This post was last updated on February 18th, 2021 at 12:54 pm
Are you looking for ways to save money on your monthly budget? Here are 25 things to stop buying to save money!
There are many things that are convenient to buy but that are a waste of money. Many of the items on the list below can be made at home or cut out completely.
I am guilty of getting an iced latte at Starbucks a little too frequently, and relying on restaurants and take out at the end of a very long day.
But while going through our expenses and budget, we realized just how much money we were wasting on these items that seemed small at the time. (Spending $5 on a coffee everyday can add up to $1,600 in a year!)
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If you are on the beginning of your budget journey, and are trying to save money, live a more frugal life, and pay off your debt, I highly recommend reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It’s life changing and has transformed the way we look at money.
Related: How Dave Ramsey has Changed My Life
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One of the best ways to save more money each month is by bringing in more money. Find our favorite side hustles to bring in an extra $1,000 a month.
Here are 25 things to stop buying to save money:
Like I stated earlier, making coffee at home can save you tons of money every year. My husband and I both have a bit of a Starbucks addiction, so this has been a hard habit for us to break.
We have started making our own coffee at home, and stick to only purchasing a coffee out on the weekends as a treat. While it’s not perfect, it has saved us a significant amount of money already.
If you pick up a coffee on the way to work everyday and are not ready to give it up, try a compromise. Maybe make your own coffee 3-4 days a week, and then reward yourself to a Dunkin 2-3x a week.
This is another one that I am very guilty of. I work from home and homeschool my kids, so by the time 5pm rolls around, the last thing I want to do is spend another hour in the kitchen cooking and doing dishes.
However, eating out with a family of four adds up quickly! We are looking at easily $30 for just getting pizza to $60 eating at a restaurant. This has been probably our biggest budget killer in our household.
Luckily, there are ways to rectify the situation. I have started meal planning the night before grocery shopping. Some weeks I prepare freezer meals ahead so I can just pull them out and pop them in the oven the night of.
I also utilize my Crockpot and Instant Pot a lot. I don’t know what I would do without them! It’s so much easier to think about throwing everything in the Crockpot around lunch time then having a home cooked meal ready to go by 6pm. The Instant Pot also cuts down on cooking time and the amount of dishes to do after dinner.
Another great resource is to use $5 Meal Plan. With $5 Meal Plan you get a pre-made weekly meal plan and shopping list to make things even more simple to stay on track with your budget.
EATING OUT FOR LUNCH
Similarly to eating out for dinner, eating out for lunch can also be a drain on your budget. If you are working outside of the home, the best thing you can do is to start preparing and bringing your lunch to work.
You can spend some time on Sunday cooking up some chicken breasts, veggies, and rice, then put them in glass containers to take to work everyday.
If you eat out 5 days a week for work at the average cost of $8, you are looking at spending $160/month on lunch expenses. You could easily cut that number in half by preparing your lunch from home.
Whether you go to the gym religiously or have a membership that barely gets any use out of it, you can save a substantial amount of money by ditching the fitness center.
Start taking a morning run around your neighborhood, take a bike ride with your kids or a friend, and invest in a good set of weights for your house.
I love doing Yoga every morning with my kids by watching YouTube! It’s free and we get our workout in for the day.
You can easily skip this expense and still get a workout in which makes it a no-brainer to ditch.
PAPER PLATES/CUPS & PLASTIC WARE
Whether you believe in climate change or not, you should be able to agree that ditching the plastic not only will save you money in your wallet but also help keep plastic out of our oceans.
Opt for a few good sets of glass plates and utensils, and wash them by hand. Ditch the plastic cups, purchase some glass cups, and get yourself a reusable water bottle.
I personally love my Yeti and don’t know what I would do without it. My water stays cold all day long!
I love the convenience of bottled water. But, my wallet and the environment does not. We invested in a Brita water filter which filters out any toxins in the water.
Get your own Brita water filter on Amazon to make the switch.
Similar to the plastic-ware, paper towels are also bad for the environment and a huge waste of money. Grab some cloth napkins that you can wash and re-use to save money.
I rarely buy new clothes anymore. My youngest child gets secondhand clothing from his brother and older cousins. I purchase most of my clothing secondhand at stores such as:
Along with saving money, you are also helping the environment, as well.
You can also earn money by selling your clothes that you no longer want (gently used and in good condition) or can donate them to local communities that give to those in need.
It is more expensive to pay for prepackaged foods than to make it from scratch by yourself. It is also a lot more healthy for you to make food from scratch then to eat prepackaged food which are usually filled with additional preservatives to keep the food fresh longer.
I used to buy so many prepackaged snacks for my kids and I’ve cut down on almost all of them. I still buy Greek yogurt and organic applesauce, which I am planning to attempt to start making on my own at home with my Instant Pot. This will save money, help the environment, and be more healthy for our family.
Magazine subscriptions, gift subscriptions, box subscriptions, streaming services, Spotify, etc. Each $5-15/month seems so small by when you add them up each month (and year) – it eats up more of your budget then you would expect!
We got rid of all of our subscriptions with the exception of Amazon, Netflix, and Disney +. (We ditched our traditional cable so we won’t give those up!)
Related: Save Money on Disney Plus +
Similarly to subscriptions, if you have annual passes for the zoo, theme parks, the aquarium, etc. that may be an expense that you feel comfortable ditching.
We were paying roughly $150/month for 3 people to have Disney theme parks annual passes. The total amount comes to about $2,100/year plus the cost of gas and food each time we would visit the theme parks.
When our youngest was old enough that he would start needing a ticket, too, we decided this was a cost that wasn’t worth it for us.
We weren’t going to the parks enough for this huge expense to be worth it for our family.
However, my cousin goes once or twice every month with her kids, so the cost of the passes is worth it for them because they use them frequently.
We were paying $160/month for internet and cable with our old provider. We switched to internet only and Netflix/Disney +/Amazon. We now pay about $100/month instead. So we are saving over $700/year from ditching cable.
Of course you want to be careful not to order too many streaming services in place of cable, because they can add up! But here are some of the great ones to check out if you want to ditch cable:
Verizon Wireless is commonly referred to as the best of the best for phone providers. We used to have it and it does have GREAT service, almost everywhere. But the $200 bill every month that went with it was not worth it for us. It did not fit in our budget.
We have since switched to Republic Wireless which is SO much cheaper and still works great. We pay $50/month for two phone lines. You cannot beat that price!
We are saving over $1,500/year by making the switch. If you are ready to make the switch, here are some good companies to check out:
Besides changing your phone service provider, another way to cut costs is to not upgrade your phone to the latest model. We used to upgrade our phone every other year to get the newest phone that was out. Every time you upgrade your phone, you are adding on $25-50/extra a month to your bill to pay off that phone. It really increases your monthly phone bill!
We quit upgrading our phones and are doing just fine! I have an iPhone 7 and it still works great. Apple has released many new devices since I purchased my phone but since my phone is paid off and has no issues, I have not upgraded my device.
And my husband and I are saving $600+/year by continuing to use our phones that we’ve already paid off instead of getting the latest models.
If you enjoy going out for drinks with friends, or having a glass of wine after dinner every night at home, this is an expense that can add up.
We used to go out for drinks with friends fairly often (in our 20’s) and I would make my husband a drink every night when he got home from work.
But these costs can add up really quickly and make a dent in your savings. We now only have a margarita or beer if we are out at dinner – maybe once or twice a month, if that.
If you aren’t ready to make the switch to having a drink every once in a while, it does cost less to purchase alcohol and make your drinks at home. You are paying far more for each drink at a restaurant or bar versus just making them at home on your own.
My husband loves his Monster energy drinks. He was buying one every day at work and at $2.99/can, it was really making an impact at our overall budget. ($60/month).
Because he is not willing to give up his energy drinks, we have reached a compromise. I now buy them in bulk from Walmart (10 cans for $15). We haven’t gotten rid of the expense entirely but it has helped us save money versus paying for them individually. (We now pay $30/mo. vs. the $60 before).
The same goes for purchasing soda or juice at a vending machine, or the gas station, etc. Each $2-3 does add up by the end of the year.
I also no longer purchase juice and soda for our household.
We only have water and milk in our house. Everyone drinks water (and coffee) unless we are out to eat. Then we might purchase a juice or soda.
Not only has this change saved money for our budget, but it is also healthier for us. Sodas and juice contain large amounts of sugar. It is also very important to drink lots of water everyday, which we now do.
SHOPPING IN THE STORE
I do a lot of my shopping online these days. The great thing about shopping online is that you can see the costs in the checkout cart before you pay. So you are more likely to stick to a budget instead of impulsively shopping then walking to the register and finding out you owe $$$ more than you were planning on spending.
Besides just cutting down on impulse spending and sticking to our budget, I also save money by using Rakuten. Rakuten is a cash back website that you can use to do all of your online shopping. I downloaded their Chrome browser extension (you can use their site without the extension but I prefer it because it makes things so easy). It pops up whenever I am making an eligible online purchase.
It will give you a % of cash back for most purchases from almost every store, as well as find any promo codes or coupons that are available for your purchase.
We have saved a good deal of money by using Rakuten. Especially for big ticket purchases or holiday shopping. For more information about this cash back program check out the posts below.
If you sign up for Rakuten using my referral link, then you get $20 to start. (For a limited time only).
I hate to admit this but my husband and I used to smoke cigarettes. We haven’t smoked in almost 4 years now after we quit together when I got pregnant with our youngest child.
But when we both smoked, we were each buying a pack of cigarettes every other day. Since there is two of us that amounts to $5.50 – 7 days a week = $2,000/a year!
The savings are great, but the health benefits are ultimately the best reward for dropping this nasty expense.
Haircuts are a necessity but also something that can easily be done from home. For the boys, invest in a good pair of clippers, and grab a pair of scissors for the women.
YouTube has hundreds of videos that can teach you how to cut your hair by yourself. (As well as how to do your own makeup and eyebrows, dye your hair, and so much more).
REPAIR SERVICES/LABOR COSTS
Cutting your hair isn’t the only DIY task you can find on YouTube. There is a YouTube How-to video for pretty much any type of repair you need to learn!
Oil changes and house repairs are a few of the many things you can learn how to do on your own. Labor costs can get relatively high so being able to save the money and do it yourself could save you hundreds of dollars.
Not only would you save money, but the feeling of being able to do the task on your own is quite rewarding, as well.
There are so many DIY household cleaners out there that you can find by doing a quick search on Google. You can use household ingredients found in your pantry like lemons and white vinegar to clean instead of spending money on the store bought versions.
The store bought versions also can contain toxic chemicals, so making your own cleaning products will make you feel better about what you are using in your home.
The smell and feel of a brand new book is something that is quite irresistible to me. But they can be expensive to continue to purchase and they are bad for the environment.
If you have a local library, you can always check out books there to save money. My favorite thing to do that I recently discovered is to download the Overdrive app.
The Overdrive app allows you to borrow ebooks and audio books from your local library and school! Then you can read the books from your phone or listen to it as an audio book through the app!
Going to the movies was one of my favorite things to do as a child and teenager. The costs have hiked up tremendously since the days where I would watch $1 movies at the theater. Now you can’t even get $1 rentals at Redbox anymore.
For a family of four to go to the movies, you are looking at $60 just for the movie tickets. Then if you want to get any snacks or drinks, that cost rises. Even a small soda at our theater costs over $5. It’s nuts!
Instead of going to the theaters anymore, we opt to wait for the movie to come out on Netflix or Amazon. There is also the option of renting it from Redbox.
For those movies (like Star Wars) that you just have to see in the theater before other people spoil it for you, I recommend seeing it earlier in the day when the ticket prices are lower. You can also sneak in your own drinks and candy, and just opt for getting a popcorn there. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell on you!)
NAME BRAND ITEMS
I used to be kind of a snob about getting everything name brand until I met my husband. My husband was the complete opposite. He bought the generic version of everything.
There are many items that the generic version is just as good (and at times, even better). For example, I prefer the Walmart brand hand soap refill (Equate) and paper towels (Great Value) over the big brands like Softsoap or Bounty. Target also has some great products under their generic brand name. We also preferred Sams’ Club brand diapers (Member’s Mark) when our kids were younger. They were comparable to Huggies but cheaper.
STARTED HAVING NO SPEND WEEKENDS
This isn’t something we gave up, but something that we started to do at least one or two weekends every month. Depending on how tight your financial situation is, you could even consider doing it for an entire month.
A no-spend weekend or a no-spend challenge is when you stop spending any money except for on necessities such as bills, food, and gas. That means no eating out, no clothes shopping, no picking up new kitchen appliances, no outings with the kids, or drinks with friends.. Nada, nilch, zero.
If these are things that you do regularly, then you may be pleasantly surprised to see your bank account by the end of it. If these are things that you only do every once in a while, then it can just help you get by.
Check out our post below on activities and things to do (for free) during a no-spend challenge.
START A BUDGET AND LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS
The last thing I would like to touch on is the importance of creating a budget that works for your family. It is important to share this budget with your husband or wife, so that you are both on board with the changes.
Following a budget will be hard at times and at first, you may have a hard time adjusting to it. But once you get the hang of it, it will pay off substantially.
Make sure to grab a copy of our debt payment tracker below if you are starting to work on paying off your debt. And check out our list of 22 Side Hustle Ideas to make extra money.
What things have you given up in order to save money? These 25 things to stop buying to save money may not be for everyone.
If you can’t forego the above from your monthly budget, consider finding ways to make an extra $1,000 a month.
Looking for other money saving tools?
Earn cash back through every online purchase with Rakuten. A rebate site that lets you shop at your favorite stores including Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc., and earn cash back on every eligible purchase. They also help you find any promo codes and coupons available and apply them to your purchase. Get $20 to start at Rakuten by signing up with our link here.
Undebt.it is our favorite free tool to keep track of your debt payments and progress using an online spreadsheet.
Another great resource is to use $5 Meal Plan. With $5 Meal Plan you get a pre-made weekly meal plan and shopping list to help you save time and money with your grocery shopping.
Try taking online surveys with Survey Junkie. With surveys up to $50/each, it’s one of the best, legit survey sites to earn extra money.
Earn free gift cards by watching videos and playing games, as well as taking surveys with Swagbucks. Get $5 to start by signing up for Swagbucks.
Grab your free credit score to stay up to date with your financial health. Sign up for Credit Karma here at no cost. I’ve used Credit Karma for over five years.
Ibotta earns you cash back anytime you shop online or at brick-and-mortar stores such as grocery stores, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Domino’s, Petco, Sephora, Target, Gap, REI, and many more. Sign up for Ibotta to start earning money back today.