Our family has fully embraced frugal living to save money for years now. We paid off all of our debt before our son was born. Medical bills were paid in full after his birth. I was able to quit my full-time job in order to stay home with our son! None of this would have been possible if we did not live frugally.
Whether you need to reduce expenses just to stay on top of payments, or if you want to save money every month, you need to take a good look at your spending to see what you can cut out and no longer buy.
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Dan and I took a hard look at our expenses. What we found surprised us! We were spending money on things that we didn’t necessarily need or want. Aren’t we minimalists after all?
We look at our spending regularly on Mint.com. Our checking, savings, and credit cards are all linked to the app. We can see every transaction. In addition, Mint even categorizes transactions to make looking at your spending a little easier.
After looking through our transactions, we made a list of things we no longer need to buy. Why didn’t we need these things anymore?
- They don’t align with what I want to accomplish or hinder my goals.
- The item takes away from my time that could be better spent doing something productive.
- They just don’t fit in with our lifestyle.
What’s your goal?
If you are creating a no-buy list, what’s your goal? Do you want to save money? Bring less into your home? Simplify your life? Live more frugally?
Whatever your goal, make sure that you write down your own list of items you won’t buy. If you write it down and put the list somewhere you see it regularly, you are more likely to stick to it.
Things we quit buying to save money
1. Candles and Air Freshener – Breathing in chemicals isn’t the greatest for your lungs. Burning candles and spraying aerosol air freshener, you release chemicals into the air that you then breath in. We have switched to an all natural air freshener. No longer do I purchase candles (which saves money) and I am using the last of my Scentsy bars.
2. Home Decor – To save money, I have stopped purchasing new home decor. I instead decorate and “shop” from what I already have. I purchased a few new items this past year (like our doormat because our’s had seen better days) but nothing needs to be added for the year to come.
3. Cleaning Supplies – No, my house isn’t dirty all the time! We save money by making our own cleaners, refilling hand soaps, and purchasing long-lasting products. Our Norwex microfiber cloths and cleaning paste will last us years to come.
4. Books and Movies – Last weekend I was able to venture into Barnes & Noble by myself (a tough thing to do when you’re a toddler mom). I browsed just looking for something to buy. Then I remembered I can just request these items at the library! I took pictures of the covers then went online to request pick-up of these books at our local branch. Talk about saving money!
5. Light Bulbs – When we moved into our home, we slowly made the transition to all LED bulbs.While we spent a little money upfront to purchase the LED bulbs, we have now saved money by using them. They last much longer than regular bulbs & cut down electricity costs.
6. Kitchen Gadgets – We bought a toaster oven this year and almost immediately regretted it. Let’s just say we have enough gadgets as it is!
7. Coffee Filters – To save money, we started brewing our coffee at home several years ago. It is something my husband and I enjoy doing. Our Ninja Brewer has a reusable filter that we started using not too long ago. Because we no longer purchase paper filters, it saves money. And it saves room in our cabinet!
8. Make-Up – I no longer purchase cheap make-up. Because you need to use more of it to get the full look, you use the entire product more quickly than you would a higher-quality product. Also, I don’t wear a whole lot of make-up since becoming a SAHM.
9. Body Wash – To clarify, we don’t buy body wash because I have sensitive skin and because of the plastic packaging. Instead, we purchase locally made soap once a year.
10. Tampons – Menstrual cups sound kinda scary at first. However, once you get used to them, it saves money and so much of your time! I use the Duchess Cup with no problems.
11. Cheap Toilet Paper – Once, I made the mistake of buying the less expensive toilet paper from Aldi. Because the quality was lesser than a name brand paper, we used more of it. By purchasing better quality TP, we save money because we use less.
Daily Use Items
12. Trendy Clothes – I’ve never been a trend-setting, nor do I care to be. I like feeling comfortable and confident in the clothes that I wear. We save money by not giving in to trends.
13. Brand New Clothing – Of course, there have been a few exceptions over the past year, but we stay away from purchasing new clothing. Shopping secondhand saves money and it’s better for the environment.
14. Jewelry – Fun and funky jewelry might look great for a while, but it might also turn you green! I much prefer my few pieces of high-quality jewelry over dozens of lower quality (but fun) pieces.
15. Plastic Shopping Bags – In Oklahoma, we don’t have to pay for plastic shopping bags yet. The only place that charges for them here is Aldi. I have become very diligent in bringing my own bags to save money and reduce waste.
16. Too Much Cell Phone Data – In 2018, we switched to Google Fi as our carrier. Our cell phone bill was cut in HALF! We were paying too much for data with our old carrier. Now, we pay a minimal amount for the data that we do use. If you use our referral link, get $20 off your first bill!
17. Small Trash Bags – We eliminated small trash bags (think bathroom trash can sized) this past year. It has been great not to waste more plastic! Instead, we just dump the contents into our larger kitchen trash weekly.
Kid and Baby Items
18. Brand New Clothing – Consignment sales are my favorite money-saving resource for frugal baby things. BUT I may have over done it this past year. Little Guy has more than enough clothing to get him through the end of 2020 and then some.
19. Brand New Toys – Little Guy has plenty of toys. Plus with Christmas coming up (and then his birthday), we do not need to purchase him any more. More frugal, money saving option would be to purchase toys from the thrift store or Facebook Marketplace.
20. Baby Gear – With a toddler in the house rather than a baby, we no longer need to have as much “gear” as we used to. Even if we did have another baby in the coming year or two (don’t get excited Mom!), we would not need to purchase anything new. A baby wrap, zipper PJs, and more is left over from Little Guy’s tiny baby days.
Out and About
21. To-Go Coffee – I love a good cup of fancy coffee. But do I love the price? NOPE! We make our coffee at home.
22. Separate Entrees – Dan and I rarely eat out. When we do, however, we normally share an entree. It is cheaper and we eat less. Restaurant portions here in the US are outrageous. No one needs to eat all of that food in one sitting!
23. Soda – A nice, cold and fizzy soda sounds so good just about everywhere we go. But much like coffee, it is not worth the price ($2-$3).
24. Convenience Foods – As an over-prepared mom, I have learned my lesson of being out of the house and having no food. I get hangry and my toddler gets hangry. It is just too expensive get snacks out all the time. Instead, I pack snacks and peanut butter sandwiches when we are on the go.
What have you cut from your budget that has saved you money?