How to Quit Buying Things to Save Money
There’s always something new at the stores!
And the sales just keep on coming.
It’s all marketing, friend.
In this fast-paced consumerism world, we often fall into the trap and bury ourselves deep.
We make excessive (albeit unnecessary) purchases and yet still leave us empty and unsatisfied.
I’m very familiar with this emptiness. I feel ya, friend.
So, in this blog post, I’ll share with you the things I’ve learned on:
- how to stop buying all the things,
- how to minimize unnecessary purchases,
- find alternatives to your usual purchases,
- and thereby saving your family thousands in the long run and live a happier life.
I’m not saying you must stop buying things that make you happy but rather become a more mindful and intentional shopper purchasing only stuff that you truly enjoy!
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So, first let me share with you a few tips on how to quit buying things:
How to Stop The Urge to Buy
Stop before you start.
Probably the easiest thing you can practice right now!
What do I mean by this?
Avoid retail seduction altogether by not going to the stores in the first place.
And by figuring out what triggers you to go will help you do that.
Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Observe your shopping habits – tracking makes you aware of your behavior.
- Observe your emotions before and after shopping.
Do both of the above without judgment, after all, we want to improve not punish ourselves.
You can even avoid going to the grocery store!
This way you won’t be tempted to browse for sales and clearance where you’ll end up buying things you don’t need.
This takes practice and discipline; it’s a process.
Once you’ve conquered this urge, you’ll be able to create a set of rules when shopping at the stores.
How to Stop Shopping Online
The temptation is higher when shopping online because you can shop in your pajamas!
All it takes is just a few clicks and your order is ready the same day (looking at you, Amazon!)
Here are some ways to nip shopping online in the bud:
- Stop scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest – if you find yourself easily influenced, then stop or unfollow right now.
- Unsubscribe to your favorite stores’ newsletters to avoid seeing the sales when checking your email.
- Don’t browse your favorite stores online.
How to Avoid Overconsumption
I recently watched Ronny Chieng, a comedian on Netflix, making fun of the overabundance we have here in the states and yet we’re not happy.
He’s correct on so many levels but his delivery is more entertaining!
So how do we avoid overconsumption?
An easy and actionable answer you can do right now is:
- take inventory! – pantry, fridge, closet, really your entire life!
Ok, start small if you’re overwhelmed.
We have so much stuff, we don’t know half of the things we own and end up buying multiples of the same crap!
You can save so much more money and your sanity just by knowing what stuff you own.
I even took it a little further by eliminating some things I thought were necessary but really aren’t! I do not miss these things at all!
So, here are 10 things I stopped buying to save money and live with less.
1. Stop Buying Expensive Skincare Products
I love skincare! In fact, I was a huge Origins fan for many years.
My skincare routine consisted of at least 5 steps morning and night!
And then my skin started to develop redness and irritation.
Turned out that I developed allergic reactions to the products I slathered on my face daily.
- Things that will actually help our skin
- Things that irritate our skin
What are the ingredients to look for?
Here are a few of them according to this article:
- Hyaluronic Acid
What are the ingredients to avoid?
- Fragrance – this is often listed as linolool, limonene, etc.
- Certain Essential oils
You’ll be familiar with these ingredients if you watch the playlists of videos I linked above.
And the most important product we need to use:
- sunscreen of at least 30 SPF applied every 2 hours to avoid sun damage and premature aging.
Zinc oxide is the best sun protection ingredient that we have available in the US, so be sure to use one with that ingredient.
Here are the drugstore products I’ve tried and use:
- Face wash
- Face moisturizers
- Babyganics – works for my whole family; It’s the only one I found that doesn’t irritate our face and doesn’t leave a visible white cast on my family’s different complexions
- Spot treatment
- Magic Ointment/Balm – I use this on my lips, cuticles, heels, everywhere that’s extra dry
Though it isn’t expensive, I also no longer use this St. Ives Apricot Scrub. Redness on cheeks and around the nose has diminished. That’s one less thing to do!
2. Stop Spending Money on Shaving Cream
I stopped buying shaving cream to use when shaving my legs!
The reason why I used this shaving cream (which was my favorite for the longest time) was to keep the razor from scraping my skin while shaving and keep my skin hydrated. If you shave your legs, too, you probably know what I’m talking about.
Have you tried dry shaving?
It feels like that without shaving cream. It’s not pleasant!
The tendency of getting nicks while shaving is also higher.
I found that hair conditioner works just as well!
Do you ever notice when you run out of shampoo, your conditioner still half full?
So, it makes sense to use it and that’s one less thing for us to buy!
I also use coconut oil as a hair mask and have tried it as a shaving oil – also works!
Check out this quick video about 4 mistakes you might be making shaving your legs!
3. What to Buy Instead of Scented Expensive Lotions
We all want to smell good. Am I right?
But the problem not only lies in the price of scented lotions but also the fact that they’re not good for our skin.
Also, scented lotions exacerbate my eczema-prone skin – that’s a fact.
Even if we don’t have any skin issues, we’ll eventually develop some type of allergic reaction or irritation – also a fact.
So, here’s what to do instead:
Look for fragrance-free, dye-free, cream products with ingredients such as ceramides, peptides, glycerin, fatty acids like shea butter, colloidal oatmeal for soothing properties, etc.
Then, if I want to smell like oranges or vanilla, I’ll dot perfume oil!
Sometimes I’ll use scented creams on my hands. I’d still smell good but won’t stay on my skin long since I wash my hands a lot.
4. How to Stop Shopping for Clothes and Shoes
Fast fashion has become such a huge industry for the last 10 or so years.
There are so many new arrivals coming week after week, it’s hard to keep up with the trends.
I’m at a point in my life where trends no longer serve a purpose and add value.
So, I’ve been editing and improving my wardrobe and only acquiring timeless, quality pieces.
But please don’t equate quality with price. I’ve had a Forever21 shirt for many years now.
Instead, create a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle:
- Asses your wardrobe – figure out what’s working and not working for your lifestyle
- Buy classics – timeless pieces you can wear year after year
- Have only pieces you love to wear – clothes are meant to be worn not stored in the closet
- Quality over quantity – this video will show you how to look for quality pieces!
5. What to Use Instead of Dryer Sheets
I’ve mentioned previously that I have eczema.
Unfortunately, my daughter’s eczema is worse than mine and I had to get rid of any laundry products with fragrance and dyes.
So how do I make our towels soft and fluffy and how I do stop my skirt from clinging to my legs?
I found and tried 2 solutions:
- Vinegar – the smell of vinegar is non-existent when the wash cycle ends.
- Wool balls – check out this lady’s amazing review comparing 3 kinds of wool balls used in 8 months!
I’ve seen these balls on sale before which I’ve posted here – Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls 6-Pack – Amazon Deal
6. Paper Products: Paper Towels and Napkins
I found that microfiber cloths are the best to use for cleaning especially when dusting and they’re easy to clean!
You can also use old socks for dusting – they work great for dusting blinds if you have them.
If you have old shirts and towels that can’t be donated, you can also cut it up to use as rags throughout your home.
Not only are these alternatives good for your wallet, but also good for the environment! Win, win!
There is one paper product I will keep buying though:
- Toilet paper!
Nothing can replace toilet paper. EVER.
7. How to Stop Buying Books and Magazines
I’ve stopped buying books and unsubscribed from my favorite magazines.
If you’re an avid reader, hear me out, my kids and I are also avid readers.
So, I’m not here to tell you to stop reading.
The problem lies in the fact that we don’t even read the books we buy and they’re taking up spaces in our home.
Here are alternatives to try:
- Library – it’s free and you can also checkout ebooks online if available in your library
- Prime Reading – Did you know you can “checkout” newly released books for free books if you have Amazon Prime? I didn’t know this either- here’s a free 30-day trial
- Kindle – you can find free ebooks (including children’s books!) you’ll need to download the free Kindle app here. You can also “checkout” some Kindle books for free when you have Prime membership!
- Kindle Unlimited – this service has ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines! This might be worth it if you read a minimum of 3-4 books a month. Here’s a free 1-month trial and there’s a current promo of a 3-month subscription for $0.99 (promo might change upon reading this post).
- FreeTime Unlimited – this is a new service from Amazon that we’re currently trying. It’s a monthly subscription like Kindle but for children. Parents can customize their child’s experience with books, apps, and videos. It’s $2.99/month if you’re a Prime Member. Even if you don’t have Prime, $4.99/month is good value for voracious readers. Here’s a free FreeTime Unlimited 1-month trial.
- Audible – my husband and I use this service a lot. It’s great for people who can’t find time to sit and read. You can listen to audiobooks while doing menial tasks like running on a treadmill, cleaning, etc. Here’s a free 1-month trial to see if this service will work with your lifestyle.
The services we’ve kept so far are Prime Reading (since free with Prime Membership), Audible and we’re still trying out the FreeTime Unlimited. For us, we found that it’s worth it to pay for these services.
I highly recommend trying these services and discover which ones add value to your life and work with your lifestyle.
I talk about Kindle Unlimited here – Free Amazon Kindle Unlimited Offer
8. Home Decor Items You Should Stop Buying
One of the chores I had growing up was dusting.
Our house was littered with knick-knacks and figurines, specifically Capodimonte!
Heck, our chandelier was Capodimonte; it was huge!! And it was a pain to dust!
And I swore that when I grew up to never have knick-knacks in my own home.
But life happens…
and purchases were made…
and I faced the same problem in my adulthood!
So, how did I solve this?
I edited my home and only kept things that have a purpose and became more intentional with purchases.
You see, my goal is to only have things in my home that I truly love and use – bonus if those things are multipurpose. Jenni Kayne‘s simple living philosophy and aesthetics are goals!
I also edit my cart (especially when I’m Target) before I check out; questioning even that $1 item from the Dollar Spot!
This has been a long process for me, but it might not be for you.
I recommend visualizing the kind of home you’d love to live in and how it serves your lifestyle.
This artist designed his home to suit his lifestyle. I think he has mastered the art of living!
9. Stop Buying Coffee to Save Money – The Latte Factor
I love coffee. You too? Okay, let’s be friends!
But let’s say we buy a tall hot mocha every day from Starbucks, that’s about $1800 a year!
That’s just a tall, but imagine how much more it would cost if we factor in some pastries and maybe another cup on the way home from work?!
That’s a lot of money spent on just “a cup of coffee”!!
Have you heard of The Latte Factor?
It’s a book which claims that you can live a rich life if you can afford a latte. It’s about utilizing the power of compounding effect and that little changes can lead to big results.
I’ve realized that these two powerful tools are true but you see, I still love my coffee, too.
So, I came up with a compromise:
Since I can’t completely give up my $5 coffee, my husband and I started going on coffee dates where we try coffee places around our area.
Our coffee dates cost about $240 (for 2) a year versus $1800 (just for one person!)
Instead of buying coffee every day, we made it part of something that adds value to our relationship.
Coffee is worth more than $240 a year!
So, what do we do in between our coffee dates to save money?
We make it at home.
Here are some things we’ve tried:
- Use a Keurig – it’s really convenient and useful for when we only want hot water for tea and hot cocoa.
- Use a coffee maker – great for when you have access to your favorite coffee beans. Local cafes usually sell their own coffee beans!
- We use this phin to make Vietnamese coffee.
- Use instant coffee – I love this one, black.
Here are some ideas we would love to try in the future:
- Use this machine to make awesome espresso at home, complete with milk frother.
- French press
- Ceramic cup
If Starbucks is your favorite, you might want to check out Fetch Rewards where you can earn free gift cards just by scanning receipts.
It’s so easy to earn points, it’s my favorite rebate app ever!
You can earn your spontaneous Starbucks run for free! Yes!
PS. I highly recommend The Richest Man in Babylon if you want to learn how to manage and create wealth! I read this book to my children and even listen to the audiobook on long drives.
10. You Don’t Need Gym Membership + Home Equipment
Several years ago, I neglected my health.
I had postpartum depression, barely had quality sleep, gained weight and my haggard level was beyond the scales.
And my turning point wasn’t even any those things!
It was when I was fatigued every.single.day. which left me feeling miserable and no longer enjoy motherhood.
My sister was (still is!) a sweetheart that she even signed me up for a 1-year gym membership.
She wanted to help me get back that energy, my health.
My friend introduced me to the Whole30 diet and we did the challenge together.
My husband bought resistant bands, dumbbells, and other equipment.
I’m grateful for them! I really felt their love!
But I only ended using the gym membership for 2 months and the only home equipment I used (still use) is my yoga mat!
It took hard work and time but I got my health back!
And can you believe I can now keep up with my kids! You can imagine kids’ energy levels, right?
As you can see in my photo above that I don’t even have a fit body or even a skinny body.
It really boils down to how our body feels – the energy we have and even our mental state.
In retrospect, I want to share with you is:
- you don’t need a gym membership and equipment to be healthy!
Here’s what you can try to be healthier:
- Assess your diet – this is important!
- Tracking what you eat is super helpful because you become more aware and mindful of what you eat.
- Tracking includes meal times, frequency, and water intake.
- Personal note: With Whole30, I found out that sugar gives me headaches, not caffeine from coffee and rice makes me bloated (just to name a few of my discoveries when I did the challenge the first time.
- Physical activity throughout the day is an essential part of our daily life!
- We don’t need to do crazy workouts.
- Walking makes a big difference! Have you heard of the Blue Zone? Check it out here.
- Personal note: I thought I needed to be huffing and puffing to get results but it wasn’t true for me. LIttle, consistent effort leads to big results!
- Try different workouts and find one that you actually like to do.
- It’s easier to create a workout routine if you enjoy it.
- You can check out HIIT, Pilates, Zumba, Barre (my fave), Yoga (also a fave). These are free on Youtube.
- Listen to your body – be mindful and aware of your body.
Disclaimer: I’m not a dietician or a doctor. Be sure to check with your physician if you want to change your diet or try a new workout.
How to Quit Buying Things to Save Money – Final Notes
Yay, you made it to the end!
But just in case you missed something, here are the things I quit buying that have saved my family money and my sanity over the years:
- Stop buying expensive (or having excessive) skincare products – sunscreen is the number one anti-aging product!
- Use hair conditioner or coconut oil instead of shaving cream
- Ditch your expensive scented lotions and stick to drugstore products that actually help your skin
- Become more mindful with your wardrobe – choose classic over trendy pieces
- Try dryer wool balls or vinegar instead of dryer sheets
- Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper products to save money
- Use subscription services and only buy books and magazines you’ll actually read
- Stop buying unnecessary home decor and knick-knacks that only collect dust!
- The Latte Factor – how I did not completely quit buying what I enjoy
- You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to be healthy – simply assessing your diet and physical activity makes a big difference
One last reminder before I end this post:
I wish that you accomplish your self-improvement and/or financial goals this year!
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Over to you! What are some things you stopped buying you thought you needed?
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