35 Things I’ve Stopped Buying
It astonishes me how much money we throw away each and every single day, and the sad part is we’re mostly oblivious to it. Not only are we financially worse off, but our homes are loaded with things that we simply don’t need.
I can bet there are at least 10 items that you use each day that you didn’t necessarily have to spend so much money on. Any takers?
35 Things I’ve Stopped Buying
For a while now I’ve decided to stop wasting my money on things that I could live without. And the things that I couldn’t, I looked for ways to make them more affordable. I’ve come up with a list of things that I could stop buying and/or holding onto. So, in no particular order, here are 35 things I’ve stopped buying.
1. Items I Can’t Afford-It’s important to stop living outside of our means by buying things that only provide you with temporary satisfaction and a monthly payment plan that follows.
2. Shoes- No, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever buy a pair of shoes again, but only out of necessity. This saves you a ton of money and digging through piles of shoes in the closet.
3. Cleaning Products- If you’re just as tired as I am of having to buy an assortment of cleaning products to clean a limited number of items or for special uses only, just try to make your own. This way you can be sure that it’s natural.
4. Clothing- I’m not recommending that you should show up at work or church in your birthday suit, but spending money on clothing just because you look good in it, isn’t the way to go. Like shoes, buy your clothing only as a need comes up.
5. Plastic Bags- Plastic bags are bad for the environment and your pocketbook. Try using reusable sandwich bags to pack your lunches or leftovers. Some grocery stores are charging for bags these days. So don’t be surprised when they start to charge you for each bag you need for your groceries.
I bought some reusable grocery bags from Natural Grocers. They are a heavy-duty canvas and washable. Check out the stores you frequent and only buy the good ones that look really sturdy.
6. Paper Towels- As convenient as paper towels are, make the switch by paying a little more upfront with long-lasting cloth towels. We’ve actually been using clothe baby diapers instead and washing them for reuse.
7. Shaving Cream-Instead of using shaving cream, you could use soap or conditioner, along with water to provide that smooth and comfortable feel.
8. Gym Membership- When’s the last time you actually used your gym membership? Save yourself money by ditching it and working out from home.
9. Magazines-Tired of magazines lying around everywhere? Get your subscriptions by downloading them instead. Be sure to evaluate the ones you actually READ and cut off the rest.
10. Cable T.V-With so many streaming tv services out there that provide you with all your favorite shows and movies, what’s the point in continuing to pay your overpriced cable provider? The streaming services aren’t free, so check out what they have available and make sure you want what they have to offer.
11. CD’s– With everything now switching to digital, there’s a long list of music companies that offer you free music to download.
12. Calendar-All phones these days come with a calendar that you can mark with reminders on important dates.
13. Pedicure-Save yourself the money and grab a girlfriend who can help the two of you get the pedicure you’re both wanting.
14. Coffee Shops-Spend a few extra moments at home each morning and make your own delicious cup of coffee and keep that extra $5 in your pocket.
15. Greeting Cards- Spending $6-$9 on a greeting card is ridiculous. It takes you about a half-hour or more to make that kind of money at work, so why not create your own card on your own personal time? Another option is to send e-cards. I signed up with a service for unlimited e-cards for a year or more for $18.
16. Makeup- This is another one that you don’t have to completely give up, because your husband or boyfriend might raise an eyebrow, but you don’t have to purchase so many expensive types. Keep it minimal.
17. DVD’s-You probably have a library of DVD’s stashed in your home? With Redbox, Roku, Fire Stick, and smart tv’s, there’s little reason to add to that collection.
18. Water Bottles-This is a huge money-waster over time. Purchase a glass or plastic container that you can fill up when you need to. We have reverse osmosis at our home and just pay to have it serviced once a year. Pretty cheap way to have top quality water at your fingertips at home.
19. Dryer Sheets- Make the switch to dryer balls and save yourself money. They also eliminate unwanted chemicals touching your body.
20. Soda Pop- I’ve given up wasting so much money on pop (that’s not good for me anyway) and resorted to drinking more water.
21. Pre-cut fruits and Vegetables- The grocery store can certainly amp up their prices on pre-cut fruit and vegetables. Pay far less and spend only a few moments doing it yourself.
22. Apps-Why waste money on apps when there are so many good ones that don’t cost a thing? Maybe that’s just me!
23. Swimsuits-Just like shoes, you don’t have to own 15 pairs of bikinis. One will cover the appropriate areas just fine.
24. Plastic Utensils- Skip using plastic utensils that are hard for nature to dissolve and break up. Use metal utensils, followed by allowing the dishwasher to do your job. Of course, we need to stock up on some plastics for emergencies.
25. Plastic or Paper Plates-This one saves you time after dinner, but it’s hard on the environment and not friendly to your finances if you do it regularly.
26. Sale Items- There’s nothing wrong with getting a good deal, but buying something just because it’s on sale is not making your life any easier.
27. More Toys-Have you ever gone to a toy store and your child begged you for a toy, and only a week later, it was broken or they no longer were playing with it? Stop spending so much money on toys that you’ll be stuck tripping over later. Besides, I’m sure your children have plenty.
28. Ingredients for Complex Recipes-I’m one for trying delicious new recipes, but if it requires me to waste a bunch of money on several expensive ingredients, I’ll stick with the simpler recipes.
29. Shopping Online- Shopping online has been made so easy with only a touch of the button that you give little thought to how much money you just spent. I will say that if you really need the item you can save money in many cases ordering it online and having it delivered free. You are saving money and gas, but just make sure you really need it.
30. Grocery Shopping with Kids-This is a huge mistake that most moms make because they don’t see any other way. But shopping alone can save you a lot more money because you don’t have the distractions and constant nagging to buy unnecessary items.
31. Books-When there’s the library and the free books that you can digitally download these days, it’s senseless to buy them. If you already have shelves and shelves of books, start cutting back on new books by renting them from the library or trading books with neighbors.
32. Home Decor-Sometimes home decor can be a distraction from living simply. There’s nothing wrong with seeing some empty wall spaces or an empty corner. If you do want to decorate more, consider crafty items or family pictures that you cherish.
33. Multiple Gifts-Your house can become cluttered in a hurry, especially shortly after Christmas. Instead, buy only one or two larger gifts for each family member, versus several smaller ones that will just sit there after only a few days.
34. The Latest Model Phone-Be content with not having to get the latest model phone that’s found its way on the market. You’ll be burning wads of cash on a phone that only does one or two extra tricks that your current phone doesn’t do.
35. Name Brand Products- It’s ridiculous what companies charge for their product merely because of the name that comes with. You can buy clothing, shoes, and even food that’s just as good and of lasting value by choosing an off-brand or company-sponsored brand. Thrift stores rock, by the way.
36. Buying plastic – I try to avoid buying plastic water bottles, plastic baggies, and cleaning supplies with plastic if I can.
These are 35 things that I’ve stopped wasting my money on. Do you have any other items that you’ve ditched in order to simplify your life and save money? I’d love to hear from you. What things have you stopped buying?
Let’s spend our money on things we really need, it will help our family survive in the long run. May God bless this world, Linda
How To Save Money On Your Paper Products
Copyright Images: Paper Towels Deposit photos_195705162_s-2019, Grocery Bags Deposit photos_344919166_s-2019, Magazines Depositphotos_82110116_s-2019, Bottled Water Depositphotos_11222134_s-2019, Calendars Depositphotos_12035316_s-2019
30 thoughts on “35 Things I’ve Stopped Buying”
I don’t buy gift wrapping paper. Instead I purchased a large roll of brown kraft paper. I can decorate it for any occasion. I also like to quill but the paper strips get expensive. I use a cheap hand operated table top paper shredder and make my own 1/8 inch strips. Before shredding I paint the pieces of paper for the colors I want. Works great. This one roll of paper has lasted years and is still going strong.
Hi Ellen, oh my gosh, I love the brown paper roll as well. It does last forever. Plus, you can use them for so many projects!! Great tip, Linda
A year or so after we were married, I found Christmas print cloth on sale for $1/yard. I bought 1 yard in each of 10 prints and 2 yards in 3 other prints. I have been using this to wrap Christmas presents for over 25 years. I wrap like wrapping paper and use large safety pins instead of tape. I have everything folded and put away quickly and we don’t have bags and bags of paper to throw away.
Re. gift wrap–besides the brown kraft paper, there’s also brown paper bags to cut up, and the large sheets of plain newsprint that some companies use as packing. In my own family, unwrapping any gift was always a suspenseful time because we were expected to carefully cut the tape and not tear the paper! It was folded up and put away to re-use (still is, somewhat to my husband’s surprise). Often for several years. And the Sunday funny papers also made great gift wrap.
Some grocery items come in resealable plastic bags, and often they are quite sturdy–more so than sandwich bags. So I save them–rinse and set to dry if needed–and use them usually quite a few times before giving up on one. True, they do need to have a label put on them for clear ID of what’s in there (especially if frozen) but even then it’s free bags.
I never buy trash bags. Since I’m on a farm, feed sacks and large plastic bags from bedding are my nearly-indestructible trash bags. If you buy bagged wood pellets as fuel, those bags are great, too. And yes, with re-usable grocery bags currently outlawed, there are plenty of plastic grocery bags for lining all the small trash bins in the house.
But–I can’t give up real books! (And if it’s one I really like, I want my own copy–for reference if it’s that kind, or to re-read and savor if fiction.)
I save straight-sided, widish-mouth glass jars, with good screw-on lids, for storage of dried foods, as well as taking out some from a bulk purchase. (Mason jars would do the same, but then if I end up with a lot to can, I might run short.) Those plus some plastic jars are also workshop storage for various fasteners. Who needs to buy the assorted “nifty” storage containers!
I’ll probably think of other things I don’t buy as soon as I post this…
Hi Rhonda, it’s so fun to hear more ideas from all my readers. I wish they still delivered a newspaper here in Southern Utah. I loved wrapping gifts in the newspaper until they started printing it with ink that rubbed off onto our hands. But I LOVED the idea. I just heard from someone else they outlawed reusable bags. I guess I haven’t heard that because I drive to pick up milk and bananas and Walmart pickup. Great tip, Linda
Gteat list, but I had to gulp about discouraging buying books, since I publish fiction under a pen name. It’s incredibly hard to make a living as an author, especially now, with all the online pirate sites. I use libraries when I can, but I also donate “gently read” books that I’ve purchased to small libraries, after I finish reading the books and decide I likely won’t reread them ad infinitum. Ebooks are not always accessible, but print copies don’t depend on electronics. I might add that our local supermarkets are not allowing the use of reusable bags during the pandemic. Will be glad when that changes, for sure!
Hi Terry, I’m an author as well. But I think sometimes we can pick and choose the books we really need or want. I love audible books more than anything. BUT, that being said, I don’t recommend my book on E-Book. I feel strongly an emergency preparedness book we need a hard copy. Some books I want to read several times, so checking them out of the library doesn’t cut it for me. I worry about our power grid even more than food being scarce. If we only have e-books you won’t be able to read them when we have extended power outages. Wow, they are not allowing reusable bags??? Wow. Linda
Linda – great post as always.
There are a number of things on this list that I have stopped buying and have implemented easy substitutes.
Plastic bags – I shop at the local farm market for fresh fruits and veggies. They insist on having the items in their plastic bags to make it easier for them to weigh and contend with large purchases. SO, I get home, remove the veggies/fruits and rinse the bags and let them dry. These I use for many different things and as long as I FEEL I can clean them and reuse them, I do. I agree with Terry that I will be very happy when I can use my own bags for groceries and not accumulate more plastic bags. My county was the first in my state to ban plastic grocery bags and I have gotten used to taking my own.
I have been making my own cleaning products for years now. I found that as I got older, the chemical based cleaners were very detrimental to my breathing!! I just could not use them any longer.
I have a “clothing in – clothing out” method that I have used for several years. If I purchase an article of clothing such as a new top, I have to donate an old top. Keeps my wardrobe pared down and “allows” me to dispose of clothing I don’t wear often enough!
A few years ago I ran across some old t-shirts that I had planned to make into cleaning rags and finally cut them up. I stopped buying as many paper towels by using the rags. AND they seem to clean better than paper towels anyway!
I learned sometime ago (years?) that hair conditioner works as well as shaving cream. I am able to reuse my container and fill it with conditioner at the local health food store.
I ditched cable tv and stream Amazon Prime and Netflix. Way cheaper! and I watch what I want to watch, not what the cable networks insist on!!
I could go on and on about this subject but I will stop here! Otherwise, you wouldn’t have time to read everyone else’s comment!! LOL!
Hi Leanne, great comment as always. I wish my husband would give up cable. I watch Netflix and Amazon Prime as well. Life is good when we save money! Linda
Your idea to limit Christmas gifts is right on. We limited Christmas to a gift from Santa Claus and one from us, BUT when they hit 12 years or so we quit the gifts all together and gave memories instead. Some examples (these were the big ones that didn’t happen every year) a trip to New York City, tickets to Phantom of the Opera, tickets to Les Miserables, season tickets to the city theater. It is so much nicer to have a Christmas without putting things together, wrapping, shopping . . .
Hi SG, I love the 12 years old idea of stopping gifts. I love the 2 gift ideas. One from Santa and one from you. The days of dozens of gifts under the tree don’t always bring “memories”. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your “gift ideas”. Memories are the name of the game in my eyes! Linda
Hi Linda, What a good post today. I too, have made many changes over the years to save money (and health). I’ve made my own laundry detergent for years. One batch will last for nearly a year and each load of laundry is mere pennies. My daughter works in the OR at a hospital in Oregon. When they open “package of instruments to use for a surgery”, there are many 100% cotton towels (like huck towels) in each set of instruments. they don’t always use al of the towels and if so they are usually thrown away. I should say they USED to be thrown away. Now, my daughter collects them and takes them home. She shares they with me and I probably have 5 or so dozen of them. I use these instead of paper towels and then launder them. If there is a mess that needs cleaned up that is “TOO yukky”, I just throw away the towel. I use the plastic bags to line my small trash cans, then tie them up and throw them away when they “just can’t hold another thing”.
My mom used to save “everything” to repurpose to another use. She had the biggest ball of used string I’ve ever seen. When my dad had his white shirts laundered at a cleaners, she would save the pretty white cardboard that they came folded around. I could go on and on, but you don’t have enough time to read about all of ‘THE THINGS i DON’T BUY ANYMORE”.
tAKE CARE AND STAY SAFE.
Hi Suzanne, oh my gosh, the OR towels, score!! I love this! I just love hearing how people save money, it gives all ideas to save even more money by reusable products! Stay well, my friend, Linda
I agree with all of this…mostly do the same, but one question. I buy plastic bread bags, because I make my own bread. I do wash and reuse them but still, you can only reuse one so many times til it’s…not tasty looking….and I find I’m always buying plastic bread bags….any ideas on how to store bread?
Hi Linda. I learned from my mom and one of my Aunts, both who grew up during the Great Depression, on how to save and reuse things. Even in todays world, I still save and reuse tin foil, glass jars and even freezer zip lock bags. I only buy new zip lock bags when the old ones don’t work any more. I use old fashion cotton dish cloths for just about everything from dusting to cleaning the kitchen, and yes I dry my dishes with them as well. Since I have downsized and gone tiny/minimal, I don’t buy things that are not necessary. Matter of fact, this summer, because I have rid myself of unworn clothes, I’m turning half of my tiny closet into storage for canned goods and other items that I have on hand. I watch off air TV so I don’t pay for cable/satellite or streaming services. Matter of fact, I stopped using and paying for, high speed internet and went to using the wifi service where I live since I found out, I truly don’t need internet service for $70 a month when I can still get on the internet for $20. I don’t have a lot of shoes, but I have what I need. Same goes for clothing. I also don’t believe in or use credit cards. Unless you pay them off every month, they are a waste because of the interest the charge each month. So many get into trouble using them. Another waste, to me, is eating out. I cook all my food at home. I don’t buy bottled water, I have really good tasting well water, so I drink that. There are so many ways people can save money if they really think about all they waste and are willing to make a few adjustments in their lives.
Hi Pam, great comment. It really does take a mindset to change from wanting things. I’m saying things we want over need. I think sometimes I may be paranoid or something when eating out. I think it comes from taking the required state classes we need in order to teach cooking or baking classes. I taught cooking, baking, and dehydrating classes for several years. So the rare time I eat out I’m more aware of how they pour water into my water glass or serve my plate of food. They sometimes touch areas I KNOW they shouldn’t be touching. I know it’s weird but I don’t want to get sick from eating out. Or spend that much money on something I can make at home better and way cheaper. I love cooking at home as well. I think we’re all aware of cutting back on areas and you have pointed out more ideas. We learn from one another, thank you, Linda
WE have 8 grandkids now so Christmas involves gifts, not many but a few. Instead of wasting wrapping paper I made Christmas fabric gift bags in several sizes. I put the gifts in the fabric bag and put a label on it. They can use the bag to take gifts home in and bring back in January. I have recently made some non Christmas gift bags to use for birthdays and other occasions. Has saved lots of money for wrapping paper, time to wrap and trash. Also I picked up cloth napkins at garage sales a couple of years ago and we ditched the paper napkins too.
Hi Carol, oh the grandkids are such fun!! I love the idea of making fabric Christmas bags, best idea ever! I love using cloth napkins. It feels great not throwing more stuff in the garbage or recycle bin too! Linda
Instead of buying paper napkins, we have a stack of cloth napkins. If you watch 2nd hand shops you can find matching sets never used for a dollar or two. The grands love setting the table when they visit, and argue who chooses the napkins.
Hi Fancy, oh my gosh, I love hearing this. Plus, the grandkids are learning to set the table!! I love cloth napkins! Linda
Great article although most things didn’t apply to me because I’m a Scotswoman & therefore thrifty (never cheap) by nature. Haha Never been a clothes horse, only wear shoes because I have to, don’t wear make-up (I earned these wrinkles) & have always been a repurposer. I do use the library but we have a small town with limited selection. I have a lot of books but I either reference them regularly or will reread them every year or two. I shop for used books on line & get free shipping is I spend $10. I fully support what you’re saying & my kids are the same way. Some of the grandkids – not so much. Thanks for all you do & all your encouragement.
Hi Linda, oh I love hearing you reread books, I listen to audible books over and over so the library doesn’t help me with free one time downloads. I have listened (audible) to Lights Outs by Ted Koppel at least 8 times now. I learn something new each time. I have several books but I have to really want them to buy the hard copy. Of course, all emergency books and medical books are hard copies. I never wear makeup, and I earned these wrinkles as well. I admire those that do but I don’t need to wear makeup at home. I LOVE your comment, thanks for sharing, Linda
While these are great money saving ideas, prepping for all hazards means ignoring some of them too.
Can’t borrow books from the library when it’s closed (due to pandemic, bad weather, etc.) Of course I take advantage of all the free Kindle book deals that pop up occasionally (I subscribe to a couple of lists that alert me to free or low cost deals that authors use to raise their visibility in the Kindle store.) But having hard copies of some books is a great backup.
Can’t always use reusable bags in stores – they are actually forbidden in all shops around here during the pandemic! At the wholesale club they never had plastic bags, but still forbid the reusable bags from coming in the store. So we leave the items unbagged in the cart and pack them in the reusable bags when we get to the car. Normally I use up the plastic grocery bags as trash can liners for the bathrooms and bedrooms, or as lunch sacks when taking lunch into the office…but these days I only go into the office rarely as I try to work remotely as much as possible.
And while I only drink from glasses at home, I have a decent stash of bottled water as a prep. It’s easy to make oral rehydration solution using 0.5 liter water bottles. And while my Big Berkey filter is great, it’s not as useful when driving so I keep a few bottles of water in our trip supplies. Sure, I have a sport Berkey in the GHB, but I need to rotate our stock of water bottles and this is a decent non-wasteful use. They are also useful if we have delivery drivers or repair folks coming in, so I can offer them water both for immediate drinking and for their ride to their next destination.
Paper towels…Before Covid-19 I only used them sparingly, and mostly used hand towels or dish towels. Since the arrival of Covid-19 I’ve used more paper towels in 2 months than I have in 5 years of regular use. Every time we come back from a trip outside our bubble, we wash up with soap and water then use a paper towel for each person to avoid cross contamination and to avoid having to wash hand towels after just one use. Once we’re past the pandemic I’m sure my old thrifty ways will come back, but for now, I use paper towels like they grow on trees. 😉
Appreciate all you do for the prepping community. Just wanted to share a few of my experiences that might not be as frugal, but I think are warranted for certain scenarios. Thanks.
Hi DM Walsh, I always love your comments! It’s crazy I have used more paper towel with this CV as well. If and when it passes you and I will go back to our frugal ways for sure. I love having a case of water bottles to hand out to workers and the delivery guys, we still need some for sure. Stay well, stay safe, Linda
I’m going to differ with you on buying books. When the power goes down and “normal” life stops because of the power outage what are you going to read? How are your children going to learn? I buy strictly printed books for a mired of reasons but mostly for future generations to learn what they need to know without having to reinvent the wheel. Consider this too. Each Ebook you buy must be printed out if you are going to keep using the information after the power grid fails. This means that you are paying for that book twice or more. Not economical.
Hi Wanderer, I have to agree with you about having the hard copies. I always recommend buying hard copies of the books you will want to read again and again. What I am saying is this, if you have shelves and shelves of books, consider trading books with friends or renting them. I just reworded the sentence. I was NOT saying we should never buy books. I have dozens of children’s books to read to my grandkids. We all have “books”, I was just trying to give people other options on saving money. Thanks again for your thoughts, Linda
I no longer even want to shop for clothes, since our congregation meets online, and school will be online this fall. I would like to improve my makeup look, since I don’t like scaring people on Zoom.
I have really lost most of my desire to shop in general. Even online! There’s my tiny blessing from the pandemic.
Hi Kelley, I hear you on the shopping for clothes or anything in general. As far as makeup, if I used Zoom, I would wear makeup, but I don’t. Crazy times right now, Linda
I too love having books to read and knowing a site called thriftbooks.com is awesome. They are pre-read books but only cost $3.99 for most. Some a little more but still reasonable. Please take time to check out this site and know you are saving money and getting to read comments on each book.
Hi Harvette, thank you for letting us know about this book store! It looks awesome! Linda