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8 things I stopped buying to save money
Instead of talking about budgeting or making money, today I am going to switch gears talk about things I stopped buying to save money. Increasing your income is a great way to have more money, but decreasing spending does the same thing. These are 8 things I stopped buying to save money, and I’ve saved quite a bit!
1. Paper towels & Napkins
I haven’t used paper towels for several years. We were given a few rolls for our wedding, and I didn’t know what to do with them! When I was pregnant with my six-year-old, a friend of mine made me a roll of “unpaper towels,” and I still have them! You can also buy a nice set of cloth napkins on Amazon if you want everything to match. I also use various rags and old cloth prefolds and flats (diapers ;)) instead of using paper towels. It just seems wasteful to me to throw something away, when a reusable version works just as well or better. That said, I won’t be giving up toilet paper anytime soon!
2. Junk food
I won’t say that we never eat junk food, but we do try to limit it. Besides being terrible for your health, junk food is terrible for your wallet! Things like soda, chips, and cookies are just excess calories and completely unnecessary. It’s okay to splurge now and then, but cutting out the junk food will help your grocery bill.
One of the worst offenders is beverages. Things like sodas, energy drinks, and juices are completely unnecessary and expensive. The best drink for your body is water, and it’s (almost) free. I bought a Hyrdoflask (I know, $$$) and I drink more water because of it. The water in the Hydroflask stays so cold. My husband stole mine for work, so I bought a second. Even though they were pricey, we’ve saved so much money by not drinking anything besides water.
I used cloth diapers for about 70% of my kids diapering years. Cloth diapers can be a huge money saver, especially during the newborn stage. The initial expense of cloth diapers is a little high, but there are a few ways to save. Buying pre-used diapers (sounds gross, I promise they can be cleaned,) choosing cheaper diapers like flats or prefolds, and using coupons are all ways that I saved on cloth diapers. I also re-sold all of mine when I was done with them. You can do the same, and end up almost breaking even on cloth diapers. I did this by buying things on sale, using Swagbucks to purchase diapers on Amazon, and re-selling the diapers when I was done using them.
My favorite diapers are BumGenius All-in-ones. All in ones are the most expensive kind of cloth diaper, but they’re very similar to disposables and easy to use. If you’re looking to cloth diaper on a budget, I love using OsoCozy Flats or OsoCozy prefolds with a Thirsties cover.
4. Excessive Clothing
I am trying to incorporate minimalism and simplicity in many areas of my life. Clothing has been one area where this has been easy for me. The hardest part for me has been not purchasing things just because they are on sale. Buying something that you don’t need, even if it’s on sale, is just a waste of money. Having a minimalist wardrobe saves money, and also makes life a lot simpler.
We also buy a lot of clothes at garage sales or thrift stores. This is a great tip for kids because they grow so quickly.
5. Shaving Cream
I started using Dr. Bronners for shaving several years ago, and it’s so much better than shaving cream! Dr. Bronners is expensive, but it can be diluted and a large bottle lasts forever. I use about a 4:1 ratio of water to Dr. Bronners for shaving purposes. I wrote a post about the many uses of Dr. Bronners.
6. Cheap Toys
I won’t say that we’re 100% here, but we do try to avoid buying cheap toys. These toys tend to break easily, lose pieces, and end up in the trash anyway. Like clothing, it can be worth it to spend a little more on quality toys and have less of them. My kids still have lots of toys, but when I purchase them, I try to choose toys that encourage creativity like Legos or Melissa and Doug toys.
7. Dining out
Much like junk food, dining out tends to mean more calories and more money. I have Celiac disease, and I eat a mostly plant-based diet avoiding animal products. This means that dining out is complicated anyway. Fast food is something that I just can’t do (that’s not a bad thing) and it can be scary to try new restaurants.
Having food allergies or intolerance made it easier for me to transition to eating at home more often, but anyone can make the switch. Dining out less often means more money in your pocket, and better health overall. It’s okay to take a break from cooking and dine out every now and then, but your wallet and waistline will both thank you for cutting back.
8. Car Payments
I still have a car (probably not an option to not have one where I live), but I don’t have car payments. I’ve actually only had one car payment in my life, and it was terrible! We save and pay cash for a used car. If you’re interested in learning more about getting out of debt, I’d recommend reading The Total Money Makeover.
My husband and I are often asked how we’re able to travel and do things, and still pay our bills. The most simple answer is that we don’t have car payments. Not having one or two large payments every month changes everything.
Other tips to save money
My number one tip for saving money is having a budget. We use the You Need a Budget app, and have been using it for years. If you’re a newbie to budgeting, check out my how to start a budget post. You might also want to check out two tips for budgeting, where I share a couple of rarely talked about tricks for a successful budget.
What kind of things have you stopped buying to save money? How has it changed your life?