30 Things I Stopped Buying to Save Money [Minimalism]


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Recently, there were a lot of everyday things I stopped buying to save money, like a lot of money! A few years ago I spent a lot of time dissecting and revamping my financial foundation.  I was taking a look at all of my expenses and where ALL of my money was being spent.  I found there were a lot of items I was buying that I just didn’t need.

While my exercise mainly focused on big ticket items, such as housing, taxes, and insurance, there were smaller everyday items.  These smaller items added up to a lot of money.

One of the three keys to building wealth is being able to save money and use it for reinvesting or to pay down debt.  If you want to really save money on expenses and supercharge your wealth building drive, cutting everyday costs should be at the forefront always.

Take a look at these things I stopped buying to save money.

30 Things I Stopped Buying to Save Money

Lawn Maintenance

Commercial pesticide application for my lawn was one of my biggest things I stopped buying to save money. I was spending a lot of money on lawn maintenance. Since I am in the Midwest, I normally would only spend money on this for six months for about $60 a month.  I decided to forego this and just use do the application myself only 2x a season.  This was a HUGE savings of close to $360 for the season.

Eating Out

This was one of the BIGGEST savings areas for my family.  For a family of 4, you really cannot eat a quality meal for less than $50 for a sit-down restaurant by the time you add on tip.  You can see a detailed cost savings breakout at is eating out a waste of money?

We used to eat out at least 2 times a week which works out to 8 times a month.  This is a pretty conservative number.  Sometimes it was more, sometimes less.  For 8 times a month, that works out to $400 a month or $4,800 A YEAR!!!

Newspapers

Newspapers are another one of the everyday items to stop buying to save money. There are a lot of reasons people buy newspapers (not just for reading) but you can get them all over for no cost. Check out 20 Places Where To Get Free Newspapers for Packing & Reading if you are looking for newspapers. If you want to read, there are many free apps available that will show the most recent news stories.

Gym Memberships

Eliminating the need to work out at a gym in a social setting was also a way to save some money.  The cost was around $40 a month for a family pass.  This was extremely easy to eliminate because I replaced those activities with things like jogging around the neighborhood.  I transformed an area of my basement into a new workout space where I had some equipment for general lifting and conditioning.

Labels

Labels are another thing I quit buying because you can make your own with a piece of paper and tape. Additionally, you can also get free address labels from charities if you are looking for labels for envelopes.

Avoiding Home Improvement Stores

Let’s face it EVERY GUY loves to go to the home improvement store.  It’s like a toy store for big kids.  Every time I would go, I would come home with useless junk that I really did not need.   Sometimes it was storage shelves, or new bathroom hardware handles.  I purchased a lot of random things that at least added up to $100 a month.  So I quit going for recreational and boredom and would only go when something was broke and needed to be replaced.


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Cell Phones

I used to want to get the newest version of cell phones when they came out.  Last time, when I had paid off my phone, I did not upgrade.  I decided to keep my current pone and this was a $25 a month savings. This is a big way to come up with monthly savings to contribute towards things such as how to retire on 500k and crush your 9 to 5.

Plastic Totes

If your family is like mine, you probably have those 18 gallon totes all over your house.  I used to buy on average 8 per year of these.  When these totes first came out yes they were a great deal and you could get them for like $3.00 or somewhere in that area.

Today, they are closer to the $8 mark depending how fancy you want to get.  Maybe you use the ones with the lids that actually latch closed, yes crazy we are talking about plastic totes with latching lids like we need our possessions to withstand some type of hazmat situation!

I decided to forego these and now use cardboard boxes, either Amazon boxes that I receive shipments in or diaper boxes which are great to stack (especially for children’s clothes).

Things I Stopped Buying to Save Money

Window Cleaner

Not a HUGE money saver, but I wanted to mention this for a couple reasons.  First, yes you can wash your windows without window cleaner.  It is possible.  I have two dogs that are always on guard for the UPS brown truck, the mailman, and people coming to the house to sell stuff.

As such, my dogs are ALL over my windows putting their noses on the glass and making huge messes with their mouth saliva.  So, my windows are dirty to say the least.

I used to use the window cleaner but it would never get the windows clean.  My secret ingredient is WATER!  That’s right. I use plain old water and a microfiber cloth.  Wet a small area on the microfiber cloth and all of the window grime will come right off.  This also works on bathroom mirrors really good.

Books

Books are another thing I quit buying to save money and follow a more minimalistic lifestyle. Additionally, you can actually listen to free audiobooks through a lot of various online platforms. Not only does this save cost, but also space as you no longer have to store books either.

Bottled Water

Families can go through A LOT of bottled water if they are not careful.  When you have kids and go to a lot of activities such as soccer or baseball and have to buy bottled water it’s not uncommon to pay at least $2 if not more.  This was one of the first things I stopped buying to save money.

I stopped buying bottled water at these events and also for my house.  Instead, I bought a bunch of BPA free bottles and a water filter.  I now have cleaner and cheaper water than what I was buying.  Plus it’s a solid win for the environment.


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Specialty Drinks

Specialty drinks can add up to a lot of money.  Things like iced lattes and smoothies can average $4 a drink.  Even drinks such as specialty iced teas that are flavored are often $3.00 when you go out to eat.  It is very easy to spend $20 a week on such drinks.

I got off specialty drinks and just drink plain coffee.  If I want a little “coffee pizzaz” you can give it some personality with low-carb flavor creams that can be added in.  They are healthy and they taste great.

Commercial Cleaners

I stained two decks this year and two different properties I own.   For one of them, I had to buy 3 bottles of deck cleaner that were $8 each before I could stain the deck.   For the other property, I used Vinegar and Baking Soda which worked BETTER than the commercial deck cleaner.  Additionally, there was not a residue that was left on my skin from the chemicals.

ATM Fees

I stopped using ATMs.  That’s right I know it seems odd in the age of technology, but I was being charges $5 each time I used one that was out of my network.  So instead of driving all over town looking for an ATM in my network or paying the $5 (which I did most of the time), I go to the bank.

Imagine that! Going to a bank and walking up to the teller to cash my check.  I know it seems very 1980’s, but that is my strategy right now.  When I get paid, I go to the bank across the street and make a withdrawal.  Usually I will take out enough money to last me until the next paycheck so I only have to go twice a month to the bank.


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Electric Air Freshener

Air fresheners can suck up a lot of electricity.  I used to have 3 of them per month with replaceable cartridges that I would use at various points in my house.   I decided to get rid of them and instead use homemade potpourri.   The potpourri not only lasts longer, but it does not take electricity either.  Win-win.

Buying Lunches

Working in a downtown setting is not the cheapest place to buy lunch for work. The average cost of a lunch is about $15 believe it or not.  I used to buy lunches 2 times a week for $30 a week total or $120 a month.  Buying lunches was one of the things I stopped buying to save money that was substantial.

I started bringing leftovers to work.  This savings adds up to over $1,400 a year.

Shaving Cream

When I take a shower is when I save.  Yes, that’s right in the shower mainly because as a man, I find this to be a huge timesaver.  I used to use saving cream but now I just use the bar of soap and lather up.  Since I am in the shower, my skin is soft so using the bar of soap does not hurt my skin at all.

Car Washes

I wash my own car in the summer time.  By doing this myself, I am saving about $100.  I still take my car to get washed in the winter time because for me it’s worth it to pay someone else to stand outside and wash the salt off of my car when it is 0 degrees out!  Some things you can’t put a savings price on.

Convenience Foods

Omitting small convenience foods and snacks can add up to at least $20 a month in savings.  Yes, it is a lot easier to buy pre-packaged chips and snacks, but a household is better off to buy snacks in bulk and use BPA-free plastic to-go containers.  By traveling with snacks in containers, you are saving money and can take more snacks in one container vs. taking several bags of pre-packaged snacks.

Crates

A lot of people buy wooden crates for decoration around their house. This was an item I stopped buying to save money because you can actually get these for free. There are a lot of places where to get free wooden crates that will just give them to you so no need to buy.

Impulse Food Buys

It’s easy for me to go into a grocery store and end up coming out with a bunch of extra food I really do not need!  I’ve learned to only go grocery shopping after a big meal and also with a grocery list.  By only buying items on my list, I know that everything I am buying will get used.

Prior to grocery shopping WITHOUT a list, I was coming home with food I did not need.  Most of this food also went bad, and I ended up throwing a lot of it out.

Knick Knacks

Spending $25 a month on knick knacks is a really conservative number for some people. I was easily spending that amount on junk that I did not really need.  What helped me curb this addiction was only using cash to buy items.  I noticed that by using cash for miscellaneous purchases, I was less likely to spend it and it really made me think twice on items I was buying.

Fantasy Football

I know a lot of people who are in fantasy football leagues.  The cost can range anywhere from $20 with a group of friends to upwards of $100 in some professional leagues.

Alcoholic Drinks Out

There is no question that having alcoholic drinks out can add up to major cash.  I think everyone might spend at least $40 a month on drinks.  That works out to 4 drinks a month at $10 which is not unreasonable.   I stopped buying drinks out and now have drinks at home for a fraction of the cost.  Buying liquor and staying home is a sure way to curb this expense.

Washing Your Clothes in Cold Water

Washing your clothes in cold water would easily add up to over a $2.00 savings per month.

Photo Albums

Another everyday thing I stopped buying to save money is photo albums. With the rise of digital cameras and selfies, nobody really used photo albums anymore. Pictures are now stored digitally so there is no need for photo albums anymore. Additionally some albums can run over $10 each so this is a great thing to stop buying in order to save money.

Paper Calendars

I don’t buy paper calendars anymore since there are so many digital ones available. One other issue I noticed was that when I was out, I would not be able to make appointments because I did not have my calendar with me. With the best calendar apps, I no linger have to delay making appointments when I am out. I can schedule them on the go.

Clearance Clothes

One of the biggest things I stopped buying to save money as a minimalist is clearance clothes. This may seem ironic, because you might think clearance clothes are a lot cheaper than full price which they are. However, if you overspend then it turns out to be wasteful since you might not wear the clothes and your also buying clearance clothes ore often since you think it’s such a good deal. It’s only a good deal if you wear the clothes.

On-Demand Movie Subscriptions

On-demand movie subscriptions is another one of the everyday items you could stop buying to save money. As a matter of fact, there are tones of Free Movie Streaming Sites for Watching Movies [No Sign Up] that are available now that you can watch form home or on your phone.

Stickers

I stopped buying stickers for decorations as an everyday item to save money. A lot of people decorate with stickers including me. However there are all kinds of places online where you can request free stickers by mail and have them delivered free to you!

Streaming Services

Streaming services were another item I stopped paying full price for. There are so many ways how to save money on streaming services that you can gain substantial savings each month from using some of those money saving tips.

These everyday things I stopped buying allowed me to save over $10,700 per year!  That is real money.  If you are looking to save some money try some of these frugal living strategies mentioned things above. These are great tips and you can use the money saved to get out of debt or pay off your mortgage early and become financially independent.

BG Vance

For over 20 years, BG Vance has been a leader in public and personal financial management. He's developed and managed public budgets in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars. He is passionate about the FIRE movement and was featured in the Detroit News in 2001 about saving for retirement. Through the years, he's assisted families and individuals with getting their finances on track. He holds an MPA, is a licensed Realtor, and is currently working on a book about personal finance.

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