Trying to decide what to cut from your budget when you’re broke?
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.
I have been wasting a lot of money on frivolous purchases lately.
So I quit buying quite a few things and I also quit shopping without a rewards app!
These days there are SO MANY cashback companies vying for our attention. It’s crazy to do ANY shopping without taking advantage of a rewards app that lets you earn cash back on purchases you’d be making anyway.
The Fetch Rewards app lets you earn points (which you can exchange for gift cards) at ANY store, so it’s currently my top choice.
Try Fetch Rewards here (and get 3000 points just for signing up)!
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:
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 Trial.
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
241 thoughts on “10 Things I Quit Buying (to Save Money)”
Several years ago my husband and I began really enjoying coffee drinks from Starbucks. At more than $5/cup times 2 people it got really expensive really fast. So we decided to buy a cheap espresso machine to see if we would continue drinking coffee. We have now had 3 machines in the last 4 years. We bought a coffee bean grinder and buy whole bean coffee. We get coffee flavor from discount stores like Gordmans and we both have coffee everyday. Those machines pay for themselves in no time. Currently we have a ninja coffee bar and it brews quickly. Great way to have your coffee without giving away a small fortune to those coffee chains!
SO true Ashley!! We have a keurig and get the pods from costco – 40 cents per cup as opposed to 5 bucks!
Why not get the refillable containers instead of buying pods. Then it only costs you for your ground coffee.
Hi Joany – you are so right… I just LOVE the costco breakfast blend and you can’t buy it not in pods 🙁
I am interested to know what brand of protein powder you use? I live in Canada.
Hi Arlene – I’m in Canada too 🙂 VEGA is my favorite. It’s not cheap but I try to get it with a coupon code (and almost always do).
Great point on all of these, I also looked at our spending lately to see how we can cut back. One thing we did is get rid of satellite radio. Why did I ever pay for radio when it is free? That saved us at least $250 per year.
Hey Bonnie! Thanks for reading 🙂 I totally agree- we SO often overlook the free version (of everything)!
I have same clothes for 5 years, my boots are 15yr old, I don’t do my nails or my makeup, I don’t eat fancy food (never been in a restaurant, huh). I CAN buy myself a book. Or two. Or DOZEN (with great discount though). Or this bottle of madly priced purple ink (I have 15 or so already, but they’re DIFERENT SHADES).
Haha, yes, one of the best reasons to be frugal is so that we can splurge on the things we REALLY want~!
I loved your “10 Things…” list and the one that impressed me most was the curcumen pills! There’s also a lot to be said about the weekly manicure!!! Thanks for all of the great tips!
Hi Gloria 🙂 Yes I’m particularly proud of the money I’ve saved on curcumen LOL. These days I’m mixing the turmeric in a spoonful of yogurt! Thank you for reading!
If you follow Michael Pollan’s advice about eating you will stop with all the protein powders and other supplements and just eat real, honest, non-processed food. Even organic food will be so much cheaper than all those supplements, and if you think about it, nature did not intend for us to eat that way. It will save your health and your pocketbook.Eat less, eat simply and enjoy it all more!
Great Advice Sandra!
I recently started making my own household cleaners and laundry detergent. HUGE savings on the monthly budget. I found great recipies online.
I also buy TONS of fresh veggies from Farmer’s markets in the dummer. Then I can or just blanch and place in freezer bags. This year I had lots of apples and tomatoes; so I made tomato sauce, tomato soup, applesauce, apple butter, and a few soup starters which are bags of mixed veggies and tomatoes that I can nlend then add as a base to soup. Happy saving!!!
AAAHHH farmers markets! GREAT suggestion. I never have made my own laundry detergent but lots of people swear by it!
I don’t buy new books at retail price. I go to Half Price Books, HPB.com, look up the book/magazine/author’s name that I want and the web site will give a list, after a few clicks, of your choices. Those books from HPB itself are half of the publication price for when that copy was printed. Shipping is $3.99. They have other marketplaces or stores they use. Not always half price. One can choose condition of book before choosing. ?
Whoa, I have never heard of this site… gotta check it out! Thanks!
That sounds great but, Cosmo Prof requires a beauty license which most of us do not have.
Yes true! You’d need a friend who was willing to take you in
This is a great list!! It’s really making me stop and think about things I may be buying that are not true necessities. My husband and I live very frugally, but I’m sure there are still things that we purchase without even thinking about alternatives. Thanks for the challenging post!
Thanks Haylee 🙂 I think it’s something we all do to some extent~ it’s just so easy to NOT stop and think about the alternatives. (I still do it too of course!)
I found two great websites for books. Bookbub and Red robin. I get an email everyday for low cost or FREE ebooks. I’ve never seen anything over 3.99 on either of them
YES I love bookbub!!
This is a great list! In my area, shredded and blocked cheese are of the same price. And yes, i use coconut oil for makeup removing. I am a frugal BTW. Thanks for the post.
Thanks for reading Jane! I wish I could find shredded cheese (free from icky additives) for the same price LOL
I always buy my spices from the bulk section. Wash and reuse your empty bottles to store them in. Pre bottled spices are way more expensive and tend to be in such large amounts they go stale.
Additionally plant an herb garden.
HI Linda – yes spices are SO expensive. Great tip!
The only issue with using the seasoning turmeric in place of supplemental curcumin is that curcumin pills usually have bioperine added. Bioperine is a black pepper extract that helps the body absorb the beneficial aspects of the curcumin. Without the bioperine your body absorbs little to no of the therapeutic qualities of the turmeric.
HI Joy! Yes black pepper does make the curcumin in tumeric more available to your body, but I find it still benefits me without it 🙂
Thanks for the great suggestions. I just wanted to add that tumeric only contains about 2-6% curcumin, the ingredient that actually provides the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You would need to take a huge quantity of tumeric to equal what you were getting in capsule or tincture form. And as others have mentioned, it is a blood thinner and can lower your blood sugar causing hypoglycemia so large quantities aren’t usually encouraged.
Although, if it’s working as well for you as the supplements, I say go for it. Just be careful with your quantities and be aware of side effects. (Also, I usually roughly crush a couple pepper corns and just swallow them with my supplements because mine don’t have bioperine added…I don’t know how much it really helps, but it doesn’t hurt 😉 )
Hey Kelly! Yes, always good to be careful with any supplements. I feel like tumeric is probably safer than curcumin itself when it comes to blood sugar etc… it’s just a spice after all 🙂
Shaving cream name brand on sale with a coupon .50… yes you can buy it !
Haha yes I guess with coupons you probably could!
Be careful with tumeric, it is also a blood thinner & can stop blood from clotting correctly if you take more than 1 1/2 teaspoons a day. I found this out on a medical site.
VERY interesting – thank you for the heads up