Part of the process of growing wealth is eliminating unnecessary wastes of money. We all have things we could do better on, so take this list of things to avoid spending money on as suggestions and not a joy killing condemnation of you as a person.
It’s ok to buy things you enjoy! But, if you are serious about your money goals and growing your bank balance then there are simple things you can do to stop wasting money.
They might take a little willpower, but they really aren’t hard and any sacrifices you make now will be worth it in the future when you are able to use that money for something that’s so much more rewarding then what you might want to buy now.
Of course hording your money and never having fun with it isn’t good either, so there is a balance between saving to a fault and spending too much.
I think anyone who is remotely tuned into the world knows that in general we consume too much. The message we get everyday is “buy this thing, it will make you happy!” and we can get lost in this urge to spend aimlessly without realizing that we aren’t really getting the value or happiness that we expect.
It’s important to become mindful of your spending, and really question whether we need or even really want something. In addition to this list of things to stop buying, I have shared 10 money habits to grow wealth that actually helped me put over $100,000 in the bank so check that out for more money tips.
Lets talk about some things you’re probably wasting money on and how to fix them.
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Easy Things to Stop Wasting Money On
1. Multiple Streaming Services
You can only watch so many shows or movies in a month.
If you have multiple streaming subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney +, etc consider alternating between them month by month. When you know a new season is of your favorite show is coming to Hulu next month cancel Netflix for that month.
If you find yourself scrolling through a service for 15 minutes and you can’t choose something to watch take a break from that platform for a while until there is something that interests you on it.
2. A New Phone Every Year
Some people like to have the latest phone, but at over $1,000 each year for an upgrade you have to ask if it’s worth it. Using your phone for a few years instead of buying a new one is a great way to avoid wasting money.
Use your phone until it stops working. At this point the latest models aren’t significantly better like they were 5-10 years ago so you really aren’t missing out.
It’s 2021 and I’m still using my Samsung Galaxy S7, yeah I get tempted by newer models but it still works so I’m still using it.
If you aren’t convinced yet, Americans throw away 151 million phones each year that if not recycled correctly are incredibly toxic to the planet. When you do get a new phone make sure to recycle the old one.
3. Daily Coffee
Whether you go to Starbucks or another chain, a daily coffee habit adds up. Consider getting a coffee maker and making your daily brew at home. I have a Keurig K-Supreme Coffee Maker that I use daily with my favorite Chocolate Caramel Brownie coffee, it saves me over $150 a month.
4. Fast Food & Drinks
Fast food and vending machines drinks and snacks are convenient, but they quickly add up if you get them multiple times a week.
Instead buy some snacks and drink at the grocery store and take them with you to work or school. Make meals at home a few days a week instead of getting take out every day.
5. Bottled Water
Unless you live in an area with tap water that isn’t safe, avoid buying bottled water. Often bottled water is tap water anyways, and in my personal opinion it usually tastes like plastic.
6. Name Brand Items
We all want to present our best selves to the world, and the world puts so much value on wearing certain brands or owning expensive things when in reality higher cost does not always equal higher quality.
It’s fine to spend more on what you really love and when it really is better quality, but if you’re buying $500 shoes or a $2,000 handbag because you want other people to think better of you that’s not the right reason.
And frankly, a lot of high-end clothing and shoes are ugly. Money can’t buy taste!
Look at your options before buying the most expensive item. You will probably find something of the same quality for a fraction of the cost!
7. Cheap Items You Don’t Need
If you have a tendency to buy things just because they on sale or clearance, it’s time to reign yourself in.
I get it, I grew up a smidge above poor but not quite middle class, so my mom had a strict budget and we tended to shop for ‘deals’ but looking back we bought a lot of stuff because it was cheap and not because it was good quality or needed.
I always felt I didn’t have as much as other kids, so I had a strong urge to acquire more stuff and ended up with a lot of cheap crap I didn’t love or use for very long.
We can feel FOMO when we see something on sale, but ask yourself if you really want or need it.
Also cheap items can fall apart sooner than more expensive but higher quality items, which costs you more in the long run.
We think we’re getting a deal when we can buy something for really cheap, but really we’re wasting money on things we don’t need that will just end up in the trash.
8. Excessive Clothes and Shoes
I used to have a stuffed closet and 3 dressers filled to the brim with clothing and accessories, but all it did was leave me feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I had and guilty over the money I spent.
Now that’s I’ve started pairing down my purchases of clothes, shoes, and accessories I feel so much relief and I’m saving so much month. As a bonus I only own and wear what I love and there is space in my wardrobe. I know exactly what I have and I can see everything because there is space to organize things neatly.
Something to ask yourself before you waste money on clothing you don’t need is will you still love it in 6 months? Will you wear it again next year? Is it something you’ll get months or years of use from or just a few weeks?
Something else to consider is the toll the fashion industry is having on our planet. Fast fashion produces 92 million tonnes of waste per year and consumes 79 trillion liters of water. It accounts for 10% of carbon emissions each year.
Choosing to buy less clothing benefits not only your bank balance but also the entire planet.
9. Home Knick-Knacks
I am so guilty of buying random home decor pieces I don’t need or have space for. Take a break from buying more things and use what you have.
Switch up your decor by rotating things between rooms each season. DIY things with fresh coats of paint or new fabrics.
If you have stuff you really don’t love anymore donate it or make some money back by putting it on Let Go or Offer Up.
10. Memberships and Subscriptions You Don’t Use
Look at all your memberships and subscription services and see if there are any you aren’t using.
It could be Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Spotify, food subscriptions, a Costco membership, a gym membership, etc.
If you only use something a few times a year consider going without or finding an alternative.
As a book lover this one is hard for me but instead of buying a book see if your local library has it. Most have digital books now so you can read it for free on your phone or laptop and you can avoid adding more clutter to your home.
You might also see if there are used bookstores nearby.
12. Credit Card Interest & Late Fees
There are times when debt is necessary, like when you’re buying a home, you lost your job and don’t have another way to pay rent, or if there is an emergency.
But, if you’re paying interest when you could pay off a card, or if you’re buying things you don’t need, that’s like setting your money on fire.
Avoid paying credit card interest by paying off your card each month. If you don’t have the money to pay something off this month (emergencies aside) don’t buy it. It will still be there when you want it later, or you’ll find that you don’t even want it anymore and you’ll be glad you didn’t waste your money.
13. Simple Repairs You Can Do Yourself
Of course there are times when it’s worth it to hire a professional for things you can’t do yourself, but there are some repairs you can do yourself instead of paying someone else to do it.
Last time I went to the car mechanic (for something I definitely could not do myself) they asked if I wanted them to replace the windshield wipers. It would have cost $70 when I can (and do) buy replacements and install them myself for under $30.
Look for tutorials on Youtube before calling a handyman.
14. Things You Already Have
Avoid buying things you already have that work perfectly fine. If you often forget you have something because you have so much stuff that it gets lost, it’s time to start purging.
If you need something for a one time use consider renting or borrowing from a friend, or get it cheaper at a thrift store or an app like Offer Up.
15. Expensive Cell Phone Plans
Depending on how much data you use, you may not need a $60+ unlimited data plan. Look at how much data you use monthly and see if you can downgrade.
Since I work from home and usually connect to my home internet I don’t use much data, so my $35 plan from Boost Mobile covers my needs.
I hope this list gave you some ideas for where you can cut waste and save your money!