The best way to save money and stop living paycheck to paycheck is to quit buying small and unnecessary things. It’s easy to waste $1,000 a year or more when you spend without thinking.
If you cut out four unnecessary purchases that cost $5 every week from your budget, you will save $1040 a year. Think about it, if one day a week you don’t spend money on an energy drink, a fast-food sandwich, or an atm fee, you could have a considerable amount of money to invest by the end of the year.
Better yet, if you invested that money and earned 8% interest over the course of 10 years, you would have $15,282.33. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of having more money without having to work a second job.
If you’re ready to stop buying unnecessary stuff, the following items can easily be cut from your budget.
The Best Way To Save Money Is To Stop Buying These Things:
1. Dryer Sheets
I haven’t used dryer sheets for years, and I don’t miss them. You can save money and avoid the toxins in dryer sheets by using these laundry room alternatives:
- Hang your clothes up to dry.
- Add wool dryer balls to your dryer.
- Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to your washer’s rinse cycle.
2. Cleaning Products
You can find a lot of ingredients around your home to make your own cleaning products. A great all-purpose cleaner is vinegar. Baking soda can be used as a mild abrasive on many surfaces in your home. Lemon juice can be used in place of bleach. Making your own cleaners is a great way to cut cleaning costs.
Try some of these frugal living tips to keep your house clean:
- Use vinegar and newspapers to clean glass.
- Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet and let it sit for 10 minutes.
We use glass food storage containers instead of baggies. The Pyrex containers come in many different sizes, and they are freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe.
4. Paper Towels
5. Bottled Water
Our drinking water is not the best, and for that reason, we were spending a lot of money on bottled water. A few years ago, I purchased a countertop water filtration system, and it has more than paid for itself.
6. Coffee Or Tea
I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I was spending a lot of money on frappes and iced teas from the drive-through every morning. Now I make a pitcher of iced tea every night and take some with me in the morning.
If you’re a coffee drinker, you could do the same thing, make your coffee and take it with you. I bought a large travel mug that keeps my drinks hot or cold, and it doesn’t spill or leak.
7. Fast Food
The drive-through window cost us a fortune every year! When I get home from work I’m tired, and I don’t want to cook, but I found a way that we could eat without buying fast food.
Now we plan our meals out for the week with this printable meal planner, and I prepare our meals the night before work.
When we get home, I heat the meal that I already made, and then after dinner, I make a meal for the next day. Now I can relax for a while when I get home.
8. Greeting Cards
My husband and I no longer exchange greeting cards because they’re mostly a waste of money. The majority of people don’t save their cards for more than a month before throwing them away.
I use Canva to print out free cards or post them to Facebook. You can visit Canva’s website or download the app for free. You’ll find templates for cards for all occasions, and the app is easy to use.
My mom makes her own cards with inexpensive cardstock. The cards are adorable and personalized for every special event.
Instead of buying stamps to mail my bills, I pay them online. Most banks offer free online bill pay. I know some people don’t like doing things online, but nowadays it’s easier and safer than you might think.
The price of stamps goes up all the time, and that cost adds up in a year’s time.
I don’t pay fees ever; I don’t care if it’s ten cents or five dollars. If you plan ahead, you can withdraw the money you need instead of using an atm.
Shop around and look for checking accounts and credit cards that don’t charge fees. Credit unions are usually good about offering free services.
11. Credit Card Interest
We never use our credit card unless we know that we can pay it off when the bill comes. Using credit cards is expensive if you have to pay interest on the balance. It’s best to avoid credit card debt altogether.
If you’re currently paying a lot of interest on your credit cards, you can transfer your balance to a different card or try to negotiate a lower interest rate.
12. Air Freshener
Not only are air fresheners expensive but they’re full of toxins as well. We use a few drops of essential oils in a spray bottle with water, and it smells great! A bottle of essential oils can last a very long time. We prefer the peppermint fragrance.
13. Pink Tax
Have you heard of the Pink Tax? Because of it, the average woman pays an extra $1,351 every year. Products can cost almost twice as much when they are marketed to women in feminine packaging.
A study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs surveyed close to 800 products and found in 42% of cases; women paid more for the same products as men.
This gender bias is outrageous. You can save money by buying the men’s version of products such as razors and shampoo.
14. Gym Membership
The average gym membership in the US costs $696 per year, according to a study by the Statistic Brain Research Institute. When you’re trying to save money, resistance bands are the answer. They are cheap, lightweight, and don’t take up much room.
They allow you to increase the resistance of just about any exercise. You can get a full-body workout by using only the bands. Grab a set of exercise bands, a carry bag, and an instructional ebook for around $20.
The average American pays around $100 a month for cable according to a 2016 study by Leichtman Research Group. That’s a lot of money.
Today you have a lot of great options to watch tv and save money at the same time. Here are six money-saving tips for cable alternatives to help you make a choice.
How many times have you stopped at the local gas station and ran into the convenience store to grab a few things? Some people do it every morning on their way to work.
Prices are always higher at a convenience store than they are at a grocery store. I have a grocery list app on my phone so anytime we run out of something, I add it to the list. My phone is always with me, so that means I have no excuse when I’m grocery shopping not to buy everything that we need.
17. Lottery Tickets
I admit that I do buy a few lottery tickets at Christmas time for stocking stuffers, but that’s the only time. Gambling is a huge waste of money.
If you’re one of those people that buys lottery tickets every week, it’s time to rethink your strategy. You have much better odds of building wealth by investing your money regularly, even if it’s just a small amount.
18. Regular Light Bulbs
To save money, I buy LED bulbs instead of regular lightbulbs. LEDs produce a soft glow, and they can last for decades.
LEDs cost more than regular bulbs but swapping out four or five of your most-used bulbs can save you around $45 a year.
19. Name Brand Medication
Name brand medicine is way more expensive than their generic counterparts even though they have the same active ingredients.
The FDA says that generic drugs have to pass rigorous tests to ensure they meet quality standards. So the next time you need over the counter medication, try the generic version. They cost much less but work the same!
Here are some saving tips for prescription medication.
20. Shaving Cream
I have never used shaving cream; it’s too expensive. I use soap, and it works just fine.
Not only are tampons and pads expensive, but they also contain toxic ingredients. Protect your body and your wallet by investing in a Diva Cup instead.
You can easily save money by not buying things you don’t need! Smart people know that the best way to build up your savings account is to start saving money and not make unnecessary purchases.
More Money Saving Ideas:
Look for creative ways to save money around the house, like finding out if you qualify for free energy-efficient appliances or free internet. Also, be sure to check out the features that money saving websites like Amazon have to offer.