Are you trying to save some money? Trying to jumpstart your emergency fund? Or do you just want some peace of mind? I’m going to share the 10 things I stopped buying to save money.
Since I officially got serious about my debt-free journey, there are a few changes and sacrifices I had to make. I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck and something just had to give. It’s not that I wasn’t making enough money. I actually make a great income but for some reason, I just couldn’t save any money.
I would save a little here and there, but never anything substantial enough to be fully secured if I were to ever lose my job. My aha moment came when my refrigerator stopped working. I had to cough up $400 to get it fixed and believe me, I was not happy about that. Fortunately, I had the cash to pay it but it dawned on me – if something worse had happened I would have been sunk.
That made me realize I needed to become more serious about saving money. The first thing I did was get on a budget. I always heard about budgeting but I always thought “why do I need to budget? My bills are always paid on time. I’m good”.
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So why couldn’t I save money?
The first time I sat down and did this budget thing my mind was blown. I wrote down my income and listed all of my expenses (I literally sat down with a pen and paper). I had so much money left over I was baffled because where was that extra money going? It definitely wasn’t making it to my savings account!
I looked through my bank statement and realized most of it was going to food, shopping, and things that weren’t important. At first, I was so mad at myself. Mad because I could have been saving money this whole time but instead, I was spending money blindly just because I had it.
Now that I’ve come to my senses and my budget is planned out every month it became clear to me why some people were successful at saving money and others like me were not. A budget does not restrict you from spending money. Rather, it is a tool that shows you how much money you’ve got to spend. It gives you a sense of control and power over your money.
So now when I budget, I know exactly how much money I have to spend on what I need and love. I did not give up everything I love and you shouldn’t either. Depriving yourself will not motivate you to save money. Instead, every month I allocate a specific amount of money for things I love. That’s what I spend and I don’t go a dime over my limit. And guess what? It works!
As I mentioned earlier, there were a few things I had to change. Here are 10 things I stopped buying to save money:
1. Takeout/fast food.
Remember those days when you were younger, in the car with your mom on the way home and you’d ask for some McDonalds? She would say “we got food at home”. Well, I had to do that to myself many many times. Instead of going to the drive-thru, I go home to prepare a meal or make a sandwich.
2. Gym membership.
The pandemic made this an easy choice. I wasn’t a fan of home workouts but it has slowly grown on me.
3. Expensive skincare stuff.
I suffered from severe acne throughout my teenage years and it’s partly one of the reasons I’m obsessed with my skin as an adult. Although I love to pamper myself with luxurious serums and moisturizers, there are brands out there that are cheaper and just as good.
4. Excessive groceries.
When I do my grocery shopping I only buy what’s on my list. Many times I would buy things maybe just because they were on sale and by the time I got around to it, they have expired.
I cut the cord in 2018 and haven’t looked back since. I don’t watch much tv but when I do I only watched about four or five channels and that wasn’t worth a $150 per month payment.
6. Expensive phone plans.
Take a look at your cell phone bill and decide if the plan you currently have is serving your needs. Sometimes we opt-in to the higher plans assuming we’ll use whatever feature they are offering but we never do. Find a cheaper plan that works for you or switch to another provider if you need to.
7. Online shopping.
I like to “window shop” online and always end up buying something (even if I don’t need it). I still shop online but only if it’s something I really need.
8. Streaming services.
I fell into the trap but didn’t realize it at the time. I mentioned earlier that I didn’t have cable. I’ve always had Netflix but I decided to sign up for some other streaming services. Before I knew it, I was paying almost close to what I was when I had cable. If you don’t want to cut the streaming services, check to see if they have bundle deals or promos. Some offer discounts for students as well.
9. Name brand grocery products.
I buy store brands or generic brands instead. It’s cheaper and just as good quality as the name brand.
10. Subscription services.
I love subscription beauty boxes. It’s a little gift to me every month because I deserve it and I love to pamper myself. But they also add up if you subscribe to too many. I chose to stick with my favorite one and canceled the others.
I could go on but that’s enough for now. These were some of the main things I cut to save money. This change isn’t completely permanent for me. As my income changes, I will be able to splurge a little more but for now, my goal is to save as much money as I can.
I hope this has inspired you to take a look at your spending habits and adjust your spending to meet your own goals just as I did. It took a while to get used to it but as my savings kept growing every month, the sacrifice is totally worth it.
If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with your friends and family! Let’s crush our savings goals! Cheers.