One of the most common questions I get in my inbox is just a simple one, what are the best ways to save money? When people ask me this question I will always guide them towards this blog post. Why? Well, learning things to stop buying and actually not buying them is going to save you a ton.
Originally, I wrote this post as my first financial post on this blog, the ideas were just okay, and I still had hundreds of people reading it every month and emailing me about how they never thought about these things as things to stop buying because they had become such a part of their daily lives.
Personally, I’ve made a ton of unnecessary purchases in my life. I’m the type of person who will have 5 perfectly good reusable water bottles but the second I see another cute one my brain convinces me I have 0 and I must have this one.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at my horrible purchasing decisions and really going through them with a things to stop buying try to save more lens and it’s really changed the way I spend.
I’m not telling you to cut out every single thing that makes you happy, that would be insanity and wouldn’t be sustainable. These things are all items that you don’t actually need on a daily basis that you can easily stop buying to save a whole bunch of money this year.
If you’re able to implement even just a few of these budget cuts, you’ll be able to save so much money which means you can work towards your goals a whole lot faster. So, let’s discuss some items you should stop buying in order to help you save money and build wealth.
*Also, I get a lot of questions about why this list is longer than 10. A lot of my original social share images only had 10 items in the title, but I decided this needed to be longer and more comprehensive! Bonus for you!
Our blog posts often contain affiliate links, you can learn more in our very long (and very boring) affiliate disclosure!
Items To Stop Buying To Save Money
1. Books & Magazines
I don’t want you to misinterpret this first one, I would never tell you to stop reading. I love reading. I read every single day because it’s the best way to learn new things or escape from the world. Reading is one of the best things for personal and professional development and it can totally help you grow into a better person and the person you want to be.
So, I’m not suggesting you stop reading. I’m just talking about how you should stop paying full price for books that you’ll eventually donate because you don’t have enough space to hold them all in your small space (can anyone tell I’m bitter about having to donate all my books?).
There are a few awesome options for you to spend less money on purchasing books that will save you a bit of money and also save you a ton of space:
- Buy all your books at thrift stores and garage sales and then donate them when you’re done reading
- Try out Amazon’s awesome audio book service Audible, you get to keep the books forever (digitally, so it takes up no space) and you can take them everywhere with you. Audio books are awesome and I listen to them all the time. Try audible & get your first book free!
- Spend a bit of money now on a Kindle, and then you can save 50% on a ton of book titles that you get on Amazon.
2. Paper Products
Since this website is called Not Quite an Adult, I assume that a lot of my readers are 20 or 30 somethings that are just figuring their way through life. Because of this, I think of the times I had in my early 20’s and I’d meet a new guy and hangout with him at his apartment, only to realize he only had paper plates, plastic forks, and paper napkins.
Seriously. This happened to me. I didn’t think this was a real thing, I thought it was just a joke in movies and TV shows.
Even if you have a full set of dish ware in your cupboards, you should really stop buying paper single-use products. They’re horrible for the environment (even though they try to convince you they’re recyclable, tons of them have a plastic coating and get thrown away when they arrive at recycling centers).
These single-use products are also extremely expensive, and a huge waste of money. You literally get to use it, then throw your money in the garbage. I understand that once in a while you have a bunch of people over and paper plates are easier, but try not to use them unless it’s one of those situations.
3. Gym Membership
It’s actually been proven that over 1/2 the people who have purchased a gym membership only use it 5 times before they just let the card sit on their keys and never go back. How crazy is that?
I have a gym membership and I’ve been guilty of this for months at a time but overall it’s only $10 a month so I can justify it for the times that I go super often.
Just having a gym membership isn’t going to motivate you to start working out, this is one of the first things to stop buying if you really want to save money. If you aren’t a gym rat who goes 5 times a week, you should cancel that membership and spend your money in other places.
There are a ton of free things you can do for your daily fitness needs. You can start running, do body weight exercises, do yoga videos on Youtube, and so much more. You can find a ton of awesome workouts on Pinterest too.
4. Full Price Greeting Cards
Does anyone know why greeting cards are so darn expensive? Seriously? $5-10 for each individual card at a drug store? Everytime I’ve ever purchased a greeting card I get confused about the price and reluctantly purchase because it’s the social norm.
Recently, I discovered that you can buy these giant assortment card sets for dirt cheap. For example, this box set on Amazon has 48 cards for only $12.99 when that’s the price for just 2 cards at a drug store. When you purchase one of these box sets the cards are only 47 cents a piece. They’re cute, they’re silly, and I’ve never had a problem giving these with gifts.
Stop supporting how expensive greeting cards are full-price and save some coin by purchasing them in bulk (but still get tons of cute and unique cards).
5. Brand Name Food
I get it, real Oreos taste better than off-brand Oreos. I understand. Don’t come at me for saying that you should buy knock off Oreos. I’m not joking guys, when I first wrote this post in early 2017 I had someone email me yelling about how no-name Oreos taste bad.
If there’s a food item that you absolutely must eat brand-name, go for it. However, almost every brand name food in your cupboard has a no-name dupe that you could find for dollars cheaper and most of the time the quality is the exact same.
I’ve had people tell me that they see food as a status symbol because they grew up with just no-name, off-brand food and they didn’t want to do that once they had money. They have no savings, and a ton of debt, but they can afford real Oreos!
Something you need to learn in order to really grow as a person and get your finances on track is to realize that you aren’t your things. Just because you buy off-brand food once in a while doesn’t make you less of a person.
Let me let you in on a little secret, a lot of the companies that make the name brand food also make the off-brand food. I’m not joking. Sometimes it’s the exact same food.
6. Traditional Cable Packages
15 years ago we didn’t have any choices. We had to have cable or we couldn’t have television in our homes. However, we are in the future now and you definitely don’t need a traditional cable package to watch awesome TV shows.
If you’ve watched any of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, please email me so we can talk about it. I’ve made everyone I know watch it and they’ve all loved it. If you don’t want to pay for Amazon Prime you can get a free 30 day trial!
Anyway, back to the real topic of conversation. We don’t need 100s of channels, no person needs that many options. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars each month on traditional cable, you can get a Netflix or Amazon Prime account and save yourself so much money.
Another bonus of not having cable? You spend less time glued to your TV which means you’ll have more time for productive activities.
This blog actually started as an awesome side hustle that has turned into my full-time job and I started it in the hours of the day where I used to watch television. I genuinely make thousands each month from this blog which is BONKERS. Maybe try a productive hobby instead of watching cable TV for hours each evening?
*If you want to start a blog of your own, you should check out The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog on TaylorOHalloran.com
7. Fancy Coffee Drinks
I know, I know. There’s a ton of articles out there recently with titles like “Starbucks and avocado toast are the reason millennials aren’t buying homes”. Personally, I think that’s a little extreme but there is no point in spending $5+ a day on coffee.
Personally, I’m not a coffee drinker. I worked at a coffee shop from 16-22 and never really got into it and now the smell reminds me of that horrible job so I stay away from the stuff. However, so many people need coffee in order to get their day going.
This is a great first place to start cutting down your expenses because you don’t need to cut it out completely, you just need to plan better for it. You can make some of your favourite Starbucks drinks at home or make general coffee with a coffee maker or Keurig every day.
*We have this awesome coffee maker/keurig combo in our house and everyone who drinks coffee seems to absolutely love it when they come over.
Also, remember to treat yourself to that fancy coffee once in a while. Life is all about happiness and compromises! Just make having these fancy coffees an experience, for example, go with a friend or family member to catch up and enjoy a nice beverage!
8. Travel Sized Products
This is just like darn greeting cards for me, why is a small bottle of shampoo way more expensive per ounce than a big one? Why are they trying to rob me?
One of my favourite things to do is to travel as often as I possibly can, so this means I need travel sized toiletries pretty often, however, I refuse to buy them. #NeverAgain
You can buy your regular products (preferably in bulk so you have tons) and then purchase some cute reusable TSA approved travel bottles and just fill them yourself. You’ll spend $15-20 on the bottles now and you’ll save hundreds over their lifetime.
You can use these bottles for so many things, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, so many options!
9. Female Versions of Products
Has anyone noticed that mens razors are way less expensive than women’s? But they do the exact same thing? How is that fair? Wow, apparently I’m going to start every paragraph just ranting into the void, someone save me.
If you’ve never heard of it, this is know as pink tax and is a real thing. Companies charge more money because the products are pretty, and they smell like flowers.
If you want proof, there this insane comparison article from Business Insider that compares prices of mens and women’s products and. the percentage difference between the two.
You can buy men’s razors and get the same great shave. You can buy men’s deodorant without a scent and no one will know the difference. Stop throwing away money just because you’re a woman and are supposed to smell like flowers and sunshine.
10. Brand Name Cleaning Supplies
We all have to clean or we’ll be hoarders with dirty countertops and probably a lot of diseases. One of the awesome things about living in the. 21st century is that scientists have developed products that disinfect and keep us alive a little bit longer.
However, is it really necessary to buy the overprice brand name cleaning supplies that are advertised all over the place? For example, Clorox wipes are a great and easy way to clean, but they’re (1) expensive and (2) wasteful.
The companies that create these products have huge advertising budgets and they’re really good at brainwashing us into thinking we have to have a ton of their products. They’ve essentially convinced us that since something is more expensive, it will work better.
There are so many wonderful cleaning supplies that are not branded as Windex or Clorox that are so much more inexpensive and can be purchased at dollar and discount stores.
You also have the option to make your own cleaning supplies at home which is better for you if you have kids or pets to keep them safe!
11. Individually Packaged Food
I love convenience foods. Individually packaged snack packs? SIGN ME UP! I genuinely probably spent $1,000 a year in college on snack foods and individually packaged items because I was never prepared for a full day of classes.
If you’re really prepared for saving money and you want to put in the effort, you should never buy individually packaged convenience foods.
It’s actually quite easy to buy giant bags of your favourite snacks (like this giant bag of mixed nuts) and then putting them in small reusable containers at the beginning of each week so you can just grab them and go.
This is beneficial to your wallet and to the environment because you’ll be throwing away a lot less plastic.
I’m the type of lady who loves a good manicure, I’m way more confident when my finger nails are painted and it just makes me feel great about myself. However, paying $20-80 every few weeks just to have painted nails is a massive waste of money.
I’ve genuinely said to my boyfriend I can’t wait until I make millions so I can justify getting a manicure twice a month. Yes, you read that right. I said millions.
The thing is, you can get a jar of nail polish for around $10 and use that jar for months and months which is very economical compared to a traditional manicure. You can also get a decent manicure set and do the whole thing and your nails will be absolutely beautiful.
*This is my current favourite nail colour, isn’t she pretty?
13. Dryer Sheets
I’m not sure if you’ve gotten this vibe from me yet, but I am not a fan of single use products. I’m not a crazy environmentalist or anything, I just hate wasting money on things that are going to go straight into the trash.
This applies to dryer sheets as well, I can’t stand doing a load of laundry and throwing those little buggers away. Also, have you ever noticed how they end up everywhere if you let them? I’ve found them under my bed and thought they were mice. Scary stuff.
There’s this awesome new-ish invention that you can use instead of traditional dryer sheets, dryer balls! These items are reusable and way more wallet friendly than traditional dryer sheets, and chances are you won’t be convinced that they’re a mouse under your bed.
A lot of people might think I’m crazy for this, but I give myself haircuts. Now, it’s nothing fancy, just a trim every few weeks. I have no training and genuinely have no idea what I’m doing, but it looks pretty good and no one has ever said anything.
It’s definitely a skill that you need to develop, but it can save you hundreds of dollars each year especially if you have kids. All you need is a decent pair of hair cutting scissors and you’re good to go.
*Here’s a decent youtube tutorial that will help you on your journey.
15. Spice Packets
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am the queen of laziness. I’ll do just about anything to make sure I can save time unless it costs me silly amounts of money.
For example, I have a giant drawer of spices and there’s nothing left that I need for most of the recipes I make. I’m still guilty of buying those individualized spice packets for tacos even though I have all the ingredients in my drawers.
These individual spice packets are a silly waste of money that can add up if you buy them a lot. It’s better to just have a fully stocked spice drawer so you have options and can make really delicious food from scratch.
This one probably doesn’t apply to many people in the 21st century, but I’m a huge fan of writing things down. I’m a business owner so I’ve got random notes, papers, and pens all over the darn place.
These things add up super quickly and most of them are going to end up in the recycling in a few days anyway. Skip the stationary, use your phone or computer! So much better for the envionrment and for your wallet.
17. Shaving Cream
Let’s be real, I’m not entirely sure how men shave their faces. That’s a mystery to me. However, I have been shaving my legs for over 10 years so I’ve got a lot of experience in that department.
One of the expensive parts of shaving is purchasing shaving cream, so I just stopped doing it. I learned from some Youtube video that you can use conditioner for shaving cream and it does the exact same thing and I find that my legs end up being smoother when I use conditioner.
Just be sure not to use shampoo because that can dry out your skin!
I really hope this list was able to put some of your purchase into perspective and help you think about what you need and what you want. Needs and wants are two very different things and this is something it takes people a while to figure out.
As always, feel free to leave me a comment with anything you think I may have missed so everybody can see your unnecessary items!
Thanks for reading,