Five years ago, my husband and I declared war on our debt! It took us four years, but with a lot of diligence and a few thrifty habits, we were finally able to pay off over $80,000 of debt. One of those thrifty habits was cutting out anything and everything that wasn’t an absolute necessity. There were several things I stopped buying to save money.
Originally, I thought it would be a short-term change. After our debt was paid off, I always thought we would start adding these things back into our budget. But as time has gone, I’ve learned to appreciate the frugal changes and the extra cushion it adds to our monthly budget.
Can I just say I don’t even miss most of these things? Cutting them out of our grocery budget trims our spending and simplifies our life in so many ways.
Here are 12 things we stopped buying to save money.
1 – Laundry Detergent
This one actually was an accidental money saver. You can read my homemade laundry detergent recipe post to read the full story. But long story short, one of my girls had a severe skin condition and making our own detergent was the only thing that helped. The fact that it only costs pennies per load is an added perk!
2 – Fabric Softener
Same thing here. We cut it out due to her skin issues. I use vinegar to soften clothes and remove any icky smells while washing. When I switch my wet clothes to the dryer, I put a few drops of lavender essential oil onto a dryer ball. It smells. so. good!!! AND no nasty chemicals.
3 – Cleaning Supplies
Making my own cleaning supplies saves us hundreds each year!! You can check out my favorite go-to recipe for homemade all purpose cleaner right here. I also make my own granite counter cleaner, glass cleaner, and shower and toilet cleaner.
4 – Paper Towels
I get a lot of weird looks for this one. But hear me out. Once upon a time, my favorite Prince Charming was obsessed with paper towels. He would grab one, use it once, and leave it. Right there on the counter. Or the table. Or the dresser. Wherever he happened to be.
You know, in case he needed it again. But then when he needed it again, he just grabbed another one. Once I realized how much money we were throwing away – pun intended – I stopped buying them. Instead, I started laying out kitchen towels to help mop up any spills. Every day, I lay out a fresh little towel and all is right in our world. We don’t waste money on paper towels. I’m not throwing them away all day long. It’s beautiful!
Now I will say. I do keep one roll for when we have a bunch of people over. But this one roll usually lasts us about a month. It seems extreme to some, but it is a change that is equally good for our wallet and the environment.
5 – Convenience Foods
Gone are the days of perfectly packaged one-serving bags of snacks and goodies. They are great for when we are on the go, but I can’t justify how much more expensive they are per unit. Now we buy the big bag and put them in sandwich baggies or plastic containers ourselves. The extra two minutes is worth the savings in this mama’s eyes.
6 – Chicken and/or Beef Broth
I LOVE to cook with broth. It adds so much flavor to simple dishes like rice, veggies, and the like. But at a dollar a can, the price adds up. For about two bucks, I buy a pack of bouillon cubes. It needs to dissolve in liquid, but as long as your dish has at least half a cup of liquid, this little cube gives you all the flavor or broth without the expensive price tag.
7 – Bottled Water
You guys. Water is free. Why do people pay for it? Unless you live in a home with well water, a simple filter is all you need to have fresh, clean water to hydrate your fam. We have a few bpa free water bottles my girls use to bring water to school. But we rarely if ever buy the disposable ones. Again, good for the wallet and the environment.
8 – Shaving Gel
Not only is it expensive, but conditioner legit works so much better! I have used my hair conditioner to shave for forever now, and it makes my legs silky smooth too.
9 – Tupperware
The expensive stuff isn’t any more effective than the cheap Gladware containers. For the most part, I am slowly but surely transitioning to all glass containers anyways. These will last longer and can be heated and reheated, with no yucky chemicals leaching into our food.
10 – Mani/Pedis
Do you even know what kind of magic I can make with fifty bucks? A lot. I much prefer to paint my own nails. And my feet are way tooticklish. Ugh! That little pumice stone gets me every. single. time.
11 – Magazines and Books
My pinterest obsession replaced my need to flip through glossy magazine pages for inspiration. And I can almost always rent a book I want from the library. There are a few books that I know I will really love so I buy it. But for the most part, the local public library will do.
12 – Toilet Paper
Just kidding. Even I am not that frugal. And please pretty please, buy your family nice toilet paper. Don’t be THAT person. Just don’t.
And there you have it! 12 things you should stop buying to save money. While it might have been a stretch for us in the beginning, the benefits far outweigh any initial inconvenience. And I’m 99% sure we will rarely ever buy these things again. Except the toilet paper. I don’t know that I could ever go that far in my frugal adventures.
What about you? Are there things you choose not to buy in an effort to save more money?