25 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money

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Need some ideas on things to stop buying to save money this year? Look no further than your last purchases.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably spending money on things that you don’t need or overspending on things that you do. That’s extra money that can be put toward your savings and other financial goals.

Spending money isn’t a bad thing. Afterall, we do need to spend money for life’s essentials and for enjoyment. But when you do spend, it should be done wisely so that you aren’t wasting it. 

One way to ensure that you’re spending your money wisely is by creating a budget. A budget can help you plan exactly where your money should go. Using a budget in combination with the frugal tips that I’m about to share will help you save money.

Stop Buying These Things to Save Money

Saving money is all about finding ways to reduce your spending. Ultimately, you want to look at your spending and find things to stop buying to save money. 

Here are some things to consider…

1. Hard copy books

One way that I’ve been able to save money over the years is by no longer spending on hardcopy books. As someone who loves to read, this is a big deal. I found that many of the books that I read would end up in boxes, never to be picked up again. So although I enjoyed reading them, purchasing them was a waste of money.

Instead of buying new, hardcopy books, I now opt to either check them out at my local library or digitally via an app called Hoopla. This is an app associated with your local library that allows you to virtually check out books and other media. I’ll also use Audible if I want to listen to an audio version of a book.

So unless you plan on continuously referencing a book, save money by checking it out from your local library or by getting a cheaper, audio or digital version of it.

2. Disposable cleaning cloths

It’s likely that you’ve bought your fair share of disposable cleaning cloths. You know, the ones that claim to be multi-use, but really aren’t. Before you know it, you’ve spent $5 on a pack of rags that barely made it through one good cleaning.

I found myself wasting a ton of money on these cleaning cloths that weren’t really reusable. So instead, I decided to just buy a pack of cloth diapers to do the same job. 

The inserts that go into cloth diapers are simply woven cloth that can be used for multiple purposes. You can toss these in the washing machine and they’re good to be reused over and over again—saving you money overtime.

3. Paper products

Speaking of home goods, paper products are a recurring expense that can add up. This includes paper towels, toilet paper, and even paper plates. Each of these is meant to be tossed out once they’re used, which means that you’re also tossing out money.

Obviously, you probably don’t want to replace your toilet paper, but you can replace those other items. In lieu of paper towels, cups, and plates, find some reusable alternatives that can be washed. You can find some inexpensive ceramic plates and glasses to drink from. Instead of paper towels, you can use cloth napkins.

4. New dress shoes 

One way that I have been able to save money is to no longer buy high heel shoes. This may seem like an oddly specific thing to mention, but there’s a reason. 

High heel shoes often wear faster because of the heel taps. When you walk on rough or uneven surfaces, they begin to wear away. In most cases, you’d think it was time for a new pair of shoes. Instead, you only need to replace the heel tap.

This can save you a lot of money from throwing away perfectly good shoes. As a result of this tip, I’ve been able to preserve shoes for years. So no need to keep replacing shoes when you can repair them instead.

5. Bottled water

I’ll admit that I’m not one to drink tap water; however, continuing to buy bottled water can be costly and harmful to the environment.

Instead of purchasing bottled water, consider getting a water filter that you can use to filter water from your faucet. Also, most newer refrigerators also come with a water filtration system that you can use as well. You can refill a reusable water bottle or tumbler instead.

6. Plastic utensils and tupperware 

Do you use disposable plastic utensils? If so, this is another opportunity to save some money. 

The whole point of disposable utensils is to lessen the hassle of clean up; however this also means that you have to continuously spend money to replenish your supply. Instead, use actual flatware that can be washed and reused. You can find some inexpensive options from your local retail store or on Amazon

7. Drive thru coffee (Starbucks, etc.)

I’m sure you’ve heard the whole, “give up coffee” speal. But I’m not here to tell you to stop drinking coffee altogether. Instead, I’m just sharing that you have much cheaper options. 

In lieu of pulling up to Starbucks and spending $5 on a coffee everyday, you can grab a Keurig with Starbucks cups and make your own coffee. Over time, you’ll save way more money than if you were to continuously spend money driving to Starbucks (or elsewhere) to get coffee.

8. Fresh produce

A large portion of wasted money on groceries is food going bad. There’s always that fruit that you didn’t eat in time that’s bringing in flies and wasting your money.

You can avoid wasting food by purchasing frozen foods instead. Though fresh foods are always optimal, frozen is the next best alternative. You can purchase frozen vegetables and even fruit that you can continue freezing until you’re actually ready to consume it.

I recommend frozen over canned foods because it is a much healthier alternative. By reading the labels, you’ll find that canned food contains many chemicals and additives that can be harmful to your health. Avoid it altogether and get frozen produce which is simply frozen with nothing added.

9. Prepackaged foods

Another way to save on food is to avoid pre-packaged meals. You know the quick meals that are already seasoned and ready to pop into the oven. They’re definitely a time save, but they come at a cost.

If you’re still looking for the ease that it brings, I recommend meal prepping instead. You can prepare your food ahead just as they would in the store and store it to be cooked later. Pick one day of the week to dedicate to meal prepping. It’ll save you both time and money!

10. Name brand items

The simplest way to save money is to switch from name brand to generic on items. This is especially true on groceries. Instead, opt for store brand items that cost a fraction of the price.

In many cases, I’ve found that I enjoy the store brand version of items much more, if not as much, as the name brand version. They usually have the same ingredients or are very close.

If it doesn’t make a significant difference in your recipe, go for the store brand and save a few coins.

You can leverage this for your essential clothes as well. Go for the generic socks, undershirts, plain t-shirts, etc. 

11. Trendy fashion pieces

When it comes to fashion, trends are fleeting. Before you know it, you’ll have a closet full of “last seasons” items that you don’t plan on wearing anymore. Trust me when I tell you that you won’t get much for them at consignment stores either.

Instead of wasting your money on these fly by night styles, you can save by buying quality, staple pieces instead. This would include your black blazers and dresses, plain jeans, skirts, and more.

12. Seasonal decor

I’m not much of a decorator, so this suggestion may be a bit biased. Nonetheless, another way to save some money is to nix the seasonal home decor. You know, the special place setting for the holidays or throw pillows to match the seasons. All of this costs money that can be put into more neutral items instead.

If you do feel the urge to decorate your home for the different holidays and seasons, try your hand at some DIY projects instead.

13. Pens

If I could count the number of free pens that I’ve received over the years, it’d be in the thousands. You can probably attest to this as well. So why buy more?

This is a quick way to save money on small items that can add up. Gather up those many pens that you’ve received from conferences and other events and keep them handy. It’ll save you a few dollars that can be put toward something else.

14. Physical planners

Are you the type of person who buys a new planner each year? You have plans of using it, but mid way through February, it’s been tossed to the side and your life is in chaos? Well, it may not be that bad, but you’ve still wasted money.

If you know that you’re not going to be committed to a planner, don’t waste your precious dollars investing in one. Instead, opt for some free or less expensive planning sheets that you can download offline. Planner companies actually provide free digital versions of their planners, like these.

15. New phones every year 

I get it. Every phone company has a grand roll out of new phones every year. Some claim to have made massive changes that will require you to upgrade your phone and we all (sometimes) fall for it. Who doesn’t want the latest and greatest?

But staying up to date will cost you. Although, you may not notice the soaring prices of cell phone costs since they’re baked into your monthly bill. Do yourself a favor and hold on to your phone for as long as possible. You’ll save yourself at least $1,000 per year by not upgrading.

16. Holiday & birthday presents

We tend to put a lot of money into Christmas presents and even birthday gifts. Although it may sound a bit harsh, if you want to save money, nix the gifts. This doesn’t mean that you can’t honor your friends and loved ones in some other way. Instead of gifts, spend quality time or even DIY something for them. 

17. Live flowers 

Live flowers add a nice touch to any home. But the worst thing about them is that they don’t last long. Their beauty is often short-lived. So instead of purchasing live flowers, invest in some artificial flowers. There are tons of options that look real and can be arranged into beautiful centerpieces. This will save you money and the hassle of cleaning up dead flower petals.

18. Service packages or bundles

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “bundle and save!” Well, that’s not always the case. In fact, you may be overspending for things that you’ll never use.


A great example of this is for beauty services. Each time I would go in to see my esthetician, I’d be offered a package for X amount of waxes per year. The idea is that you’ll save money. 

The catch is that you’ll likely never use the amount that they offer. Even worse, they may go out of business and never honor the balance of your package. (This really happened to many customers). Instead, only buy what you need at the time.

19. Excess food

Buying excess food is something that many of us do unconsciously. It’s throwing the extra items in the basket that weren’t on our list. Or it could be unknowingly buying things that we already have. Either way, these small things add up to money being wasted.

Here are some things that you should do before grocery shopping to avoid buying excess food and wasting money.

  1. Check your pantry to ensure that you don’t buy items that you already have.
  2. Create a meal plan to know exactly what you need to purchase for that week’s meals
  3. Only buy what you need for the week and stick to your meal plan

If you plan on dining out during the week, be sure to make note of this in your meal plan. This will also prevent you from buying more food than you need.

20. Special occasion outfits

How many times have you bought an outfit just for a single event? Perhaps it was a wedding or even a holiday party. Either way, this is another way that you’re spending more money than you have to. The likelihood of you wearing these outfits again is probably slim. So instead of buying one-off pieces, find a staple outfit that can be worn on multiple occasions.

21. Subscription services

Though you may have cut the cable cord by now, you still may be overspending for your entertainment. The truth is that subscription services add up. Although you may think it’s “just” $10, when you multiply it over multiple accounts it becomes a lot. 

Limit your subscription services to the things that you actually use. Eliminate everything else that’s wasting you money. If you need help, you can use apps like Trim to automatically cancel old subscriptions.

22. Small trash bags

No need wasting money on trash bags for your small trash cans. Instead, you can just use the free plastic bags that you get when you go shopping. Save these up so that you’ll never run out of trashbags. These are also great to have in your car so that you don’t have tons of receipts and straw wrappers laying around.

23. Plastic straws

Plastic straws are another item that you can stop spending money on to save a few bucks. Starbucks actually led the way with this by removing plastic straws from their stores. Although theirs was an environmental move, it can be a cost savings for you.

In lieu of plastic straws, you can use stainless steel straws instead. These can be used with your tumblers or with regular cups. They can be rewashed and reused so you don’t have to worry about tossing them or dealing with broken straws.

24. Designer handbags

In my early adulthood, I had a bit of a handbag fetish. It was my little treat for working so hard as an adult. But over the years, I realized that these bags didn’t get much use. They were either collecting dust in my closet or I’d end up not using them because they got too heavy.

There’s nothing wrong with designer handbags, but you can save a ton of money by not buying them. You can find much more practical and reasonable handbags for less at your local department store. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll just use free tote bags that you receive from conferences and weddings or your kid’s diaper bag.

25. Knick knacks

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself in the $1 section of Target a few times. This is where you end up spending $10 on things that you really don’t need, but buy because they’re cute. As if a shopping trip at Target isn’t already expensive… Resist the urge to pick up little trinkets for your desk or to put around the house and save some money!

More tips for saving money

There are so many other ways that you can leverage to save money. It’s not just about what you can eliminate. It’s also about just making wiser decisions with your money. Check out these other articles for ways that you can save money.

10 Realistic ways to save money each money

The no-coupon way to save money on groceries

8 Easy Savings challenges that you must try

22 Frugal living tips to save more money

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