Today I’m talking about some of the things I stopped buying to save money. This helped to keep our budget low and to help us pay off our debt!
From haircuts to paper towels, here are some of the small things we don’t buy that.
The price of some of these things may seem small and insignificant.
But in all honesty, they all add up.
I personally didn’t even realize how much these tiny items ate up our budget until we completely moved over to the envelope system.
Physically pulling out the dollars and realizing how much is left, is a total game changer.
All of a sudden that manicure isn’t so attractive.
So here are a few of the things to stop buying to save money.
This post may contain affiliate links. This means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase. You can read our full disclosure here.
- 1. Manicures
- 2. Expensive Coffee
- 3. We Don’t Buy Paper Towels, Napkins and Sponges
- 4. Haircuts
- 5. Bottled Water
- 6. Toys
- 6. We don’t Buy Cable
- 7. Gym Memberships
- 8. Expensive Razors
- 9. Quick Grocery Runs
- 10. Meals at Resturants
- 11. Jewelry
- 12. Garbage Bags
- 13. Lawn Services
- 14. Lotions or Facial Care Products
- 15. Impulse Purchases
- 16. Cleaning Products
- 17. We Don’t Pay for Music
- 18. Product Warranties
- 19. Magazine Subscriptions
- 20. We Don’t Buy Books
- 21. Prepackaged Food
- 22. Precut Anything
Speaking of manicures, I never spend my money on getting my nails done.
The cost is incredibly expensive to me for such little return.
I’ll admit, I love the way my co-worker’s hands look with their pretty colors and perfect nails.
But in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not worth the money. It becomes a reoccurring payment.
After all, usually, you need to go back every 2-3 weeks to get them done.
If I want to make my hands look nice, I simply paint them at home.
At $30-50 dollars a pop plus tip, were talking easily $100 a week.
Amount saved: $100mo
2. Expensive Coffee
I am a coffee fiend! I love drinking coffee, and it’s the first thing I put any energy into every single morning.
I do not, however, spend any money on coffee drinks outside the home.
This means no special lattes or frappuccinos!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Starbucks as much as the next gal, but adding up the cost, just makes it so not worth it.
I’ve also learned to drink my coffee black, which is not only better for your health, it’s also better for your wallet!
No fancy creamers here.
Amount saved: $120 ($4 drink x 30 days, although most the drinks usually cost more!)
3. We Don’t Buy Paper Towels, Napkins and Sponges
This one seems small, but it just kills me to buy napkins or paper towels.
They are literally designed to go in the trash.
Instead, I have quite a few small rags I use to clean up spills and clean the house with.
Most of them are made from old towels and even a few old T-shirts.
I keep them all folded up in a drawer and leave a bucket under the sink for the dirty rags.
Once the bucket is full (doesn’t take long in my house with young boys running around) they get popped into the washing machine.
I have enough rags to fill half the wash, so sometimes I throw towels in too so I’m not wasting water on a washing cycle.
Wash, fold, repeat.
As far as sponges go, I honestly don’t use them that often.
I love my scrubby brush and I just pop it in the dishwasher when I’m done to clean it. I have used my current one for over a year now, and it was pretty inexpensive.
When we do use sponges, I cut ours in half.
They are easier to use this way, and I get double the use out of them.
I also keep them clean, sanitized and stink-free by pouring boiling water over them and the sink when I’m done with dishes.
Amount saved: $10 per month (it would be more, but I factored in water cost of the laundry and deducted from the cost of paper towels and napkins.)
Yes, sounds crazy. But we do “home” haircuts in our house.
At least for the boys. I cut my kid’s hair and it saves us a good chunk of money.
I also trim my husband’s hair on a pretty regular basis.
I honestly don’t have a ton of experience cutting hair. But, that’s where youtube comes in!
There are tons of great videos that show you how to cut boy’s hair.
I will say that our teenage daughter and I do get our hair cuts professionally because I’m way too intimidated to try cutting long hair.
But ours are limited to once a year. Especially since my hair cuts can cost nearly $200.
Amount saved: Roughly $40 per month for a family of 5.
5. Bottled Water
Bottled water isn’t terribly expensive until you realize how many bottles you go through a month!
For a family of 5 it would be ridiculous. Not to mention terribly on the environment.
And probably not great for your health. The plastic could be heated up during transport and leak chemicals into the water.
Instead, buy a few sturdy glass or metal bottles. You can buy a decent filter that will last you a long time, and just refill your bottles!
Plus, some of them like these ones are so pretty, you’ll forget all about disposable water bottles!
Amount saved: $15 per month
This one sounds mean, but I promise you my children are not deprived.
In fact, our house is overloaded with toys.
But we rarely, if ever, purchase toys.
My husband is an excellent “treasure” finder. He even has a system!
He’s always coming home with super popular, large plastic toys that were doomed for the garbage.
Basically he waits until the day before trash day and drives around a few nice areas to see what toys people are throwing out.
Some of the stuff we’ve found in the last year:
- Set of Giant Melissa and Doug blocks
- Big play kitchen
- Disney Frozen vanity (my boys love it even though they don’t much understand what it’s for)
- Fisher-Price Water play table
- Fisher-Price Picnic table
- Plus tons of other smaller toys
Seriously, I’m amazed by half the stuff he brings home. And those are just the toys!
He tends to nab furniture and other neat finds too.
We do have to spend a bit of effort cleaning them up, but it’s totally worth the savings!
Plus they get tons of toys from other people for Christmas and birthdays.
The trick is to put away most of them and just drizzle out the new toys once every month or two.
I will say that when the kids find something they really love at a garage sale or thrift store (my mother-in-law loves thrift shopping!) then I may buy them a toy or two.
But only if I think they will really use it.
Amount saved: Varies widely since toys aren’t a set budgetary item. We’ll estimate savings of $20 a month?
6. We don’t Buy Cable
This is actually a really easy one. We’ve never bought cable nor seen the need for it.
We have Netflix and use our Amazon Prime account and between the two of those, there are plenty of things to watch.
If you are really into sports, I suggest looking into purchasing the ESPN streaming service or something similar.
The amount of money you save is so worth the sacrifice!
Other services you could use:
Average savings per month: $175+ Cable is really expensive! Instead, invest in decent internet only and grab a streaming service or two.
7. Gym Memberships
Gym memberships are so much fun.
I’ll admit I’ve been lured in with their glamours machines and making the idea of being fit almost fun.
But they aren’t worth the money when you’re on a budget!
We find ways to workout at home, and it’s just as fun.
In the garage, we set out some foam flooring the kids don’t use anymore and a few weights, a jump rope and resistance bands.
It works well for us, is practical and we can sneak in “me time” in the garage periodically throughout the day.
You can even deck our your own area with your favorite equipment and a blue tooth speaker.
Or if you love the classes at the gym, simply scroll youtube for a few fun looking routines you can follow.
Also remember, you can make the outdoors your playground! Go for a run down the street, a day hike in a local forest, do some yoga at the beach.
The possibilities are endless!
Lastly, check out your local free resources. Lots of cities have free rec centers.
They may not be high end, but they help get the job done, for free.
Amount saved: $30 per person, per month
8. Expensive Razors
Women’s razors are absurdly more expensive than men’s.
I buy cheaper men’s razors and shave my legs with those.
There really is no difference, except that with a cheaper razor you have to go a bit slower.
To go along with that, we also don’t by shave gel or cream.
We use bar soap.
If I’m trying to get an extra smooth finish on my legs, I simply make a sugar scrub from a bit of olive oil and sugar and scrub my legs after I shave.
It’s inexpensive, makes my legs feel amazing and no razor burn!
Amount saved: $10 per month
9. Quick Grocery Runs
One guaranteed way to cut your grocery budget is to eliminate “quick trips” to the grocery store.
If you run in to grab a couple of lemons, you end up grabbing a couple more items you probably didn’t really need at all. (Like that garlic hummus and those kitkats)
Instead, keep focused and keep to your grocery list. Make a meal plan while you’re at!
You’ll save tons of money this way.
Amount saved: Varies widely, but a once a week “quick trip” could easily cost $100 per month
10. Meals at Resturants
This one was definitely one of the hardest for me!
I mean, who doesn’t love to eat tasty food made by someone else?
No dishes to clean up, to figuring out what to make. It’s like hitting the easy button every night!
But it adds up. And not just a little.
When it was just my husband and I, we easily ate out everyday for atleast 1 meal a day, but usually 2.
Even though we tried to keep it “cheap” it was still roughly $40 a day between the two of us.
Adding it up, meant $1200 a day just for lunch and dinner!
That’s an insane food budget for 2 people.
We still had to buy groceries for snacks and breakfast too.
I can’t imagine how expensive eating out for a family of 5 every day would be.
Instead we now opt for a grocery budget of $600 per month.
Now we can buy yummy, healthier options, for half the cost!
Amount saved per month: $600
We don’t buy jewelry in our house.
I specifically told my husband when we met, to never buy me jewelry!
I hate the idea of so much money being wasted on trinkets that don’t really serve a purpose.
I mean think about it, spending hundreds of dollars on earrings or a diamond necklace will add no value to your life.
It may make you feel special temporarily, but the feeling is short-lived for such a hefty price tag.
He did buy me an engagement ring a very long time ago. And although it wasn’t the most expensive piece of jewelry, I never wear it.
We’ve both contemplated selling, I just haven’t had the heart to let it go yet.
But honestly, it serves no purpose in my life and has very little value to our overall dreams and lifestyle desires.
He also bought me an amulet of mara one year because he and I are both big nerds. But it was inexpensive and represents the desire for love and commitment for one another in a favorite video game of ours.
12. Garbage Bags
Another small cost item, but adds up over time.
Garbage bags are completely useless to me. Instead, we put our trash in the grocery bags we get from the store.
We always save our grocery bags, and they always come in handy.
We try not to produce too much garbage. But when we do, they go in a grocery store bag.
We don’t even need a trash can. It just hangs on a hook in the kitchen.
Amount saved: $4 a month
13. Lawn Services
Another very common expense that we refuse to buy.
We have a decent lawnmower. It’s even battery-operated, which makes it super lightweight and I never have to fill it with gas!
This means I never mind mowing the lawn.
I actually enjoy mowing our back yard as a form of exercise.
It usually turns into a family event, where the kids “work” on other parts of the yard while I mow.
Our lawnmower is a black and decker, and a mid-quality mower.
So, although the investment upfront was a bit steep, it paid for itself in 3 months.
Especially since our lawn costs $40 to mow, twice a month.
That means after those 3 months, we are saving $80 a month! And getting some exercise in at the same time.
14. Lotions or Facial Care Products
Growing up, I thought I had to wash my face every morning and night with specialty soap and lotions to get nice looking skin.
Turns out, not washing my face at all has helped my skin tremendously.
My whole family uses coconut oil as a moisturizer and face wash.
It’s all-natural, which means no nasty hidden chemicals and works perfectly.
Every once in a while I’ll add a bit of lavender essential oil to make it smell nice.
But otherwise, we keep it pretty simple.
To wash my make up off at night, I simply grab a bit of coconut oil and massage it into my skin.
I use warm water and a washrag to gently wipe it off and my skin feels amazing!
We buy a big jug of coconut oil like this, and it lasts our family the whole year.
Amount saved: $30 a month
15. Impulse Purchases
To save the most money, we don’t buy impulse purchases!
Not gonna lie, finding a great deal and snatching it up has been one of my favorite past times.
I feel like I have defeated some kind of purchasing lion in an epic throw down.
But, years ago, we instilled a family rule.
If we see something that we just have to have, wait a week.
If we’re still feeling the same way, then we add it into our budget and figure out when we can buy it.
Otherwise it just wasn’t worth it.
9 times out of 10, it gets completely forgotten about.
Amount saved: I literally have no idea how to calculate this.
16. Cleaning Products
This actually started as a health initiative and ended up drastically helping the budget.
I hated the thought of the chemicals in all those cleaning products affecting my family.
If you read the long term side effects of those things, it’s kinda frightening.
So now, we save money and just don’t buy cleaning products.
There are a few exceptions. We almost exclusively use:
- Baking Soda
- Castile Soap
Mostly just the vinegar and baking soda though. We bought one jar of the castile soap and it’s lasted us years.
I use the vinegar in a spray bottle and wash our fruits and veggies.
I also use it to spray down surfaces to clean them.
For carpet and upholstery, I use the baking soda.
Adding in a bit of sweet orange essential oils makes it smell divine.
They work like a charm, they get the job done and I don’t feel guilty about using harmful chemicals around my children.
We also don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets. (Again, loaded with chemicals) And save us a few dollars every month.
Amount saved: $50 from various cleaning supplies
17. We Don’t Pay for Music
Another thing we don’t buy is music!
Back in the day, I used to love buying new CDs from my favorite bands.
But now, music is so readily available, there’s no reason to buy it.
You can listen to nearly any song you want, for free on Youtube.
You can also stream music with Spotify and Pandora for free.
Yes, there are ads, and no you can’t make a playlist.
But it’s a small sacrifice in the name of saving for your dream.
18. Product Warranties
We never buy product warranties.
For the most part they useless. More expensive items, like televisions or refrigerators, come with a warranty for a certain amount of years.
These items usually don’t break due to faulty issues, which is what the warranty covers.
Most items that break are due to accidents or freak electrical surges, which aren’t covered anyway.
Plus, if you take all the money you would have spent on warranties for every product, you could more than pay for a new one that one time something does break.
Amount saved: All depends on the product.
19. Magazine Subscriptions
I used to love magazines is my younger days.
Now, however, there is so much interesting things to read on the internet, for free, they are almost pointless.
Magazines have become nearly one large ad campaign and that’s it.
I was flipping through an old favorite of mine at the grocery store and realized half the pages were just ads!
While I definitely don’t mind ads (I get it! I work as a content provider as well!) I do expect a little more bang for my buck.
There was very little useful (or even fun!) content.
Amount saved: Varies widely, at least $20 a month.
20. We Don’t Buy Books
At least, we don’t buy books anymore.
While we both love reading, we have stopped buying books over the last few years.
The library has nearly everything we are looking for.
If it doesn’t or it’s a book we need to use long term, we buy an ebook version. (But very rarely.)
Ebooks are much cheaper and very convenient to store.
Amount saved: Varies widely, if you buy one book a month, you’d save at least around $12 per month.
21. Prepackaged Food
We try not to buy anything already prepacked food items.
Your paying for the convenience of not having to prepare the food.
This is especially true in the deli sections of the grocery store.
Those prepackaged sandwiches or crackers and cheese trays are way more expensive than if you were to buy the products individually and make it yourself.
Amount saved: $20 dollars per month
22. Precut Anything
When grocery shopping we don’t buy cut up baby carrots or fruits already cup up and served in a cup.
Its similar to the pre-packaged foods.
Buying a big bag of carrots it’s way cheaper than that tiny bag of shredded carrots.
And will last a lot longer.
Again, you’re paying for convenience.
Amount saved: About $10 per month