Learn what to stop buying and save money!
Do you waste money? Have you ever looked – I mean REALLY looked – at what you could cut out of your budget to save money?
There are so many ways to save money, but finding them is not always easy.
I always recommend sticking to ideas that work for you. I mean, if that morning cup of Joe is SUPER important, then keep it but use the other 20 ways I have listed to help you get your budget back on track.
Personal finance is a tricky thing for many people. Often people buy what they “want” or “THINK” they need without looking at price tags.
If you are super rich, then good for you! I hope to be in your shoes one day. But for the rest of us, wouldn’t it be nice to take a vacation or build up an emergency fund with all the “little things” we can save money on overtime?
In today’s post, I have listed 21 things people waste money on that can be avoided and save you over $3000 per year. Put that $3000 away in a separate savings account and there you have your mini-emergency fund or your vacation fund… So start planning.
If you are looking to save, check out some of my faves:
$5 Meal Plan – This is a simplified meal planning process. Sing up for a free 14-day free trial and have budget-friendly meal plans sent to you! $5 Meal Plan
Ibotta – I gotta Ibotta! I use this each and every time I go shopping. I simply upload my receipt to the app and add the items I bought (there is always an “any item” for $.025 every week too!) and get money back for buying groceries! So EASY! Sign up here and earn a $10 bonus.
Rakuten (Formerly Ebates) – This is my favorite rebate site for shopping online. You get a percentage back from almost anything you buy online by simply clicking through Ebates before you shop. I love how they often offer coupon codes as well! Sing up and earn $10 on your first purchase using my link: Rakuten Sign Up
21 Things People Waste Money on:
1. House Repair
Let’s face it. House repairs can be astronomical in cost. Yet, have you heard of a cool invention called YouTube? (Just kidding – Who hasn’t heard of YouTube?)
We haven’t had a repairman fix anything minor at our house in years.
Side Note: I have to give credit to my handy brother-in-law that always helps us in a pinch.
We actually had a repair guy come out for our air conditioner a few summers back, but the repair guy couldn’t fix the problem for less than $5000. Yes, you read that right – $5000. Handy Uncle Tim and my hubby fixed it for around $100! Thanks for saving us $4900 Unckie!
You may not have a handy person in the family or and Uncle Tim to turn to, but find a friend or distant family member that can help you out and use YouTube videos to solve many of your smaller house dilemmas.
2. Car Repairs
Same idea as the house repair thing. This is another area where YouTube comes in handy. If it is something minor you can definitely fix it yourself.
You can also learn how to change your own oil, which my husband often does. This saves us a total of around $20-30 every three or four months instead of having the oil changed by a gas station or car repair place. Hey – That’s around $80-90 per year!
3. Paper Towels
These little sheets of wiping power can add up. Buy a few nice towels that you can wash every other day and leave the paper towels for something disgusting (like your dog pooping on the carpet – YUCK!)
If you stop buying paper towels, you can save around $6-$12 per month and it is better for the environment.
Another idea is to reuse your paper towels. I do this all the time. I hand my son a paper towel for his waffle in the morning (otherwise he puts it on the floor) and then I use it later to wipe up my coffee he spilled all over the floor! Multi-use!
4. Gym Membership
This one can really hit you in the pocketbook. There are so many ways to work out without a gym, like running outside or using my favorite, YouTube again, to find free workout videos.
Problem is, my husband and I both like to workout and it is below freezing for several months here in Michigan so running outside is not an option.
We actually found a gym that offers a $10 a month plan called Planet Fitness. Other gyms can run you anywhere from $40 -$100 per person, so $10 is a steal. If you can’t afford the $10 try some of my free and frugal workout ideas! We will have you back to shape in no time!
Are you a coffee lover? I am. I can’t really function before I drink my first cup of sizzlin’ hot coffee with yummy creamers. However, a while back I got out of the habit of buying coffee at expensive coffee places. I was never one to buy a Starbucks daily, but I would and will treat myself now and then.
Yet, if you are buying a $4 coffee daily – you are paying $28 a week. That is $112 per month. (Just think… Over $1200 per year)
Yet, I will never be the one to tell you to stop drinking coffee altogether because that would be ludicrous. But why not make your own coffee at home. You will be good to go on your commute to work!
Check out my favorite coffee mug I use daily
This Contigo is also a nice choice with great reviews:
My husband and I prefer to make a pot of Starbucks ground coffee and add International Creamers. They have some really crazy flavors worth trying (my husband loves all the candy ones, while I prefer my Sweet Cream, plain and simple!)
6. Cut cable and save
Just cut the cord already. This is WAY easier than you think.
With cable prices at an all-time high, it is time to opt out of cable and opt-in to a more budget-friendly option such as Netflix or HULU.
These options give you so many viewing choices I promise you will never run out of shows. Also, HULU allows you to watch regular television.
Netflix is only $11 per month as opposed to AT&T U-verse wanting us to pay $175 (including the Internet). That is a crazy amount of savings. That is almost $2000 a year. That vacation you have always wanted is within your reach!
Pro Tip: Buy an indoor antenna like my favorite Indoor Digital HDTV Antennas. This will give you access to the basic channels and you can still watch some Amazing shows like Grey’s Anatomy – My Fave!!!!
I also absolutely love watching my free shows on Amazon Prime.Try it for 30-day for free!
I like to recommend things I actually do and for five of my teaching years, I was lucky enough to have two of my best teacher friends move within miles of me. We decided to carpool. I only drove every third week. This saved so much on gas, oil changes, and car repair and gave us plenty of time to catch up on the latest work gossip! LOVE!
Price tag: $80 in gas plus even more on car maintenance per month! Wow – over $1000 per year!
8. Eating Out
I do have to admit, my hubby and I like to go out to eat every couple of weeks, yet we have our favorite places and we know how to score a deal. One way we eat out for cheap is by going on Monday.
Our favorite place, HopCat has 1/2 off burgers and shareable plates! We usually order three items and split them! If you are a person that enjoys eating out, you don’t have to give it up completely. Instead of eating out once a week, cut it back to bi-weekly and use my 10 Outstanding ways to Save on Eating out.
Yet, if you cut this out altogether, you will be able to build up your emergency fund easily and once you have it, treat yourself!
9. Shaving Gel
This is an added expense that can be cut out. Did you know, cheap conditioner or soap works just as fine as shaving gel? Give it a try and save yourself a few bucks each week! It’s SO true, the small things add up!
10. Impulse Buys at the Grocery Store
Making a list is key and I have an entire post about how to stop your impulse buys so check it out here: Say Goodbye to Impulse Buys… But in short, make sure you make a list before going to the store and DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go to the store hungry!
If you do not have a plan, you will most likely throw several unneeded items in your cart so plan and shop when you have the most willpower, in the morning!
Go by yourself if possible and leave the kids with your spouse.
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Keep Reading to Find More Ways to Save Money…
11. Magazine Subscription
Have you considered magazine subscription sharing? I started doing this with a friend because I like to recycle and didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good magazine. I would save my used magazine and give it to a friend and in turn, she would swap her magazine subscription with me.
If you cut out your subscription you will save money, you can still read magazines at your local library or find plenty of other free reading material.
Another idea is to search your favorite magazines on Groupon. I got a subscription to O Magazine for $5 on Groupon, so there are cheaper ways than buying from the publisher.
12. Lottery Tickets
Come on, guys! Your chances of winning the lottery are as high as finding a contact lens in a swimming pool! I admit it, I used to buy tickets when the jackpot was super high, but I had to cut back after a few years of not winning.
My husband still buys scratch-offs now and then, but I’m going to tell you a little secret: WE NEVER WIN. That money would be better put away for a rainy day!
I get it though… The lottery gives people hope. But…You would be better off taking that money and investing it. You would make more too!
13. Fast food
Fast food used to be so cheap. You could buy a cheeseburger for $.59 (okay, showing my age and sounding like my Dad – love ya Dad)…Yet, we went through the drive-through after our last vacation and between the two happy meals, a big mac, and a 20 piece chicken nugget, we spent around $15… I know, it is fast and convenient, and let’s not get started about the nutritional value (GULP), but eating at home can taste good and save you money too so just like the 80’s drug campaigns used to say and I quote: “JUST SAY NO.”
In fact, if you are buying fast food often because you know you have nothing in your cupboards to make, then you want to start meal planning. Yet, meal planning seems like an overwhelming task, it can be super easy. Check out the other meal planning posts on my site or click the banner below to find out how you can get premade meal plans that are healthy and affordable.
14. Juice Boxes
Who buys Juice Boxes for their kids? Hand up in the air here and GUILTY. They make it so easy to pop in your bag before the park. However, it would be much cheaper to buy a bottle of juice and use a thermos to divide the juice up yourself.
If you are having a kid’s party or something special or you extreme coupon and get juice boxes for really cheap, then I say go for it, but otherwise, stick to the big bottle!
We love Zac BPA free reusable bottles at our house
15. Gas Station Snacks
I know a couple that almost broke up over this. The guy in the relationship was stopping before work daily and spending $5-6 a day on gas station snacks and drinks. The girl in the relationship was not happy and the fighting began. Did you know one of the biggest reasons couples divorce is fighting over money?
After the said couple sat down and came up with a plan, they were okay. They decided to buy snacks in bulk and buy an extra thermos for drinks and save that extra $30 a week for a well-needed emergency fund.
18. Vending Machine Snacks
There is a reason why they put these machines in workplaces. They are convenient, yes, but the price of most of the food is WAY more than what you would pay to buy your snacks in bulk. Check places like Amazon, Costco, and Target for bulk snacks and stay away from these machines.
This is my son’s favorite school snack
17. Buying Lunch at work
My husband works at a hospital and there is a cafeteria, yet he brings his own lunch daily. He often sees co-workers buying lunch for upwards of $5-$10 per day. Taking your lunch could save you $35-$70 per week.
Buy some bread and lunch meat and make it the night before. Stock up on snacks. Use baggies to divide up your snacks and Kroger yogurt is a good, healthy, filling option.
Absolute cutest lunch bag for women
18. Window Cleaner
This is SOOO easy to make. Just add one part vinegar to 3 parts water and you have your own window cleaner. A small bottle of vinegar will run you around $1 and last you for 4-5 months worth of cleaner (depending on how often you clean those windows and mirrors).
19 Water Bottles
It is so convenient to grab a water bottle on the go, but it is much cheaper to buy a water bottle and fill it up with tap water. I personally do not like the taste of our tap water and my husband even made me do a taste test because he didn’t believe me, but I knew exactly which one was the tap water. To resolve this problem a handy Brita Filter Bottle works wonders. You have to pay a cost in the beginning but will save so much if you are not buying plastic water bottles daily.
We just went to the library today! My kids got about 10 books and one DVD (we have Netflix so do not need a lot of movies). I was able to place a hold on two books I want to read and the library notifies me when they are in, which in the past only takes around three days to one week. The trusty old library is where we get most of our reading material. It also solves a clutter problem as well!
Audible from Amazon offers free books! Check it out!
21. Brand Specific
There are a few items I am still brand loyal to like my Pantene Pro-V Conditioner and my Neutrogena Healthy Skin Care Foundation but most items are store brand at our house.
My friend once told me I am the “Market Pantry” queen. In case you didn’t know this is one of Target’s store-brand labels. I LOVE their stuff.
I am also a HUGE fan of Kroger brand items. The store brand is usually just as good, if not better than the brand-name, higher-priced item. If you have a few brand-name items you can’t live without, that is okay – just buy the store brand for everything else. This alone will save you upwards of $20-$30 a month on your grocery bill.
Stop Buying Things to Save Money Conclusion…
If you use all of my tips you could save over $3000 per year. That would make an amazing contribution to your emergency or vacation fund and these quick and easy tips are totally doable! Make a few small changes today and it will pay off in your future! Learn to live within your means and you will have extra spending cash to do the things you want in life!
What are you going to stop buying to save money? Leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you!
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Take Care – Sarah
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