Imagine what it would feel like to save more money every month.
Or, maybe this is you – how it would feel to save some money every month!
Would you be calmer and feel more relaxed?
Will you feel less financial stress and greater money confidence?
Would you feel abundant knowing that a luxurious money cushion was there to support you?
What if I told you there are things you can quit buying now to save more money and get out of debt faster?
I bet you’d be keen to know more!
First, if you’re struggling to deposit more coins in your piggy bank every month, know that you’re in good company:
- 40% of Americans have less than $400 in an emergency fund;
- UK Credit card debt is rising at the fastest rate in 12 years;
- Australians are stuck in a debt trap; and
- 60% of Israelis are in overdraft.
But while misery might love company, this is one party where you don’t want to hang out for very long. The interest you pay on debt robs you of enjoying a comfortable financial future. And the financial and emotional cost of living paycheck to paycheck and managing chronic debt is soul-sucking.
So if you’re ready to grow your savings account, here’s a list of 36 things you can quit buying now to save more money, get out of debt faster and build yourself a nice, plush money cushion.
36 Things You Can Quit Buying Now To Save More Money (and get out of debt faster)
Food & Drinks
1. Bottled water. Drink tap water. If your water quality is poor, consider installing a reverse osmosis filter. We have a filter on the main water lines to our house plus a RO water filtration system.
2. Soda. There’s nothing good to be said about soda. It’s bad for your teeth, your waistline and your budget. I might buy a single bottle of coke if someone has a stomach bug.
3. Fast food. It’s expensive and nutrient poor. If you’re juggling so many things that preparing 3 meals a day from scratch is beyond you, keep some basics in your freezer. As a working mom of 8, there are times when a frozen pizza with added cheese and olive rings is called dinner. I have corn cutlets and fish sticks in my freezer, too.
4. Coffee to go. Buy yourself a travel mug, brew your own coffee at home, and take it with you.
5. Organic food. I know there are folks who prioritize spending on organic food. But before you start throwing organic eggs and tomatoes at me, hear me out. Eradicating debt and building up a nice money cushion can dissolve your financial stress. And that’s much more important for your long-term health than a few more months (or years) of eating organic. If this is a really important spending category for you, limit organic foods to those fruits and vegetables, like grapes, that are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides.
6. Salad dressing. Use olive oil and vinegar or fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Add some herbs and spices to give your salad a little pizzazz.
7. Coconut water. When we hiked in Yosemite earlier this year, we each carried a couple bottles of coconut water with us. It’s supposed to be super hydrating and nutrient rich. It’s also taken on a fad-like status and folks are drinking it daily like water. That habit can wreak havoc with your budget. Save the coconut water for special excursions only.
8. Energy bars. Speaking of hiking, we carried energy bars with us too. But 40+ years ago when I back-packed while in summer camp we ate GORP: good old-fashioned raisins and peanuts. Packing your own raisins, craisins, walnuts, and peanuts is much more economical than splurging on an energy bar. If you’re going to be on the go all day, toss some GORP into your bag before you leave the house.
9. Junk food. Chips, pretzels, cereal bars, energy bars, and the like. Stop buying items that are high in sugar, salt, E-numbers and other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
10. Meat. Plan for two or three meatless dinners each week.
11. Television, movies, cable, Netflix, Hulu. We don’t have any of these. We have a small collection of National Geographic CDs that we let our children watch from time to time. Cancel your subscriptions and read more books. If you want to stay connected, call your service provider and negotiate a lower priced package.
12. Magazine subscriptions. Cancel subscriptions. Borrow from the library and ask friends to pass on magazines when they’ve finished reading them.
13. Newspaper subscriptions – hard copies and online subscriptions. Do you read all the media to which you subscribe? Make a list of your subscriptions and cancel those you’re not getting around to regularly (despite your best intentions). You can always re-subscribe when you have more time and money.
14. Books. Have you read all the books on your shelves and on your Kindle? I’m guilty, too. Before you buy another book, finish everything you already own. If you’re dying to read the latest bestseller, borrow it from friends, neighbors or the library. But don’t buy any more books. Not even on Kindle!
15. Library fines. Return library books on time to avoid late fees. When you borrow books, immediately put a reminder in your phone for 2 days before the books are due and the day on which they’re due. This way, you’ll have time to collect the books scattered around your house and to get them to the library on time.
16. Heating and air-conditioning. Set your thermostat a little bit higher in the summer and cooler in the winter to reduce your electricity costs.
17. Micro-fiber dusting cloths. Use old T-shirts and old cloth diapers instead. My mom always said that cloth diapers make the best rags. I have a rag drawer in my kitchen that I can nickname my memory drawer. It’s filled with my kids’ cut up tees and PJs.
18. Paper towels. As above. Use rags to wipe up spills, shine the windows and polish the silver.
19. Late fees. Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees.
20. Gifts. It makes no sense to enrichen someone else’s life while you’re in the financial doghouse. If you’re into crafts, make something crafty. If you can bake, home-baked cakes, cookies, and homemade bread are great choices. Include a warm, hand-written note on pretty stationary from the local dollar store. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
21. Laundry detergent. Use half the amount recommended by the manufacturer. Their goal is to get you to use up the product quickly and buy some more. I always cut the recommended amount, with great results.
22. Dryer sheets. Cut them in half or use reusable wool dryer balls. Better yet, line-dry your clothes.
23. Ditch the car. Walk, ride a bike or use public transportation to save loads of money and improve your health.
24. Electric appliances and electronic devices. Unplug them when they’re not in use so they don’t continue to draw electricity and run up your bill unnecessarily.
25. New furniture. I love buying used. Our dining room table and chairs, a computer table and a couple of our beds were all bought used. You can save tons of money by buying pre-loved furniture.
26. Landline. How do you connect with your friends and family? If you’re barely using your landline, negotiate a lower-priced subscription or cancel it altogether.
- 21 Ways to Save Money on Food
- 7 Reasons You’re Not Saving Enough
- 13 Ways to Save Money Every Month
- 5 Things Your Mother Never Taught You About Savings
27. New toys. Kids don’t need that much to keep themselves entertained and you probably have more toys than you need. Collect half the toys and hide them. I bet your kids will play with the available toys even more now. When children can actually see through the forest of toys, they can find the trees and play with them. Too many boxes, puzzles, games, dolls, cars, blocks, bricks, and Legos are overwhelming and unsettling to the mind and body.
28. New clothes. Children grow so quickly. It doesn’t make financial sense to buy everything new. Second-hand shops, thrift stores, garage sales and consignment shops are great places to pick up pre-loved items. Make sure to shop with a list so you don’t go wild buying more than you need. Recently, I bought my son 2 good-as-new-shirts for 10 shekels ($2.75). Such an amazing deal!
29. Allowance. We don’t believe in it. You can read about why we don’t give our kids an allowance here.
30. Birthday parties. Kids’ birthday parties can spiral out of financial control very quickly. Think about the value for money you get by spending on clowns, magicians, trips to the bowling alley, fancy cakes, plates and more. Hundreds of dollars can disappear in an afternoon. Try inviting friends and family over for a good old-fashioned barbeque with hot dogs, potato salad, and a homemade chocolate cake. Take a group of kids to the local park and play football or baseball. I guarantee you, the kids will have tons of fun and no one will miss the flash.
Self-care & healthcare
31. Makeup. Use up what you have, avoid designer brands or go without. Makeup can be so expensive.
32. Bathing. Take shorter and fewer showers. Especially in the winter, most of us can get away with showering every other day.
33. Health club. Cancel your gym membership. Get outside for a walk, run or bike ride. Exercise at home with YouTube videos.
34. Facials and beauty treatments. Make your own. Look up some DIY recipes for skin and hair care just for you!
36. Perfume. Put this luxury item on your wish list to receive as a gift for an upcoming birthday or holiday.
There you have it!
36 things you can quit buying now to save more money and get out of debt faster. I hope it’s given you some great and creative ideas for saving hundreds of dollars a year. I want to help you save more money, invest smarter and build wealth so you can live a bigger, better and less stressful life.
So what things you can quit buying now to save more money?
Do you have a great tip that I didn’t mention here?
I’d love for you to share it with me in the comments below.