10 Things I Quit Buying (to Save Money)

Trying to decide what to cut from your budget when you’re broke?

Me too.

You’ve probably heard that in most relationships, there is just one person who is largely in charge of the finances.

It’s a generalization, but one that hits the nail on the head with my husband and me. We make all our major money decisions together – house, car, investments, insurance… anything that costs more than a couple hundred bucks really.

But I, almost unilaterally, do all the spending. I pay the bills, I buy the groceries, I plan the holidays, I buy the kid’s clothes, and I am absolutely not complaining.

Related: The top 5 easiest ways to save money raising kids

I love having free reign over the bank account – which, by the way, G contributes to far more than I do. I make around 1/4 of what he does at my desk job, and do a few fun things (like photography on the side, or taking Survey Junkie surveys for spending money, but really, I don’t make much money.  (Update: this USED to be true until I started this blog – now I make over $5000 from home – read my October Blog Income report!)

Related: How to start a blog for profit and work from home

We don’t have a perfect relationship, but we do have a pretty perfect financial relationship. I don’t believe a lot of people can say that. We do not fight about money.

Now, I’m pretty financially responsible. G wouldn’t trust me with all the spending if I wasn’t. (Hopefully, I can encourage you to be as well, if that’s a goal of yours!)

If you’re not financially responsible, consider getting a budget planner and USING it – I love this one:

printable budget planner pages

But it wasn’t always like that. Over the past few years, as we got older and somewhat more financially secure and lazier, I developed some very bad spending habits. Not bad enough to rack up a bunch of credit card debt (thank goodness) but bad enough that I was spending at least $5000.00 a year that should have gone into savings.

Related: 6 Habits of People Who Stay Debt-Free
Related: Bad Money Habits You Need to Quit NOW

When I started on my intentional living journey I took a very long hard look at my spending. Maybe I’ve been spending poorly for around 5 years.

Maybe I have wasted $25,000. This thought makes me sick. It SHOULD make me sick; I don’t even make that in a year. The stark reality is that I have no way to know how much I have wasted and it’s likely far more than I think.

So I looked at my spending. I watched myself hand over my debit card again and again, and I asked myself to be honest about what I was buying that was unnecessary and not in keeping with intentionally minded spending. A few things were so glaringly obvious I couldn’t even pretend they were justifiable, and some things were a little harder to give up, but I did it. So here you go;

(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)

Ten things I banished from my shopping list, to save money:

1. Take out. The amount we spend on food is INSANE. It’s not that I don’t like to cook – it’s that I was never prepared to cook at dinner time. Meal planning is where it’s at! To make this easy, use a program like Eat at Home Cooks – for less than $15 you get access to FOUR separate meal plans (Traditional, Slow Cooker, No Flour, No Sugar and Wholesome Traditional). Print the plans, color-coded grocery lists, and recipes you want for that month — and never think about what’s for dinner again!

2. Shaving Gel. I’ve always known that cheap hair conditioner works just as well or better than shave gel. It costs a fraction and lasts so much longer. I don’t even know how I was justifying buying the shaving gel.

3. New Books/Magazines. This is hard for me to post because I’m afraid to start an online battle about how authors deserve compensation. I totally agree. But I want this blog to be honest and at this point in my life, new books are something that I can’t justify for me. Thrift stores everywhere are a testament to how wasteful it is to buy new all the time. I usually get the newest books by my favorite authors within a few months to a year of their release. At the thrift store.  ← IDEA! If you read lots and can’t fathom not buying books, try Amazon KindleUlimited FREE for 30 days now. You don’t need a kindle to use it, you can install the app on any device, and the best part is that you get to try it for free. Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial10 Things I Quit Buying (to Save Money)!

4. Bottled Water. Another “how did I ever justify this?!” item. I have great tasting tap water, from a well and chemical-free. Oh and also actually FREE. Shame on me for not taking every advantage of that. Plus my new habit of filling my bottle before I leave the house is so much better for the environment. Extra intentional points. I have these freaking awesome Contigo water bottles… 5 of them. Seriously.

5. Convenience Food. I can admit those first four things were pretty easy to give up, and I don’t miss them very often. Now it gets trickier. Giving up pre-packaged foods was not entirely budget-related. It also had a great deal to do with intentional health and doing things that were good for our bodies, but unless your an extreme coupon-er and getting almost all your canned soup and hamburger helpers for free… convenience food is actually really expensive. (But I do miss just putting a pizza in the oven sometimes, or microwaving a cup of noodles. *sigh*) But really, why would you buy pre-made potato wedges for 10x the cost when you can make AMAZING WEDGES at home for pennies (+ they have no weird additives).

6. Specific Brands. We all know that brand loyalty could be costing us big bucks. Open your mind, save money. (With the exception of my three exceptions, see next point.)

7. Toiletries that aren’t on sale. This isn’t one specific item, but much like the brand loyalty point, I can not justify buying full price soap, shampoo, deodorant, ect. These things go on sale, and they go on sale often. I love it when the brand I prefer goes on sale, and I stock up then… but when I NEED something and I don’t have it in the house – I buy the one that’s 50% off. There are three things in this category that I make an exception for. Q-tips, big sexy hairspray and Bioderma Hydrabio Serum moisturizer – Because I love those things with my whole heart and they have proven their worth over and over 😉

Related: How to save money on groceries 

8. Curcumin Pills. This is one of my proudest money-saving revelations – I’m sure someone else has thought of it before, but that doesn’t make me any less thrilled about it. Anyhow. Curcumin is the active agent in turmeric that makes everybody talk about how great turmeric is for you. “They’ve” processed it into a supplement mainly used for inflammation. The thing is, turmeric is available in great big bags (and organic) for a fraction of the cost of the pills. I add a tsp – tbsp of turmeric to my shake every morning now, and I don’t need to buy $60.00 bottles of Curcumin pills. It is not, like, the yummiest thing I’ve ever done, but I take a lot of supplements so finding a way to save money this big in this area in a huge win.

9. Almond Milk for my smoothie. I thought I needed it. We don’t drink dairy milk in our house, I have a smoothie for breakfast every morning and I never gave any thought to not having almond milk. One day I was out so I made it using water and honestly with all the fruit and seeds and protein powder in there already – I really couldn’t tell the difference. I was buying it in bulk for a bit of savings, so it only cost me $10.00 for 6 cartons, but saving $10.00 every month is saving $120.00 a year. I think about you once in a while, almond milk.

10. Manicures. I invested in a gel nails kit from the cosmo proff store and taught myself to do gel nails. And they look professional.  Well, they usually look professional. When they don’t, they still look like 50 bucks that stayed in my bank account, minimum 12 times per year.

So there you go. 10 things that I have deemed too downright wasteful of our hard-earned money. Are there any frivolous regular purchases in your life that need to go? (I asked myself this question, and did a self-audit of the things I DO still buy.)

Share your money-saving epiphanies with me – I’m always looking to build my frugal muscle and save money!

Don’t forget to check out our adorable budget planner here! 

More from Mommy on Purpose:
10 things I always buy in bulk to save money

7 things we do that save us over $5000 / year
15 little ways we save big bucks

saving money tips - easy things to cut out of your budget!

 

the things i quit buying to save money

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240 thoughts on “10 Things I Quit Buying (to Save Money)”

  1. I won’t make my own laundry detergent, since soap is not 100% water soluble, so that isn’t an option for our family like others have mentioned. However, I only purchase powdered detergent. I’m not paying a bunch for the water in liquid! One big box of Tide lasts us several months and I do laundry every day with one kiddo still in cloth diapers.

    Another that is both money saving and hugely beneficial: I make my own cat food. I partially bake chicken thighs, grind them up, add a few supplements and voila. Much cheaper and more biologically appropriate than ANY store bought canned or kibble (and a fraction of the cost of store bought raw).

    Also, am I the only person who just doesnt use ANY shaving lotion? Water and a razor, no need for conditioner or lotion or cream.

    Also, check out your local Buy Nothing Group before going to ANY store! Your neighbors might have what you need 😉

    Another is reusable menstrual products. I can’t use a cup due to prolapse issues, so I use reusable pads at home. At night and at work on my heavy days I use disposables, but after that I use my cloth.

    Another option for books is a little free library if you have one near you. You can Google to see if you do.

    Reply
    • Very interesting about the soap Amber! Thanks for sharing that 🙂 I have NEVER thought of making your own cat food – but I bet it really IS Way better for your cat!!! Great tips here 🙂

      Reply
    • If you make your own cat food you must add taurine. It is essential for cats. Google it if you don’t believe me.

      Reply
  2. We haven’t had Cable TV in over three years. With the rising cost of Cable TV we made some investments that has already paid for itself and then some. We started with a very large antenna which was actually already on the house we purchased 3 years ago and still had more channels the we had as kids during the pre cable era. We never needed as many channels as cable give you anyhow. The antennas now days even work better than the old rotary antennas we had growing up. Since we do like to pick and choose movies without having a huge library of DVD’s [which by the way cost less to purchase at Good Will than to rent at times] we invested in ROKU. You can record any movie from Youtube, Netflix and many more. You just need to have a computer with reliable internet and since we live out in the boonies 10 miles to the nearest town we use Excede Internet which has proven to be the most reliable for us. Our collection of movies and sitcoms are starting to grow and soon will be as large as our DVD without all that clutter. We did have to make some initial investments but like I said, It pays for itself in no time. The only problem we have had is with lip syncing. You eventally get good at fixing that with the remote control but it is worth the little extra trouble with all the money that you save on cable TV. I am not trying to sell anything just letting everyone know how we save money by not paying for cable.

    Reply
    • Yeah cable is crazy expensive!! This is a great tip – we have something similar, and I can’t work it but my husband is in charge of the remote anyhow (LOL) and we LOVE it

      Reply
  3. Carly, I LOVED reading this post because it is so relatable to me. I feel like you were writing the words in my own brain the entire first half. My husband also gives me free reign of the money HE makes for our family since I am a stay-at-home mom and recently closed my small in-home daycare. Thanks for sharing this list of what you quit buying to save money!

    Reply
  4. Make your own peanut butter from raw peanuts. Costs a fraction of the price, tastes way better and is much healthier without all the additives.

    Reply
    • Buy a nice water filter instead of water bottles (except for certain uses). Healthier and saves money. Berkee and alexapure are some of the ones I have seen.

      Reply
  5. This is a great list. I really have to examine my manicures/pedicures. I would say at least 1x a month I’m getting at least a pedicure, I can do this at home, it’s like $12-15/each with tip. We are big meal planners, frankly my husband is. I really have to give him the credit. He plans the meals, then shops on Amazon, and has the groceries delivered (saves so much time!!). We (us + two kids) basically eat every breakfast meal in, my husband and I eat lunches at home (we work from home), and dinner during the week every weeknight. My kids also make their own lunches for school. Also, I get all the kids books on their kindles, mostly from the Library. It’s actually fun for the kids to wait for their favorite books. The thing I’d like to really cut down on is presents for birthdays for other kids and people. I tend to really spend too much. Any thoughts on reasonable, nice, gifts for kids (middle school)? Thanks again for a great list.

    Reply
  6. Well water is not free! Electricity costs about $10 a month. The real expense is when the pump quits working. I have been on well water for 31 years and the pump went bad 3 times (once by power surge from lightning). I had to replace it this year and it cost $1800. I could buy a lot of municipal water for that much money. As for bottled water I still prefer it because the water has iron and is not very tasty (some wells have sulfur which not drinkable). My water is OK for cooking. The best well water I ever had was in Myrtle Beach, SC. It was an Artesian well and the water was like pure spring water. So I surmise there are more wells are like mine than yours.

    Reply
  7. These are great ideas! I like do some of these already like saving on the manicures but I love that you justify it as “they still look like 50 bucks stayed in my bank account”. It’s exactly how I feel about doing my own nails haha! Thanks for the money saving ideas!!

    Reply
  8. These are great ways one way I notice that I save money is by not driving and drinking tons of water. Water is cheap and keeps you full linger than eating food straight out as it is

    Reply
  9. There is a cheaper way for books if you have a Kindle, Android or Apple device. Checkout digital books from the library. The library app is called Libby. Authors get compensated and I use tax dollars I’m already paying. I got a passport library card to the library in the biggest town in our state. Now, I can almost always find what I want, frequently without a wait.

    Reply
  10. GOOD INFO! SINGLE MOM HERE, I ALREADY DON’T BUY ANY OF THIS EXCEPT..WELL…EXCEPT TAKEOUT, BUT I WORK NIGHTS AS A NURSE AND AFTER THAT 3RD OR 4TH NIGHT IN A ROW I’M SO EXHAUSTED I’D PROBABLY BURN THE HOUSE DOWN IF I TRIED TO COOK. I AM GOING TO READ UP ON YOUR BLOGGING POST. I’M SO TIRED OF THIS EXHAUSTING CAREER BUT WITH ONLY ONE INCOME I’M TRAPPED. AFTER 20 YEARS I’M READY TO NOT DIE FROM A HEART ATTACK FROM LACK OF SLEEP. IF SO MANY PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY MAKE A GOOD LIVING THIS TIRED OLD NURSE CAN TOO. THIS WAS A GOOD READ AND FOR ALL THE PEOPLE STILL BUYING BOTTLED WATER, GET A BRITA AND A GOOD QUALITY WATER BOTTLE. SAVES A LOT OF $$.

    Reply
  11. I had no idea that the hair conditioner can be a replacement for the shaving gel :), I don’t know if it would suit me but I might give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

    Reply
  12. It might not.be for everyone, but I no longer have a vehicle. After 3 months of adding up gas, parking, maintenance etc, I added up the numbers and I was spending 500.00 a month. I started biking to work and then dropped my gym membership. When I need a vehicle, I rent one.

    Reply

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