We are constantly spending more than we make on ‘unnecessary’ materialistic things because of societal pressure, which I blame on social media. Everyone is trying to be an Instagram model and ultimately spending money they don’t have. I was brought up knowing that I only spend what I have and live within my means. I like certain luxuries and so over the years I have found different ways of reducing my expenses to generate more income for what I love. Below are ten things I stopped spending on to save money.
I stopped eating out frequently and cook at home instead. I never go out for lunch during weekdays unless it is a team outing at work, instead I bring my own lunch. I plan my meals and buy groceries for the week over the weekend so that during the week I’m not making unplanned purchases. When setting my monthly budget I set aside an amount for ‘outings’ and that is what I spend if I go out with friends on weekends.
Coffee and tea
This is one of the biggest ‘silent’ major expenses for most people. That $3-$5 you’re spending every morning on coffee is adding up to about $1000 a year. I don’t drink coffee, I’m a tea girl but I don’t buy it every morning. We have a variety of free teas (and coffee too) at work so I just make use of that, and then keep a variety at home too for when I want a change. If you must have coffee, you’re better off investing in a coffee maker and making your coffee at home instead of buying.
Cable TV, phone plan and broadband plan
I don’t need a cable tv plan, I watch all my favourite shows on the internet. Thank God for smart tv’s you can easily stream programmes on your tv! If you don’t really need it try and go without cable tv and use the internet instead. Believe it or not but I am subscribed to the cheapest mobile and broadband plans available, way below $100 for both combined. I need a phone for basic functions- calls, texts, data- and need home broadband to connect my devices and browse the internet so the very basic plans from my service provider work perfectly.
Is it really necessary to spend $50-$100 to go to the gym once or twice a week for an hour? Unless you go regularly I suggest you deactivate your gym membership until you are ready to be more consistent, again this is something I’ve seen people do just for the social hype. I choose to walk to and from work daily and workout from home to stay fit. I’ve invested in a yoga mat, dumbbells and use free youtube tutorials to work out at home.
The only make up item I wear is mascara and maybe lipstick on a special occasion, I own one mascara and 2 lipsticks (which I replace when finished). When I look at my friends who wear heavy make up I realise just how much I save monthly on my simple and minimalist look. For those of you who wear make up, I suggest buying drugstore brands rather than high end brands, from what I’ve heard they pretty much work the same to some extent. You can also substitute certain products for example, using coconut oil (which is multipurpose and will last you longer) as a make up remover.
Hair treatments and extensions
I have natural unprocessed hair and have learnt to style it on my own rather than visiting the salon. I don’t think anyone else can be as gentle as I am with my hair and honestly prefer caring for it alone. You can save so much money by investing in a hair steamer and treating your hair at home rather than visiting the salon every 2 weeks. Over the years, I’ve also mastered how to make wigs and now have a collection so do not really need to spend money on extensions unless I really want to.
It’s nice to have two or three fancy purses but do you really need to have every latest trend? I don’t think so. I will buy a good pair of designer jeans because they are premium quality and will last years but I’m okay buying my dresses and blouses in high street fashion brands and thrifting. I only buy designer jewelry, perfumes and staple items that can need to last long and can style with basic clothing, I try to strike a balance.
Plan how much cash you need to use in advance and withdraw it at once instead of using the ATM every 3 days and incurring unnecessary charges for that. I have gone cashless and only pay electronically, I only keep coins because I need them to operate the washing machine and dryer in my building.
Monthly subscription boxes
It’s exciting to receive a package with fancy products at the beginning of every month but one of the things I’ve stopped spending on is subscription boxes. I wash my hair once a week but my conditioner still lasts me months. It is unrealistic to use up all the products within 4 weeks and before you know it you’ll have an entire cabinet full of products, that is an unnecessary expense.
As much as I am simplistic in other forms such as my look, make up etc I need my home to have a luxurious feel including the way my cleaning supplies look. Instead of spending on expensive brands every month, I purchased fancy bottles and then buy refillable dishwashing soap etc. I buy multipurpose cleaners so that I can use the same product to clean my entire apartment rather than buying ‘room specific’ products. There are so many alternatives too for example, instead of buying a vegetable wash I add a little bit of vinegar or soda to water and clean my vegetables with that, soda and vinegar are multipurpose and I can use them in many other ways.
I know this was a long post but these are practical things I have stopped spending money on and have managed to save hundreds of dollars monthly.
Stay positive always,