“Start a budget” they say. “Save money” they say.
Are you tired of them telling you what to do?
I was too. But then I realized they were right (don’t tell them I said that, they are an arrogant bunch).
Budgeting and saving money are skills I had to learn if I ever wanted to get off the paycheck-to-paycheck roller coaster.
So. I humbled myself and cut lots of little expenses from my budget. At first, I felt like it wasn’t changing my financial situation – at all; I was only saving pennies here and there. Then, with consistency, those pennies became hundreds of dollars. Get the details in my Savings Challenge.
Here are some purchases to ditch, to help you find more money in your budget each month.
1. MANICURES AND PEDICURES
Yep. It’s true, I gave up on my gel nail polish salon adventures. While I love the look of gel nails, it just got exceedingly expensive trying to maintain.
Currently, I wear my nails cut short and bare. If I get the urge for a pop of color, I will paint my own nails.
How can you save money?
You don’t have to go extreme and abandon your nail care completely. There are other options:
*If you don’t have damage, hold off on new sets.
*Alternate between basic polish manicures and manicures with designs.
*Use Youtube to find DIY videos to stretch your visits.
If you choose to continue with manicures and pedicures, make sure the visits are accounted for in your budget.
It took some time but we finally cut cable.
We got that dreaded increase letter and the bill for our cable internet package had gone above $150!!! What!! Who? Not us!
We finally cut the madness.
We bought an antenna that was a one-time expense that gives us the local channels.
We have Netflix and DIRECTV (mainly for sports channels). Also, we get access to Amazon Movies because of our Amazon Prime Membership. All of this and we still pay less than what cable was costing us yearly.
Give Amazon Prime a Try with a Free 30-Day Trial.
You can also save money by sharing streaming services with trusted friends and family. My brother has HBO and we share his account for access to shows like Power. #Whoshotghost?
3. BOOKS (LOTS OF THEM)
The price of books can add up. $14 here, $8 there and soon it’s easily upwards of $100.
I enjoy reading and I read quickly but rarely do I read books more than once. So, the books just sit around and collect dust.
The smart thing to do is to rent books online and borrow books from the library. Psst…I know this isn’t always possible, especially with newly published books.
But for most book selections many libraries have programs that allow you to complete the whole book borrowing process online?
Also, the local Goodwill and Salvation Army are good places to find inexpensive used books.
4. FULL PRICE HOLIDAY DÉCOR & GOODIES
Call me frugal but I don’t buy full price holiday decorations.
I’m that girl that shops holiday clearance.
I will buy a Christmas tree a week after Christmas and you can find my husband in the aisle of the local drug stores/pharmacies after each holiday searching for candy that is often heavily discounted.
5. DISPOSABLE STRAWS
I’ve found that the easiest way of keeping straws on hand, even if you aren’t collecting the free extras, is to purchase reusable straws. One pack for the entire family is great AND that means no more junk drawers filled with condiments and straws. Also, you can feel good about helping protect the environment.
Tip: Keep a couple in your vehicle. With kids and adults, they come in handy.
6. REUSE PAPER BAGS AND PLASTIC BAGS
Raise your hand if you keep your grocery bags and use them around the house. Me too!
If your grocery store bags are paper or plastic…save them.
They are great for…
- car trash bags
- baby/kid mess bag trash bags
- dog waste pick-up bags
- replacement shower caps
- small bathroom trash bags.
Also, those big brown paper bags are great for Spring cleaning. Fill them up and haul them to your charity of choice.
7. SKIP BOTTLED WATER
We stopped buying bottled water and our recycle bin and wallet got a break. Now, we buy filters (when needed) and drink from reusable water bottles.
If you are pregnant or nursing, I highly recommend using a glass water bottle with a protective sleeve to reduce your exposure to the toxins in many plastics.
8. SHAVING CREAM
My hair is naturally curly and if you have curly hair or dry hair, you may know the struggle of finding a good conditioner. I have conditioners that just didn’t work well for my difficult hair and instead of tossing them, they double as shaving creams.
Also, I enjoy making DIY products. My go-to homemade body scrub is a mixture of oil, sugar, and essential oils. The scrub gets my legs nice and smooth and voila, they are ready for a shave, when necessary. I love it.
I haven’t bought a shave cream in years!
My husband and I both prefer not to take medicine unless it’s necessary. Thankfully, we both have been blessed to not need to take prescription or over-the-counter-medicines recently.
- For the occasional minor tummy aches and pains, we use diluted apple cider vinegar.
- For headaches, I use essential oils, hydration, and rest.
- For scratches and bruises, aloe and coconut oil get slathered on everything.
Again, it’s a blessing that both of us have been in good health over the years. Good health is truly valuable and saves money! We don’t take it for granted…at all.
Tip: Consider generic over-the-counter options when available.
10. VENDING MACHINE SNACKS
Have you been to a vending machine lately? One 6-pack of crackers for $1.75! What?
You can get the entire pack for that price or less.
Paying extra for convenience is understandable but those vending machine prices are disrespectful.
We choose to skip the $2 honey bun and pack our own snacks.
11. EXPENSIVE HOME DÉCOR
I love a good stroll through Crate & Barrel, West Elm, and Pottery Barn; however, I use these stores for inspiration because the prices are way above what I’m willing to pay for home décor.
Instead, I find deals at places like Home Goods and outlet stores. It’s exciting finding a bargain.
Also, I’m not afraid to channel my inner Fixer Upper (I miss the show already). I will try to DIY a piece of furniture when I’m feeling brave.
Exceptions: I am guilty of buying a pricey sectional sofa. A quality sofa lasts for years and can be reupholstered. Also, we did invest in a good mattress. Sleep is super important and we don’t ever plan to buy a used mattress.
12. EXPENSIVE NAME BRAND OR TRENDY CLOTHING
Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors don’t pay my bills and I don’t intend to pay theirs.
I don’t believe in clothing brand loyalty without a paid contract. I buy good sturdy pieces of clothes that last me at least a year or more.
I’m not interested in whose name is on the inner tag.
When choosing between two identical quality pieces, one name brand and the other not, I’m going with the less expensive product every time.
13. LAWN CARE SERVICE
We live in a house and the HOA fees don’t cover lawn care (It’s a bummer, I know).
We could hire a company to cut our lawn bi-weekly, but we don’t. My hot husband gets out there and takes care of the yard maintenance and occasionally I tend the flower bed. We invested in the tools and equipment and do it all ourselves to save.
Tip: Buy a quality lawnmower up-front. We tried to go cheap with a reel lawn mower (not this exact brand, but similar product) and then a trimmer/mower combo and neither worked out for us. It didn’t work out until we got this electric one, no gasoline required! So far it’s been good for 4+ years!
14. LOTTERY TICKETS
Are you surprised about this one?
We don’t buy lottery tickets. Even though they are only a dollar or two, we just don’t buy them.
The odds are in no one person’s favor and it’s hard to watch money disappear just to get nothing (false hope) in return.
It’s crazy though. We don’t buy lottery tickets, but we have had several conversations about what we would do if we won millions of dollars. Have you had that conversation with someone? I think we all have.
We plan to escape to an island getaway and give to charity, after buying season tickets to Duke & UNC college basketball games.
What would you do, if you won the lottery?
There is a reason the makeup industry is a billion-dollar industry. Those quality foundations, contouring kits, shadows, and lipsticks can be pricey.
I practice good skincare practices and I have a few staple products like mascara, eyeliner, and lip gloss and that is the gist of my makeup routine.
Although I believe that it’s important to look good (when you look good you feel good), we can spend thoughtfully and intentionally.
For example, I’d buy the quality and non-toxic foundation even if it costs more. Why? It’s an investment product that has the potential to last longer and I care about my health; what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bodies.
You see. Saving money isn’t just about buying the least expensive item, it’s about intentionally choosing where you’ll get the most value for your hard-earned coins. Also so of these expenses are small but small savings combined can lead to big impact.
Are there things you quit buying to save money?
Share in the comment section below.