We all spend money. It’s a simple fact. It in’t something that will change any time soon. We can do a lot more to save money.
I will be the first to admit that I love buying the newest and best of everything. If I am going to buy it, why not buy the best, right?
Instead, I have tried to change this mindset. It’s been tough and I still want that shiny thing. Here is what I have stopped spending money unnecessarily, in an attempt to save more money:
I stopped turning on the heat. I live in Ireland. Ireland is cold and rainy 13 months of the year but i decided to cut out heating. How?
I bought it for for less than my monthly heating bill and now I don’t need to turn on the heating anymore. The onesie is ridiculously warm, if anything, I have to unzip it every so often because I get too warm.
I, also, sleep extremely comfortably in it as well. Who needs that extra blanket when you are dressed like a gorilla?
It is pretty fun too! Sitting down with your partner or family, all dressed in various onesies is something you can all enjoy!
2. Paper towels
They can be useful for little spills or whatever you are doing around the kitchen. Advertisements on the TV will have you believe that you can’t own a home without having paper towels.
Completely ludicrous. I bought a roll once and never again! Instead, I bought a set of 3 kitchen towels that I rotate. These towels can be washed with your usual washing without spending anything extra. Even old towels can be cut up into dish rags if you like. Waste nothing, save plenty!
3. Bottled water
Great thing about Ireland is that the tap water is good enough to drink. So why would I spend money on bottled water? It’s a ridiculous expense for a free resource that we have available here.
In addition to this, you reduce the burden on the environment by not using or wasting plastic bottles. A two-fold benefits of helping the planet and your bank account.
I luckily have a sink in my room. Now I have no excuse to not drink water as it is literally 2 steps away from me. But water can be boring to drink? Yep it can. So why not add in a little something extra like good old orange cordial, sugar-free of course!
Now I even bought a 2L bottle for my water so I don’t have to constantly get up to refill. Downside? I need to pee all the time, but at least I am not chronically dehydrated.
Fast food or different takeaways are the bane of my life. You are busy in work, or tired after a long day. It is easier to eat out or order in, rather than cooking for yourself. We all do it. I just do it a lot more than others!
i am still struggling to reign this in but since I cut back on my takeaways, I have started saving huge money. Plus my pants feel a lot looser. Added benefits again. We are seeing a trend than frugality might be good for your health?
Movie fanatic may not be the best description but i am definitely a film junkie. I love the escapism of all the different movies that are available in the world.
I have a Netflix account and the are so many websites online where you can access movies, so why pay extortionate amounts to see a movie that I can watch for a fraction of the cost or for free less than 6 months down the line? Would my life be any different by delaying the film by 6 months.
Think of the money you will save on the cinema snacks that are the true meaning of daylight robbery when you consider the mark up!
6. New Technology
The new iPhone X came out and everyone flocked to get the latest Apple product. Not me! But I am an Android user. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is on the horizon, set for an early 2019 release. I am sure it will be an amazing phone but I use my phone for the same as most other people, texts, phone calls and Angry Birds or whatever the latest addictive game is…
So why would I spend over $1,000 on the newest phone when there is a perfectly good Samsung Galaxy S7 for sale on Amazon for only $370? Over $600 savings by just choosing an older model. Will you feel left out? No! Will it function any less than what I will require it to do? NO!
The same goes for any new technology. Laptops, TVs, iPads or FitBits. All of them are constantly changing but technology is so amazing these days that the difference between the latest models is negligible to the average person. We base our wanting the newest model on the way things were 20 years ago when the difference between one laptop and another was 10 kg and several seconds faster processing speeds. Now we are taking about the difference of 10 grams and milliseconds!
7. Brand Names
This is an obvious one but people LOVE buying brand names. One of my best friends is a self professed “Brand Whore.” Best summed up as selling oneself for a branded product.
It sounds derogatory but it is actually an exceptionally accurate term. If you want to spend more money for an item just because it has a brand name, then you need to sell yourself in the sense that you are trading more of your precious time just so you can buy something more expensive.
If you think about it, brand name products work the same as everything on the market, that are probably made in the same factory. You are paying for a name and nothing else. Apple Earpods cost $29 where a 2-pack of earbuds you can find on Amazon costs $13 (or $6.50 each). apple has nearly 4.5 times markup. Are they worth it?
Consider this for off brand products at the clothing store or even the super market? You can spend €0.75/100g on Nestle Multigrain Cheerios or €0.21/100g on Tesco Multigrain Hoops. Nearly 4-fold savings by simply picking up the next box over on the shelf.
I stopped buying endless groceries. before going shopping, I made out a meal plan for the week and measured out what I would need for each meal. If I stick to the meal plan, I should clear out the fridge by the end of the week.
I buy the non-perishables in bulk, especially when on sale. Things like meat, fish, dairy will only last a week usually so there is no point both wasting money and food by buying excessively!
Make shopping a weekly ritual. Pick a day and go for it. It won’t take very long because you aren’t doing a big shop so it is a good habit to create.
9. Gym Membership
Some people love the gym. I must admit that I really enjoyed it in university as it was a great way to stay in shape but also for stress relief. Now that I am out working, I find that I much prefer outdoor exercise. I find the gym quite tedious. Hopefully it is just a phase.
I have had a gym membership that last year that I have barely used, costing about €32 each month so bye bye to that underutilized expense. I still have my bike and I live close to Phoenix park in Dublin, a great place to cycle and walk or run. It is free and it gets me out in the fresh air which I value a lot more. It also gives me a great chance to catch up on my favourite podcasts.
Some toiletries are essential. Spend on a decent toothbrush, paste and deodorant, shampoo/shower gel. Beyond that, why waste money?
You see some bathrooms with 20 different creams and tubes for use on your face or body. Is it really making a difference? Advertising would have you believe that using a cream for 30 days will knock off 30 years. Sorry, that is not true. Ageing is natural, but a cream isn’t going to counteract that unhealthy lifestyle. Give up the fast food, cut out the alcohol and ditch the cigarettes, maybe then you will look and feel healthy? Maybe? Who am I to disagree with Medical experts!
Back to toiletries, what is even in them and are they animal friendly? There are many hidden cruelties in the cosmetics industry so why support that when you don’t know the companies practices. I gave up on the extra toiletries. Humans have existed thousands of years but cosmetics and toiletries have only really been prevalent for less than 100 years, so why should we start using them now?
Plan out your purchases and make an effort to cut out wastefulness. That will save you thousands over the years to come. Cut out things you can live without, and when you really think it through, you will realise that you can live without a lot of things!
I am Steve, the author and owner of Fire-ish, where I try to share my story and help people towards Financial Independence with small tips and tricks that add up. Follow me on Twitter at @fire_ish and on Pinterest. I am trying to grow my readership so if you enjoyed this post, please share it!