, but only if you actually need the items in question. The best way to save money on a sale item is to not buy it in the first place.
18. Impulse Purchases
Impulse purchases can be a serious drain on your finances and should be avoided whenever possible.
I signed out of any online shopping sites and put my credit cards in a safe. A sock drawer can work too.
19. Electronics Upgrades
Upgrading your electronics can be a huge waste of money if you're simply doing it for the sake of having “the latest and greatest” version.
If your tech is still serving you relatively well stick it out for a bit longer.
20. Premium Gas
You may think premium gas might help your car run better and it will if you own a late model European car. If you have an American or Japanese made car your car is best suited for normal gasoline.
21. Extended Warranties
Extended warranties are often overpriced and rarely worth the money that you'll be spending on them. I have bought several extended warranties and have never used one.
22. Paper Products
Paper towels, plates and cups can be pricey and they're ultimately wasteful as well. Buy reusable everything. It will help you save money and our planet thanks you.
23. Full-Priced Products
Full-priced products are often unnecessary unless you have the cash to spare. Instead buy discounted items or check for coupons before doing so – it helps you save money.
24. Bulk Purchases That Will Ultimately Go to Waste
Bulk purchases can be a great way to save money, but only if you actually use the items in question.
If not they'll just go to waste and end up costing more than what buying them as needed would have been!
A single person does not need to buy 75 rolls of toilet paper in one go. You’ll need a separate storage facility to store all of it.
25. Restaurant Meals
Restaurant meals are often overpriced and rarely worth the money that you'll be spending on them.
There are so many great recipes that are simple to follow. Here are 100 recipes that will save money.
26. Deli Meat
Deli meat can be a great food to purchase if you're looking for something that's quick and easy. If not it'll just go bad soon after opening. Make sure to use it quickly!
27. Fast Food
Fast food might be okay every now and then, but it's rarely worth the money that you'll be spending on it.
Make your own food. Your waistline will thank you.
Cosmetics are often overpriced yet branded very effectively. Make sure you are buying things that are agreeable with your skin. A lot of times less is more.
29. Lip Balm
Lip balm might seem like a necessity, but it's not. I haven’t put any on in over a decade. If you are staying hydrated your skin will be naturally moist and you won’t need lip balm.
31. Expensive Hair Products
Depending on your hair type you don’t need to use expensive products. And you only need to shampoo a few times a week, not everyday. The amount of shampoo I’ve used before knowing this… sigh.
You can read most magazine at the shelf of the store or at the library for free.
33. Fancy Soaps & Lotions
Do you really need that $20 per bottle lotion? Probably not.
34. Laundry Detergent
You can make your own laundry detergent for a fraction of the cost. Also, using natural substances is healthier for your skin.
35. Expensive Skin Care Products
Same thing here. You can make skin care products yourself naturally and avoid all those parabens, sulfates and preservatives that most products have.
36. Name Brand Products
Unless you can vouch for the quality difference between name brand items and store products you can safely choose the store product for most things. The only thing I won’t buy as generic is a roll of paper towels. I always buy the expensive ones.
Look at your kid’s closet or play room. Do they need yet another toy they’ll lose interest in rather quickly?
Beware downloading free smartphone apps. This means there will be incessant advertisements or you’ll be prompted to buy in-game upgrades. If the product was free that means you are the product.
39. Kitchen Appliances and Accessories
There are so many new appliances coming out each year. I have found most of them to be tempting to buy.
I like buying things that have multiple uses. When I first heard of a pressure cooker I was skeptical one appliance could do so much to help meal planning. Well, after a few years I can confidently say I will have a pressure cooker the rest of my life.
40. Pet Toys and Accessories
I remember hearing about a friend of a friend who had 15 different collars for her dog. That’s enough for two weeks of new collars!
Remember, your furry friend doesn’t know what kind of animal they are let alone how to be fashionable
I’ve concluded it’s best to buy something once and own it for life. When it comes to jewelry, less is more.
42. Lottery Tickets
Don’t, just don’t. You have a 0.000000000001% chance of winning anything.
Depending on your goals you can either take a vacation once a quarter or not a single one for a decade. You’ll have to find out what works for you.
44. Movie Theatre Concessions
$6 for a small popcorn makes my stomach turn. Let’s just say I always wear my large winter jacket to sneak in my own candy.
45. Brand Name Medication
Generic medication often contains the same ingredients as the name brand. Check the label.
46. Holiday Decorations
If you're someone who likes to go all out for holidays like Christmas and Halloween, consider cutting down on the amount of decorations you buy.
And with those decorations you do buy, reuse them for years.
47. Packaged Snacks
Packaged snacks like chips and crackers might seem harmless when you're in a rush or on-the-go, but that doesn't change how unhealthy they actually are for you.
Most things that are packaged are unhealthy and expensive.
What I’ve done before is made my own trail mix. It’s tasty and relatively healthy.
48. Greeting Cards
A plain sheet of paper that you must design and write yourself is more thoughtful and cheaper.
49. Late Fees
50. Seasonal Clothing
Again, do you need another pair of shorts? You already have 6 pairs.
51. Dress Shoes
Can you borrow them from a friend or family member? Don’t buy something you’re only going to use once. Now, if you wear formal clothing every day, I recommend buying a nice pair of dress shoes
52. Plastic Straws
Plastic straws might seem like a small thing to worry about, but their presence in our oceans is actually quite harmful! For instance, there are approximately 71 million pounds of plastic waste currently floating around the Pacific Ocean alone.
I usually simply drink from the cup and avoid the straw altogether.
53. Designer Handbags
Simply because something is expensive doesn't mean it's high-quality or that you should purchase it
If you have $300 It’s better to have a $30 handbag and put the other $270 in the bag than have a $300 handbag and no money in the bag.
The only time you should consider buying anything designer is when you have significant assets that allow you to upgrade your lifestyle. Before then, buy the $30 bag and invest the rest.
54. Labor Costs
I’m amazed by how many home improvement projects I’ve been able to complete myself. There are so many how-to blogs and videos that you can follow and successfully complete the project. Here’s the most recent video I watched to install a door at my house.
55. Protein Supplements
The protein you need each day can be derived from natural sources (animals). The protein shakes and bars are usually full of additives and junk you don’t want in your body.
Not Spending Money = Saving Money
There are lots of items you can cut the spending back on to help you save money. Some will feel like a sacrifice, but at the end of the day your bank account and future self will thank you.
There are many ways to save money, but perhaps the best way is by not spending any extra money at all. That’s a 100% discount.
As a certified credit counselor and syndicated writer at MaxMyMoney, Max has coached over 250 Millennials to help take the stress out of money. When Max is not coaching, you'll find him reading financial books, indoor cycling, or visiting local pawn shops looking for swiss-made watches.